With the change of seasons, many parts of the country are starting to cool down. Nashville is keeping things hot with an action-packed schedule of fun for the fall and winter seasons. You’ll find all of your favorite things to do are still hopping even though summer is gone!
If you’re looking for the perfect family-friendly destination that’s sure to be a hit for everyone, look no further — here are a handful of ideas just to get you started. Plus, you’ll have a few opportunities to stop in at Bucc-ee’s gas stations if you’re traveling from the Midwest!
Opry Mills is one of those malls where you start off walking with your friends and then decide that with so many options (more than 200 stores), you better split up to maximize your time. Credited as an outlet and value retail mall, you’ll love the deals you’re going to find on everything from Kate Spade and Coach handbags to discount designer clothing and accessories at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH.
The only thing better than a new handbag is a new handbag at a value price! The blocky colors and structured styles found in Kate Spade designs have always looked so attractive to me. At Opry Mills, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for…and then even more. Stop into the Kate Spade Outlet and tell me what you think!
Adorable style. That’s what you’ll find in this southern retail store. Florals, flouncy fall styles, and affordable looks.
Outdoor recreation and family fun abound at Bass Pro Shops. During the holidays, make sure you don’t miss their free activities. You’ll find everything you need for fishing, camping, biking, working out, and any other outdoor activity you can imagine. I do a lot of my Christmas gift shopping here.
I found some huge deals at the Disney Store Outlet: princess dolls to add to my daughter’s collection, character costumes for my son, and other Disney gear to gift to our family members this holiday season.
This was the biggest Old Navy store I have ever been to. So many choices! I found the perfect fall flannel shirt, a few knit t-shirts, pajamas for everyone, and toddler clothes on clearance! Step inside and check it out.
The Food & Drinks
The dining options at Opry Mills vary in their food offerings and in their settings. If you choose wisely, you’ll end up with dinner AND a show.
A menu of seafood and other American food menu items are delicious, but they aren’t the centerpiece of this restaurant — guests will eat in an under the sea like setting and are joined by hundreds of real-life sea animals in a stunning 200,000-gallon tank located in the middle of the restaurant. There isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Watch the Aquarium Restaurant website for $5 behind-the-scenes tours, Mystic Mermaids Under the Sea Breakfasts, and other special events.
A 500-person beerhall inspired by Munich bier halls, all ages will love the Bavarian food, beer, and music. The German food at Bavarian Bierhaus will make your mouth water and fill your belly with good eats. The music will get you singing along and you might even find yourself waving your stein in the air or taking part in the world-famous “shot ski.”
You’ll find yourself immersed deep in the rainforest, noshing on delicious favorites like pasta and flatbread pizza. The animals around you will come to life, calling out and moving just to let you know they are there. A storm will hit and the rain will pitter-patter as thunder and lighting roar and flicker. After the storm passes, you’ll continue to enjoy this beautiful setting with your family and friends.
I have a moonshine habit — that is, I have a habit of buying all of the moonshines that I taste. Smith Creek Distillery is a gorgeous store inside Opry Mills. Gather around the back of the pickup truck in the tasting area and sample a variety of flavors. Buy the Salted Caramel. Believe me. However, if you do the free tasting, you’re going to end up buying more than one flavor, trust me.
Nashville is famous for so many things, live music EVERYWHERE is one of those things. Artists can be found performing in restaurants, on the streets, and even in the mall. Opry Mills has a special stage set up where you’ll have a very special soundtrack while you shop.
Madame Tussauds’ is a wax museum located right inside Opry Mills. It’s so much more than a museum and it’s dedicated only to music — all genres of music. Step in front of Miley Cyrus on the wrecking ball, cuddle up next to characters from the hit show “Nashville,” and rock out with Kid Rock. You’ll be amazed and constantly on alert to see if these characters move, they look so real!
Grand Ole Opry
Music fans of all ages know that the Grand Ole Opry is a stage for winners and being in their presence feels magical. You don’t have to take my word for it, the Grand Ole Opry has live shows every Friday & Saturday night throughout the year and one weeknight show during select seasons. Shows are about 2 hours long and feature past, current and up and coming country greats! Tickets start at $38. In my experience, this experience is good for adults and older children.
The Opryland Hotel has entertainment around every corner. From riding the riverboat to stopping in for an evening light and fountain show, you’ll find that there’s so much to do.
During the holiday season, enjoy ICE! which will tell the story of A Charlie Brown Christmas through ice sculptures and light displays. Plus, the entire resort will be covered with millions of twinkling lights. Special shows will include Cirque Dreams Holidaze and the Diamond Rio Holidays & Hits Dinner Show.
For those who love a good waterpark, hotel guests can enjoy Soundwaves, a 4-acre, 3-story luxury indoor/outdoor waterpark.
I hear it frequently, and I’ve even said it to other people, “I wish I could just stowaway in your suitcase and come along.” You are going to want to come along to Nashville, Tennessee, but you won’t need to stow away. For those of us living in the midwest, it’s a short road trip and an even shorter airplane ride to the capital of country music.
Your whole family will feel right at home in the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel no matter what time of year you visit. This resort stands out for many reasons but you can’t help but be pleasantly distracted by the glass atriums that house 9 acres of exotic trees, flowers, and other plants. They are kept at a comfortable 72 degrees year-round. Enjoy the sounds of cascading waterfalls, watch fish swim in the pond, and take in the beautiful landscape as you cross bridges and stone pathways that wind throughout the resort.
The Opryland Hotel perfectly packages luxury with family-friendly amenities!
During our spring break visit, we spent a lot of time away from the resort. When it was time to head back from our busy day in Nashville, the kids were just as excited to be at the hotel as they were to be out and about. There was no winding down for them, they had a whole itinerary of their own.
1. The pool. DO NOT SKIP THE POOL. For all of the days leading up to our trip, the girls were enthusiastically looking forward to popping those little footies into the pleasantly heated indoor pool. You’ll also find outdoor pools at the Opryland but during our visit, the temperatures merited indoor swimming.
2. Take a guided ride on the Delta River flatboats. With visions of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in their heads, the girls were so patient as they waited for morning to come so they could take a ride on the river that runs through the Delta atrium. They spotted waterfalls, fish, fruit growing on trees, the boat garage, a man in waders cleaning the river, and many other fun sights. Their favorite moments were when they could wave to other guests as we crossed under bridges and made our way around the atrium.
3. Enjoy a meal “in the garden.” From our room, the girls watched as resort guests enjoyed meals in the Cascades Atrium. “It looks so pretty.” my four-year-old explained to me as she asked if we might join the people below. The flowing waterfall was the perfect background noise for our breakfast at Cascades American Restaurant. We were seated in a cave-like alcove, which felt very special for the kids. The restaurants within the resort offer a reasonably priced children’s menu that includes delicious and nutritious options and each children’s menu comes with a paper star that contains flower seeds inside. When planted at home, your family can enjoy a fun and eco-friendly souvenir of your stay.
4. Take a walk around the Garden Conservatory, Cascades Atrium, and Delta Island. Each environment is unique. We played our own little game of I-spy with fruit-bearing trees, animal figurines created with plants, and other fun sights. Each night, the Delta Atrium is host to the International Waters Fountain Show. Take note of all of the interesting things located throughout the resort. On our riverboat ride, we learned that the Delta River (in the resort) contains water samples from all over the world. Large plaques are located in the atrium that commemorates where the water came from for the blending of the water ceremony. Our family looked for familiar bodies of water from our home state as well as from our favorite places to visit. My girls love tossing pennies into the wishing ponds.
5. Take a peek through the windows of the radio station. WSM 650AM is the home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show. You never know who might be in the studio when you walk by. Wave to the DJ!
The Opryland Resort is an entertainment hub of its own, hosting concerts and major events throughout the year. And why wouldn’t it be? The Grand Ole Opry is in their backyard. You can expect nothing but excellence when it comes to your visit, and excellence will be delivered with a smile.
Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland is world-famous — artisan ice sculptors fly in from China to create beautiful and complex displays using over 2 million pounds of colorful ice for the annual event known as ICE! Visitors will flock to the resort for overnight stays and day trips to see the beautiful work with past themes taken from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and from Dreamworks movies such as Shrek and Penguins of Madagascar. Visitors will don heavy winter coats (provided) and enter the nine-degree interconnected rooms. Adults (21+) may consider paying the upgraded admission fee for the ice bar where drink samples are poured through an ice luge.
When traveling with a large family, consider adding an adjoining “parlor” to your room. These beautiful spaces offer a sofa bed, a large living space, a small kitchenette area (mini-fridge only), an extra bathroom with a dressing area, a television, and a sitting area, and an entryway that’s perfect for coats and strollers.