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10 Can't-Miss Things to Do in Nashville With Kids

Nashville Family Travel
by Taryn Shorr-Mckee Mar 20, 2023

Appropriately nicknamed “Music City,” Nashville is one of the most popular travel destinations in the US – if you’re trying to have a good time on a budget, that is. It’s synonymous with bachelor and bachelorette parties, throwin’ back Tennessee whiskey, bar-hopping on Broadway, and mega-popular country music concerts and festivals. With its rather lively reputation, it’s easy to assume that Nashville isn’t exactly family-friendly.

But if you look beyond the neon lights and colorful nightlife, there are actually tons of excellent things to do in Nashville with kids. From interactive museums and outdoor activities to professional sports games and a surprisingly great food scene – plus a healthy dose of southern hospitality and extremely friendliness toward cute kiddos – there’s a lot more to Nashville for families than what you see downtown on Saturday nights.

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Is Nashville kid-friendly?

dad and kid at nashville park

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Nashville is a fantastic kid-friendly destination, as long as you know where to go and what to see (and don’t try to bring your kids to bars at 9 PM). Fortunately, with just a bit of advance planning, you can enjoy the best things to do in Nashville with kids and still see some of the city’s most iconic attractions.

There are so many fun things to do in Nashville with kids, in fact, that the trickiest part of the trip will be narrowing down where to go. Thankfully, the city is extremely walkable and has excellent public transportation, so it’s easy to check several things off your list even on a quick visit.

Go on a mural scavenger hunt

One of the most fun things to do in Nashville with kids also happens to be totally free. Music City is widely known for its elaborate murals throughout town on everything from storefronts to grain silos to random walls. They make excellent photo ops kiddos will love, and as a bonus, finding them essentially requires going on a scavenger hunt through the city.

There are more than 60 murals in Nashville, and some of the most popular with kids include the What Lifts You wings, Drippy Lips, and Love Y’all.

Walk across the pedestrian bridge

Another fun and free thing to do in Nashville with kids is strolling across the scenic John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. The pedestrian-only bridge crosses the Cumberland River, connecting downtown with Cumberland Park and East Nashville. It’s a quick walk that provides outstanding views of the city skyline and fun people watching.

Frolic in Cumberland Park

cumberland park nashville at sunset

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Across the pedestrian bridge from downtown is Cumberland Park, the perfect spot to escape the energy of the city for a bit. It’s next to the river and has unique play structures that keep little ones busy for hours. Check out the climbing wall, maze, bouncy play area, or walking trail designed specifically to attract butterflies.

In the summer, Cumberland Park also opens its “sprayground” and holds frequent concerts at its outdoor amphitheater, both of which are popular things to do in Nashville with kids. You’ll see plenty of families attending the concerts, many of which have areas specifically designated for families (and start in the late afternoon).

Visit the Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the top things to do in Nashville with kids. If you have young children or think your kids aren’t really into museums, set that thought aside – it’s one of the city’s most kid-friendly things to do.

In particular, the Taylor Swift Education Center caters to kids (and any Swifties out there) with interactive programming. There are arts and crafts, songwriting workshops, dance lessons, and programs specifically created for toddlers and teens. One of the most popular activities for families is the scavenger hunt, which requires participants to find clues and objects throughout the museum. It’ll hold most kids’ interests for at least an hour, especially since the museum gives finishers fun prizes.

In Tennessee, Fridays are field trip days for schools in the community, so it’s a particularly busy day. If your visit falls on a Friday, try to visit in the afternoon to avoid large groups.

Honky Tonk-hop on Broadway (during the day)

A visit to Nashville isn’t complete without strolling along Broadway Street and popping into at least a couple honky tonks (roomy bars with live music and space to dance, Texas Two-Step or otherwise). This is Music City, after all, and you don’t want to miss out on the full experience. Once night falls, families will want to stay as far away from Broadway as possible. But during the day, hanging out on the main drag is actually one of the most fun things to do in Nashville with kids.

Robert’s Western World is one of the best family-friendly honky tonks, especially because it opens at 10 AM and has daily live music. The honky tonk welcomes all ages until 6 PM, and there’s never a cover charge (but don’t forget to tip your waitstaff and the band, of course).

Another great kid-friendly option on Broadway is Honky Tonk Central. The three-story bar and restaurant opens at 11 AM every day and even has a kids’ menu.

Centennial Park

Centennial Park is probably the most popular park in the Nashville area and has plenty to see and do for adults and children alike. The star attraction is the full-scale replica of the iconic Greek Parthenon. Visitors can tour the building and walk through the expansive indoor art, but families with younger children may be just as happy with the photo ops outside.

Besides the Parthenon, Centennial Park is also home to Lake Watauga and the one-mile path around it, immaculate sunken gardens, volleyball courts, a band shell that frequently hosts live music and other performances, and a dog park. Centennial Park hosts lots of family-friendly events throughout the year, ranging from weekend music to craft festivals and a community 4th of July celebration.

Nashville Zoo


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The Nashville Zoo is just a few miles south of downtown and is a great place to visit for something parents will also enjoy. Aside from housing more than 6,200 animals, the zoo has a train and carousel, a 4-D theater, a massive playground with a special inclusive section for kiddos of all abilities, and a zip line that sends visitors flying 110 feet above the ground. It’s also home to the Grassmere Historic Home from 1810, though that may not be quite as exciting for kids.

Check the zoo website in advance for information on feeding times and animal encounters, including chances to feed colorful birds and interact with kangaroos.

Goo Goo Chocolate Co.

Iconic Goo Goo Clusters have been made in Nashville for more than a century. Today, visiting the storefront just off Broadway is one of the most fun things to do in Nashville with kids. Families can stop by the fun photo booth, sign up for chocolate-making classes, and even design their own custom candy bars. Chocolatiers build customers’ creations by hand on the spot in just minutes, which is pretty fun for kids to watch.

Cheer for the home team

things to do in nashville with kids - family at a game

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Music City is home to several professional sports teams, so there’s always a game to catch year-round. Families can cheer on the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Predators hockey team, the Nashville Soccer Club, the Sounds (minor league baseball), or the Vanderbilt Commodores college teams in any number of sports. All leagues have theme nights, discount bundles, family nights, and all kinds of other promotions, so getting in on Nashville’s sports action is always fun, even if your kids aren’t super into sports.

Kid-friendly hotels in Nashville

In a city known for over-the-top themed vacation rentals and glitzy hotels, some places are distinctly more family-friendly than others

  • Gaylord Opryland Resort: By far the city’s most family-friendly hotel, with elaborate tropical resort vibes, several casual restaurants, multiple pools, a waterpark, and even a lazy river.
  • Omni Nashville: Walkable to everything downtown with several family-friendly amenities, including five on-site restaurants, a rooftop pool, and the Omni Junior Chef program (with welcome gifts and snacks).
  • Lowes Vanderbilt: For families who want a bit of distance from downtown, this Midtown hotel adjacent to Vandy is ideal, offering kitchenettes, a board game library, and cribs and baby baths upon request. The hotel is also pet-friendly, in case you’re really bringing the whole family.

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