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Nashville, Tennessee, is a must-visit destination for country music fans—it’s nicknamed Music City, after all—but there’s so much more to the city than just line dancing at a honky tonk and catching a concert at the iconic Grand Ole Opry! It’s a wonderful place for a family vacation, oozing Southern charm and offering a wide variety of activities for adults and kids of all ages.
Finding a vacation spot for the entire family where the adults can have fun, too, can be tough. Fortunately, Nashville is the perfect place with plenty of attractions that will please the whole family. So get ready to plan some family fun in Tennessee. Here’s a look at 15 family activities to experience while you’re livin’ the Nashville life.
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Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
First up on our list of family-friendly attractions is Cheekwood Estate & Garddens. Cheekwood is a 55-acre 1930s estate with so much to do and see. There are 12 gorgeous botanical gardens to enjoy, including one that’s just for kids. It has lots of interactive features like a labyrinth and tunnels for exploring, a magical outdoor model train exhibit, a turtle pond, and so much more. If you’re traveling with children, be sure to check the schedule for the TOTS! program. It has a storytime and hands-on activities for toddlers and young children to enjoy.
But don’t worry! There’s plenty of excitement for the older kids, too! The sprawling mansion and the museum is a must-see for anyone who appreciates fine art. While you’re there, make sure you take a stroll through the 1.5-mile woodland walking trail, where you’ll see a breathtaking collection of larger-than-life sculptures.
If you’re looking for a few exciting outdoor activities for the family, the zoo is always a great place to check out. With over 3,700 animals and more than 360 species, the Nashville Zoo is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true. Besides the animals, the zoo offers a variety of in-park attractions, including a multisensory 4D theater, a scenic zip line experience, an animal-themed carousel, a train ride for kids 5 and under, a huge jungle gym, and plenty more fun things to enjoy.
Lucky Ladd Farms
Lucky Ladd Farms gives you an authentic Tennessee farm experience in the Nashville area. You can pick your own strawberries, sunflowers, and tulips, explore the pumpkin patch and corn maze, take a pony or wagon ride, and pet the animals. Young kids can check out a play area and mega slides that are perfect for tuckering out energetic kiddos. Lucky Ladd has been called the Disney World of farms—check it out, and you’ll see why!
Adventure Science Center
Interactive museums are always a great way to have some fun while learning something new. Adventure Science Center near downtown Nashville is a science museum that’s geared towards children, but with over 175 different hands-on and interactive exhibits and rides, adults will find plenty to do, too. The great thing about this museum is that everyone can learn while they play! The state-of-the-art planetarium offers jaw-dropping shows you don’t want to miss. And be sure to check out the Adventure Tower’s observation deck for an amazing bird’s eye view of the city.
When you’re ready to take a break from all the action, pack a few multifunctional bags with snacks and enjoy a leisurely picnic in the park. While you’re there, be sure to check out the park’s centerpiece—the Parthenon Museum. It’s a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon that’ll transport you to ancient Greece! There’s even a 42-foot statue of Athena, as well as other magnificent replicas of classic Greek sculptures.
Goo Goo Chocolate Co.
Anyone with a sweet tooth will be in heaven at Goo Goo Chocolate Co.! Not only can you purchase all sorts of sweet treats, but there are kid-friendly events, including making your own candy bar. For the adults, there are chocolate and wine/spirits pairing events.
Tennessee Central Railway Museum
The Tennessee Central Railway Museum gives guests a nostalgic vintage train ride experience that’ll transport them back to simpler times. It’s an especially popular Christmas Getaway. During the holiday season, the North Pole Express Santa Excursion Train will have everyone feeling the holiday cheer. Be sure to book your trip in advance, as the trains only run on select Saturdays.
Tasting wine and munching on delicious cuisine while bluegrass music plays in the background is Nashville at its best. While Arrington Vineyards is naturally geared towards adults—it’s known as Nashvile’s wine country, after all—it’s still a great place for the kids to hang out. While you sip on a glass of red, the kids can dance to some Nashville sounds and frolic in the grass.
Exploring Tennessee by foot can be a struggle with kids in tow. A trolley tour lets you take in all of the sights without getting worn out. From Broadway to Centennial Park to Music Row to Farmers’ Market, taking a narrated trolley around Nashville is the perfect way to get a feel for the city and learn about its fascinating history.
Restaurants in the Area
While you’re in town, make sure you check out some of the great options for family-friendly restaurants with delicious food and some with honky Tonks that’ll give you a taste of Nashville’s vibrant entertainment culture. Kids and adults alike will have a blast dancing to live music.
Nashville Farmers’ Market
Show up hungry! The historical Nashville Farmers’ Market has an international food hall with approximately 20 restaurants. The market also has a 27,000-square-foot garden center, a greenhouse microgreens farm, and a variety of retail shops, among other attractions.
Nashville Children’s Theatre
Nashville is world-famous for its entertainment, and that includes performers of all ages. The Nashville Children’s Theatre is a youth-centered venue where you can catch musicals with talented kids performing their hearts out. You may even get to see a star-in-the-making before they become famous!
16-Bit Bar + Arcade
As you probably guessed from the name, 16-Bit Bar + Arcade is a retro-themed bar and arcade. All ages are welcome until 9 pm, so it’s a fantastic place to get some good food, play a few rounds of bowling, and play some old-school arcades and pinball machines. Best of all, the arcades and many of the activities are free!
Puttshack Nashville offers an indoor mini-golf experience like nothing else out there! Each ball is digitally linked to its player for easy score tracking. The courses have all sorts of bonuses, hazards, and other unique features to deliver an unforgettable experience. And, when you’re done golfing, there’s a delectable menu of food and drinks waiting for you.
Grand Ole Opry
No Nashville visit is complete without a night at the Grand Ole Opry! Founded as a radio station in 1925, the iconic venue has hosted some of the biggest names in country music for nearly a century. Not only will you enjoy an unforgettable night of music and dancing, but you’ll be able to say you’ve been to the quintessential Nashville destination—a beloved piece of the city’s heritage.
When in Doubt, Ask a Local
Nashville is home to so many unique attractions—we’ve barely scratched the surface! The city’s also home to lots of friendly folks with a deep love for the city, so if you’re not sure what to do, just ask a local.
Many locals will be more than happy to share some of their favorite spots and some fun places for adults and children of all ages! You may discover some hidden gems (some with free admission) that you may have missed otherwise. So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with those who live in that area for more ideas for family activities in Nashville!