Looking for fun things to do with kids in Nashville? This guide, written by a Nashville mom, has all the best things to do in Nashville with kids.
Nashville is an awesome place for families to visit. When one thinks of Nashville, people usually think of the honky tonks on Broadway and lots of live music. But there is so much more to do in Nashville than Broadway. And if you have your kids with you, you definitely will want to visit other areas of town.
Things to do with kids in Nashville
As a mom of the three kids (ages 11, 8 and 5), we have done all the touristy experiences and so much more. Nashville is a great city for families with many fun experiences. If you are planning a Nashville vacation or are a local looking to do something fresh to do, this list has everything!
Below is a list of our family's favorite recommendations for Nashville vacations. My kids worked with me on this list to make sure everything is a good recommendation.
Nashville Public Library's Puppet Show
The number one thing I recommend when families ask what they should do in Nashville with kids is the Nashville Public Library's puppet show. It is the best kept secret in Nashville and a local favorite. I have been taking my kids for a decade and am always astonished that it is free. The library is located in downtown Nashville, so perfect to do if you are planning to do some of the other touristy things downtown.
You can find the schedule here. Shows vary throughout the year, but they a guaranteed to be delightful, especially for children under 8.
Nashville Zoo with Kids
The Nashville Zoo offers a wide range of animal exhibits, as well as other things to see and do, including a merry-go-round, live shows and an amazing playground. Many Nashville families have zoo memberships — including us — because the zoo offers so much to see and do.
Some of our favorite exhibits include the reptile house, the tigers and the kangaroos. Pro tip: Skip the kids' train – it is a waste of money.
Tour the Grand Ole Opry
I lived in Nashville for years before doing this tour. Big mistake! It's awesome and enjoyable for kids and adults. Read my full review here.
Country Music Hall of Fame
One of Nashville's finest museums, the exhibits are stunning and informative. The museum also offers lots of family-friendly programming.
Nashville Children's Theater
Our Nashville Children's Theater performances are always fantastic. We have seen multiple shows over the years and have truly made some great memories as a family. Check the schedule here and buy tickets to the next show.
Nashville Predators Game
Even if you think you don't love hockey, your entire family will enjoy a Nashville Predators game. The Nashville Predators are known for not just playing great hockey, but creating an awesome fan experience. We recently took my dad to a game and he didn't expect to enjoy it much and had an absolute BLAST! Being in Nashville also means lots of great, live music throughout the game too.
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
Our local botanical gardens, Cheekwood, is beautiful. We have enjoyed taking our family there for more than a decade. Special exhibits and weekend activities throughout the year are especially geared toward families, making it enjoyable for everyone. We especially love visiting Cheekwood in the spring and fall. Be sure to visit their website to learn what is going on before your visit. A membership is a worthwhile investment if you plan to visit more than three times a year!
Soundwaves at the Opryland Hotel
This indoor waterpark is spectacular. I cannot say enough great things about it! I've never experienced a better indoor waterpark. We haven't yet done the outdoor portion, but I know it is also awesome. Read my full review here.
The Soda Parlor & Arcade
For a fun excursion in East Nashville, visit The Soda Parlor. With classic floats and shakes, it is every kid's dream. When we visited The Soda Parlor, it was a bit understaffed but it was fine because of all the free arcade games!
The free arcade was my kids' favorite part of The Soda Parlor. They could spend hours playing classic arcade games like Pacman and TMNT.
Gracie's Milkshake Bar
If you are on the west side of town, Gracie's Milkshake Bar is the place to go. It is actually my favorite shake location in Nashville. The milkshakes are gorgeous and delicious. They are definitely too much for one child, so plan to share! The menu's french fries are also yummy — and perfect for dipping in your shake.
While in the shopping center where it is located, you can also make a stop at the new Living with Landyn store.
McKay's Used Books
A bookstore?! I know, I know. It isn't your typical city tourist guide activity, but McKay's is one of my kids' very favorite places to go in Nashville. It is a bookstore like no other. My son said it is the number one thing on this list – ha!
A Nashville Mural Tour with Kids
A trip to Nashville isn't complete without a visit to take photos at a few of our famous murals. The most popular mural are the iconic wings in the Gulch area of town. Pro tip: plan to go early in the morning (before 9 am). The area has two great breakfast spots, Milk and Honey and Biscuit Love. Get up, grab your photo and have some breakfast! As the day goes on, the lines can get long.
Another idea would be to go to the iconic Pancake Pantry for breakfast, stop at The Arcade kids store, take a picture by the Dragon mural and then drive to the wings. This is what we did on Saturday morning, and we didn't have to deal with a very long line, like you would in the afternoon or early evening.
To find murals throughout the city, search the hashtag #Nashvillemural on Instagram. You'll find lots to choose from, with location tags for where they are located. Or, read this amazing Nashville Murals blog post by my friend Kristin. It is the most exhaustive listing I have found online. You'll want to take pictures for days with your kids!
The Frist Art Museum
The Frist Art Museum is a fun experience for families because the exhibits are constantly changing. Kids under age 18 are always free at The Frist, which makes it an affordable place to visit. Also, on Mondays the entire family can gain admission for the price of one adult ticket. I love their commitment to giving families the experience of the arts.
The best part of The Frist for kids is the Martin Artquest Gallery, which is a child-friendly interactive art-making space. This area has opportunities for kids to enjoy painting, printmaking, animation, building and more. I had to force my kids to leave the last time we were there.
What to Skip
You might notice that I left off the Adventure Science Center. Honestly, I think the science center is really overpriced and overrated. Sure, your kids will have fun, but it is not worth the ticket price for the amount of time you will spend there. I vote for skipping it. If you want to visit a science center in Middle Tennessee, the Discovery Center at Murfreesboro is much better.
A Guide for Kids' Activities in Nashville
I hope this guide is helpful for discovering the best things to see and do in Nashville with kids. Please share in the comments if you do anything of these things, or if there are things you would add to the list. For more things to see and do in and around Nashville, check out Suburban Turmoil's recommendations.
Planning an Adult Trip to Nashville?
My number one recommendation is to book a ride on the Nash Trash tour. This is an *adult* tour that must be booked months ahead, but is so worth it. Read my full review here.