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On our quest to visit every state in the USA, we visited Nashville on a road trip with our 9 & 6 year olds this past August 2020. While I was a bit sad that we would not be exploring some of the big attractions because they were closed (like the Country Music Hall of Fame, the sports arenas, Grand Ole Opry, museums, plantations, & live music on Broadway), I was happy to do things we normally wouldn’t have done had everything been open!
If you are visiting Nashville and want to stay clear of the popular attractions or you’re visiting when everything is closed, try these on for size:
GO ON A SELF-GUIDED MURAL TOUR
The mural tour that I mapped out was my favorite activity while in Nashville. Months before our trip I researched the heck out of the Nashville murals, picked my favorites, and made a map of the ones I wanted to visit. Save yourself some time and check out the post I did on the Nashville Wall Murals. I have all the murals in the order we saw them, with their addresses, as to not backtrack through Nashville!
While the kids were super bored with the first couple murals, they quickly had a change of heart and started helping me spot the mural. I would give them hints and they would be on the lookout. “Hey kids – find one that looks like a guitar!”
WALK AROUND THE GAYLORD OPRYLAND HOTEL
We stayed at an apartment-style hotel just a little out of the city for several reasons: 1. I like having two separate bedrooms when we travel with any or all of our three kids (#mommyanddaddyneedsomealonetime) 2. I love having a kitchen to make it easier to prepare healthy meals 3. This hotel had a nice living space for the hubs and I to hang in the evening while the kids were asleep
We totally got spoiled while living in Australia with it being super easy to find family-friendly apartment-style accommodation. It’s very challenging to find this setup in America (I’m not sure why??). No, I would not like to sit in a dark quiet small room with two queen beds while my kids fall asleep at 7pm. Ewww, David. Here’s hoping America jumps on board with more family-friendly options sooner than later!
With that said, I REALLY wanted to visit the Gaylord while we were in Nashville. We live about an hour away from the Gaylord Texan and it’s such a beautiful hotel. If the Gaylord Opryland was anything like the property in Texas, I had to see it! If you too like big, beautiful hotels, then you should totally check it out.
The kids really enjoyed walking around the resort! It was a little eerie at first, as there weren’t any guests walking around. This made it feel like we had the resort to ourselves though, which was fun! The kids ran up and down the grandiose staircase. I normally would have been embarrassed by this with a full lobby, but since we were the only ones around, we let the kids run wild!
LET THE KIDS PLAY AT FANNIE MAE DEES PARK
The Fannie Mae Dees Park, also known as dragon park, was the kid’s favorite activity in Nashville. There was easy street parking along 24th Avenue S.
While the mosaic dragon was a very cool feature of the park, the kids spend the most time exploring the rock formation with the lookout.
I befriended another mom at the park, as I do, and got the scoop on the different neighborhoods of Nashville.
WALK AROUND THE WALK OF FAME PARK
I was raised on country. I’m a country music fan through and through. While I know I would have LOVED visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, instead we took the time to walk around the Walk of Fame Park. Here sits large granite starts that honor legends in the music industry. The hubs and I read all the names to the kids and we took pictures with some of our favorites.
EXPLORE MARATHON VILLAGE
Before you head in to the building, there is a cute little antique 1915 Shell gas station in the parking lot. This is so cool!
The most unexpected fun of the day was exploring Marathon Village. The buildings used to be home to Marathon Motor Works from 1910-1914. If you have a car lover in your family, this place is a must-see!
There are signs all over with history about the car factory and the cars they used to manufacture. There is also old machinery throughout. If you’re really into history, you can book a guided tour of the building!
In addition to the car stuff, the buildings are home to retail shops, food outlets, a comedy venue, distilleries, and an event space! It’s a really cool concept, and I’m sure it’s usually buzzing with people. There weren’t many places open when we visited, but I could see how this is probably a popular spot to visit in Nashville!
Make a stop at the Tennessee Legend Distillery! You and the hubs can enjoy some adult beverage tastings, while the kids look around the gift shop area. When we were there no one was in the shop, so I didn’t feel the need to stay right next to the kids. If it’s busy when you visit, may I suggest you at least keep one eye on your kids. 😉
EAT AT/GET TAKEAWAY FROM SOME OF THE AMAZING RESTAURANTS
Some of the restaurants were open for dine-in and some were takeaway only. As small business owners ourselves, we love to support other small businesses when we travel.
While we did cook a couple meals in the spacious kitchen at our hotel, it was a nice break to eat out!
I love trying new restaurants when we travel. Dallas has a lot of good restaurants, but I was really impressed with the food in Nashville! We tried Burger Up, Graze Nashville, Nectar: Urban Cantina, and Frothy Monkey.
At Burger Up you will love the special sauce, fries, sweet potato fries, turkey burger, and Beet & Arugula Salad (my fave). YUM.
At Graze try the BBQ quesadillas and the veggie burrito.
Nectar was a recommendation from a friend who lives in Franklin. Nectar has a MASSIVE outdoor area and a little play set for the kids!
They also have a little stage, so it looks like a super fun spot for a weekend afternoon to chill with a margarita & some live music. That’s my kind of afternoon. Can you see yourself relaxing here?!
The food from Nectar was so good. So so good. The kid’s got a Kid Bowl (below left). The portion was like adult size, which my kids who have bottomless stomachs didn’t have a problem finishing. I got a watermelon lime smoothie, which I think is seasonal. If they have it when you visit, I definitely recommend! The hubs and I shared the roasted root & Nashty tacos.
Frothy Monkey was a quick stop for a cup of my favorite – a coconut milk chai latte. If you have more than 24 hours when you visit, try their food out and let me know how it is! Their menu looked amazing, but we were pressed for time.
There were so many other places I wanted to try! If you can’t tell, I am the foodie in our family!
I’m making a list (I see you Biscuit Love, The Wild Cow, The Hampton Social, Liberty Common, Bourbon Steak, Sunflower Cafe, Greenery Co, AVO, & Farm Burger) for our kid-free trip. Let me know if there are any restaurants or kid-free getaway activities I should add to the list!
We made so many great memories on our 24 hour stop in Nashville! I am excited to return for a kid-free trip to do some grownup exploring (when things are fully open again!).