Music City Must-Dos: Exploring Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee, is a great destination for Indianapolis families looking for a long weekend out of town, or even a week-long getaway. Located approximately 4 hours south of central Indiana, this music-centered city is bursting with must-see sights for families. From iconic music venues to a delicious food scene, Nashville offers a perfect blend of history, culture and entertainment. Here are just a few places in Nashville to explore for an unforgettable adventure in Music City.

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Start your Nashville tour at what is considered the “Smithsonian of country music.” The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the world’s largest museum dedicated to country music, so plan to stay at least a couple of hours to see the whole thing. It houses more than 500,000 photos, 300,000 sound recordings, 2,000 stage costumes, 500 musical instruments and other objects that tell the history and culture of country music.

Family Programs: There are lots of family-friendly programs and activities here. Kids can go on a museum-wide scavenger hunt, play with sensory kits and color on coloring pages, interact with different exhibits in the galleries, and much more. The Museum also offers drop-in programming and workshops throughout the week. Check out their calendar of family programming here.

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

National Museum of African American Music

The National Museum of African American Music preserves Black music in the United States, and is probably one of the coolest music museums in the city. This interactive museum celebrates the many musical genres created and influenced by Black musicians, including classical, funk, hip-hop, jazz, R&B and soul. Visitors can see and hear how music started in Africa, and learn how enslaved Black people brought their music to America.

Opened in January 2021, the museum has interactive exhibits, including floor-to-ceiling videos, digital games, gospel singing lessons, a psychedelic disco dance chamber, a rap battle studio, and chip bracelets so visitors can take home their own curated playlists.

This museum is appropriate for all ages, but older kids will probably get the most out of this museum!

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Grand Ole Opry

Nothing says Nashville like a night at the Grand Ole Opry, the country’s longest running radio show. Founded in 1925, this legendary music show was originally located at the Ryman Auditorium, then moved to its current location in east Nashville in 1974.

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

See the Show: Grand Ole Opry shows happen most evenings, with a rotating list of country musicians and legends. Check their calendar to find out who will be playing when you visit. Tickets start at $53.

Take the Tour: Don’t miss the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Grand Ole Opry, where you can explore the themed dressing rooms, hear stories, and sometimes see the performers as they leave the building. This exclusive looks also lets you walk on stage and trace the path that the musicians take as they walk on stage to perform. Tours happen immediately after each show, and a separate ticket is required.

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

Frist Art Museum

The Frist Art Museum is a fun place for all ages to explore visual art from local Tennessee- and world-renowned artists. And best of all for families: Admission for visitors ages 18 and younger is free!

Housed in a former U.S. Post Office building, the Frist is a beautiful place to immerse yourself in art. Families will want to head upstairs to the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, a space for children, teens and families. This gallery offers hands-on exploration and accessible art-making stations to draw, animate, make prints and paint.


The Parthenon at Centennial Park

Centennial Park is one of the most popular parks in Nashville, and it features walking trails, access to Lake Watauga, an arts activity center, a sunken garden, a dog park, and most famously: the iconic Parthenon.

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

The Parthenon was built in 1897, and is an exact replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Inside, you’ll find the centerpiece of the museum: a 42-foot tall sculpture of Athena. This is the tallest indoor statue in the U.S., and you really get a sense of the scale when you look at Nike — Greek goddess of victory — who stands on Athena’s upturned palm. Nike looks tiny, but is actually human sized: 6 feet tall!

For Families: The Parthenon also houses sculptures and paintings by 19th- and 20th-century American artists, making this a great stop for families who love history, art and the great outdoors. Families should check out Kidsville at the Parthenon, which is held most Saturdays each month. Visit the museum, enjoy the day’s program, and pick up a Kidsville activity kit to take with you.

Cheekwood Estate and Garden

Cheekwood is a botanical garden, arboretum and museum all rolled into one. Families will love the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden, a hands-on outdoor space for the whole family that invites kids to play and learn at every turn. The children’s garden is perfect for younger children to explore nature, stroll along a storybook path, follow an obstacle course that weaves through the garden, and lots more. This is also where you’ll find the Turtle Pond, with 20 native turtles swimming and basking in the sun.


Follow the storybook path to the TRAINS! outdoor exhibit and the Enchanted Express, a space for train lovers to play. This garden features a train station that kids can play inside, and a huge model train track. Kids can climb through the children’s tunnel to an observation dome for an up-close and immersive view of the garden and forest.


Before you leave, make sure to visit the Ann & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture Trail. Meander through the garden grounds while enjoying artwork all along the trail, like the Trolls: Save the Humans exhibit: six giant trolls displaying good stewardship toward the earth and its resources.

Music City Munchies: The Food of Nashville

Nashville has a vibrant food scene that offers a delicious mix of Southern comfort food, barbecue and innovative fusion cuisine. Here are just some of the restaurant options to consider during your visit to the Music City.

Assembly Food Hall

The Vibe: Nashville’s largest rooftop food hall has 30+ eateries with food from around the globe — everything from barbecue and tacos to bahn mi and shawarma. Head up to the rooftop for live bands, sports watch parties, dancing and more.
Address: 5055 Broadway Pl., Nashville
Type of Food:
Many Types
Good for Kids?: All Ages
Price Point: $$
Must Get: A scoop of ice cream from Hattie Jane’s Creamery, a Tennessee favorite.


Aquarium Restaurant

The Vibe: Boasting a 200,000-gallon tank full of tropical fish, sharks, eels, stingrays, and other aquatic creatures, Aquarium Restaurant is one of the more family-friendly restaurants on this side of Nashville, and is Nashville’s only aquarium — and makes you feel like you’re dining underwater.
Address: 516 Opry Mills Dr., Nashville
Type of Food: 
American, Seafood
Good for Kids?: All Ages
Price Point: $$
Must Get: Salmon, Shrimp Tacos, Sharkey Freeze

Aquarium Restaurant in Nashville

The Mockingbird

The Vibe: The Mockingbird is a modern diner that serves up food that reflects Nashville: Southern comfort food favorites sprinkled with global elements that make up the American culture and cuisine.
Address: 121 12th Ave. North, Nashville
Type of Food: 
American, Brunch
Good for Kids?: All ages
Price Point: $$
Must Get: A kids’ meal, because it is served on a cute cafeteria tray!

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

Peg Leg Porker

The Vibe: At Peg Leg Porker, you’ll find excellent customer service and great food. Their award-winning barbecue is what makes them stand out — especially their dry-rubbed ribs, which are a customer favorite.
Type of Food: 
Good for Kids?: All ages
Price Point: $
Must Get: Ribs, Mac and Cheese, Kool-Aid Pickles, Banana Cream Pudding


Pinewood Social

The Vibe: A family-friendly restaurant and gathering place all in one, Pinewood Social offers a casual space to grab lunch or dinner. It’s also a place to play, whether that means playing bocce ball outside on the patio or bowling indoors on the six-lane bowling alley.
Address: 33 Peabody St., Nashville
Type of Food: 
American, Breakfast, Brunch
Good for Kids?: All Ages
Price Point: $$
Must Get: Eggs Benedict, Chicken and Biscuits, Pot Roast

Supper Club On Belcourt

The Vibe: When the grown-ups need a sophisticated place to dine away from the kids, Supper Club is it! The atmosphere is classy and sumptuous — a great place to celebrate your time in Nashville with an amazing meal.
Address: 2000 Belcourt Ave., Nashville
Type of Food:
Steakhouse, Brunch
Good for Kids?: Teens and Adults
Price Point: $$$
Must Get: Short ribs, Lamb chops, Caesar salad, Soul Rolls



The Vibe: When you’re in the mood to treat the family, Audrey is the place to go. The food at this upscale restaurant is a nod to the chef’s Appalachian roots, and embraces the traditions of the rural South.
Address: 809 Meridian St., Nashville
Type of Food: American
Good for Kids?: Older Kids, Teens and Adults
Price Point: $$$$
Must Get: The hyper-local menu changes frequently with the seasons. Don’t miss out on dessert!


Goo Goo Shop

Goo Goo Clusters are a Nashville treasure, so don’t leave Nashville without checking out this chocolate shop! Invented in 1912 in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company, the Goo Goo Cluster is the world’s first combination candy bar. The confection is a mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, peanuts and milk chocolate. An iconic Southern brand, the Goo Goo Shop brings the candy’s rich history to life. | 116 3rd Ave S, Nashville

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

This is just a small sampling of all the fun there is for families in Nashville, Tennessee! Have a great time exploring the Music City!

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