Nashville is a growing city that seems to change more and more each year, but it continues to be a wonderful place for children to learn, explore, and have fun. I grew up in Nashville and adored the city, but eventually moved for work. Every time I return, I enjoy showing my children my old favorite spots to visit and some new ones! Featured today on Theresa’s Reviews, you can check out some of the top things to do in Nashville when visiting with children.
10 Things to Do in Nashville with Kids
First, the Parthenon is a classic spot for all tourists, including families. Nashville’s Parthenon is a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It is a symbol of the balance of tradition and creativity that makes Nashville such a unique and memorable place to visit.
On the exterior of the Parthenon, you can find 46 Doric columns that make a great backdrop for photos.
You can also go inside the Parthenon to see the gold-coated statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. The interior was featured in the Percy Jackson vs. Hydra Dragons scene in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which many tweens and teens enjoy reading, and would find interesting to see in person.
Nashville has many playgrounds that are a great spot to bring children. There are a few that are my favorite, but the one we went to is Woodmont Park, located close to the Green Hills Mall. This park does not usually have many people, and it has good parking, swings, a walking path, and a tennis court.
Elmington Park is next to West End, which is a nice area with many restaurants and shops. There is a soccer field, picnic area playground, and food trucks. Sometimes you can see Dungeons and Dragons re-enactments happening in the field, where people are re-enacting a fantasy world, which can be interesting to watch from a distance.
Fannie Mae Dees Park is next to Hillsboro Village, where you can find trendy boutiques, restaurants, and many Vanderbilt students since it is adjacent to the university. While there, children can see a large dragon mosaic sculpture, play on swings made to include children with disabilities, and visit Lily’s Garden, which is an all abilities play area.
Nashville has murals throughout the city that make fantastic spots for fun family photos. You can find murals throughout the Gulch, Hillsboro Village, downtown Nashville, and East Nashville. We used this great resource on where to find murals in Nashville, but you can find murals many places not listed!
If you don’t mind an impromptu stop while driving on your way to do something else, sometimes that is the best way to spot a mural perfect for a photo.
Country Music Hall of Fame
At the Country Music Hall of Fame, learning about music is an interactive experience for children. Record a cover of a Taylor Swift song, and brainstorm for your own original song lyrics. Climb inside a gigantic guitar to learn the parts, and have a machine analyze your personality traits to tell you which role you would do best in if you worked in the music industry.
Shop for Musical Instruments
Nashville has many music shops that are a great place for buying your child’s instrument. Even for a first instrument, it makes a difference to buy one with quality so the notes come out sounding right and it stays in tune. Many of the tourist shops have cheaper instruments, but consider buying a better one to help inspire a child to stick with practicing. Spend some time trying out instruments before buying and compare the sound.
We visited Two Old Hippies and bought a ukulele for one of my daughters, and the other has her heart set on saving up for one of their Great Divide pink crystal guitars, which is actually an old Bedell. Some other places you might check out are Gruhn Guitars, Cotten Music Center, and Artisan Guitars at The Factory in Franklin.
Go Out to Eat
Nashville offers many options for dining out with children. One long lasting family favorite has been Pizza Perfect in Hillsboro Village. The place has been around since 1983 and continues to be a meet up place to visit with relatives years later. Now, the pizza wings mural outside indicates that it is keeping up with the latest trends and continues to appeal with the most modern residents and visitors of Nashville.
Visit the Frist Art Museum
Nashville has a very artistic community, which children can enjoy experiencing at the Frist Art Museum in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, an engaging learning environment with hands-on activities. Draw, sculpt, paint, and create animation with high quality materials and support from professional educators. Visitors 18 years and younger are always free.
Watch a Movie
Another activity is to go out to see a movie. AMC Bellevue 12 offers recliner seating, reserved seats and RealD 3D. Tuesdays are discounted for AMC Stubs members, and adults can get a beverage at MacGuffins Bar in the lobby of the movie theater.
The Bellevue area has grown substantially in the past five years. There used to be an old mall there, but now the mall has been torn down and replaced with new shops. Within walking distance to the movie theater, you can go to several restaurants for southern food, BBQ, pizza, coffee, and more.
Tour Vanderbilt University
It’s never to early to start showing kids college campuses! Vanderbilt University is an arboretum with over 6000 trees. You can click here to use a portable device-friendly tree tour. Some notable trees include the Bicentennial Oak, which predates the campus, and the Tennessee state champion Japanese Zelkova tree.