We took on Music City to the beat of our own drum and tried to hit up all of the best things to do in Nashville with kids. With less than 24 hours in the city, and being our first time there, we made sure to get out and explore, marching through the busy streets as a family of five, smiling at the bar trolleys passing by and strolling by the full bars with fun music spilling out through the open windows to find quaint ice cream shops and delicious food.
Although I will say, we almost lost Skylar a couple of times to that music… if there was an open door with live tunes wafting through the air he was headed straight for it. But with all the activity happening in Nashville, no wonder the city is loaded with fun for families! Here are our top recommendations and the best of Nashville for family travel!
Best Things to do in Nashville With Kids
Stroll down Broadway. We arrived into Nashville in late afternoon, in time to grab a late lunch at Acme Feed and Seed (the beef brisket sandwich was so good) and it was a good dip right into the sights and taste of Nashville.
Following up our lunch with a walk down Broadway and some ice cream cones at Mike’s Ice Cream – such a cutely retro shop – was totally the natural thing to do.
There were so many street performers and vendors, shops full of all the things a cowboy (or cowgirl) needs, and of course all kinds of people-watching and live music.
One of best things to do in Nashville with kids is to just take in the lively nature of downtown. Just make sure to take your stroll during daylight, as it’s definitely the type of place that transforms come sundown.
The Best Things to Do in Nashville with Kids: Stay Downtown
We checked into our hotel at Omni Nashville which featured a large and opulent foyer with a fireplace, a roof-deck pool that the kids loved and a hot tub that us parents were ready to relax in after hours in the car.
Of course one of the things we’ve always loved at Omni hotels is their kid’s program which starts the moment the kids walk through the door… each one receives their own welcome bag full of goodies for their stay, including an activity book with healthy recipes for us to try at home, and Skylar couldn’t wait to sport his new backpack all around town.
This mom was happy to see spacious rooms that we’re also equipped with a refrigerator and a crib available – definitely things I look for when traveling with my littles!
The great thing about a downtown location was that many of the best things to do in Nashville with kids were within walking distance and so many more that we didn’t get the chance to see this visit, like the Country Music Hall of Fame (right across the street!) and the Johnny Cash Museum.
The Best Things to Do in Nashville with Kids: Find Water
Okay, so this one doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a specific water place you need to visit, but I will say that Nashville in the summer is hot… and I’ve always gone by the phrase, “if you have a crab, take them to water.”
If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll most likely have a crabby one on your hands at some point. Thankfully, as I mentioned, the Omni had an amazing pool and you know it doesn’t take my little fish long to find water, so after a few minutes of unwinding in our room, they were ready to hit the roof-deck.
It just so happened that the sky opened up for an overcast light rain as we stepped out on the deck, but we didn’t waver. Instead, we swam in the sprinkle until the sun came out to greet us again! And I think I fell in love with the 10-foot kiddie pool that was basically the first step into the long pool ahead. It was so perfect for my littlest to play on.
Ideas for more water play in Nashville:
- Sports*com in Murfreesboro
- Nashville Shores Waterpark
- Beach area at Percy Priest Lake
- Check out the spraygrounds and splashpads
- Williamson County Rec at Nolensville
- Wave Country
The Best Things to Do in Nashville with Kids: Visit the Parks
Like Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park. Before we hit the soft pillows and clean sheet of our beds for the night, we knew we had to let the kids burn off some extra pent up energy, and thankfully we were surrounded by a plethora of grassy hills and parks!
One of the best things to do in Nashville with kids is to hit up The Capital Mall State Park. It is a really quick drive from downtown, and it’s a gorgeous place for kids to explore.
We arrived to see the park at dusk and the 200-foot granite map of the state, the rivers of Tennessee fountains, and the massive hill that we all ran up and down, and up and down again, was enough to wear us out and make us ready for dinner, and we barely hit the tip of the park iceberg.
Also, it was just a really great plunge into our nation’s history. Plus, it’s free!
The Best Things to Do in Nashville with Kids: Find Cool Places to Eat
There are SO many amazing foodie joints in Nashville!
We were having such a hard time deciding where to go, so I referred back to my list of recommendations before we even arrived in town, that plus Yelp is usually a diners’ gold mine ;).
Besides Acme and Mike’s Ice Cream on Broadway, The Grilled Cheeserie food truck is somewhere we really wanted to find (you can text their number and see where the food truck is located that day!), the bummer for us; it was booked for a private event all weekend. Next time!
If you’re looking for a great coffee place try Crema in the heart of Nashville, a locally owned and totally hand-crafted (literally) coffee shop… and they know what they’re doing.
For a fun kids’ night out during our stay, we headed to the Aquarium Restaurant right next to the Grand Ole Opry – just had to see it. The food was good, and the guitarfish (aptly named for where we were right?) was massive. The best part? The aquarium filling the entire center of the restaurant kept our kids entertained throughout dinner, well at least until dessert arrived on our table!
Really, the great thing about the city is that there is something fun around just about every corner, a cute little shop, some delicious eats, a park (literally they’re everywhere)… so we were really able to get out an explore and there’s so much to do within walking distance.
Some of the places below, we didn’t get to enjoy even though they were on my list – but if you have time, they’re just too great not to pass up!
- Walk the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge at sunset. It would give such an amazing view of the city! We really tried to make this happen but arrived back at our hotel from dinner too late and our little one was already asleep.
- Let the kids run free and feed the ducks at Centennial Park, and take pictures with the Parthenon replica, such a fun park to check out.
- Ride the Music City Trolley Hop. I think it would be such a fun way to see the city, and we almost hopped on one! For the price, it would be much better to have the whole day to enjoy it and take it around town, instead of just a couple of hours.
- Hit up Country Music Hall of Fame‘s musical petting zoo.
- Show kids science can be fun at the Adventure Science Center.
- Browse the acres of beauty at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and art museum.
Our Nashville stop on our #bluesummertour was too much fun! I’m sure we’ll make it back to Music City again because we had such a great time this time around!
Other Awesome Family-Friendly Places to Check Out in Nashville:
Best Things To Do In Nashville With Kids – Activities
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
- Nashville Adventure Science Center
- Centennial Park and the Parthenon
- Nashville Zoo
- Nashville Sounds Baseball Game
- Wildhorse Saloon
- General Jackson Showboat
- Fannie Mae Dees Park
- Nashville’s Children Theater
- Madame Tussauds
- Treetop Adventure Park
- Nashville Shores Waterpark
- Adventureworks Zipline
Best Things To Do In Nashville With Kids – FooD
- Pfunky Griddle
- The Old School
- Lockeland Table
- Burger Up East
- Edley’s Bar-B-Que
- Frothy Monkey
- Coco’s Italian Market
- Henrietta Red
- The Pharmacy Burger
- The Grilled Cheeserie
Best Things To Do In Nashville With Kids – Sweet Treats
- Status Dough
- The Legendairy Milkshake Bar
- Five Daughters Bakery 12 South
- Sweet & Three
- Cosmic Creamery
- Pied Piper Creamery
- Goo Goo Shop
- The Soda Parlor
- Food Soda Shop
- The Ice Cream Bar
What do you think are the best things to do in Nashville with kids? Let me know in a comment below!