Music is the beating heart of Nashville. It runs through its streets like blood through veins, keeping it alive for generation after generation to witness all it has to offer. There’s no better city in the world in which to introduce your kids to the magic of music, and luckily, there are thousands of things to do in Nashville with kids. Going to Nashville for a family vacation is one of those that will stick with them forever. In years to come, they’ll tell their own children about the first time they were introduced to Johnny Cash or Elvis.

01Go Backstage at The Grand Ole Opry

time exposure of full moon over the roof of the Ryman auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry

Visiting the Grand Ole Opry isn’t just something you should do if you should go to Nashville. It’s something you should go to Nashville at least once in your life exclusively for. The iconic Nashville venue started as a barn dance in 1925 and grew to become one of the USA's most beloved stages. Its immortal stage has seen the likes of hundreds of artists over the years including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton. Booking a post-show backstage tour is recommended for any visit. There you'll be able to get photographs taken of you with the stars or simply with the microphones. And who knows, maybe in a couple of decades, the kids will be up there themselves.

02Record Some Demos at the Music City Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville, United States Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

Look, you're going on a vacation in Nashville. To not have some musical souvenir to take home would dang near be criminal! Visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame should be on your Nashville itinerary, whether you're flying solo or with the kids in tow. Even if you're not the biggest fan of country music, there's so much you, and the kids can learn here. There are exhibits, educational programs, and even instrument demonstrations that might inspire mom, dad, or the kids to start to play. After you've spent a couple of hours there, you can then buckle down to record your very own demo. In other words, you'll have no problem finding a gift for grandma and grandpa this Christmas.

03Create Create Create at the Frist Center For the Visual Arts

Facade of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Crazily, the building that's now the Frist Art Museum was originally Nashville's main post office. Its Art Deco-Classic architecture alone is a historical piece of art, but what lies inside is even better. One of the only art museums around that has no permanent exhibition, the rotating exhibitions that arrive here ensure that you'll never see the same thing twice at the Frist. On top of all of this, there are loads of things to occupy the kids. They can get hands-on, creating some art themselves, getting messy somewhere that you don't have to be the one to clean up. The best part of it all is that under 18s can visit for free.

04Get to Tinkering at the Adventure Science Center

science center

Sure, music is Nashville's greatest export, but it's also a hub for creativity, knowledge, beauty, and science. The Nashville Adventure Science Center is a small-ish site that is jam-packed with interactive and exhilarating things for the kids to do. One of its highlights and a must for any science lover is the Tinker Lab. Inside the Tinker Lab, kids can let their imaginations run wild with all the tools there for their disposal. Furthermore, anything they wind up making, they can take home. The center also has a yummy Subway on site. Everyone wins!

05See What's Going On at the Musician's Corner

Neon signs on Lower Broadway Area

In Nashville, the streets are alive with the sound of music year-round. However, if you're visiting during the spring or summer, there's hardly a street corner in sight without a guitar and cowboy hat. Wandering around all of the concerts and festivals that are going on can be thrilling. There are food trucks, places to park your butts, and ample photograph opportunities for the family album. Not everything in life has to come at a cost, and free music in Nashville is one of those things that effortlessly proves it.

06Snap Instaworthy Photos at the Murals All Over Town

Nashville, TN Mural Photo by Katy Anne on Unsplash

On the topic of fun and free things to do in Nashville, how about getting some more snaps for the album you wouldn't be able to get anywhere else? Nashville has a buzzing street art scene that only seems to grow and expand by the year. There are massive, full-wall murals all over town that aren't just colorful and beautiful but provide incredible backdrops for photographs. Whether you want your kids to look like the angels they are (sometimes) or take a selfie next to a monochromatic Beethoven; you can do it all in Nashville.

07Let the Kids Go Climbing in Cumberland Park

Cumberland Park and cityscape of downtown Nashville

A family vacation isn't a family vacation without at least one trip to the park. That being said, there's nowhere else but Nashville in which you can do that and also see a replica of the Greek Parthenon. There are ample opportunities for the kids to entertain themselves, from sandboxes to rock climbing walls and a splash park as well as stunning views of Music City for mum and dad to enjoy too. If you time it right, you might even see a jazz concert too.

08Make All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes at Pfunky Griddle

Delicious fresh homemade blueberry waffles with fresh blueberries and maple syrup

Restaurants are all well and good, and everybody's gotta eat, but Nashville has a unique café that your kids will love. Each table at the Pfunky Griddle has its own griddle-in-the-middle, so you can cook and watch your breakfast being made right in front of you and add as many toppings as you like. For not even $10 per head, you can eat as many pancakes as you like with any or all toppings. Sure, you could do this at home, but why do that when you can eat pancakes and not have to clean up after? The Pfunky Griddle is the BEST.

09Meet the Critters at Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, United States Photo by jacob brogdon on Unsplash

With more than 2,750 animals and over 365 species to its name, the Nashville Zoo is always worth the visit. As well as being able to see the animals looked after and taken care of on the land of the historic Grassmere Estate, the zoo has dozens of hands-on activities for kids and adults alike. Animal lovers have the chance to cuddle with goats, feed giant tortoises, pet kangaroos, or hold birds. If the kids still aren't tired out, the zoo also has a jungle gym which is also the biggest community-built playground in the whole country.

10Take Your Fur Babies to the Centennial Dog Park

Nashville Parthenon

Our fur babies are just as important as our human ones, without a doubt. Therefore, we're happy to say that Nashville is a hugely dog-friendly city. There are many outdoor spaces and parks across the city that you and your pup can explore. In fact, tons of parks were made just for Fido. Centennial Dog Park is the biggest of the bunch, but there's also Shelby Bottoms, Two Rivers Dog Park, and tons more. Nashville also has dog-friendly stores and breweries where you can take your dog whether they drink Pawsecco or Puppaccinos.