WHAT TO DO IN NASHVILLE WITH KIDS
If you’re planning to visit Nashville, TN with your kids, you might want to make sure you have multiple days to explore. There’s so much for families to do in the area, and I’m not even counting exploring and hiking through the natural surroundings.
The area has been growing in popularity in recent years. Though it’s a hotspot for bachelor and bachelorette parties and adult getaways, there’s still more than enough to do in this family-friendly city. It’s very walkable, which was a win in my book!
This was my second time in Nashville. The very first time I visited was in 2014 for my younger sister’s bachelorette party. It wasn’t as wild as it sounds, though. We stayed with close family friends, and the party consisted of a few close friends, all 5 of my sisters, my mom, and my daughter (who was a toddler at the time).
However, this summer was my family’s first time in Nashville. We stayed at the Omni Nashville Hotel in the heart of the downtown area, which meant we could park our car upon arrival and leave it there the entire weekend. We were able to walk or use the trolley to get around the entire time. It’s a very kid-friendly hotel, and I’ll be writing a review of it soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Anyway, if you’re trying to plan your visit to Nashville with kids, here are my top 11 things to do as a family.
Disclosure: Our family was hosted by the Omni Nashville, and we also received free passes courtesy of Visit Music City, the Nashville Tourism Board. for a few of the activities mentioned here in exchange for consideration in my articles and blog posts about Nashville.
In addition, this post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you’ve ever read any of my other city guides, you’ll find that I’m a huge fan of taking a trolley tour with kids on your first day in a new city.
The kids usually either end up falling asleep on the tour or being so excited about riding in a trolley that they behave really well. I love listening to the drivers talk about their city, and I always end up learning a lot, even while wrangling little kids.
Another benefit is that you can use the trolley as transportation to some of the city’s highlights. We stayed at the Omni in downtown Nashville, so the hop on-hop off trolley tour was an easy way to get to Centennial Park and the Gulch instead of trying to navigate the city by car and worry about parking.
You can book your trolley tickets here.
Adults: $39.29 if you purchase tickets online
Children (ages 4-12): $29.94 if you purchase tickets online
Every trolley we’ve ridden has allowed us to store a stroller upfront. Just remember these tours get pretty crowded as the day goes on, and you might have to wait for one with enough space for your family!
Centennial Park is a beautiful and quiet spot to explore in Nashville, and it’s especially known for the life-size replica of the Parthenon. You can pay a small fee to go inside and tour the Parthenon which doubles as an art museum. You ‘ll get to see the 42-foot Athena statue inside, too.
To be 100% honest, I didn’t think paying the $6 for adults and $4 for kids was worth it for our family. Our young children were not at all interested in the art, and we only ended up spending a few minutes inside. If you have older kids it might be worth your while, but for younger families, I would save your money for something else. It’s still fun to take pictures of the Parthenon from the outside, though!
There are other spots in the park families with young children will like, though. The sunken gardens are gorgeous, and my kids had a blast borrowing our phones to take photos of the flowers in portrait mode. Our toddler loved walking around Lake Watauga and watching people feed the ducks. There’s a 1-mile walking trail, too.
STROLL BROADWAY (DURING THE DAYTIME)
Broadway is the street that runs through downtown Nashville full of bars, honky-tonks, and souvenir shops. It sort of reminds me of a countrified version of the Strip in Las Vegas. As the day progresses you’ll see more and more pedal pubs and roofless party buses full of bachelor and bachelorette parties passing by. The honky-tonks will fill up with party-goers and the music will be so loud you can’t hear yourself think.
Honestly, I kind of wished I could join in! Everyone looked like they were having so much fun. During the day, I would say it’s fine to take your kids strolling on Broadway. It’s fun to point out the famous honky-tonks and duck into the touristy shops. Once evening rolls around, though, you might want to avoid taking kids here.
POSE WITH MURALS
Nashville is famous for the copious amounts of murals and wall art that adorns the city. Just look up Nashville on Instagram and you’ll see photo after photo of people posing in front of the beautiful angel wings “What Lifts You” mural.
I think these walls are so much fun, and kids love posing for pictures in front of the walls. You’ll make some wonderful family memories finding the murals around town and coming up with new poses.
We went to the Gulch to find some wall art and ended up loving the wall across from the “What Lifts You” mural. There was a line wrapping around the corner of people waiting for the angel wings pictures, so we decided to go to the colorful wall in the parking lot across the street where no one else was taking pictures. There was plenty of space, no lines, and it was on a platform above the parking lot so you didn’t have to worry about kids running out in front of cars.
Do a quick search on Pinterest for Nashville murals, and plenty of locals have written extensively about what the best ones are and where to find them.
TASTE HEAVEN AT 5 DAUGHTERS BAKERY
We decided to stop at 5 Daughters Bakery right before climbing in the car for the second leg of our trip. I’m not sure if it was smart or not to load up on sugar right before a long road trip, but it sure was delicious!
5 Daughters Bakery is known for its 100 Layer Donuts which are a hybrid between croissants and donuts. They are a taste of heaven, and if you’re a donut lover I would highly recommend trying them!
What makes this little donut shop even better is how Instagrammable it is! There’s an adorable “I Love Donuts” wall mural, along with a children’s play area outside. Come for the donuts, stay for the atmosphere. 10/10 would recommend.
POP INTO A HONKY TONK
If you do decide to give Broadway a visit, make sure to look up which honky-tonks are family-friendly during the day and stop in to hear some live country music! When my husband took the boys back to our hotel room for a nap, I took our 6-year-old daughter to Robert’s Western World, a place that prides itself in playing traditional country music.
The live music was great, and we ended up finding a small table in the back where it wasn’t so loud. We ordered some fries and some drinks and just enjoyed some mother-daughter time while having an authentic Nashville experience.
There were plenty of other families there during the early afternoon, and the laid back environment made me think that I could have even brought our toddler along to enjoy the music.
SHOP FOR BOOTS AND HATS
When you emerge from the Honky Tonk, amble along Broadway until you find a store that sells cowboy boots and hats. You won’t have to walk far! My daughter and I didn’t end up buying anything, but we had so much fun picking out our favorite boots and trying on a hat or two.
If you’re looking for a legit Nashville souvenir and think you would actually get some use out of boots or hats, definitely make this a priority on your trip.
CROSS THE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
I truly think the pedestrian bridge was the highlight of the trip for me. After the boys woke up from their afternoon naps, we packed a picnic lunch with the food we had picked up from a supermarket in the Gulch earlier that day and walked from our hotel (the Omni) to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.
We saw a lot of people riding the electric scooters available all over Nashville over the bridge, but we were content to just walk and push the toddler in our stroller.
This is a must-do activity, especially if you want awesome family pictures in front of the Nashville skyline. You could bring a tripod and Bluetooth remote for your camera, or you could trust a complete stranger to get the shot for you. We went the route of asking a stranger, and he happened to capture a beautiful shot of our family.
DO A SCAVENGER HUNT IN THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
You can’t go to Nashville without learning at least a little bit about the history of country music! The Country Music Hall of Fame is home to outfits worn on stage by famous singers, instruments used by country music legends, and plenty of photos and videos to admire.
If you think your kids would be bored, don’t worry! Take them directly to the Taylor Swift Education Center where you’ll find lots of activities and resources for kids.
We chose to do a few of the scavenger hunts. These require kids (and adults) to actually pay attention to exhibits throughout the museum. Everyone stays engaged because you want to get the prize at the end of the scavenger hunt!
Our kids were 6 and 4 when they did them, so they needed a lot of help from us. I didn’t mind, because that way we slowed down and saw everything in the museum instead of just rushing through.
If you complete your activity, make sure to take it back to the Taylor Swift Education Center on the third floor before you exit the museum. A worker will check them for you and let the kids pick a prize! My daughter is still wearing the Taylor Swift bracelet she won at the museum.
Country Music Hall of Fame Website
Children (ages 6-12): $15.95
VISIT THE RYMAN AUDITORIUM
Anyone who’s anyone in the country music business has likely performed at the Ryman Auditorium. What began as a church turned into a venue for culture and performances of all kinds. Eventually, it was home to the Grand Ole Opry, then after the Opry changed venues it was renovated and restored to become its own performance venue once again.
If you’ve got little kids with short attention spans, I would recommend the self-guided tour. We didn’t do the tour this year, but I got to do it when my oldest was just a toddler. It was nice not to have to worry about her interrupting a guide when she couldn’t be quiet.
Ryman Auditorium Website
Adults: Starting at $24.95 depending on which tour you choose
Children (ages 4-11): Starting at $16.95 depending on the tour
TRY GOO GOO CLUSTERS
Who doesn't love candy? It’s always fun when you can find a sweet that’s specific to the region you’re visiting. Goo Goo Clusters were the first candy bar to use multiple elements: chocolate, marshmallow nougat, nuts, and caramel, and they were made in Nashville, TN in 1912.
Today you can go to their downtown store and buy different flavors of Goo Goo Clusters, try the dessert bar, or even take a chocolate class!
We just visited and took some pictures in front of the fun photo booth they had set up in the store, and we definitely purchased our fair share of chocolate. The peanut butter Goo Goos were our favorites!
A GREAT DESTINATION FOR FAMILIES
As you can see, our weekend in Nashville was barely enough time to cover the essentials. There were so many activities I read about that we weren’t able to get to because we simply didn’t have enough time.
Bare minimum, I would make sure to spend 3 days in Nashville, and would highly recommend a week if you can swing it. Don’t forget it’s within driving distance of some other really great destinations like Gatlinburg and Atlanta, so you can really make your way around the South for a diverse family vacation.
Our kids had such a wonderful time in Music City, and I really felt like there was something for every age and interest. Whether you’re country music fans, nature lovers, or foodies, you’ll find something to love.
You can save up to 58% on entrance fees with the Nashville Sightseeing Pass which includes attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame, a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour and more.
Check out the entire list and see if the pass is a good fit for you here.
You can also find some wonderful tour options below:
WHERE TO STAY IN NASHVILLE WITH KIDS
You can book your stay in Nashville through Booking.com using the tool below to search for properties. I highly recommend the Omni Nashville, but there’s something for every price point.
Don’t forget about Airbnb.com as an alternative, especially if you have a bigger family or you want to save money by cooking your meals instead of eating out. Use my link to get $40 off your first stay.