It’s well-known that Nashville, Tennessee, is adult-friendly, with its honky tonks, coffee joints and trendy nightlife. But is it a family-friendly destination too? Parenting magazine thinks so. It ranked Nashville No. 3 on the list of “Top 10 Cities for Families.” If you go with your kids, take along our list of family-friendly things to do in Nashville TN.

Things to Do in Nashville TN

Adventure Science Center in Nashville. Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

Adventure Science Center in Nashville. Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

What comes to your mind when you hear the destination: Nashville?

Country music? Hipster coffee joints? Trendy music venues? Eateries to make any foodie drool?

This little, big town, as locals charmingly refer to it, is a popular place for the over 21 crowd.

But can kids have fun here, too? I mean, is Nashville really a place where families can vacation?

There’s a reason why Parenting ranked our hometown #3 in the “Top 10 Best Cities for Families.”

Yes, bring the kids!! Here are some family friendly activities next time you make a stop in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Adventure Science Center – Interactive exhibits for kids of all ages makes this science center an exciting stop. My kids, ages 5 and 6, wore themselves out exploring. A great mix of learning and play, the Center connects kids to the important role science plays in everyday life. Add to that a planetarium and a seven-story Adventure Tower, and your kids will be begging you to come back a second day.
  • Nashville Sounds Game, View from the berm. Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

    Nashville Sounds Game, View from the berm. Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

    Nashville Sounds Game – We went one cool spring evening for our kids’ first baseball game ever. Watching the team warm up, posing with the mascot, tossing the ball around in the grassy area, trying to get on the dance cam, these were all the memories they treasured by the end of the night. This new field is in the heart of downtown Nashville. Buy a ticket out in the berm; that’s what we did! Enjoy a hot dog and a BBQ sandwich while relaxing on your picnic blanket. Plan ahead, some home games include a free fireworks show at the end of the night.

  • Nashville Zoo – Kids plus monkeys and other animals? How could you go wrong? We like to scope out the events calendar and show up for special events, like Zoovie Nights. If you’re in town and paying admission to the zoo, try and line it up with something extra offered. Also, don’t miss the Jungle Gym there. Travel + Leisure just ranked it as one of the World’s Coolest Playgrounds!
  • Belle Meade Plantation and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage – Be sure to make time for Nashville’s historical sites, too. Whether you’re a history buff, a homeschooling family, or just a curious, general tourist, these two options, one on the east side of town and the other on the west, won’t disappoint. Since we homeschool, we’re always on the lookout for field trip options. The historical sites around Nashville won’t disappoint.
  • Stardust Drive-In near Nashville. Some family time before the movie starts. Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

    Stardust Drive-In, Some family time before the movie starts. Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

    Stardust Drive-In – Forty minutes outside of town, you’ll find a quaint little drive-in with two screens, each showing a double feature nightly. Like a throwback to the past, take your kids to enjoy a movie under the stars. Show them how movies used to be watched: with a big tub of buttered popcorn in the backseat. It’s going to be hard to get my kids back in a movie theater after this experience. All they want to do is go back to the drive-in.

  • Edwin Warner’s Nature Center – Take a break from technology and take the kids outdoors to this huge green space on the west side of town. We had hours of fun on the kid-sized trails peppered with storybooks, the play area, and in the nature center with animals bones and microscopes. Be sure to pack a lunch and make this outdoorsy option an all-day affair.

    Edwin Warner Nature Center near Nashville. We love being outdoors! Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

    Edwin Warner Nature Center near Nashville. We love being outdoors! Photo by Samantha Nelson Photography

  • Nashville Children’s Theatre – Recently ranked by Time Magazine as one of the top five children’s theaters in the US, you must check out the schedule of plays and plan to see one the next time you’re in town. We saw the “Cat in the Hat” here a few months ago. The production was so impressive, and the building so beautiful, we can’t wait to return. We’ve got next year’s lineup on our calendar already!
  • Nashville’s Downtown Library’s Storytime and Puppet showYou’ll be spoiled after seeing a show here. It may be hard to go back to your neighborhood library storytime after this one. I found myself sitting on the floor with the kids giggling at the last show we attended.  Can’t say that’s ever happened at a library storytime.  Usually a puppet show is a good time for me to catch up on email or check my social media channels. You won’t want to check out of these shows, though. A quality production for kids (and adults), you will walk away stunned that the whole thing was free.

There you go! Nine things that your family will love and enjoy in Nashville. Have a blast, y’all!

And if you visit in the fall, you may want to check out these tips on the best places to see beautiful fall foliage!

If you need some suggestions on where to eat with the family, be sure to read this quick article.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Nashville? Share with us in the comment section below.