Best Things to Do For Families in Nashville: 12 Attractions You Should Never Miss

by Jen
Best Things to Do For Families in Nashville
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Considering visiting Nashville with your loved ones? Discover the best things to do for families in Nashville, from iconic landmarks to hidden gems. Whether you’re drawn to the melodies of country music or the allure of historic sites, Nashville promises fun, scenic, and unique experiences that will create memories for a lifetime.

As the beating heart of country music, Nashville offers so much more than just toe-tapping tunes and honky-tonk bars. Nestled in the rolling hills of Tennessee, Nashville is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered, especially for families looking to create lasting memories.

From the rhythmic echoes of the Grand Ole Opry to the bustling stalls of local farmers’ markets, Nashville seamlessly blends the old with the new. It’s a place where history meets modernity, where the echoes of legends past resonate in the bustling streets of today. And for families? It’s an absolute playground.

Imagine introducing your kids to the magic of live music at the Ryman Auditorium, or watching their eyes light up as they explore the interactive exhibits at the Adventure Science Center. Picture a day spent under the sun, paddleboarding on the serene waters of the J. Percy Priest Lake, followed by an evening of laughter and stories over a hearty Southern meal.

But with so much to see and do, where should a family start? Fear not, for I’ve delved deep into the heart of Nashville to curate a list of the absolute best kid-friendly activities that Nashville has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff or an adventure seeker, this guide has got you covered.

The top places to visit for families in Nashville right now
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Best Things to Do for Families in Nashville

Eager to explore the unique Nashville places to visit with families? Dive deep into the heart of Music City, where a blend of vibrant culture and serene nature awaits. Nashville is more than just its iconic tunes. It’s a treasure trove of experiences, and discovering its iconic landmarks and top-notch museums are some of the best things to do with kids in Nashville. And there’s so much to explore nearby, that it’s worth flying to Nashville anytime of year!

Whether you’re drawn to the bustling city attractions, rich cultural sites, or the peaceful embrace of nature, Nashville has it all. From historic landmarks to hidden green spaces, the city offers a diverse range of experiences. Dive into our curated list of the best attractions in Nashville for families and let the adventure begin!

1. Splash Around Cumberland Park’s Interactive Water Fountains

Nestled along the picturesque riverfront, Cumberland Park is more than just a park—it’s a haven of adventure and discovery. With its sprawling green spaces and innovative play areas, it’s one of the fun places in Nashville for families to let loose and enjoy the outdoors. The park’s unique design encourages kids and adults alike to climb, explore, and engage with nature. It’s a way they’ve never done before.

From its challenging climbing walls to the delightful splash pads, there’s no shortage of activities to keep the little ones entertained. And if you’re visiting Nashville during the warmer months, the park’s interactive fountains and cloud bridge are a surefire way to beat the heat. More than just play, the park also offers breathtaking views of the downtown skyline. This makes it a perfect spot for family picnics or simply lounging on the grass.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Cumberland Park promises a day filled with laughter, fun, and unforgettable memories. So, pack a picnic, put on some sunscreen, and get ready to dive into a world of outdoor excitement!

Exploring Cumberland Park is one of the best things to do for families in Nashville.
Cumberland Park is a vibrant riverside playground encouraging family fun through interactive outdoor experiences.

2. Discover Exotic Wildlife at the Nashville Zoo

Ah, the wonders of the animal kingdom! The Nashville Zoo is not just a place to see animals. It’s one of the coolest activities in Nashville for families eager to embark on a global wildlife adventure without leaving the city. From the majestic white rhinoceros to the playful clouded leopards, every corner of the zoo offers a new world to explore.

Now, if you’re thinking this is just another zoo, think again! The Nashville Zoo goes above and beyond with its unique attractions. Ever dreamt of walking alongside kangaroos? The Kangaroo Kickabout is your chance. And for the little adventurers, the Jungle Gym is the largest community-built playground in the U.S., ensuring hours of fun.

What truly makes this a must see in Nashville is its commitment to conservation. The zoo actively participates in global efforts to protect endangered species. This gives visitors a deeper understanding of the importance of wildlife preservation. So, grab your explorer hats, gather the family, and get ready for a day of awe-inspiring animal discoveries!

Nashville Zoo offers an exciting family destination to explore diverse global wildlife without leaving the city.
Nashville Zoo offers an exciting family destination to explore diverse global wildlife without leaving the city.

3. Explore the Water Wonderland of Nashville Shores

Picture this: a sun-soaked day, the laughter of kids echoing in the air, and the thrill of sliding down a massive water slide with the shimmering Percy Priest Lake as your backdrop. Welcome to Nashville Shores, where water adventures come to life and family memories are crafted.

Known as the city’s premier waterpark, Nashville Shores is one of the fun places in Nashville to visit. With its vast wave pool, exhilarating water slides like the heart-pounding Mega Mayhem, and the relaxing lazy river, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker aiming for the highest slide or someone who prefers floating peacefully on a tube, the park caters to all. It’s easy to see why this is among the top things to do with kids in Nashville.

There’s more to see beyond the water’s edge. Visiting this park is among the best things to do for families in Nashville. This offers a range of activities beyond the pools. The Treetop Adventure Park, with its ziplines and rope courses, promises an adrenaline rush, while the lakeside cabins offer a serene escape for those looking to extend their stay. And for the little ones? There’s a dedicated splash zone to keep them entertained for hours.

Nashville Shores, the city's premier waterpark, promises excitement for all with wave pools, thrilling slides, and relaxing floats.
Nashville Shores, the city’s premier waterpark, promises excitement for all with wave pools, thrilling slides, and relaxing floats.

4. Dive Into Musical History at the Grand Ole Opry

In the heart of Nashville, there’s a place where music isn’t just played; it’s lived. The Grand Ole Opry, an institution in the world of country music, stands as a testament to the genre’s rich history and its ever-evolving future. For families looking to immerse themselves in a musical journey, the Opry is undoubtedly one of the best places to go in Nashville.

From its inception as a simple radio broadcast in the 1920s to its transformation into a global music phenomenon, the Opry has been the stage for countless legends. Names like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn have graced its stage. They’ve left behind echoes of performances that still resonate today. Every show is a blend of the old and the new, a mix of classic hits and contemporary chart-toppers.

But what truly sets the Opry apart from other Nashville attractions is its commitment to storytelling. Each performance, each song, tells a story – of love, loss, joy, and heartbreak. And as you sit in those historic seats, surrounded by the melodies and harmonies, you become a part of that story.

The backstage tours are a treat in themselves. Walking through the hallowed halls, you’ll get a glimpse into the lives of country music’s biggest stars. You can see their dressing rooms and maybe even catch a rehearsal in progress. It’s a behind-the-scenes look that few get to experience.

Experience the iconic Grand Ole Opry, where country music's history and future converge.
Experience the iconic Grand Ole Opry, where country music’s history and future converge.

5. Cheer on the Nashville Sounds

Baseball, with its crack of the bat and roar of the crowd, has long been a staple of American culture. And for those searching for the best things to do for families in Nashville, a day at the ballpark watching the Nashville Sounds is an experience that perfectly captures this spirit. This Minor League Baseball team, with its rich history and passionate fanbase, offers an authentic slice of Americana. It’s right in the heart of Music City.

The First Horizon Park, home to the Nashville Sounds, is a place where memories are made. Families come together to cheer on their team and indulge in classic ballpark snacks like hot dogs and popcorn. They also enjoy the various entertainment options available. From the fun-filled Kid’s Zone to the guitar-shaped scoreboard, every detail adds to the magic of the game.

What really makes a Nashville Sounds game one of the coolest Nashville things to do for families is the atmosphere. There’s a palpable sense of camaraderie among the fans, a shared excitement that’s contagious. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out with the family, the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd are sure to sweep you off your feet.

And let’s not forget the post-game festivities! Fireworks light up the Nashville sky on select nights, turning an already memorable evening into an unforgettable event.

First Horizon Park, where families make baseball memories with classic treats, entertainment, and the Kid's Zone.
First Horizon Park, where people make baseball memories with classic treats and entertainment, is perfect for family bonding.

6. Relax Amid Vibrant Flora at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

For families seeking a serene escape from the urban hustle, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens stands out as one of the unique places in Nashville for families to explore. This historic estate, with its sprawling gardens and art exhibits, offers a tranquil retreat that feels worlds away from the city’s lively streets.

Nestled on 55 acres of lush landscapes, Cheekwood is a testament to nature’s beauty and human creativity. The gardens, each with its distinct theme, burst into a riot of colors with every changing season. From the vibrant tulips of spring to the golden hues of autumn, there’s always something new to admire and discover. Meandering pathways lead to hidden nooks, stunning sculptures, and panoramic views of the Nashville skyline.

While the gardens make Cheekwood one of the best places in Nashville, there’s more to this popular destination. The estate itself, with its Georgian-style mansion, houses an impressive collection of art. Families can explore the various exhibits, attend workshops, and even participate in seasonal events and festivals. It’s a place where art, history, and nature seamlessly intertwine.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone simply looking for a peaceful day out, Cheekwood promises a unique experience. It’s no wonder Cheekwood is among the coolest things to do in Nashville with kids!

Exploring Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is one of the best things to do for families in Nashville.
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is a serene haven. It blends historic beauty, sprawling gardens, and art exhibits into a tranquil urban escape.

7. Marvel at The Parthenon, Nashville’s Tribute to Ancient Greece

Nestled in the heart of Centennial Park, a majestic structure stands tall, capturing the essence of ancient Greece right in the midst of Nashville’s vibrant landscape. The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of its Athenian counterpart, is a testament to the city’s deep appreciation for art, history, and global cultures.

For families on the hunt for enriching experiences, The Parthenon emerges as one of the coolest activities in Nashville. Constructed in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, this iconic edifice not only showcases architectural brilliance but also symbolizes Nashville’s commitment to cultural diversity and education. Its grand columns, intricate friezes, and the awe-inspiring statue of Athena inside are a visual treat. They offer insights into the grandeur of ancient Greek civilization.

Beyond its historical significance, The Parthenon also ranks high on the list of what to do in Nashville for art enthusiasts. The building houses an art museum that features a diverse collection of artworks from prominent American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Each exhibit, carefully curated, adds another layer to the rich tapestry of experiences this destination offers.

The Parthenon is the city's tribute to art, history, and global cultures through its full-scale replica of the Athenian masterpiece.
The Parthenon is the city’s tribute to art, history, and global cultures through its full-scale replica of the Athenian masterpiece.

8. Be a Scientist for a Day at The Adventure Science Center

Looking for family things to do in Nashville? In a city renowned for its musical heritage, The Adventure Science Center strikes a different chord, offering a symphony of science, exploration, and hands-on learning. This interactive museum, located just a stone’s throw from downtown Nashville, is a haven for curious minds of all ages, beckoning with the promise of discovery and wonder.

From the mysteries of the human body to the vastness of outer space, the exhibits at The Adventure Science Center span a diverse range of topics. The center’s planetarium, one of the most advanced in the country, takes visitors on a mesmerizing journey through the cosmos, while the interactive labs allow budding scientists to conduct experiments and dive deep into the world of STEM.

For families pondering the best places to go in Nashville for families, The Adventure Science Center stands out as a top contender. More than just a museum, it’s a dynamic space where learning comes alive. Children can build and race their own cars or explore the wonders of the human heart in a giant walk-through exhibit. They can even experience the thrill of a simulated flight.

Whether you’re a science lover or just looking for a fun and educational outing with the family, The Adventure Science Center offers a universe of experiences waiting to be explored.

Explore family fun at the Adventure Science Center, a hands-on hub of discovery and wonder.
Explore family fun at the Adventure Science Center, a hands-on hub of discovery and wonder.

9. Mull Over Art at The First Art Museum

Nashville’s vibrant arts scene finds a shining beacon in The Frist Art Museum, a destination that’s among the unique things to do in Nashville for families. Housed in a stunning Art Deco building, the museum showcases a rotating collection of visual art, ensuring fresh experiences with every visit.

The Frist isn’t your typical art museum. Its interactive ArtQuest Gallery, designed especially for children and families, offers hands-on activities that make art accessible and fun. Here, kids can create their own masterpieces, explore various art techniques, and engage with exhibits in a tactile way.

For those compiling a list of the “Best things to do for families in Nashville,” The Frist Art Museum is a must-add. Beyond its family-friendly spaces, the museum hosts a diverse array of exhibitions from local, national, and international artists. From contemporary pieces to historical collections, there’s always something new and intriguing on display.

With its commitment to community engagement and education, The Frist ensures that art is not just seen but experienced. Workshops, lectures, and film screenings further enrich the visitor experience.

Frist Art Museum offers families a unique art experience with rotating collections that inspire and enrich.
Frist Art Museum offers families a unique art experience with rotating collections that inspire and enrich.

10. Play an Instrument at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

When families search for fun things to do in Nashville, the rhythm of country music often calls them to one iconic destination: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This sprawling institution is located in the heart of downtown. It’s a tribute to the legends, stories, and soul of country music.

Inside, a world of musical history unfolds. Exhibits trace the genre’s roots, from its humble beginnings to its meteoric rise on the global stage. Visitors can marvel at artifacts, instruments, and personal items from country music’s biggest stars. This offers a tangible connection to the artists and their craft.

For those seeking the coolest things to do in Nashville for families, the museum’s interactive areas are a hit. The Taylor Swift Education Center, for instance, offers hands-on activities and programs, allowing kids and adults alike to dive deep into the world of songwriting, instrument playing, and even singing. It’s a chance to not just learn about country music but to be a part of its rich tapestry.

The Hall of Fame Rotunda, with its plaques honoring country music legends, serves as a poignant reminder of the genre’s impact and legacy. As you stroll through, the stories and songs of artists from decades past resonate, creating a deeply moving experience. So, if you’re ready to immerse yourself in the melodies and memories of country music, this museum is your backstage pass to it all.

Discover the Country Music Hall of Fame, an iconic downtown tribute to country music legends, stories, and soul.
Discover the Country Music Hall of Fame, an iconic downtown tribute to country music legends, stories, and soul.

11. Discover Automotive Wonders at The Lane Motor Museum

Tucked away in the vibrant landscape of Nashville lies a treasure trove for automobile enthusiasts: The Lane Motor Museum. This unique museum, housed in a former bakery, showcases a diverse collection of rare and unique vehicles from around the world. This makes it a must-visit for both car aficionados and curious visitors alike.

The museum’s collection is truly one-of-a-kind, featuring over 150 European cars, motorcycles, and even some amphibious vehicles. It’s a testament to the evolution of automotive design and engineering. This makes it one of the coolest activities in Nashville for families. From sleek sports cars to quirky microcars, there’s a vehicle to pique everyone’s interest.

Ranked high among the best things to do in Nashville with kids, The Lane Motor Museum goes beyond just displaying vehicles. It delves deep into the stories behind them and the challenges faced during their design and production. Additionally, it explores the impact they’ve had on the automotive world. Interactive exhibits and detailed plaques provide a wealth of information. This ensures visitors leave with a deeper appreciation for the world of automobiles.

Explore the Lane Motor Museum, a former bakery transformed into a unique treasure trove of rare vehicles from around the world.
Explore the Lane Motor Museum, a former bakery transformed into a unique treasure trove of rare vehicles from around the world.

12. Discover Music Industry Secrets in the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

For those who’ve ever tapped their feet to a catchy tune or hummed along to a favorite song, The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum offers a deep dive into the world of music-making. Celebrating the unsung heroes behind the hits, this museum is one of the must see in Nashville for families passionate about the art of sound.

Inside, visitors are greeted with a vast collection of instruments, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits. Each display tells the story of the musicians, producers, and session players who’ve shaped the soundtrack of our lives. From the soulful grooves of Motown to the electrifying riffs of rock ‘n’ roll, the museum covers a broad spectrum of genres and eras.

When considering the best things to do in Nashville, this museum strikes a chord with music lovers. Beyond the exhibits, it offers a unique perspective on the music industry. It highlights the collaborative efforts that go into creating a hit song. Workshops and interactive stations allow visitors to try their hand at various instruments. This offers a taste of the magic that happens behind the scenes. Things to do with kids in Nashville truly don’t get any better than this!

Musicians Hall of Fame celebrates music-making and unsung heroes, a must-visit for families passionate about sound artistry.
Musicians Hall of Fame celebrates music-making and unsung heroes, a must-visit for families passionate about sound artistry.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Things to Do For Families in Nashville

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Nashville for families? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Nashville.

Is Nashville worth visiting with kids?

Absolutely! Nashville is an exciting destination for visitors of all ages, including families with kids. Here are some family-friendly attractions and activities you can enjoy in Nashville:

  1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Dive into the history of country music with interactive exhibits that can engage even the youngest visitors.
  2. Nashville Zoo: A favorite among families, the zoo offers a variety of animals and a fun playground for kids.
  3. Adventure Science Center: An interactive science museum with hands-on exhibits that are both educational and fun.
  4. The Parthenon: Located in Centennial Park, this full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon houses an impressive statue of Athena. It provides a great educational opportunity about Ancient Greece.
  5. Grand Ole Opry: Introduce your kids to country music’s most famous stage. Daytime backstage tours are available, offering a behind-the-scenes look.
  6. Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum: Learn about the musicians behind some of the greatest recordings ever.
  7. The Frist Art Museum: Besides the rotating exhibits, the museum offers a special interactive area for children to engage in art-related activities.
  8. Nashville Children’s Theatre: Enjoy high-quality theatrical productions suitable for children.
  9. Centennial Park: A great place to have a picnic, play, or paddleboat. The park also often hosts festivals and events.
  10. Nashville Shores: If visiting in the summer, this water park offers a refreshing escape with slides, wave pools, and a lazy river.

Is Nashville a kid-friendly city?

Absolutely! Nashville is not only known for its music scene but also for being one of the best things to do for families in Nashville. The city offers a range of activities, parks, and attractions tailored for kids of all ages.

Are there any free attractions for families in Nashville?

Yes, Nashville has several free attractions. Centennial Park, home to the full-scale replica of The Parthenon, is free to visit. Additionally, the Music City Walk of Fame Park and the Tennessee State Museum are great options that won’t cost a dime.

What family-friendly accommodations are available in Nashville?

Nashville offers a wide range of accommodations suitable for families, from luxury hotels with kid-friendly amenities to cozy vacation rentals. Many hotels also provide family packages and are located close to major attractions.

The hotel atrium is an indoor space with lush greenery and cascading water features, a tranquil oasis for families to unwind.
The hotel atrium is an indoor space with lush greenery and cascading water features.

Are there family-friendly dining options in Nashville?

Yes, Nashville is home to numerous family-friendly restaurants that cater to diverse palates. Whether you’re looking for classic Southern comfort food or a kid-friendly menu in a lively setting, the city has you covered.

How easy is it to get around Nashville with kids?

Nashville is relatively easy to navigate with kids. While driving is the most common mode of transportation, the city also offers public transit options. Additionally, many attractions are located close to each other. This make walking a feasible option in certain areas.

What’s in downtown Nashville for kids?

Downtown Nashville is bustling with activity, and there’s a plethora of kid-friendly attractions for families to explore. Here’s a list of things to do with kids in downtown Nashville:

  1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Dive deep into the history of country music. The museum offers interactive exhibits designed specifically for children to enjoy, such as the Taylor Swift Education Center.
  2. The Johnny Cash Museum: Experience the world of the legendary “Man in Black.” The museum is compact and easy to navigate with kids.
  3. Ryman Auditorium: Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” this venue offers daytime tours. This is where kids can learn about the history of this iconic building and even step on its famous stage.
  4. Nashville Public Library: Not just any library, this downtown location often hosts engaging children’s events. The Kid’s Place section is filled with interactive play areas and puppet shows.
  5. Riverfront Park: Located along the Cumberland River, this park offers green spaces to run and play, as well as scenic river views. During the summer, families can enjoy water fountains that double as splash pads.
  6. Nashville Children’s Theatre: Just a short distance from the heart of downtown, the theater offers high-quality plays suitable for kids.
  7. The Escape Game Nashville: For older kids and teens, this exciting escape room experience can be a fun challenge to tackle together as a family.
  8. Tennessee State Museum: Recently relocated to a new facility downtown, this museum offers exhibits on the state’s history. This includes everything from its earliest inhabitants to the present day, and includes an interactive children’s section.

Are there any safety tips for families traveling to Nashville?

Like any major city, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Always keep an eye on your belongings and children. It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts and familiarize yourself with the nearest medical facilities.

Can families avail of any special discounts or passes for attractions in Nashville?

Many attractions in Nashville offer family or group discounts. Consider checking out the Nashville CityPASS or the Music City Total Access Pass. These can offer significant savings on multiple attractions.

Is Nashville fun with toddlers?

Absolutely! Nashville, often renowned for its vibrant music scene and nightlife, is also surprisingly toddler-friendly with a range of activities suitable for young children. Here are some options for families with toddlers:

  1. Nashville Zoo: Animals are a sure hit with toddlers, and the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere offers plenty of animal viewing, a jungle gym, and a carousel.
  2. Adventure Science Center: This interactive science museum offers plenty of hands-on exhibits. This includes a dedicated area for toddlers to explore safely.
  3. Centennial Park: A sprawling urban park where toddlers can run around and even see a full-scale replica of the Parthenon.
  4. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park: Another great park for walking and playing. The splash pad here is a favorite among toddlers during warmer months.
  5. Sevier Park: A wonderful park located in the 12 South neighborhood, offering playgrounds suitable for toddlers.
  6. Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Park: This park offers both paved and unpaved trails perfect for stroller walks. It also has a nature center with various exhibits.
  7. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: While this might sound more appealing for adults, the museum has a Taylor Swift Education Center with interactive exhibits that can engage even young children.
  8. The Frist Art Museum: This museum often features interactive exhibitions suitable for toddlers. They can have fun with hands-on activities in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery.
  9. Musicians Corner: A free, family-friendly music event held on weekends from May through June. It has a dedicated Kidsville area offering various activities.

Final Thoughts for Families Exploring Nashville

Nashville, often dubbed the “Music City,” resonates with more than just melodies. It’s a city that harmoniously blends history, culture, art, and entertainment. This makes it a top destination for families seeking memorable experiences.

From its iconic music landmarks to its educational museums, from its lush parks to its vibrant festivals, Nashville offers a symphony of attractions that cater to all ages. Choosing the best things to do for families in Nashville can be a delightful challenge, given the city’s vast array of options.

Whether you’re strumming along to country tunes, exploring the wonders of science, or stepping back in time at historic plantations, every moment in Nashville promises lasting memories.

The top things to do for families in Nashville for all types of travelers
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