Top Things to Do in Nashville, TN with Kids

I’m thrilled to share a little treasure of a weekend getaway. Just four and a half hours away, Nashville, Tennessee is a quick road trip from Indy. This city is not just a hub of music and culture; it’s a playground for the curious minds of our little ones and a retreat for us parents too. Nashville holds a special place in my heart, with its deep-rooted music history and an array of contemporary attractions that are fun for children and adults alike.

Nashville is a city where every corner sings a story, where educational opportunities are abundant and entertaining, and where the spirit of adventure is alive and well. What makes Nashville an ideal spot for families like ours? From historical landmarks to interactive museums and outdoor escapades, there’s something in Nashville for every age and interest. Join me as we explore the countless things to do in Nashville TN with kids.

Nashville’s Family-Friendly Charm

Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, often called “Music City,” holds an allure that extends far beyond its musical roots. It’s a city where the warmth of Southern hospitality meets a bustling metropolis filled with attractions tailored for families. Each season brings its unique charm, from the colorful fall foliage to the festive lights of winter, making Nashville a year-round destination for family fun. Whether you visit during summer vacation, spring break, fall break, or winter break, your family is going to love Nashville.

Dining Experiences with a Twist

Opry Mills and the surrounding area offer a variety of dining options that go beyond mere meals, providing entertainment and unique settings that captivate children’s imaginations:

  • Aquarium Restaurant: Dine under the sea without getting wet. This immersive experience surrounds you with aquatic life, making every meal memorable.
  • Bavarian Bierhaus: Experience the joy of German culture with food, music, and communal fun that’s engaging for all ages.
  • Rainforest Cafe: Step into a tropical rainforest, where animatronic animals and periodic thunderstorms create an unforgettable dining adventure.
  • Smith Creek Distillery: While primarily appealing to adults, the distillery offers non-alcoholic tastings and insights into the moonshine-making process, providing a unique cultural experience.

Nashville, TN with Kids

Nashville’s family-friendly attractions extend well beyond shopping and dining, offering educational, entertaining, and cultural experiences:

  • Madame Tussauds: A wax museum that brings music legends to life, offering interactive experiences and photo opportunities with lifelike figures of beloved artists.
  • Grand Ole Opry: A historic venue that showcases the best of country music, offering performances that appeal to all ages and introduce young listeners to the genre’s rich history.
  • Opryland Hotel: More than just a place to stay, this hotel is a destination itself, featuring indoor gardens, waterfalls, and activities that ensure your family’s stay is as entertaining as it is comfortable.

Opryland Hotel: A Resort of Its Own

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center deserves special mention for its comprehensive offerings that cater to family vacationers:

  • Indoor and Outdoor Pools: The resort’s water features are perfect for relaxation or playful splashing, regardless of the weather.
  • Soundwaves: This upscale water experience combines indoor and outdoor waterpark fun with dedicated zones for adults, teens, and kids.
  • Seasonal Events: From the ICE! exhibit during the holidays to summer concerts and fountain shows, the resort offers year-round entertainment.
  • Garden Conservatory & Atriums: Explore nine acres of lush indoor gardens, complete with rivers, waterfalls, and exotic plants, offering a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Exploring Nashville’s Rich Music History

A visit to Nashville with kids is incomplete without diving into its musical heritage:

  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Offers interactive exhibits that engage kids and adults alike, showcasing the stories behind the music that made Nashville famous.
  • Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum: Celebrates the achievements of musicians from all genres, providing a comprehensive look at the music industry’s evolution.
  • Ryman Auditorium: Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” Ryman offers tours that highlight its historical significance and its role in popularizing country music.

Outdoor Adventures and Nature Exploration

Nashville’s natural beauty and mild climate make it an ideal location for outdoor activities and exploration:

  • Centennial Park and the Parthenon: A full-scale replica of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greece, serves as a museum and a park, offering educational opportunities and open spaces for play.
  • Cheekwood Estate & Gardens: Features stunning botanical gardens and art exhibits, with seasonal events like Cheekwood in Bloom and the Holiday LIGHTS display, making it a year-round attraction for families.
  • Nashville Zoo at Grassmere: Engage with wildlife and learn about conservation efforts in an environment that’s both fun and educational for children.

Engaging with Science and Innovation

For families interested in science and technology, Nashville offers several venues that inspire curiosity and learning:

  • Adventure Science Center: With hands-on exhibits covering topics from biology to astronomy, the center encourages kids to explore and learn through interactive play.
  • Frist Art Museum: While not a science museum, the Frist offers creative and educational programs for kids, fostering an appreciation for art and creativity.

Seasonal Activities and Festivals

Nashville’s calendar is filled with events that cater to families, from music festivals to holiday celebrations:

  • CMA Fest: Offers a family-friendly atmosphere where kids can experience live music and potentially meet their favorite artists.
  • Nashville’s Fourth of July: Celebrated with fireworks, live music, and family activities, making it one of the city’s biggest annual events.
  • Holiday Events: From the Nashville Christmas Parade to New Year’s Eve celebrations, the city embraces the festive spirit with events that are enjoyable for all ages.

Opry Mills: A Shopper’s Paradise

Opry Mills stands out as a premier shopping destination, but to families, it represents much more. With over 200 stores, including high-end outlets and budget-friendly options, it caters to every taste and need. Here’s a closer look at what makes Opry Mills a must-visit for families:

  • Kate Spade Outlet: Discover the joy of finding designer handbags at value prices. The vibrant colors and stylish designs are a hit with fashion-forward parents.
  • Bass Pro Shops: An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, this store provides not just gear for every adventure but also serves as an educational experience for kids interested in the great outdoors.
  • Disney Store Outlet: A magical place for Disney lovers, offering discounted toys, costumes, and collectibles.
  • Old Navy Outlet: The perfect stop for family wardrobe updates, from cozy flannels to stylish pajamas for everyone.

Practical Tips for Visiting Nashville with Kids

  • Accommodation: Choose family-friendly hotels like the Gaylord Opryland Resort or options downtown close to major attractions.
  • Transportation: Consider renting a car for flexibility, but also explore public transportation options like the Music City Star and buses for an authentic Nashville experience.
  • Dining: Look for restaurants with kid-friendly menus and settings. Many places in Nashville cater to families with special menus and activities to keep children entertained.

Whether you’re exploring the vibrant music scene, enjoying the natural beauty, or indulging in the culinary delights, there’s something in Nashville for every member of the family. This guide to things to do in Nashville TN with kids highlights just a fraction of what the city has to offer, promising a visit filled with discovery, excitement, and unforgettable memories.

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