Planning to visit Nashville, TN? Looking for tips on the best things to do in Nashville with kids that adults love too?
We took our two daughters on a Nashville family vacation for 5 days and loved visiting Music City! We visited again the following year with my parents on our 6 week Dallas to Boston road trip.
Below are our tips on what to see, where to eat, where to stay, where to listen to Country Music, and more. This is your non-boring guide to a vacation to Nashville with children!
Nashville, Tennessee is FUN!
Sure it has a growing reputation for wild girl getaways – it’s overtaken Vegas as the number one place for bachelorette parties in the United States.
But, despite all the pedal trolley pubs whizzing past you on the street, there are plenty of fun things to do in Nashville with your children, that you will love too.
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 unique.
You can find zoos, science centers and museums in almost any city and they don’t differ too much!
Ok, there will be some museums that are truly unique to the region and worth visiting, like the Civil Rights Museum we visited in Memphis (and the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum in Nashville we’re about to share with you).
Put your time and energy instead into the things that make that city stand out and experiences the entire family will enjoy.
What Makes Nashville Unique?
Nashville has your typical kid-friendly attractions: an adventure science center, a theme park, aquarium, the Nashville Zoo, playgrounds, mini golf and attractions like plantations, nature and discovery center, mansions, a replica of the Parthenon and Frist Center for the Visual Arts 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 family trip Nashville “mostly” about the music!
These are the things that make up the Nashville story and if you immerse yourself in it, you’ll have a family travel experience that stands out from the rest.
It becomes 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.
Nashville is included in several of our best USA road trip recommendations!
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 a kid-friendly destination, 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 trip 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.
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.
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.
Don’t worry, we are sharing some of those fun family Nashville TN attractions down below too!
If you’re able to visit Nashville without the kids, then check out this three day Romantic weekend getaway in Nashville
Fun Things to Do in Nashville TN with Kids
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 display in their rooms now.
Their eyes sparkled as they watched her perform on stage.
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.
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!
Watch our video from the Grand Ole Opry:
I think it’s great for the kids to see those at the beginning of their music 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.
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.
It’s a definite on your list of best things to do in Tennessee with kids.
There are four levels telling the Nashville music story, each sharing a different era. I particularly loved the Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash section as this is more my type and how the style of music I listen was born. Swifties will love the Taylor Swift Education Center.
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! The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the top attractions in Nashville and worth visiting for its uniqueness.
I don’t think your kids will get bored here. There are plenty of interactive exhibits and fun things for kids to do.
Nashville is the Music City after all.
Watch our video of our experience:
- Adult (13+): $24.95
- Youth (6-12):$14.95
Eat Candy at the Goo Goo Clusters Shop
One of the fun things to do in Nashville with kids (and one that does not involve music) is a visit to the Goo Goo Shop.
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, one of hte only candy bars that has not been sold out to the big brands. It’s a true Nashville attraction and story.
There’s a café there too with gigantic slices of cake.
We had the opportunity to make our own cluster creation. 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.
Shop for Cowgirl Boots on Broadway
Broadway is the place for people watching.
Broadway is lined with honky tonk bars, cowboy boot retailers, candy shops, and a party bus and trolley pub crawl going past every five minutes.
Broadway was the first place we went to during our Nashville family vacation. 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!
(Four years later, I’m still wearing the boots and they are like brand new!) Definitely a Nashville bucket list item.
Find Your Angel Wings in The Gulch
The angel wings in the Gulch are one of the top things to do in Nashville TN with kids.
If they’ve lost their angel wings, you will 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. Its one of those family activities in Nashville the kids can let their personalities shine with fun poses and cute photo memories.
If you need to be back in downtown Nashville and fancy some ribs, a few blocks from Broadway is Martin’s BBQ Joint and we had the biggest rack of ribs we’ve ever eaten – cool venue too!
Go on the Historic RCA Studio B Tour
When you visit the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, add on a Studio B tour where you visit Studio Row, the famous recording studio in Nashville
It’s a must not miss Nashville thing to do.
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 on your admission price by combining the tour with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:
- Adult: $39.95
- Youth $29.95
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.
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 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 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 as another one of the top things to do in Nashville. 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.
- Backstage tours costs $30 for adults and $25 for children (4-11)
- Self-guided tours: $20 adults and $15 for children (4-11)
Ride the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus
One of the family things to do in Nashville, and an easy way to get an overview of all the Nashville activities on offer, 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 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.
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.
Kid-Friendly Honky Tonk Bars
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.
The Wildhorse Saloon Bar where your kids can join in some line dancing lessons – another of the fun things to do with kids in Nashville (more on that down below).
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-hop-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.
But Tootsies is NOT one of the things to do in Nashville TN with kids – adults only here!
Eat at these Rooftop Bars with Views!
Nashville is colorful and vibrant. We recommend going to the top to get some views. And these make for some of the best kid friendly restaurants Nashville as well as they are casual and outdoors!
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 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 bars 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.
Walk the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge Pedestrian Bridge
We walked over the Cumberland River on the John Seigenthaler 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 the small Cumberland Park here if the kids want a little play break.
Experience the Nashville Symphony with Kids
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. It’s one of those unique activities in Nashville the kids will remember!
Note: The Symphony hosted our experience at the show. Opinions are of our own.
Go Line Dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon Bar
Put this on your list of Nashville TN things for kids to do and love!
Wildhorse Saloon Bar is a 66,000 square foot live music, dance and dinner venue. They do get some big acts play here so keep an eye on the schedule.
They teach line dancing routines during the break and encourage you to jump up and practice during the songs. Savannah and I had a blast learning together. It was a priceless memory for her and one you can experience with your children too – a must see in Nashville.
Talk about priceless memories….check out Kalyra’s face in the below photo! On our final night in Nashville, in the Wildhorse Saloon bar, I finally found Deacon Claybourne, lol.
Thanks for the memories, Deacon.
Check with the Wildhorse Saloon for special discounts. If you have certain hotel room keys you can get in for free.
Visit the Johnny Cash Museum
As mentioned, Savannah really got into this Nashville 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.
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 so put it on your list of things to see in Nashville!
I’d highly recommend incorporating it with the Patsy Cline museum above it.
Update: We visited the Patsy Cline Museum a year later when my Mum and Dad visited from Australia. They are big Patsy fans and loved it. It was an inspiring look at her life.
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.
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 Taylor Swift.
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.
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!!
But on Monday nights 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. 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, as it’s a must do in Nashville, but possibly not something you want to line up for with young kids.
I also took my Mum and Dad here for the Monday blues night. It was awesome – much louder and a little rowdiness was expected. It was a much later time however so not really for kids.
Save it for your adults night out in Nashville.
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. The Station Inn at the Gulch is also another intimate music venue.
Enjoy a Free Concert 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.
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.
Top 10 Things To Do With Kids in Nashville TN VIDEO
Press play to watch our Nashville video:
Places to Stay in Nashville With Kids
Family accommodation in Nashville can be hard to find and very expensive. This is a popular city with lots of events happening all the time.
VRBO Rental + Camping
Hotels can be expensive in Nashville as there is always high demand. Nashville is a great city for an VRBO rental
We stayed in three home rentals while in Nashville. See VRBO rentals in Nashville.
For campers, Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort is a family-friendly campground paradise packed with first-class amenities, fun activities for all ages, and spectacular scenic views. The property features a first-class Nashville Shores WaterPark & Treetop Adventure Park featuring slides, zip lines and ropes course, a wave pool and a lazy river. They also have RV sites with full hook-ups, including beautiful lakefront accommodations, lakeside and hillside cabins, jet-ski and pontoon boat rentals, and much more.
Stay at Alfred at The James
Craig and I stayed here on a couple’s getaway in Nashville. It’s also a modern, spacious and clean accommodation choice for your family.
They have 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchens, a fitness center and open air terrace.
We loved the location in Gulch near Music Row. You can walk into downtown Nashville from here (20 mins) and you are surrounded by excellent restaurants, cafes and the famous angel wings.
We paid $150 a night for our apartment, which is excellent value for Nashville.
Check more reviews and book your stay here.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
The Gaylord Opryland Resort is a fantastic family resort with prime location right near the Grand Ole Opry, and Opry Mills Shops and about 10 miles from downtown
Even if you don’t stay here, you explore many of the resort’s features, such as the delta river, the cascades and the garden conservatory. There’s a lovely waterfall area where the kids can play and you can enjoy a boat ride on the river in the middle of the hotel, by Delta Island or explore the many lovely shops and eateries here.
We had a fantastic dinner at the Cascades American Café with my parents before our Opry Show. The setting and ambiance was just as wonderful as the food.
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.
See all hotels in Nashville you can stay at via our partner Booking.com
Tours of Nashville With Kids
Other Tennessee Posts you may love
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- 4 Best Places to Visit in Tennessee (and an itinerary for each place)
- 6 Captivating Things to do in Franklin TN (Day Trip From Nashville)
- A Cades Cove bike ride in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – we saw bears!
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Still have questions about what to do in Nashville TN or places to go in Nashville with kids? Leave a comment below!