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Best Things To Do In Nashville With Kids

Nashville is a must-visit destination for country music lovers, but it’s also a great place for a family vacation.  Here’s a list of kid-friendly things to do and restaurants to visit in Music City recommended by our savvy Nashville-based Draper James Brand Ambassadors, all of whom happen to be moms too.

What to see and do with your kids:

If you and your kids love culture and learning…

Make sure to visit the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Not only are the grounds beautiful, but kids will also love two exhibits this summer: Cracking Art (through September), which features giant whimsical plastic animals, and Trains!,  the newly installed permanent toy train exhibit in a woodland garden full of fairies, tunnels, waterfalls, and more.

Nashville’s Frist Art Museum just reopened its completely renovated Martin Art Quest Gallery. The award-winning, hands-on art-making space hosts activities focused on creative collaboration and critical thinking for visitors of all ages.

Yes, it’s true. Nashville is home to a full-scale replica of Greece’s ancient Parthenon. Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, the structure now serves as a museum.

For science, technology, and star enthusiasts, make sure to visit Nashville’s Adventure Science Center. The center boasts the Sudekum Planetarium, plus an array of exhibits and activities that will keep your kids occupied for hours.

The Discovery Center in Murfreesboro (just outside of Nashville) has interactive exhibits on everything from the five senses to the Rainforest. And after your visit, go get milkshakes at the Reeves-Sain Soda Shoppe.

The Nashville Zoo is home to 375 different species of animals and runs educational and experiential programs throughout the year.

If you find yourself in Nashville from the end of May through June, go see a family-friendly movie outside in Elmington Park. The films begin at sundown and are accompanied by food trucks, vendors, and games. Click here for a complete schedule.

If you and your kids love music…

Country music is synonymous with Nashville and one of the most famous places to hear it live is at Robert’s Western World. Kids are welcome for lunch!

To hear bluegrass, check out Warner Parks Full Moon Pickin’ Parties fundraisers. Once a month, musicians jam under the trees and headliners perform on the main stage. Bring a picnic dinner for a relaxed family evening.  All the proceeds go to protecting and maintaining the parks.

Give your kids a musical education at the Johnny Cash Museum. Aside from providing interesting facts on the country singer’s life, the museum imparts an broader understanding of recording, writing, and performing.

The Country Music Hall of Fame has interactive displays that kids will love. Also be sure to drop by the Taylor Swift Education Wing, which hosts crafts, music lessons, songwriting camps, and much more.

If you and your kids love sports…

During the summer months, go see a ball game at the First Tennessee Park, home to Minor League Baseball team The Nashville Sounds.

And if you find yourself in Nashville during hockey season, take the kids to a Nashville Predators Game.

If you and your kids enjoy being active…

Visit the newly renovated Cumberland Park on Nashville’s riverfront. Here you can find giant sand boxes, a bouncing pad, a green maze, a climbing wall and lots of water play—fun from dawn to 11PM.

Book a trip with Cumberland Kayakthe company provides everything you need to paddle the beautiful Cumberland River. Caves, tributaries, and historical sites dot the landscape, and with some luck you’ll see blue herons, turtles, beaver, fish, and purple martins. You can also choose one of their Skyline Paddle trips, where you will end your journey under Nashville’s iconic skyline. Kids under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Take a walk across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, which connects downtown Nashville to the trendy residential suburb of East Nashville and provides outstanding views of the river and the downtown skyline. Treat everyone to a cone at Mike’s Ice Cream on the downtown side.

Where to eat with your kids:

At the super fun Pfunky Griddle, your kids make their own pancake breakfasts or grilled cheese lunches on a griddle inset into each table.

You will always see a line waiting to get into The Pancake Pantry in Nashville’s Hillsboro Village neighborhood (it happens to be one of Reese’s favorite spots!). Since 1961, the Pantry has been serving up a variety of pancakes, eggs, waffles, sandwiches, and salads. The restaurant opens at 6 AM, so it’s the perfect spot for early risers.


Stroll along Nashville’s 12 South and you will encounter not just the Draper James flagship store, but also some great places to eat. Bar Taco’s beachy vibe and delicious fusion cuisine will make you feel like you are on vacation, and their kids menu, including a selection of mocktails, will surely please even the pickiest of eaters. Just down the street, Burger Up offers — you guessed it — delicious burgers all made from locally sourced ingredients. And if your kiddos are in the mood for something sweet (aren’t they always?), treat them to a cone at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, a popsicle at Las Paletas, or a donut at Five Daughters Bakery.

For a family of pizza and pasta lovers, the newly opened Pastaria is the place to eat. Pizzas cooked in a wood burning oven, freshly made organic pastas, and creamy homemade gelato—what more could a family want?

No trip to Nashville is complete without a stop at The Loveless Cafe. It’s where you go for real Southern food—think biscuits, fried chicken, creamed corn, and sweet tea. And if your kids end up loving the Cafe’s mac and cheese, you are in luck: they’ll ship it to you frozen anywhere in the USA.

For barbecue ribs, chicken, and whole pork shoulder, head to Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. For kids 12 and under they have their Lil’ Rascals menu, which includes a main course plus chips or fruit and a drink. Whatever you do, make sure y’all save room for a slice of their homemade coconut cake, pecan pie, or fudge pie.

Welcome to the Draper James blog. My little slice of space to share the things I love most about life: people, parties, food and fun! It’s everything Draper James stands for and I hope you like it. 

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Welcome to the Draper James blog. My little slice of space to share the things I love most about life: people, parties, food and fun! It’s everything Draper James stands for and I hope you like it.