I’m loving my new series My City (with kids!) as it’s not only giving me an insight into what things there are to do with kids when traveling to these amazing kid-friendly cities around the world, it’s also introducing me to local mama’s who live in these cities and call them home…
My series is about asking them to share a bit about their home town and what they love to do with their own families in these cities – as a way of inspiring other families who might be visiting the city on their travels, planning a holiday or even a relocation!
I hope you find it interesting reading whoever you might be! (and if you live in a city somewhere across the globe and would like to take part in this series by sharing your favourite family-friendly things to do in your own home town please drop me an email)
Today it’s the turn of Sarah from Nashville! She writes a blog called Moment Mom and today she is sharing some insights into what it’s like living in Nashville, Tennessee, USA and her favourite family-friendly things to do in Nashville!
While Nashville is well-known as the home of country music, don’t underestimate the fun and appeal that this city can have for your next family vacation! One of the best things about Nashville is the variety of activities that you can do with kids. It combines the appeal of a big city, drawing in amazing concerts and sporting events, while keeping a hometown, family-oriented feel.
These are my top 5 things to do in my hometown of Nashville…
Nashville with kids
Visit Centennial Park
Centennial Park occupies 132 acres in downtown Nashville. It contains a sports complex, playground, Lake Watauga, numerous garden and the Parthenon as it’s crowning jewel. Centennial Park has lots of other fun events for kids. You should check out the event calendar to see what might be happening in the park, but the best feature is really the wide-open spaces. There is so much room to just run. Kids will enjoy the freedom and scale of this park, while the parents can enjoy the architecture and monuments. There is also a large playground within eyesight of the Parthenon.
Built in 1897, the Parthenon is a full-size replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The sheer scale of the building is fun to experience, and inside you will find photos from the Parthenon’s history. On the top level, you are greeted by a monumental statue of Athena, shimmering and clad in gold leaf and standing 42 feet tall. The first time we saw it, I got a literal “whoa” from my son.
A fun fact for anyone with tweens, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief was filmed in the Parthenon. If you want to get some excitement building for your trip, you can watch the move and you will recognize the status of Athena when Percy fights the Hydra in the movie. Even though we live here, this is still a fun place to visit and it’s on every itinerary I give friends wanting to visit my hometown.
Enjoy Live Music: It is Music City after all!
Nashville is a hub for amazing music artists. Many call Nashville home and many more enjoy visiting and putting on amazing shows at the many music venues around town. For kids, the Ascend Amphitheatre is the perfect location to enjoy a great show. Alternatively, the Nashville Symphony runs a kids’ series that can be an amazing experience for your kids.
The Ascend Amphitheatre is an outdoor venue with very affordable seats “on the lawn.” It is ideal for a concert with kids as it has lots of open spaces for the kids to roam around durian the concert.
If you score a spot towards the back of the venue, your kids can fun up and down the hill when they get a little antsy and still enjoy a great show! You can bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. They also have a variety of food and snacks. We’ve taken our kids to concerts at Ascend and never had a bad experience.
The Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center
The Nashville Symphony family series is specifically designed for kids. They also run a movie series, where you can enjoy classics like Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars with the Nashville Symphony playing along with the movie. They have included the music of Harry Potter, and during Halloween play favorites like the Nightmare Before Christmas. These serve as a great introduction to the arts for younger kids. It’s also a great experience if you have a child in band or orchestra to see.
For our first visit, I was a little nervous how everyone would react to my six year old attending as well. I really had nothing to worry about as Symphony-regulars loved seeing children attending and asking what their favorite instrument was. I would recommend finding out if it is a recorded series as you do have to be quieter during those events. It will not be the case for the family or movie series though.
Hands-on Activities at the Adventure Science Center
The Adventure Science Center runs exhibits year-round, along with special themed events. It provides hands-on activities to help your kids explore science.
The Adventure Tower at the center of the center stands more than 75 feet tall and lets kids crawl through a beating heart among other things. If you make it all the way to the top observation deck, you can see an amazing view of Nashville. You can also enjoy BodyQuest, where your kids can don lab coats and look at X-rays or they can try their hand at lifting a car using leverage. There are some traveling exhibits as well, sponsored by organizations like National Geographic. The Planetarium show is also a must-do for your space-loving kids.
Cheer on the Nashville Sounds
Nashville is home to several sporting teams, and the favorite to visit for kids is the Nashville Sounds baseball team. Nashville was named the best Minor League Baseball Town in 2018, and it’s easy to see why. They received a completely new, state-of-the-art stadium in 2015. It incorporates tons of family-friendly activities, like a real mini-golf course inside the stadium!
You will also find a bouncy house, giant 4-sqaure games, pool, corn hole and other ways to entertain the kids. The mascot, Booster, comes out for pictures with the kids. Finally, the Country Legends race is tons of fun for the kids as they watch a giant Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Johnny Cash, and George Jones race around the field. The Sounds also run specific family nights where you can find even more activities for kids as well as deals on dinner and a game.
Enjoy the Nashville Food Scene
Besides music, Nashville is probably best well known for its blossoming food scene. People come from all over to try the famous “Nashville Hot Chicken,” but I haven’t met many kids ready to take the dive into mouth-burning, spicy chicken!
For visiting Nashville with Kids, you have to visit a true Nashville Original, the Loveless Café, and sample the ah-mazing biscuits and assorted jellies. As a local, I can vouch for the quality of Loveless as it finds its way onto our rotation even though it’s also a popular destination for those visiting Nashville.
Loveless serves breakfast all day long, which is always a hit with the kids. They also serve up amazing dishing like meatloaf, barbeque, smoked turkey, and even their own hot chicken if you are dead-set on trying to “beat the heat.” For dessert, you must sample one of their home-made pies. Peanut Butter and Coconut Crème are the winners at our house.
Aside from the food, you can also enjoy fun activities outside of Loveless while you visit the shops or take pictures on the tractor. The atmosphere is about as family-oriented as you can get. When you couple it with delicious home-cooked, Southern-fare, this place really can’t be beat.
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My City (with kids!) – Nashville, Tennessee
How long have you lived in your home town? How old are your kids?
We have been loving Nashville for 13 years, and exploring it with our kids who are 8 and 5 years old.
Our favourite spot to visit as a family in our home town is…
Our favorite outing as a family in Nashville is a game at the Nashville Sounds stadium. I love baseball, the kids love the activities, and my husband loves the funnel cakes!
My kids favourite outing in our home town is…
Per the kiddos, their favorite outing is to one of Nashville’s many parks. Whether it’s Centennial Park, Fannie Mae Dees Park (watch out…there is a dragon), or Bowie Park in nearby Fairview, TN.
The most iconic place/ don’t miss tourist attraction in our home town to visit (that the kids will also love) is…
You have to visit Centennial Park. Taking pictures in front of the Parthenon is a must, and the kids will LOVE the wide open spaces to run and play.
Our favourite family-friendly good weather outing is…
For good weather, we love the Nashville Zoo. It has some excellent exhibits. You can even pet a kangaroo if they wonder across your path!
Our favourite family-friendly BAD weather (indoor) outing is…
During bad weather, we take advantage of the many indoor playgrounds/park. Our absolute favorite is Above All trampoline park. It has a full Ninja Warrior course an even a trapeze!
The best free outing in our home town is…
The best free outing would probably go to one of the parks again. You do have to path to go inside the Parthenon, but you can enjoy the grounds for free.
Our “insider” tip for visiting our home town is…
If you are headed to Nashville, I’d recommend checking out the events at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Not many tourists think of it, and there are some amazing kid-friendly options, like watching Home Alone while the Nashville Symphony plays in the background!
The best family-friendly restaurant is…
There are so many amazing family-friendly restaurants in Nashville. It’s hard to choose! I’m going with Coco’s Italian Market or Loveless Cafe. They are both Nashville Originals, and they staff LOVE kids.
Be sure to try this kid-friendly local food…
If you make it to Nashville, you should definitely try the biscuits at Loveless Cafe! They are delicious, and even better with the strawberry jam (although my kids fight over the peach and blackberry too!).
The easiest way to get around with kids is…
Unfortunately, Nashville isn’t the easiest city to walk. the easiest way to get around is by car. There are tons of ride-sharing opportunities as well.
The best family-friendly neighbourhood to stay in is…
If you are staying in Nashville, I’d highly recommend the West End area. It’s close to downtown, but also has lots of food options and parks.
Thanks so much to Sarah for sharing these amazing insights into life in Nashville.
Sarah is Nashville-based editor of Moment Mom, a blog about using travel to create amazing moments for your family. Her family motto is “collect moments, not things,” and she shares travel ideas for developing lasting memories with your family. She is also an avid Disney Fan and dedicates a portion of her content to making your trips to Disney Parks as magical as they can be, even down to the best bag to carry. Find her on Facebook, Twitter @themomentmom and on Pinterest @momentmom.