Got kids? Want to spend a day in Nashville? Start with a rib-sticking Southern style breakfast featuring the best sop up your good gravy biscuits in town at the Loveless Café, a classic eatery that opened its doors in 1951. The Loveless was fully renovated and expanded in 2004 and now features great unique gift shops and the signature Hams and Jams shop where you can take a little bit of Southern comfort home with you (no not THAT kind of Southern Comfort). The Loveless Café is located off Highway 100 and is well worth the 20-minute drive from downtown.
Head into town and, weather permitting, spend the day at the Nashville Zoo, which features everything from Clouded Leopards to African Elephants. Don’t leave without riding the Wild Animal Carousel and meandering about the barnyard and gardens at Grassmere Historic Farm, which dates to the early 1800s. The Nashville Zoo has one of the most amazing playgrounds in Nashville. Although your kids may never want to leave the playground, I guarantee they’ll fall asleep in the back seat the second you leave the zoo parking lot.
If weather isn’t ideal for a day outdoors, head to the Adventure Science Museum. Make sure you have your running shoes on, though, to chase after your kids as they explore the Adventure Tower. Packed with amazing interactivities, it’s more than 75-feet tall with seven levels and an observation area that overlooks Music City. Admission at both the Nashville Zoo and Adventure Science Museum is free for children ages 2 and younger.
Head downtown after your day out, but if you’re hungry for a positively unique frozen treat, make a pit stop at Las Paletas off 12th Avenue (it closes at 7 p.m.) Swing by Dragon Park (Fannie Mae Dees) off 21st Avenue near Vanderbilt University and work off dessert. A contender for best park in Nashville year after year, Dragon Park’s nickname comes from the centerpiece of the park—the 200-foot-long “sea serpent” mosaic-tiled play sculpture at its center. Created in 1980 by artist Pedro Silva with help from the community, the tile patterns feature animals of all kinds, mythical creatures, famous people, and much more. It’s great for colorful photo ops of the kids.
Close the evening out with a casual dinner at nearby Fido in Hillsboro Village or enjoy Tex Mex at SATCO (great when school is out since it’s a college student fave) or pizza at Mellow Mushroom. If you want to be in the heart of downtown at night check out 2nd Avenue and family favorite Old Spaghetti Factory. Take a post-dinner walk down the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge for an amazing view of Nashville’s skyline or take a carriage ride downtown. Polish off dinner with frozen yogurt from Sweet Cece’s in Belle Meade.