Visiting Nashville was a perfect blend of country and fun for our crew. This city has so much to offer…with a rich music heritage and historical treasures, Nashville serves up some serious family fun.
Although we visited during Spring Break, only one of our visits to the city was truly crazy with people. Our 12 day stay was laced with beautiful views of the lake, open country roads and plenty of good music…there were even visits with family and friends and a date night.
We had a fun surprise and my sister and brother-in-law joined us for a few days to explore the city. We were also blessed to share a few days visiting with our friends who recently moved south of Nashville.
I had done my homework prior to our visit, and knew exactly what I wanted to see. As is typical with family travel, we did not hit everything on our bucket list…but that is fine by me. I will just have to return again to knock out the rest of my list!
Here are some of our Nashville favorites:
The Grande Ole Opry
For over 90 years the Opry has been making country music famous. We just had to experience it ourselves…and let me tell you…it is amazing!
We ordered tickets about eight weeks beforehand and had a lovely double-date with my sister and her hubby. Although my kids were not happy to miss out on this, it was a lovely evening for the adults.
We discovered first hand that Chris Janson is an amazing performer! If you get a chance to see him perform, you will not be disappointed. The Opry show is quite unique. We were entertained by at least half a dozen entertainers, in a sort of variety show. Easton Corbin and Chris Janson were fabulous. We were also introduced to the awesome sounds of Dailey & Vincent (check them out HERE) and the hilarious humor of Henry Cho. All in all, the four of us agreed that this show was hands down, the best concert any of us have been to!
Side note: My brother-in-law picked awesome seats for us! If you visit, section 20, row E provides great seating.
You can visit the Opry’s website HERE.
Belle Meade Plantation
This is John Harding’s historic plantation which has been restored to its original beauty. The Harding family created a thriving thoroughbred horse breading farm and was the most successful breeder in Tennessee during the 1800’s.
Our crew tried to arrive early so that we could have a picnic under this pretty magnolia tree. We did manage to picnic, but I will admit, it was a bit rushed. We were trying to pack a lot into this pretty day. If you plan a visit and want to picnic as well, I would suggest allocating at least 4 hours. It really is beautiful…and the gift shop is adorable!
The plantation is incredibly well maintained and the property is lovely. The best part of the visit though, is the tour…our tour was phenomenal! The guide was dressed in character and did a fabulous job of navigating us through the mansion. Not only did we learn the history of the Harding family and the property, we also gained historical context and were completely captivated with the presentation skills of our guide. The adults and kids were equally entertained the entire time.
As you can see, we had a blast hanging out with my sister, Jeanine!
Bell Meade also has a winery and for those that are interested, they offer a complimentary tasting, immediately following the tour.
The plantation does offer a family rate of $60 for parents with kids. If you are taking advantage of the tour, and have time to enjoy the property, then this is well worth the cost. If you will not be utilizing the family rate, be sure to check the local coupon books, as I did see a coupon for the tour.
The Parthenon in Centennial Park
This park is a great little retreat in the midst of the city. It was a nice spot to snag some photos, let the kids play and meet up with another traveling family. The Parthenon itself is an actual replica of the Parthenon in Athens Greece, which is considered the icon for classical architecture. This replica was created for Tennessee’s Centineal Exposition in 1897.
You can find directions and further information HERE. There is a playground for the kids and some beautiful garden areas to view as well.
Country Music Hall of Fame
A true country music lover can not come to Nashville without visiting the Country Music Hall Of Fame Museum.
This museum has an extensive collection of country music memorabilia, ranging from its original roots…all the way to Billboard’s current chart-topping songs.
One of the current exhibits is: Alabama. Though my kids new nothing of their music, they thoroughly enjoyed the story of this groups history and success.
I was relieved to watch my children enjoy this museum as much as Chris and I did. It was quite surprising to discover how pricey this museum is for a family. Adult tickets are $25 and children are $15. They do offer a AAA discount…but still tickets for my family of five were around $90. If I had one more child, I would of purchased the yearly family membership as that would of been less than purchasing six tickets…not that I need more children!…I’m just throwing that out for you larger families.
You can find information on the current exhibits and pricing HERE.
Even though it was a pricey outing, we knew this was a bucket list item for us in Nashville. And we are glad we did it! My teen and tweens were engaged and we enjoyed the photo props as well as the history.
Seeing things like Elvis’ Cadillac, were pretty cool as well.
And visiting with your sis while you explore…well that makes it even better!
We especially enjoyed witnessing the diversity that this genre has encompassed throughout the years. There truly is a little bit of country for everyone…no matter what your taste is.
Scoping Out The Honky Tonk & Music Scene
My family loves music and I was not quite sure how this play out in Nashville. I had read enough to know that music would be everywhere. What I did not know was exactly that would translate for my kids who had big dreams of hearing live music in Nashville. I had noticed a few bloggers, who mentioned that you could take your kids around Broadway (the Honky Tonk part of town) and pretty much take them into the restaurants with you…but I really could not find any more information other than that…and that it was advised to take kids before six o’clock in the evening.
Well, we had walked by on a Monday afternoon and the whole area was very calm. When we decided to take the kids, it was a Saturday around one o’clock.
Parking in the city is tricky with a dually, so we parked a mile away in a lot that offered $10 parking for the day (near Korean Veterans Blvd & 5th Ave). I would avoid the parking lots that have the little kiosk machines as they all started around $35 for the afternoon. Sorry, but that is just ridiculous. We walked down to Acme Feed & Seed and discovered that it was Spring Break in Nashville. Basically it was crazy. The people were behaving, it was just so crowded. See….
We were very happy with Acme. It was crazy busy…as everything else was that day. However, this is a massive four level venue with options. Level one was great for our purposes. All seating is first-come-first-first-serve and it is seat yourself. Chris looked for a table and I hopped in the food line, which is right by the entrance. You order and pay for your food and then it is brought to your table. Though it was busy, Chris snagged a high-top table right near the stage. Even with the bar, I was completely comfortable having my kids there as there were tables toward the back and a variety of people. Basically, not everyone was drinking and it was more restaurant-style at this time of the day. I’m sure this place goes off on a Saturday night…so this was perfect for us as a family, during the day. They do not have kid food…but my kids were so very happy with gourmet yumminess…chicken and waffles, biscuits & gravy (the best I’ve had in my adult life), fried eggs over pulled pork and shrimp & grits. We did not mess around here. When in Nashville…we eat!
We got our grub on and listened to some really great music. It was not country by any means…the vocalist was an Aussie, and he had a great voice! This was a great place to linger and let the kids taste Nashville. (Note that Acme has a separate brunch menu for the weekend.)
You can find info on Acme Feed & Seed HERE.
We then ventured up the street to Roberts Western World. Chris and I had wandered in one evening earlier in the week for some authentic country. We walked over with the kids. Prior to six o’clock, your kids can accompany you. We entered and walked straight to the back. This place was packed. From here the kids were able to see the stage and listen to a couple of songs…all while being out of the way of other guests. The great part was that there is no charge to enter. The music was great. We felt no obligation to buy anything. The bar scene was honorable at four o’clock. The down side was that the bar was packed. All in all, I would do it again (It may be a little more chill when it is not spring break). It felt like we were in the movie Pure Country. Really…I expected to turn my head and see George Straight walk right up to me. After two songs, we made our way back out. You can find more information HERE.
By this time the streets were filling up even more. As we wandered back to the car, we walked by a dozen different bars and restaurants…all with doors and windows open and the tunes streaming out into the street. It truly is a unique experience. This actually ended up being a great way for the kids to get a glimpse of the music scene in Nashville…and it was definitely affordable. Though next time, the kids are voting for a concert!
Balancing City Life with Country Life
We rounded out all of this city action with some slow-life on the lake. After traveling for awhile, we have learned that the only way we can tolerate the city…is to balance our time with equal parts outside of it. For us that meant enjoying the beauty of central Tennessee.
Tennessee is absolutely beautiful. I cannot wait to discover more of this beautiful land! What are your favorite spots in Tennessee? What should we put on our bucket list for next time?