This post covers family-friendly things to do in Nashville, including a top 10 list, free things to do, museums and attractions, and nighttime activities and tours, and is updated for 2019.
This section will cover our top 10 ideas for the best things to do with your kids in Nashville. If the activity is open late or free, we will point it out.
Nashville is full of green spaces. From the Bicentennial Park to the Centennial Park with a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, you can enjoy the outdoors all over Nashville.
One of the most unique, family-oriented parks is Fannie Mae Dees Park. Locals call it the Dragon Park, for its prominent display of large, mosaic tile-covered dragon popping out of the ground.
Other features include play equipment, a covered picnic shelter, and a splash pad for keeping cool in the summer, all great options for kids.
Nashville has plenty of tours that will be interesting for everyone in the family.
Trolley Tours has a popular hop-on-hop-off-tour of the city with 15 stops. You can learn about Nashville from a brightly-colored trolley with a knowledgeable tour guide on board, spend extra time where you wish, and another trolley will come around in 20 minutes.
Of course, there are plenty of other great buses through Nashville to try – we have a bus tour comparison post here.
A higher-end option is to cruise down the river on the General Jackson Showboat with live music.
Love animals? Try the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. The zoo has outdoor trails, birds, bears, leopards, and a large variety of other exotic animals.
Make sure to check the schedule of educational talks by the zookeepers to hear how they take care of the animals.
In addition to the exhibits, you can also ride the Wilderness Express train or Wild Animal Carousel, or attend the feedings of Lorikeets and Tortoises.
If you’re adventurous, you can ride the zip line!
The Nashville Children’s Theatre is a nonprofit organization that puts on plays, acting classes, and summer camps.
Throughout the year they have performances suited for all grade levels, and all age ratings and recommendations are on their website.
Depending on the day of the week, you could see a matinee or an evening show.
All branches of the Nashville Library have Story Time on their schedule, but the Main Branch is a beautiful 300,000 sq. ft. building close to the city center and easy to access from downtown.
The Story Time programming is aimed at children aged 2-5 and held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The puppet shows are held most Fridays and Saturdays, and the recommended ages depend on which production is being shown.
Children’s Theatre Schedule:
Story Time: Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 11:30 AM
Puppet Show: Most Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30 AM and 11:30 AM
Note: Check the event calendar for exact programming offered at specific dates and times.
Have a uniquely Southern experience at the Wildhorse Saloon.
There is always live music to enjoy and everyone is encouraged to learn and join in on the line dancing. Dance instructors are on staff to give lessons between band sets.
They also have a $5.99 kid’s menu, so everyone can enjoy their meal before or after hitting the dance floor.
Nashville is home to many sports teams, from hockey and football to basketball. Take your family out to the ballgame – or hockey match.
Get some more laid-back Nashville fare at The Pharmacy, where you can fill up on burgers and play some lawn games.
And don’t forget dessert! Try the world-famous “bonut” at Biscuit Love.
Or better yet, go to the Goo-Goo Shop! This family-run candy shop has been in business since 1912 here in Nashville. You cannot find them everywhere because they were never bought out by “big candy” so they really are a local treat.
You can try their classics with peanuts and marshmallows or (and here is where the extra kid-friendly part comes in) … Make Your Own Goo Goo! You get to choose the fillings that go into the chocolate mold. You can watch them make it in front of you.
The most famous wax museum in the world has a branch in Nashville. You and your family can get pictures with Nashville’s biggest stars and learn about Music City’s musical history. The kids can also get excited about current celebrities.
Madame Tussauds Nashville is open until 9:00 PM every night of the week except for Sunday nights when they close at 7:00 PM. Madame Tussauds is not near downtown, but it is right next to the Grand Ole Opry (which we also think is a good option for kids!) so you can plan to do both.
Tickets are also included in several of Nashville’s city passes. Click here to see our pass comparison article.
Nashville’s nickname is Music City for good reason. The famous Honky Tonk Highway is home to countless music venues on the Upper and Lower Broadway streets.
Take a walk up and down the famous street, lined with free music venues, restaurants, western wear stores, and gastropubs. Music is always playing on Honky Tonk Highway, whether from a street performer or inside.
Many of the venues have a cover charge or may be adults only at night, but no matter what time of day you visit you don’t have to go inside to hear the music, often performed on stages by street with the windows open!
You can even get the whole family outfitted in cowboy boots and hats at Boot Country, which is known for their 3 pairs of boots for the price of 1 pair year-round deal.
If you plan on seeing all the sights, why not purchase a tourist attraction discount pass? With a city pass, just one ticket can get you into multiple attractions and venues.
There are multiple Nashville passes to choose from, depending on your interests, price point, and how much time you’ll be in Music City.
These passes include great family-friendly attractions such as:
Click here to see our in-depth comparison of the best Nashville City Passes and prices.
If you’re bringing your family with you, there are plenty of free things to do with them, too. Some of our Top 10 are family-friendly like:
We detail many more free things to do with kids on our main post about Things to Do in Nashville For Free
Music City comes alive at night. This section lists some ideas for family-friendly entertainment and activities. Our Top 10 has some great items for kids such as:
We go over many more things to do at night with kids on our main post about Things To Do in Nashville at Night
Honky Tonk Row with Kids
One of the most popular things to do in Nashville at night is to visit Broadway, known as Honky Tonky Row. Is it okay to visit Honky Tonk Row at night with kids? Absolutely.
You won’t be able to go inside many of the venues, but you’ll still be able to hear a lot of the live music and people watch on the street.
There may be so interesting characters (but you’ll find those during the day, too) and it is crowded and loud so depending on the age and personality of your kids, you may want to skip this.
This is a list of Nashville restaurants that are family-friendly and sure to offer a delicious meal. Most offer a children’s menu.
Nashville is home to a host of museums, attractions, and parks the whole family can enjoy. Some of the most popular include the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium tours, and the Cheekwood Estate.
If you want to visit multiple ticketed attractions, check out our city pass comparison article to find the pass that will save you the most money.
Here are the top Museums and Attractions for families:
Nashville really has something for all ages but if you’re coming with toddlers, we have a few words of wisdom (that we figured out the hard way)
Is the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium better for kids?
As with anything, it depends on your kids but some overall things to know when making your decision.
Ryman Auditorium Kid-Friendly Tips:
Grand Ole Opry House with Kids:
Is Nashville stroller friendly?
As with any place, you’ll find some sidewalks reroute due to construction, or crowds making weaving around hard but in general, Nashville is stroller friendly. Even in the older historic buildings, you’ll find elevators and ramps.
Most of the places we suggest above are great for toddlers and young kids, too:
At the base of the Tennessee Capitol building is a local haven on hot summer days. There is actually some history and geography included if you’re interested – there are 31 fountains for the 31 major waterways in Tennessee. Look for the inscriptions about them.
Open: April through October
Hours: 8:30 am-9 pm daily with a light show after dark!
If you want to try this newly famous dish, you’ll probably be told to go to Hattie B’s. Show up and you’re met with a long line and no place to sit! Here are two ways to try out this firey meal even if you have a toddler in tow:
Many of the items above are great for young kids AND teenagers but there are a few items for those who don’t consider themselves kids but can’t get into the honky-tonks at night.
If you have older music lovers, you’ll find that a lot of music venues don’t require you to be over 18+ to enjoy. Places like Bluebird Cafe and Station Inn allow kids, as long as they can sit quietly so it’s not the best for toddlers but teenagers will enjoy the show.
Go for a Bike Ride
If you have some teenagers on your family vacation, you could rent a bike from Nashville B-cycle. One 1-hour rental will cost just $5, but you can take the bike out for longer.
You can take a family ride through off-street trails on the greenways and traverse pedestrian bridges, or just use them to get between neighborhoods.
Rocketown is a large entertainment complex geared towards teenagers. Its main draw is the only indoor skate park in the city. They offer equipment rentals in the skate shop. The park hours change, so check the website for details.
Challenge yourself with ropes courses and climbing elements both on and above the ground at Soar Adventure Tower. Children aged 4 – 7 can safely explore the ground level course. The Level 1, 2, and 3 courses are between 15 and 45 feet above ground level with obstacles of varying difficulty.
You can book the Twilight Adventure time for a reduced rate, which covers the last 2 open hours of each operating day.