Nashville Vacation & Travel With Kids
As many of you know we just got back from Nashville. I took my two kiddos (my husband had to work) and we traveled with our good friends and their 4 kiddos. We drove down - about 9 hours via Google Maps and stayed outside the city at a darling AirBnb on a farm. We left home Thursday and were back Sunday night. Keep reading for the full details and things we did with 6 kids in Nashville!
First things first- getting to Nashville. I packed up my van the night before so that in the morning I was ready to just transfer the kiddos into their car seats and roll out. A couple things I did to prepare for the best case scenario drive are as follows. First of all, I turned my 18 month front facing (just for the drive to and from, he is going to be rear facing again now that we are back). Being the only adult in the car, I had to be able to see him, wanted for him to be able to see the screen and watch movies with his sister to occupy the time, and I had to be able to reach him. While I know the recommendation is to rear face as long as possible, I knew for this trip this was necessary. If you have another adult in the car with you this is not necessary. I also kept all the toys in a bucket that was easily reachable by me so that when there was some fussiness I could offer something new and exciting. Additionally, I bought them each a new fidget popper that they really enjoyed and a new DVD that they have never seen. I also made sure snacks were easily accessible. Last tip is that when we stopped for lunch we packed and brought out bikes/scooters to let the kids get some wiggles out. We did this in the back corner of the Panera parking lot and it worked really well. Of course, it made our trip longer getting down there so just be mindful of that.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at this adorable farm house in Arrington which is about 25 minutes outside of the city. For us, we knew staying in the city would be less realistic with kids and also more expensive. The host of the Airbnb was wonderful to work with and she had the best extras like little baskets of snacks in the kitchen and toiletries in the bathroom! The other amazing thing about her place is that she has 2 horses on her property and across the driveway were cows, sheep, and a rooster. It was a total farm experience and the kids loved the animals! It had two bedrooms, and an upstairs with more beds but more of a loft style and two bathrooms. She had the most adorable decor too! I would highly recommend this as a place to stay if you are wanting a family experience or to stay outside of the city. Here is the link to her Airbnb booking site- click here.
What we did:
After getting in and getting settled (and letting everyone stretch their legs and stand for a bit) we ended up packing back up and heading to get dinner. We were planning to grab dinner and eat it at Centennial Park picnic style. We had dinner instead on the patio at a place called The Local. The burgers were delish and we also got a beer because treat 'yo self after a long drive right?
We heard some performers while we were eating and even met some local folks who also said they performed there a lot. They had their little boy there who loved running around on the patio with all of our kiddos.
Afterwards, we walked over to Centennial park and let the kids run and explore the Parthenon which is located there as well. It is a full scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens. There were so many other people down there eating a picnic dinner, playing sports, or just hanging out enjoying the summer night. There was a lot of street parking and parking with in the park available too.
We let the kiddos sleep a bit on Friday morning and when they woke up we had breakfast and went to go see the animals. They loved being a part of it and getting to check in on them multiple times a day! Porter was of course right in there wanting to pet the horses.
Once the gang was rollin, we packed up and went to the Nashville Zoo. We are Milwaukee County Zoo members and this is a reciprocity zoo so we got discounted admission rates. The grounds were beautiful and large- you will definitely want a stroller for littles. It was busy but there was a lot to see and and do. Some of the exhibits let you interact or be right in with the animals even-how cool! We packed our lunches to save some money but we got Icees to cool down in the afternoon!
That evening we went to the most stunning vineyard and winery- Arrington Vineyard. It was the perfect setting to enjoy a summer evening in Nashville. They had live music AND it was food truck night. We got dinner from local food trucks and some frose from the winery to enjoy while we listened to music and the kiddos danced and played. This was a very family friendly location with lots of other local families there. We explored the vineyards too and even got ice cream for dessert! Definitely recommend this venue if you want to get out of the city and into the beautiful rolling hills for a night.
This was by far our most adventurous day. We wanted to actually go into the city and explore and do all the touristy things. We started by driving into the city and parking in The Gulch. This area was so cute and where the What Gives You Wings Mural is. Let's be real this was a must for us basic girls.
After we snapped our pictures at the wings mural, we went into Kittenish which was right next door and did a little shopping.
We also stopped across the street where there was a darling little waterfall with table for lunch. This was a perfect chance to let the kids out of their strollers and roam.
Afterwards, we took an unintentional and very long walk to Broadway. We missed the fact that there were stairs or elevators to go up another level and so we had to walk allll around. Note to anyone who also does this- there is a building next to Milk and Honey that has elevators to get you where you need to be if you have strollers! If not, there are steps to climb. This would have saved us a significant amount of time and sweat 🤪. Either way, when we finally arrived on Broadway it was BUSY. It was about 11am on a Saturday morning so I guess I should have expected it. It was not too crowded or to the point where I felt like I couldn't manage a stroller down there but if crowds and strollers are not your thing, you probably do not want to be on Broadway.
We did some more shopping for a cowboy hat for Porter- found one at Boot Barn. This was also a nice little AC break from the heat.
We wanted to go to Goo Goo Chocolate Clusters for the kiddos but realized that it was temporarily closed. Instead we stumbled on another candy store right on Broadway. We let the kids each pick out a sweet treat.
We also had planned for the adults to eat lunch down there. Since it was so crowded we opted for a restaurant/bar just off of Broadway. It worked out perfectly for us. We had two strollers and right where we walked in was a large table and plenty of room for us to park our strollers and not be in anyones way. The restaurant was a Mexican restaurant, Rancho & Lefty's Cantina, and it was DELISH. We also enjoyed a margarita while the kiddos danced to music. It was right across from the Preds Stadium which was cool for the kiddos to see too.
Last up for our downtown adventure was a stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This was a great spot for the older kiddos as they had a scavenger hunt of things to find in the museum and you walked through and lots of interactive spots to write your name on an oversized record, check out a recording studio, and climb into an oversized guitar. It was another cool respite from the heat and I wish Porter would have fallen asleep so that I could have focused more on reading many of the items. Either way they had a great time looking at all the guitars and other instruments and dresses/outfits of various performers.
On our way back the our AirBnb we stopped at Hattie B's for some Nashville Hot Chicken to go and it definitely did not disappoint. You can't go to Nashville and not eat hot chicken... amirite?
As if there wasn't enough excitement on Saturday, we opted to go into the city of Franklin and get desert and explore a little there. We ate more ice cream at a darling little shop called Sweet CeCe's and stumbled upon their towns Bluegrass Music Event where there were tons of food trucks, vendors, and folks singing in their town square. It was like stepping back in time and in a movie. The city was darling!
Before heading out of town we stopped at The Factory at Franklin for Five Daughters Bakery donuts. They have several locations all over the city but I am SO glad we made the stop as this was hands down the best donut I have ever had. Many of the cute shops inside here were closed but it was just darling environment and would have been fun to explore more.
We got back on the road and headed home and the kiddos slept the first part of the drive back home. Lots of action and a fun fun trip!
Other things that were on our list after researching items to do in Nashville with kids that we did not get to were:
Biscuit Love- a restaurant by the wings mural in The Gulch
Legendary Milkshake Bar
Pinewood Social Bowling
Wildhorse Saloon Bar- this had line dancing which many folks said was kid friendly during the day
Goo Goo Chocolate Cluters (as mentioned above)
The Pharmacy- a beer garden type environment with food and drinks that is family friendly
I would say overall the trip was wonderful and so much fun. It was a great little getaway and vacation and although this is not the most family friendly location for a vacation there certainly is plenty to do in Nashville with kiddos. Broadway was the only place that was a little touch and go but they enjoyed hearing the music from different venues as we walked by and seeing all the tractors, pedal taverns, etc go by.
This was my second trip without my hubby (first road trip) and it was also a success. If you are nervous about traveling with your kiddos don't be! They read off of your energy and if you are calm and enjoying your time, they will too! 😀.
Feel free to reach out with any questions about things we did or saw or my experience traveling with the kids.
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