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Over 20 Fun Things to do in Nashville with Kids

Over 20 Fun Things to do in Nashville with Kids

Is your family heading to Nashville, Tennessee? Music City is one of the nation’s hippest and exciting places to be. We’ve done the research and hit the streets with our family to give you this guide to the best things to do in Nashville with kids!

So grab your hats and boots and get ready to explore Nashville, TN with kids.

Explore more of the state. Here are the best things to do in Tennessee with kids.

Over 20 Great Things to do in Nashville with Kids

See a Show at the Grand Ole Opry 

things to do in Nashville with kids include seeing a show at the Grand Ole Opry
Photo via Flickr

A visit to Nashville wouldn’t be complete without seeing the city’s most famous attraction, the Grand Ole Opry.

A lot has changed since its 1925 origins as a country music radio show. Nearly 100 years of singing, fiddlin’, and guitar pickin’ have taken place on its stage by some of country music’s most famous and iconic artists.

Live shows take place throughout the week, including Saturday nights with over 4,500 consecutive weekly showings!

If seeing some of today’s most famous country music and comedy stars isn’t part of your touring plan (or you are visiting on an off day), consider taking the backstage VIP tour that puts you in the middle of the action and even onto the famous circle.

Next door, explore the Opryland Outlets (Tennessee’s largest) and Gaylord Opryland Resort. Interested in the Opry’s history? The original Ryman Auditorium downtown can still be toured.

Stroll Through Country Music History at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville
Photo via Flickr

More than 2.5 million country music artifacts fill the Country Music Hall of Fame. From recordings to costumes to musical instruments, pictures, and more, the museum is a must for fans of the music genre.

Kids will love the Taylor Swift Education Center and the numerous themed interactive scavenger hunts keeping them interested and involved as you tour and explore the archives. 

Looking for more music museum fun? Explore the Nashville’s music museums:

  • The Johnny Cash Museum is dedicated to the career of this famous “Man in Black.” Kid-friendly exhibits and displays keep the little ones motivated.
  • The Musicians Hall of Fame pays tribute to the musicians behind the famous front-men and women. Their Grammy Museum Gallery lets kids get hands-on with the process of the music industry from songwriting to recording and producing.
  • The National Museum of African American Music showcases African American contributions to the music industry from African Americans. More than 50 music genres and subgenres are explored.
  • You will also want to take a tour of Historic RCA Studio B, where legendary artists like Elvis Presley recorded.

See Country Music’s Up-and-Coming Stars at a Broadway Honky Tonk 

Nashville Honky Tonk
Photo via Flickr

Bring music to the present with a visit to a live show at one of the “Honky Tonk Highways’” numerous daily shows.

Although the scene is definitely skewed toward the older crowd, all Broadway honky tonks are open until 5pm for all ages with live music of all genres spilling out into the streets from every venue.

Many honky tonks, like Ole Red (opened by country music star Blake Shelton), offer full restaurant menus in addition to drinks. 

At nighttime, options on Broadway are limited, but some venues off Broadway stay all ages every day. We visited the famous “3rd & Lindsley” for this perk. 

Eat Hot Chicken (and BBQ!) (and Meat & Three!)

Nashville Hot Chicken

Originally created in Nashville with an infamous story of a lover’s revenge, Hot Chicken is an absolute must try! And if spicy isn’t really your thing, have no fear. There are numerous heat levels to try and all come topped with tasty, fresh pickles.

Prince’s Hot Chicken, who created the now-popular fried chicken variation over 100 years ago, has eight heat levels from “plain” to “XXX Hot!”

BBQ fans will also find plenty to fall in love with in Nashville. Low-and-slow, Tennessee-style BBQ can be found at Edley’s BBQ, often voted the best BBQ in the city year after year.

Their “Tuck Special” is a local favorite and “best sandwich” winner in the city. It includes smoked brisket, an over-easy egg, pimento cheese, dill pickles, and two types of barbecue sauces.

Martin’s BBQ is another favorite BBQ restaurant, located just south of the city. If your in the Germantown neighborhood, consider Butchertown Hall, home to Texas-style BBQ and Tex-Mex favorites.

Another Nashville original, Meat & Three is southern, soul food at its core. The name mostly explains it all. You’ll choose a meat dish and three sides to enjoy. Popular restaurants include Puckett’s Grocery (live music nightly) and 417 Union, a retro diner. 

Picky eaters? Head to downtown’s Assembly Food Hall. Here more than 30 local Nashville eateries intertwine in one central and hip location!

Visit the Animals at the Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo
Photo via Flickr

The Nashville Zoo features more than 350 amazing creatures from around the world, including the new Andean bear and Sumatran tiger exhibits and kid-friendly favorites like kangaroos, spider monkeys, Masai giraffe, leopards, and white rhinoceros.

This non-profit, conservation-minded zoo also features a fun zip line, carousel, and train for kids hoping to add a bit more adventure to their visit. 

See the Parthenon While Visiting Bicentennial Park

Visiting the Parthenon is one of the great things to do in Nashville with kids

In the downtown Nashville area sits the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Visiting this park is one of the more unique things to do in Nashville with kids.

Self-guided and ranger-guided tours are popular for families wanting to explore the trails and its structures, including a 200-foot map walkable granite map of the state, a WW2 memorial, fountains and water features, and oddly enough, a full-scale replica of the Parthenon from Athens.

Built for the 100th anniversary of the state and as a nod to Nashville being the “Athens of the South,” the Parthenon features rotating art exhibits and tours that may pique the interest of your family. 

Explore the Great Outdoors at Long Hunter State Park

Long HUnter State Park near Nashville
Long Hunter State Park

20 minutes from downtown on J. Percy Priest Lake, Long Hunter State Park is a great option for true outdoor enthusiasts. Families can explore the park’s 2,600 acres while hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, biking, or camping. 

The park also has over 20 miles of hiking trails, including the popular Volunteer Trail which has picturesque views of the lake. Some of the trails are multi-use and open to bikers as well.

Although most people head to Nashville for the city perks, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do in the great outdoors. 

Head to Nashville Shores

Nashville Shores things to do in Nashville with kids
Photo via Visit Nashville

Just 10 miles outside of downtown Nashville, Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort has a water park (Nashville’s biggest featuring a wave pool, lazy river, beach and more); treetop adventure course (ropes course and zip lines); jet ski, boat and kayak rentals; group games, and hiking trails. 

The resort also features on-site cabins and over 100 RV sites for families who want to stay on property and use the resort as their home-base.

Go Zip Lining at Adventureworks

Over 20 Fun Things to do in Nashville with Kids 1

Zip Lining is always a hit with older kids, and Adventureworks has two locations in the Nashville area. At the Nashville West location families can zip through old-growth forest along the Harpeth River. They even have moonlight tours on certain Saturdays. The Nashville North location has eight zips over the Whites Creek Pike with great views.

In order to participate kids must be at least eight and weigh over 50 lbs.

Have Lots of Outdoor Fun at the Adventure Park at Nashville

Adventure Park Nashville
Photo via Adventure Park Nashville

Adventure Park is the area’s newest and largest outdoor park. They have an aerial adventure park filled with obstacles and route of varying degrees of difficulty. Start easy and work your way up! This is open kids as young as seven. Mix things up and try the glow in the dark course at night!

Little ones ages 3 – 6 have their own Adventure Playground with scaled down versions of the obstacles on the big course. In addition to the adventure courses this location also has outdoor axe throwing.

Explore the Adventure Science Center

Adventure Science Center

Take your budding scientists on an adventure through the galaxy at Nashville’s Adventure Science Center. The hands-on exhibits and interactions are sure to spark curiosity and interest in kids of all ages, making it one of the popular things to do in Nashville with kids.

Family favorites include a simulated weightlessness experience to see what it would feel like to fly through space, fingerprint scanning, a laser game that teaches kids to fight off germs, and virtual reality experiences that go back in time. 

While visiting, don’t forget to climb to the roof for an amazing view of the Nashville skyline!

Belle Meade

Bell Meade Plantation in Nashville
Belle Meade

Belle Meade, once one of the largest private estates in Nashville, now features two tours of its much smaller, but still preserved grounds.

The Mansion Tour focuses on the families and slaves who contributed to the success of the mansion, and the Journey to Jubilee Tour, that tells the stories of the plantation’s slaves, both before and after emancipation. Families can enjoy a taste of old-fashioned southern cooking while on site at The Belle Meade Meat & Three.

Visit President Andrew Jackson’s Home

Andrew Jackson home
Photo by Jim Bowen

President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is one of the nation’s most visited presidential homes. The historic landmark sits on over 1,000 acres and features more than 30 historic buildings, many of which can be explored both indoors and out.

Thankfully, the hermitage recognizes the role of slavery in its success. Tours explain the inherant racism that so notably benefited many in the South, including Jackson.

Looking for more historic homes? Belmont Mansion can be toured in just 30-45 minutes. One of the largest homes in the South during the 1850s, the mansion’s story focus on Adelicia Acklen, the one-time wealthiest woman in Tennessee.

Get in Touch with Your Creative Side at the Frist Art Museum

Over 20 Fun Things to do in Nashville with Kids 2

Not every family loves art museums. But even if strolling galleries isn’t your thing, consider a visit to the Frist to see if it can change your mind.

In addition to offering world-class exhibitions from global sources, families will love the Martin ArtQuest Gallery. The gallery includes 30 interactive art-making stations designed to get even the most art-adverse into creating and exploring artwork.

Add in the full-service cafe, live music, and outdoor sculpture park, the Frist is a must-visit. Oh, and bonus- kids under 18 are free!

Lane Motor Museum

Lane Motor Museum
Lane Motor Museum

Prefer your art to have wheels? Check out the Lane Motor Museum, featuring 150 cars and motorcycles from across the globe, including the largest collection of European cars in the US!

The museum is renowned for its focus on displaying a diverse and eclectic collection of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, and even some microcars. They have classic cars, military vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, and one-of-a-kind prototypes.

There are vehicles demonstrations Thursday through Monday at 11. The museum is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

16. Radnor Lake State Park

Radnor Lake State Park

Just eight miles south of downtown, you will finnd Radnor Lake State Park, a great place to get away from the bustle of the city and enjoy nature. The park covers over 1,300 acres, and the lake is a haven for wildlife including ncluding deer, owls, herons, and otters.

Visit the Walter Criley Visitor Center to join educational programs, guided hikes, and nature talks that are being offered. If you are looking for an easy and scenci walk, take the 1.5-mile Lake Trail which circumnavigates Radnor Lake. To enjoy views from above, hike the Ganier Ridge Trail which is about 2.2 miles long.

Nashville Roller Derby

Over 20 Fun Things to do in Nashville with Kids 3

Looking for something fun and different to experience? How about roller derby? Roller derby matches are a blast to experience in person and the Nashville Roller Derby always put on a great show.

Not familiar with the sport? Roller derby is a fast-paced and physically intense sport played on roller skates. It involves two teams of skaters who skate around an oval track. Points are scored when a designated skater, known as the “jammer,” laps members of the opposing team.

Games often include entertainment elements such as halftime shows, music, and fan engagement. The season typically runs April through October and matches are held at various venues throughout the area.

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens

Cheekewood Estate in Nashville
Photo via Visit Nashville

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is a historic estate, museum, and botanical garden that was oroginally the private residence of the Cheek family of Maxwell House Coffee fame. It is a stately Georgian-style mansion extensive botanical gardens and rotating art exhibitions.

The estate is especially popular to visit during the holidays when one million lights light up the gardens. There are also s’mores, seasonal drinks, and a Holiday Marketplace. They also have a harvest festival in the fall with pumpkin displays and activities and a spring celebration known as “Cheekwood in Bloom” when the garden’s flowers explode with color.

Check out our full guide to all the best Nashville Christmas events.

Ghost City Tours


Does your family love a good ghost story? Then embark on a family-friendly ghost tour to learn about Nashville’s haunted history. The Ghosts of Nashville Tour visits the most haunted locations in town, including spots that were featured on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures.

This is a walking tour. It is spooky but they welcome children of all ages onthe tour so there is no R-rated material if you know what I mean.

Book your ghost tour online!

Tennessee State Museum

Tennessee State Museum
Photo via TNStateMuseum

I am always a fan of a state museum. It is a great way to learn about the history of the state and those who lived there long before it was a state. The Tennessee State Museum covers various time periods and topics including Native American history, the Civil War, and life on the early frontier all the way up to the 21st century.

They also have a Children’s Gallery designed for kids ages 3 – 8 with lots of hands-on experiences to enjoy. Storytime takes place at 10:30am on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Where to Stay in Nashville with Kids

Gaylord Orpyland Resort

Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville

Nashville is home to a variety of family-friendly hotels and resorts. Downtown, the Omni Nashville Hotel is always an excellent bet and their family-friendly offerings are fabulous.

But if you want a splurge, consider staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. You’ll ohh and ahh as you explore the resort’s nine acres of indoor gardens by foot or, get this, by boat!

Don’t miss the Delta Fountain water show, a spin on the lazy river at the onsite SoundWaves waterpark, or a bite to eat at one of the nearly 20 onsite restaurants! Staying at this special resort is one of the most memorable things to do in Nashville with kids.

Hyatt Centric Downtown Nashville

Hyatt Centric Downtown Nashville

Located steps away from the Country Music Hall of Fame, Symphony Center and Broadway Street, Hyatt Centric Downtown Nashville welcomes guests looking to experience the soul and beat of Nashville.

This boutique hotel features 252 guest rooms and 11 suites that provide breathtaking views of the Nashville skyline and Cumberland River. The two-bedroom suites offer ample space for larger groups, from families to friend groups to girlfriend getaways.

Two on-site restaurant options allow guests to experience an elevated dining environment before or after heading to town. Knowing just about everything you’ll need is a walk or quick ride away is priceless here. The Hyatt Centric is a wonderful landing spot for exploring the city of Nashville. It’s just two blocks south of Broadway – so you know you’re nearby the heart and soul of things.

Steep yourself in Nashville’s music history, go to a concert or local honky-tonk bar, get out and try the local food (Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is a must taste as well as The Pancake Pantry) or invest in a pair of cute cowboy boots.

This pet-friendly hotel is close to it all and offers families ultra-comfy guest rooms and suites complete with things like Chromecast, DryBar hairdryers, a fitness center, and an attractive rooftop pool (with day passes available for non-guests). Rooms let you enjoy the view with floor-to-ceiling windows in high-floor accommodations so you can take in the incredible views.

Coffeemaker, mini fridge, blackout curtains, individual climate controls, wide doorways, and clean, uncluttered decor deliver on the essentials. There are also motion sensing lights under the base of the bed and in the bathroom vanity that allow anyone who gets up to use the bathroom at night to safely see where they are going. Hyatt Centric lets you stay close to the action yet relax and enjoy the attention to detail, locally-inspired nooks and crannies, pops-of-color, and attentive friendly staff. 

Katie Bodell