Nashville is affectionately known as “Music City” and it’s easy to see that music runs deep in Nashville’s blood. With famous music destinations like the Grand Ole Opry, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, and the Honky Tonk Highway – Nashville is full of music and music history. While music may be at the core of this beautiful city, there’s so many fun outdoor activities to be had – like exploring and hiking at Radnor State park on the forest trails, or taking your kids to the sprawling and unique Cumberland Park.
If you are visiting with kids, there are plenty of fun things to do in Nashville with kids, like the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, the Adventure Science Center, or could visit the thrilling Grand Old Golf & Go-Karts. Use our guide to get inspired and help plan your dream trip to Nashville.
1. Grand Ole Opry
Known affectionately as the “Home of American Music” – the Grand Ole Opry is a famous venue and weekly music radio show that is broadcast live all around the world. The weekly show features famous musicians from the country, bluegrass, and gospel genres and also features comedy skits and much more. With its radio show being the longest-running radio show in US history, the Grand Ole Opry opened in 1925 and has been celebrating the roots of country music ever since.
Join the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to experience this unique show each year in its breathtaking venue in the heart of Nashville. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
2. Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
For our top pick for fun things to do in Nashville with kids, we recommend exploring the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. This full-featured zoo is jam-packed with amazing animals – 6,230 animals to be precise – spread out across the lush 188-acre grounds. You’ll see everything from rare rhinos, to cuddly red pandas, to sleek leopards.
In addition to the amazing exhibits and animals, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere has other entertaining activities, like a massive playground and equipment for kids to play on, the Wilderness Express train ride, and an exciting zip line if you’re feeling brave. There’s something for everyone here at this amazing zoo, so we think this should be at the top of your list of things to do in Nashville with kids during your visit!
3. Centennial Park
Centennial Park is a must-see park near downtown Nashville and it’s easy to see why. With a full-size replica of the Greek Parthenon as the centerpiece, this park also features lush grounds, an artificial lake, play structures, jogging paths, and various sculptures and exhibits. We think Centennial Park is one of the best things to do in downtown Nashville so head on over to check it out!
4. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Another great thing to do in Downtown Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is an amazing tribute to the American music tradition and well worth a visit. The Museum portion is filled with all kinds of rare American music artifacts, like 200,000 rare sound recordings, 500,000 photographs, 30,000 video recordings. Also, there are hundreds of musical instruments on display that were played by famous early American musicians and also thousands of clothing items worn by these historic figures in Country and American music.
5. Downtown Nashville
For great food, entertainment and nightlife options, you need to check out downtown Nashville. As Nashville is known as Music City, there are many great music destinations to check out, like Honky Tonk Highway – a row of multiple music venues, eateries, and bars that provide continuous musical entertainment all evening, or Tootsie’s Orchid lounge which features great live country music.
Downtown Nashville is very walkable, which makes it an easy place to explore by foot and take in the different downtown destinations, like the Public Square or Riverfront Park, or exploring the rockin’ nightlife destinations in the Lower Broadway district. If you are visiting Nashville, then exploring downtown should be near the top of your list.
6. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
If you want to visit a famous Nashville historical site, then you can check out Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, a massive plantation and historical home of the American President Andrew Jackson until his death in 1845. This plantation is a national historic landmark and still has many of the original homes and preserved structures that you can tour. This plantation produced mainly cotton from its 1,000 acres of farmland and was operated by a small army of over 100 slaves at its peak production in the mid-1800s. If you want to take a tour and learn more about the history of one of Nashville’s most famous plantations, then we would recommend a visit to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage for a glimpse into stories from American history.
7. Adventure Science Center
For a great indoor thing to do in Nashville with kids, we suggest the Adventure Science Center. Featuring nearly 200 hands-on and interactive exhibits that will keep your kids busy for hours, this science center focuses on themes that challenge and excite the imagination from physics, to visual perception, to biology, to air & space, and much more. Adventure Science Center offers families and kids a fantastic educational and entertaining experience. Check out their website for current exhibit and ticket information today!
8. Warner Parks
To get out into nature, you can visit one of the 2 sprawling Warner Parks – both located right next to each other and both have great features. Both parks, the Edwin Warner Park and the Percy Warner Park, have many great dirt and paved trails throughout the forested hilly areas and are both popular parks for jogging, hiking, and biking. In addition to the fun hiking trails, the Warner Parks also features athletic fields, a golf course, and even dedicated horse trails. For a quick escape into the wooded Tennessee forest, we’d highly recommend exploring the Warner Parks during your visit.
9. Printers Alley
For a fun thing to do in downtown Nashville, you can walk through the Famous Printers Alley. This famous alleyway is lined with restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and jazz clubs and it’s a fun place to explore at night. The alley used to be home to multiple bustling newspapers and print shops, and quickly gained the name “Printers Alley”. Now, the printers are gone but the alley is full of activity and is one of the more famous nightlife destinations and top things to do in downtown Nashville.
10. Radnor Lake State Park
If Hiking is your thing, then you need to check out Radnor Lake State Park. With over 1,000 acres of open untouched nature area, this state park is a nature-lovers dream. With multiple lakes, rivers, and miles of unpaved trails, this park is popular with hikers, joggers, and birders, who love the excellent variety of birds found within the park. Other than birds, you that can often spot white-tailed deer, beavers, bobcats, mink, and coyote. As Radnor Lake State Park is located just minutes south of Nashville, we think it should make it on your list of things to do while you’re in Nashville.
11. Nashville Shores
For a top thing to do in Nashville with kids in the warm months of the year, you can visit Nashville Shores – a waterpark, adventure course, campground, and marina that fun activities that will keep your family entertained for days. Nashville Shores water park features many fun rides and attractions, including waterslides, water-rides, wave pools, and artificial beaches for relaxing in the summer heat. If you want to make a real trip out of it, you can stay at the adjacent campground in one of the cozy lakeside cabins, or bring your own RV. For one of the best things to do in Nashville in the summertime, we think Nashville Shores should be at the top of list.
12. Johnny Cash Museum
For another music thing to do in the “Music City”, you can check out the Johnny Cash Museum near downtown Nashville. This fun museum celebrates the life and music of Johnny Cash, one of the most famous country musicians of all time. The facility features hundreds of memorabilia, interactive exhibits, a cafe & coffee shop, and event space. This is a must-see destination in Nashville for music-lovers and Johnny Cash fans alike.
13. Tennessee State Capitol
If you want to see one of Nashville’s most historic buildings, you need to pay a visit to the Tennessee State Capitol building. Sitting on an impressive hilltop location and designed in the Greek Revival style, this capitol building was completed in 1859 and to this day still acts as an official government building. Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, the Tennessee State Capitol is a must-visit location for the great view it provides of the city and to learn more about the city’s deep roots.
14. Grand Old Golf & Go-Karts
Another fun thing to do in Nashville with kids, Grand Old Golf & Go-Karts is an exciting family entertainment center located just minutes from Downtown. Featuring a thrilling go-kart track with twists and turns, an arcade, bumper cars, and a miniature golf course, Grand Old Golf & Go-Karts should definitely be on your list. If you’re looking for great family-friendly options during your visit, we vote Grand Old Golf & Go-Karts as a top option.
15. Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park is a great spot on the edge of downtown to picnic or relax with a great view of the Cumberland River and the multiple river bridges. The park features large grassy steps that end down at the river’s edge and since it’s such a picturesque location, many events and concerts are held here throughout the warmer months of the year. Riverfront Park is a great place to watch the riverboats go by and gather your thoughts between your Nashville activities.
16. Nashville Trolley Tour
We think one of the best ways to explore Nashville is by Trolley. These trolley cars with open sides and fantastic tour guides take you on professionally guided tours of the wonderful city. You can choose from various themed trolley tours, like the Hop on Hop Off Tour which lets you set your own itinerary and stop at the places you want to explore, or you can take the Nashville Night Tour on the trolley that’s more focused on the music and nightlife destinations.
There’s a trolley tour for everyone here and we think it’s the best way to see most of the city’s highlights in the shortest amount of time. We’d recommend booking a trolley tour through Nashville Sightseeing Tours as they are one of the largest and highest rated operations in Nashville.
17. Bridgestone Arena
If you are a sports fan, then you’ll want to check out what events are coming up at Bridgestone Arena. Home to the Nashville Predators professional hockey team, the Bridgestone Arena is also used as a venue for top music concerts, comedy shows, and other large events so be sure to check their calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.
18. Tootsies Orchid Lounge
Tootsies Orchid Lounge is arguably the most famous country music venue in Nashville. It seems small, but it has hosted the largest acts in country music, like Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, and hundreds more. It’s even known that the famous country musician, Willie Nelson, got his first gig here and many other musicians have named Tootsies Orchid Lounge as the most important venue in the Country Music world. For a great night of music, drinks, and food, we’d suggest you enjoy an evening here and experience the magic of this special venue.
19. Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
While Nashville is best known for its country music roots, the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum celebrates all types of music and is a great place to visit while you’re in town. The museum features many instruments played by well-known musicians from the early days of American music all the way to the present. There are also various exhibits that highlight the famous music hotspots and music culture from around the country – places like Los Angeles, Memphis, and Motown.
20. Cumberland Park
If you are visiting Nashville with kids in the warmer months of the year, Cumberland Park should be at the top of your list of things to do. This amazing 6.5-acre park has fun play equipment, grassy picnic areas, and fantastic water features for kids to play in and stay cool. There is always walking trails that weave throughout the park and a small kid-friendly climbing wall where kids can test their climbing skills. This park is on the banks of the Cumberland River and has great views of the river and Downtown Nashville. Cumberland Park is a true gem and we’re positive that you and your kids will love it!
21. The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a beautiful and uniquely designed pedestrian-only bridge that spans the Cumberland River. Its unique truss design has made it a highly photographed bridge and it’s a popular spot that can be seen in many Country Music videos. The bridge is over 3,000 feet long which makes it one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the whole world. The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a fun place to visit while you’re in town and it’s especially fun to walk across at night as it’s covered in bright lights for good pedestrian visibility.
22. Treetop Adventure Park
The Treetop Adventure Park is located in the Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort and is another fun destination for kids and the whole family. This adventure park features over 100 obstacles like zip lines, Tarzan swings, suspension bridges, and climbing walls. All these unique obstacles are fun and challenging and will definitely test your fear of heights! For a great family bonding experience, we think the Treetop Adventure Park is a great thing to do in Nashville with family.
23. Charlie Daniels Park
As far as Parks go, Charlie Daniels Park is one of the top parks for kids in Nashville. It’s located a short drive to the east of Downtown in the suburb of Mount Juliet and features sprawling grassy areas, massive play structures, and water-play areas and will keep kids busy and entertained for hours. Though it could be a drive from where you are staying, this park is truly amazing and you and your kids are sure to love Charlie Daniels Park.
24. Frist Art Museum
Located in the building that once was Nashville’s main post office, the Frist Art Museum is one of Nashville’s top cultural destinations that features a truly world-class collection of art. While the museum doesn’t have any permanent collections of art, it features a continuously-changing series of exhibits that feature early and current American art as well as art from around the world. To see what exhibits are currently showing, be sure to check the Frist Art Museum’s website.
25. Stones River Greenway
The Stones River Greenway is a popular 5.7-mile long paved trail that starts near Downtown and travels along the Stones River. This great scenic trail is popular with walkers, joggers and bikers, and features multiple pedestrian bridges. We think the Stones River Greenway is the quickest way to get out into some nature while you’re visiting Downtown and is a great place to explore if you want to rent bikes to explore downtown by bicycle.
26. Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
If you are a sports fan at all, then you need to check out the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Located in the Heart of Nashville right next to the Bridgestone Arena, this celebration of Tennessee sports history features the famous athletes that call Tennessee their home. Athletes like Peyton Manning, Reggie White, and hundreds of others are represented here along with exhibits detailing the history of various sports throughout Tennessee.
27. SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland
If you are looking for one of the best things to do in Nashville in Summertime, be sure to check ou the Soundwaves at Gaylord Opryland water park. This amazing indoor/outdoor waterpark is truly amazing and offers fun for the whole family. The SoundWaves waterpark has many fun rides, water-features, and lounge areas and is part of the larger Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The Resort itself features an incredible 9-acres of indoor gardens and water features and is a fun place to explore even if you aren’t going to the waterpark. There are great shopping and dining options throughout the waterpark and resort.
28. Honeysuckle Hill Farm
Honeysuckle Hill Farm offers an incredibly entertaining farm experience for families and kids. While it is a short drive to the North of Downtown, it’s worth the drive. With a massive annual Country Music Corn Maze, hayrides, petting zoo, and many play areas and activities for kids, We think Honeysuckle Hill Farm is one of the best things to do in Nashville with kids and you’ll quickly see why. Check out their website for tickets and more information.
29. Music City Walk of Fame Park
Since Nashville is well known as the birthplace of American music, Nashville has an entire park dedicated to the famous musicians and leaders in the historical Nashville music scene. Music City Walk of Fame Park features a walkway paved with plaques dedicated to these legendary musicians, and grassy areas for relaxing and enjoying the downtown views.
30. Nashville WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural
For an unusual thing to do in Nashville, you can check out the street murals dotting the downtown cityscape. One of the most famous is the WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural. Located in the Heart of Downtown on 11the Avenue, this mural is a highly photographed public art-piece by local artist Kelsey Montague and features artistically drawn angel wings that visitors can stand between for photographs. The Nashville murals are becoming more popular tourist destinations and the Nashville WhatliftsYou Wings Mural is the most popular, so definitely worth a visit and a photograph if you’re exploring Downtown.