Do you want an easy way to organize a day out with your dog – and include some of your best friends? Help plan a wall crawl with your dog and discover some extraordinary street art.
Murals have been popping up all over Nashville in recent years. Some are iconic, some are heartfelt and some you have probably yet to discover. The artistic landscape of Music City is expanding, in part thanks to Nashville Wall Project, who support local and visiting artists in creating the murals you love. To be honest, I don’t even know if anyone has a total count…there seems to always be new art showing up.
It could take a person d-a-y-s to visit them all. So why not gather a few of your dog-loving friends, pack up the cameras, lace up your walking shoes and make a day of touring some of Nashville’s best murals.
What is a Wall Crawl?
Simply put, a wall crawl is a walking tour of street murals. You choose a starting point and stroll the neighborhood in search of the different murals. Photos are a MUST. It’s actually why you’re doing it. What’s best about a wall crawl is that it is a perfect activity your dog will LOVE to experience with you. It’s walking the dog, but with built in stops along the way.
Planning ahead is the key and we’ll show you how!
The Five Ws and One H
Get a pen and paper and start with these basics. The better you can narrow it down, the easier it will be to plan a wall crawl with your dog.
- Who to invite: You may have 20 friends you’d love to take along on your walk crawl, but think about it… Most murals are in tourist locations. That means lots of other people milling about. Having even ten dogs and their owners in one tight location can be overwhelming and frustrating for everyone. (Okay, if you have ten Chihuahuas with you, you have my blessings.) Keep the guest list short so everyone has a great time.
Tip: If you really want to invite all 20 friends, we’ll show you how to do that in a bit…
- When should you go: Fall, winter and spring are the obvious choices. Trust me. We planned one wall crawl in the summer and at the end, we were miserably hot. Plus it’s hard on our dogs’ little toe beans. Time of day is also an important factor. Again, those murals are must-sees for tourists (this is Nashville, after all.) Schedule your wall crawl in the early morning hours to beat the crowds and as a plus, you’ll stay cooler.
- Where to go: So many choices, but you’ll need to narrow it down to one neighborhood. Look at factors like distance between murals, available parking, photo-bility with your dogs (wall art higher than basic ground level will be more difficult to photograph) walk-ability for safety reasons. Another ‘where’ that can be super fun is planning to stop afterwards at a dog-friendly patio for some refreshment. Or how about a picnic at a local city park?
- What to bring with you: Water for you and your dog, camera, travel tripod, treats or toys for photo ops, poop bags, a sense of adventure. Patience.
- Why: I’ll let you answer that one!
- How long should it last: Most likely you’ll want to allot about 1.5 – 2 hours for your wall crawl. Don’t try to do too much at once. Dogs can get pretty tired of being asked to pose for photos over and over again.
Bringing it all together
- Call your besties and narrow down your date and time.
- Review mural locations and select a neighborhood. Pick a starting point and plan your walking route to each stop.
- If you’re ending at a dog-friendly patio, make sure it is near the last mural or close to your parking location. Also, calling ahead to the restaurant to let them know you’ll be arriving with multiple dogs is helpful. If possible, consider carpooling if parking could be an issue.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to go it alone! You and your dog can have a great time with just the two of you. Or make it a family affair with strollers and kids. Maybe date night?
Tips to Help Your Wall Crawl Be a Success
- Safety first!! Never sacrifice safety of yourself, your dog or others just to get that photo. Many murals are in high traffic areas close to the streets. Be mindful of where you and your dog are standing at all times.
- Have a planned route and stick to it. It’s easy to get distracted and off-in-the-bushes if everyone wants to go their own way.
- Make sure your dog is having as much fun as you. It’s easy for dogs to get overwhelmed in new environments. Many murals are painted in tight quarters or alleyways. Too many people in a small space can cause even the calmest of dogs to feel anxious. Take a break if needed.
- Stop for water breaks.
- Try and plan potty breaks before or after the wall crawl. That goes for you as well as your dog!
- Be mindful of others. Yep, they may not be mindful of you – but as dog owners we want to always present a good image so our dogs are allowed in more public places. Be respectful of private property and clean up after your dog. Taking group shots and individual photos with a number of people/dogs can seem rude to others who are also awaiting a turn. Be respectful of other people’s time.
There’s more than one way to do a wall crawl! Here are a couple more ideas to get you rolling…
- Lots of dogs and owners? How about splitting up and having each group do a separate crawl? You could start each group at opposite ends of the route and meet in the middle.
- What about a wall crawl scavenger hunt? With dogs in tow, it’s probably not the best thing to drive all over town hunting for murals. But you could choose a neighborhood with lots of wall art, divide into teams, give everyone a list of clues (try a riddle) about several different murals in the area and see which team can find them all first. Dogs will enjoy all the fast walking!
- You can do a mural photo challenge. Again, split into teams and see who can come up with the best photo op for each wall mural. Small, easy props may or may not be of advantage.
Cooler weather is on the way –so get out your calendar, grab your camera and make some plans for an awesome wall crawl with your best four-legged friends.