Nashville has a growing reputation for wild girl getaways – it’s overtaken Vegas as the number one place for bachelorette parties, or as we like to call them in Australia, hens weekends.
Cluck cluck cluck.
Despite all the pedal pubs and yahooing whizzing past you on the street (making you long for your wonder years), there are plenty of fun things to do in Nashville with kids.
One family travel hack I have is that when you visit a destination choose your activities and attractions on the things that make that city or region unique.
You can find gardens, zoos, science centers and museums in almost any city and they don’t differ too much.
There will be some museums that are truly unique to the region and worth visiting, like the Civil Rights Museum we recently visited in Memphis, (and the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum in Nashville we’re about to share with you).
But, if there aren’t any outstanding unique attractions to the area, I suggest you skip those attractions. Put your time and energy instead into the things that make that city stand out and experiences the whole family will enjoy.
As you will see below, there are plenty of things for kids to do in Nashville with mom and dad.
What makes Nashville a unique American city?
Nashville does have an adventure science center, Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, botanical gardens, playgrounds, and attractions like plantations, mansions, The Frist Center and a replica of the Parthenon, which are cool in their own right and provide plenty of family fun.
But, Nashville, the principal city in Middle Tennessee stands out as the country music region so make your visit to Nashville with kids about the music!
These are the things that make up the Nashville story and if you immerse yourself in it, you’ll have a travel experience that stands out from the rest. A place like Music City becomes more than just a place to check off a few kid-friendly things of your list.
It’s that place where you bonded over music, you learned a lot about the musical story of Nashville sounds and you have unique joyful memories attached.
Memorable Music City Moments
Our post on fun things to do in Nashville with kids is focused mostly on the live musical experiences in Nashville you can have. Nashville is kid-friendly and there are plenty of kid-friendly music venues for you to experience!
Don’t think your kids are too young or won’t enjoy it because they don’t like country music. The Nashville musical story is more than that and offers something the whole family will enjoy.
The music scene also includes pop, rock, jazz, bluegrass and other musical styles.
For homeschooling families, you’ve got your music curriculum covered with one visit to Nashville with kids.
If you’re passionate about music, your children will naturally absorb this and be fascinated to learn and experience it too.
I developed the passion for music because of my parent’s passion for it. Even though I didn’t follow the same music as them, I learned to respect and love music in all forms.
Appreciating and experiencing music from a wide range of genres makes for a more enriching life. It’s like being able to speak multiple languages.
Our girls loved the variety of musical experiences on offer. Just the other evening, Savannah ran out of her bedroom (a month after visiting Nashville and previously Memphis) with a book in her hand screaming,
“Mummy look, Elvis is in the book.”
She loves Elvis, was enthralled at the Johnny Cash museum bopping away to his tunes, and confidently states that she prefers Elvis because she thinks he is more handsome, although I think Cash’s style is more suited to her personality.
This is the gift I’m talking about.
This city can help shape your children and teach them about the language of our souls. You never know where they may run with that in their future. It will be way more memorable to them than a visit to just another museum or playground.
But don’t worry, they’ll also remember the Goo Goo Clusters as well.
Yep. Nashville has cool chocolate factories too so it’s not ALL about the music. We’ll share some of those fun Nashville children attractions with you too.
If you’re able to visit Nashville without the kids, then check out this three day Romantic weekend getaway in Nashville
15 Fun Things to Do in Nashville with Kids
1. See a Show at The Grand Ole Opry (and go backstage)
Country music star, Lauren Alaina is Savannah’s new best friend. This is what a visit to the Grand Ole Opry can do – introduce your children to a whole new world.
We had the pleasure of meeting Lauren backstage and she cuddled Savannah and gave both girls a signed poster from the evening’s show. It’s proudly on displaying their rooms now.
Their eyes sparkled as they watched her perform on stage.
Country music is not something they listen to much, although Carrie Underwood, an Opry favorite, was the first album Kalyra ever listened to.
They loved the big performances of the Opry.
Experiencing the diversity of more than one artist and story is what makes the Opry stand out. Where else could you see multiple Grammy award winning artists perform on one night?
The honor and tradition of the Grand Ole Opry family is something to experience. We loved it so much we went twice, and I’ll go every time we visit Nashville from now on.
It’s not just a Nashville highlight, but a USA travel highlight and definitely one of the best things to do in Nashville Tn.
Press play to see more of our Grand Ole Opry experience:
We recommend you do the backstage tour to get a deeper insight into Opry life.
And book your Opry ticket before you go, so you don’t miss the show!
Note: The Opry hosted our experience at the show. Opinions are of our own.
2. Watch Upcoming Artists at The Bluebird Café
As we are huge fans of the Nashville TV series, visiting The Bluebird Café was high on our list.
This music venue is not only famous because of the TV show, but because many musical greats have played here, and even started here. Think Tay Tay.
The question I asked, and researched a lot before going was,
Is the Bluebird Café suitable for kids?
Yes and no. It totally depends on your kids.
Unlike the Grand Ole Opry which is big and loud and made for dancing and cheering, the Bluebird Café is small and intimate and made for absolute quietness so the music can be heard and respected.
This is a singer-songwriter acoustic kinda show.
Can your kids sit quietly for a couple of hours?
Thankfully, our girls are so used to different travel experiences and knowing when to be quiet. Through practice, we decided to risk it.
I am so so so glad we did. It was fantastic. The girls LOVED it. I was super impressed by how well they did.
You can’t assume kids can’t do it. It’s best to test the boundaries first. You can always sneak out the door if they can’t handle it.
It was only at the last 30 minutes of the show they started to fade out, and we could get them through it with a juice. Yep. It’s a bribing strategy we do use sometimes. #keepingitreal
The Bluebird Cafe has scheduled shows on throughout the week from known artists. Think Deacon Claybourne aka Charles Esten. We missed him at the Bluebird by only a few days. Now that would have been the ultimate!!
But on Monday nights at the Bluebird, they have singer songwriter evening. They showcase singer/songwriters every night at the venue, but Monday nights are different in that they host Open Mic night.
I highly recommended this as you get to see about 25 artists just starting out in their career singing their own acoustic tunes. It’s raw and beautifully told.
From our experience, it’s one of the top things to do in Nashville Tennessee!
The only thing is it’s a challenge to get into the show.
The Bluebird only seats 80 people, and each of the 25 artists gets a seat and can bring a friend, which means there are only about 30 available seats left to the public!
So you have to line up super early to have a chance for a seat. It’s worth it, but possibly not something you want to line up for with young kids.
One of the funniest things that happened on our evening at the Bluebird (which you can hear in the below Nashville tips video if you pay really close attention at the end of the Bluebird Café section), Savannah was really getting into the music and humming along to the singer.
You can hear in the music he could be quite guttural at times.
The venue was really quiet, and Savannah just launched into this loud replica of his guttural sound.
I was horrified and quickly reminded her to be quiet until the host, who was standing beside me erupted into fits of giggles and said, “that is the funniest thing I’ve heard all night.”
Both of us then could not stop laughing. So even though the quiet rules are pretty strict, they have a little humor and flexibility.
Instead, she high fived all the singers as they walked past after their performance saying “Good job.:”
There are other singer songwriter venues you can check out if you can’t make the Bluebird Café.
The Listening Room Cafe comes highly recommend.
I think it’s great for the kids to see those at the beginning of their journey and compare it to those at the height of their careers like they’ll see at the Opry.
It gives them a great perspective on making dreams happen.
Watch our video Nashville:
3. Learn at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
If you want to learn more about music and how it evolved from its bluegrass and gospel roots, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the place to spend a few hours.
This is one of my favorite museums ever and easily one of the most popular Nashville attractions.
I love all the stories within the museum and how it’s laid out. There are four levels, each sharing a different era.
I loved the Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash section as this is more my type and how the style of music I listen was born.
The girls loved listening to the different types of music here in the audio booths.
Kalyra asked me some interesting questions about music while there. Savannah, of course, was dancing again. And then at the end, we sat down together to record our own, slightly off pitch song.
And then got to hang out in the big guitar!
Check out the video of our experience:
- Adult (13+): $24.95
- Youth (6-12):$14.95
4. Go on the Historic RCA Studio B Tour
When you visit the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, you can opt to add on a Studio B tour to the experience. A tour bus takes you to Studio Row, the famous recording studio in Nashville.
Billions of dollars worth of hits have been recorded in this tiny studio, primarily from 1957 to 1977, when the studio was operated by RCA Records.
Dolly Parton recorded her $35 million hit, “I will always love you.”
Elvis recorded most of his number one hits here, as did the Everly Brothers, who were the first album I ever bought when I was super young from a TV infomercial.
RCA Studio B has now been preserved as a historical site for visitors to enjoy, and was one of the most interesting Nashville attractions.
You tour the studio, listen to stories and songs and can stand in the place where these artists stood and recorded. Savannah and I had a dance or two along the way too.
Tours of Studio B depart hourly between 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
You can save $3 by combining the tour with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for a price of:
- Adult: $39.95
- Youth $29.95
5. Go Backstage at The Ryman Auditorium
Are you looking for the best performance venue in the USA?
Look no further than the Ryman Auditorium.
The curves of the room and century-old wrap-around church pews create a warm, clear sound environment. The Ryman consistently ranks as one the best venues in the country for its acoustic sound and intimate feel.
Passenger played not long before we visited and he apparently broke down in tears for fulfilling a life long dream to play at the Ryman.
The Ryman is known as the Mother Church of country music. It’s here that bluegrass was born, it’s where Johnny Cash met June Carter, and where countless careers took off.
It’s the place that saved many souls and brought stars into the circle of light.
You’ll learn the fascinating story of the heathen, and successful business man, Thomas G Ryman who was born again after an encounter with the fiery preacher, Sam Jones.
In honor of his newfound spiritual life, he started the Union Gospel Tabernacle where people could gather and worship.
It was later turned into a performance venue (The Ryman) before The Grand Ole Opry put down its roots here in 1943 for over 30 years and helped give it the name it is today.
The theatre sat empty and decrepit until the 90’s when the community made a revitalization happen. Now you can see performances from the world’s best artists from all music styles.
When I saw Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran posters on the wall, I knew this was a certainty in my live music future.
We joined a backstage tour of the Ryman, which I recommended. We sat in the Johnny and June room – a favorite for the stars who perform at the Ryman to hang out here.
There was also the room which you see quite often on the Nashville Series. You’ll learn stories of the artists and the fearless show promoter Lula C. Naff who leased the building and took the reins in the 1920s and made the Ryman into what it is today.
I loved hearing her story and what she could achieve as a woman in this time period.
- Backstage tours costs $30 for adults and $25 for children (4-11)
- Self-guided tours: $20 adults and $15 for children (4-11)
Note: The Opry hosted our tour of the Ryman. Opinions are of our own.
6. Experience the Honky Tonk Bars
Ok, this is one of the most fun things to do in downtown Nashville.
You’ll find the strip of Honky Tonk bars located along Broadway, and 2nd ave – you can’t miss them and they’re open daily.
At night time you don’t want to bring your younger kids here. To be honest, some of the Nashville bars you don’t want to enter during the day either.
However, most of the bars are sedated during the day and you can easily find a kid-friendly honky tonk bar. They’re also free to enter. Just buy a drink or a snack.
I think it’s a great experience for your kids to see another musical side of Nashville. Your family will love it.
My girls were curious as to why people sang in them so we could explain how these are the places where many musical greats now had to come and play first to build their experience and get noticed. I like how they were seeing the work that goes into becoming successful or “famous.”
I like how they were seeing the work that goes into becoming successful or “famous.”
Many country stars will randomly pop up in these Honky Tonk bars and play music unannounced.
Keith Urban is known for it. We heard on our Hop on and off bus tour that he recently donned a wig and busked on the streets. No one recognized him and he only made $8!!
Tootsies is the most well known Honky Tonk Bar. Just look for the bright lilac building with lines out the front. This is where Keith Urban and Steve Perry recently jammed together.
Can you imagine seeing that? This one is busy all day and night and probably not a honky tonk bar for kids!
The Honky Tonk bar for kids that was most recommended to us was Robert’s Western World. We heard good music and everyone was quiet and well behaved. Or the Wildhorse Saloon Bar.
If you love music, a tour of former music legend Prince’s home in Minneapolis is fantastic!
If you love music, a tour of former music legend Prince’s home in Minneapolis is fantastic!
7. Take a Walk on Broadway (and buy some cowgirl boots)
Broadway is the place for people watching.
Granted, at times it might not be what you want your kids to look at, but for the hours you’ll be meandering with your kids, it will be pretty safe for their eyes.
Broadway is lined with honky tonk bars, horse and carts, cowboy boot retailers, candy shops, and a party bus and pedal power crawl going past every five minutes.
It’s vibrant and fun.
Broadway was the first place we went to when we arrived in Nashville. Kalyra asked me,
“Why is there music everywhere? Every place we go past there’s music playing.”
“Well honey, you’re in Nashville now and Nashville is known for its music.”
The kids will love getting their photos with the giant cowboy boots on the sidewalk and trying on the biggest and prettiest display of cowgirl boots you’ve ever seen.
After a week of deliberating, I decided to take advantage of the 3 boots for the price of 1 deal.
It was super expensive ($300) and I rarely make a purchase like this or buy souvenirs, but Nashville is in my heart and soul and I wanted something unique that would bring back those memories every time I wore them.
The boots made sense as I’d wear them a lot and they should last for many years. I’ve already gotten great wear out of them and it’s summer!
8. Enjoy rooftop and skyline views
Nashville is colorful and vibrant. We recommend going to the top to get some views. Here are our tips.
ACME Feed & Seed
Probably known as one of the best places to eat in Nashville and for views, ACME is on the corner block so gives you expansive river views (hopefully a paddle steamer will go by) and views of Broadway (you’ll definitely have a paddle bar and a few wahoos going by.)
You can order from the menu downstairs and take your meals up to the rooftop.
Rockbottom Brewery is also on Broadway so will give you views of the action out there. You’ll also get glimpses of the river here. There is a small bar snack menu up on the rooftop.
George Jones Museum
Many people recommended the George Jones Museum as the best rooftop bar in Nashville. It looks out over the river and Nissan Stadium. They have live music here and we came to hear an Aussie artist play.
Except the time he had on his website for it starting was actually when he finished! We saw the last song, and he was great. We were disappointed we didn’t get to see more.
Check out more in our video on places to eat in Nashville:
The Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge
We walked over the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge almost every day. I loved looking at the Nashville skyline and listening to the music, laughter, and conversation across the city.
On our first night, Dave Matthews was playing over to the left in the outdoor Ascend Amphitheater, a band was playing in the beer garden at ACME, the Nashville Predators had just won their way to the Stanley Cup playoffs so the city was a sea of gold and purple and wild cheers.
We took all of this in from the Pedestrian bridge and knew we were in the right city.
Sunset or sunrise is beautiful on the pedestrian bridge or on the other side of the city near Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans Football team).
There’s also a small park here if the kids want a little play break. And you can find free parking in front of Nissan Stadium along Titans Way, next to the railroad track.
Parking is super expensive within the city so park your vehicles here and save loads of money, as well as giving you a wonderful walk with views into the city.
9. Experience the Nashville Symphony
A different musical story to experience in Nashville is the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
It’s not just country music in Nashville. We attended the Nashville Symphony to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was fantastic and something totally unexpected.
Kalyra was so excited and impressed by it that she wrote a post on her experience at the Nashville Symphony.
Research to see what shows are playing when you visit Nashville with kids.
Note: The Symphony hosted our experience at the show. Opinions are of our own.
10. Find your angel wings at The Gulch
If you feel as if the kids have lost their angel wings, you can go find them again in the Gulch, a new neighborhood and one of the coolest places to visit in Nashville.
This area used to be a dusty dump of empty lots and abandoned warehouses but has gone through explosive growth and revitalization.
It’s now a LEED Certified Community (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and a hip place to visit with boutique shopping, cool food scene, and incredible wall murals.
The angel wings are one of the most photographed places in Nashville. We had a lot of fun filming there and just over the road is where the brightly colored patterned walls are.
11. Get a Nashville overview on the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus
An easy way to get an overview of the Nashville sightseeing is to jump on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the city. The commentary provides excellent tips and insider tours.
On this bus we were shown Taylor Swift’s penthouse, the hotel Keith Urban stayed in before he was Keith Urban, and lots of local tips for places to eat and play. It helped us to know what we wanted to go back and experience more in depth.
It helped us to learn about other cool stuff to do in Nashville and what we wanted to go back and experience more in depth.
The girls loved riding around at the top of the bus as well.
You can hop off and on whenever you please to explore an area more. We hopped off at the Farmer’s Market for something to eat, but regretted it. We thought it was going to be better than it was and it didn’t have many great options for our eating style.
12. Enjoy a free concert series at Musician’s Corner
You’re in Music City, there are so many opportunities to hear free music, especially in the summer.
Do a little Google research and you’ll easily find what’s on and other free things to do in Nashville.
We discovered Musicians Corner, which takes place each Saturday, 12-6pm, during the summer months. The night before from 5-9pm is the free acoustic Friday nights.
It’s free and open to the public at Centennial Park’s South West lawn. There is plenty of space for the kids to run around, it’s a chilled atmosphere, and there are food trucks and bars available. You could even take a picnic.
We had a gorgeous sunny day and invited our friends, Bryanna and Craig from Crazy Family Adventure to come join us. Our kids all play together so well. It was fun to hang out with them here.
Make sure your kids grab a snow cone and be prepared to line up. My rule – “Girls, mamma doesn’t do lines, so if you want one, you’ve got to stand on the line to get it!”
We were planning to go back the following weekend but it was raining so we bailed.
13. Go Line Dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon Bar
The Wildhorse Saloon Bar is a 66,000 square foot live music, dance and dinner venue that is very kid-friendly.
We had our last dinner in Nashville at the Wildhorse Saloon. There was a live band playing, who weren’t incredible, but it was a different music style to enjoy. They do get some big acts play here so keep an eye on the schedule.
What I loved was getting up with Savannah and having a line dance. They teach line dancing routines during the break and encourage you to jump up and practice during the songs. It was a lot of fun helping Savannah learn it. It was a priceless memory for her and one you can experience with your children too.
It was a priceless memory for her and one you can experience with your children too.
Talk about priceless memories. Check out Kalyra’s face in this photo! On our final night in Nashville, in the Wildhorse Saloon bar, I finally found Deacon Claybourne, lol.
Thanks for the memories, Deacon.
Tip: Check with the Wildhorse Saloon for special discounts. If you have certain hotel room keys you can get in for free.
14. Eat Candy at the Goo Goo Clusters Shop
One of the best things to do in Nashville with kids (and that does not involve music) is a visit to the Goo Goo Clusters store.
What are Goo Goo clusters?
It’s a unique combination candy bar (think chocolate, peanuts, caramel and marshmallow nougat), the first of its kind in the world when it was created in 1912.
Take a look inside a Goo Goo cluster.
You can visit the store to see the clusters being made and to learn more about the Goo Goo story.
Goo Goo Clusters remains a family owned Nashville institution and one of the only candy bars you’ll find that hasn’t sold out to the big brands. It’s only found in Nashville, although you can order them online!
There’s a café there too with gigantic slices of cake.
We had the opportunity to make our own Goo Goo cluster creations. Visitors can now attend Goo Goo Chocolate classes and learn how to do the same. The girls loved this and made theirs with nougat, chocolate chips and other sugary goodies inside.
I opted for nuts and peanut butter. I do not have a sweet tooth and it took me a few days to eat mine, but it was delicious.
15. Visit the Johnny Cash Museum
As mentioned, Savannah really got into this museum. Obviously, she could not read the displays and stories, but she got a lot of the story from the pictures, records, awards, and movies on display. S
She loved jumping on the audio stations to listen to Johnny Cash tunes.
I LOVE Johnny Cash.
I love his tunes. I love his swagger. I love the deep eternal love he had for June. It’s one of the music’s greatest stories and one of my favorite things to see in Nashville!
I was thrilled to spend time perusing through the museum. It’s not overly huge so you can easily do it in an hour. I
I’d highly recommend incorporating it with the Patsy Cline museum above it. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, but she’s another musical great worth learning more about.
Johnny Cash Museum cost: Adults $18.95 Kids 96-15) $14.95
On our last evening in Nashville, Kalyra said to me,
“You know when we first arrived in Nashville and all I heard was music everywhere, I don’t think I’d like it here. But I really liked Nashville a lot; it’s cool.”
What is it that you liked about it?
She struggled to answer and her nine-year-old self, shouted out “Go Goo Clusters” with a giggle.
I think I know why she really liked it. It’s because music is the language of our souls, and it spoke to her for nearly two weeks. She absorbed the spirit of music and how it can transform, without being able to explain it.
That’s why I suggest you immerse your kids in the Nashville music experience when you visit.
Places to stay in Nashville
Accommodation in Nashville can be hard to find and very expensive. This is a popular city with lots of events happening all the time.
We stayed in three Airbnbs while in Nashville. Two of them we loved and can recommend to you!
For campers, Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort is a family-friendly campers’ paradise packed with first-class amenities, fun activities for all ages, and spectacular scenic views.
Loews Vanderbilt Hotel
We also stayed two evenings at the family friendly Loews Vanderbilt Hotel located in Midtown. Its location is near many restaurants including the famous Hattie B’s hot chicken. It’s also near Vanderbilt University.
And we were a short walk to the Parthenon and Musical corner, where we strolled to watch the live music. The rooms were comfortable and the service excellent.
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Tours of Nashville