Nashville means music, but it also means some fun activities and attractions for everyone in the family. Whether you like vintage cars, famous stars’ guitars, art, music, Southern comfort food, or sweet treats, you’re in the right city. We’ve scouted out some of the best places to make the most of your family’s trip to Music City.
Country Music Hall of Fame
Exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame spotlight country, bluegrass, and folk stars of the past and present, with films, stories, photos, recordings, and artifacts like guitars and stage costumes. At the Taylor Swift Education Center, you can find hands-on exhibits for kids, classes where they can learn guitar basics, and a creative zone for making crafts like puppets.
Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
Nashville isn’t just about country music. The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors well-known musicians from other genres like Jimi Hendrix, as well as less famous talents. You can get your recording groove on at the Grammy Museum Gallery by putting on headphones and playing instruments like the keyboard, guitar, and electric drums, and singing along with music greats such as Ray Charles and The Raelettes.
You might be surprised to find a big chunk of Greek culture in Tennessee, but you can’t go to Nashville without checking out the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the famous building in Athens. Anchoring Centennial Park, it was built in 1897, features a 42-foot-high statue of Athena and an art museum, and is totally gorgeous to see when it’s lit up at night.
Frist Art Museum
The modern art at Frist Art Museum is big, bold, eye-catching, and sure to stir up conversation. Kids 18 and younger get into the museum for free, and the Martin ArtQuest Gallery provides an art-making space for families.
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant
Locals have loved Puckett’s for decades for its live music and Southern comfort food menu loaded with chow that the whole family can enjoy, including burgers, chicken tenders, barbecue, fried pickles, deep-fried brownie sundae, and fresh cobbler.
Lane Motor Museum
Gearheads of all ages go gaga for Lane Motor Museum’s collection of vintage rides, including mini-cars, three-wheeled autos, and cars in wild styles. In fact, the museum has the biggest collection of European cars and motorcycles in the country. If you like vintage motorcycles, you’ll be in chopper heaven. The collection includes beauties like an Aerothrust-powered bicycle from 1914 and a BMW R2 from 1929.
Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery
The collections at this gallery on the Vanderbilt campus include Eastern and Western art, vintage travel and concert posters, and modern photography (including subjects like Dolly Parton, photographed by Andy Warhol). The best part is, admission is free.
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
Cheekwood’s 55 acres of gardens and forest are great for families to roam around. Boxwood, herb, rain, color, Japanese, perennial, and water gardens are just some of the beautiful specialty gardens found onsite. Art exhibitions have included bright and colorful giant sculptures of snails, and the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail is a 0.9-mile trail through native trees and wildflowers dotted with huge modern sculptures with a woodland theme.
Wendell Smith’s Restaurant
When the troops are hungry, take them to Wendell Smith’s, where you can order at the drive-through or eat inside. Big portions of Southern comfort food like fried corn, biscuits and gravy, mac n’ cheese, and barbecue ribs are what’s on the menu at this down-to-earth diner that’s been feeding happy folks since 1952.
Bobbie’s Dairy Dip
Corral the kids and take them right across the street from Wendell Smith’s Restaurant to Bobbie’s Dairy Dip for ice cream. Bobbie’s is a classic burger and ice cream stand that’s been in Nashville’s Sylvan Park since the 1950s. Whether you want soft-serve dipped ice cream with sprinkles, a banana split, milkshake, or even another serving of fries (you’re on vacation, after all), Bobbie’s is the place to be.
If you’re looking for more family-friendly guides to cities all across the U.S., check out our other Family Fun blog posts. And let us know some of the best family-friendly places you’ve discovered in Nashville on Facebook.