Nashville | What to See & Do (With & Without Kids)

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Earlier this spring, my husband had a work conference in Nashville and I had the opportunity to tag along. Nashville is a super easy flight (with nonstop options) from Madison – and is actually drivable (in a day) as well. It’s such a vibrant city – with tons of culture and character… and no shortage of things to do! After spending three days there in March; we decided it’s also a place that we want to go back to with our kids. 

What I didn’t realize was how many people from our city head to Nashville every year; which is why I decided to put together a post of my personal favorite places to check out and must-sees while you are there! 

Where we stayed: 

The conference was at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, so we opted to stay on site. I had been there as a child (but hadn’t been back in decades) and oh.my.gosh – this place is amazing. It’s like a city in and of itself! Not only that, but they also have a newly built waterpark… and from what I hear, the holidays are pretty spectacular at the Opryland. We will definitely be back (with the kids!). 

Inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort

AirBNB on 12th Avenue South | My friend and her husband rent out this adorable property right in the heart of Nashville! 

Must Sees 

Grand Ole Opry | Any country music lovers out there?! Or even if you aren’t… the Grand Ole Opry is so rich in culture and history that you should at least check it out! Every Friday night they host a show – with different lineups every week. It’s in theater-like setting (vs huge arena) and for me, personally, it was one of the more enjoyable nights I’ve spent listening to live music. On the night we were there – it was headlined by Darius Rucker and Josh Turner; but also included some blasts from my past… Diamond Rio; Phil Vassar. Some up and coming artists and even a brief appearance by legend Randy Travis. We bought our tickets the night before – and happened upon it by chance; but it ended up being my favorite part of our visit to Nashville!

12 Avenue South | If you follow any influencers on Instagram, then you have likely seen the famous Nashville murals and stores like Draper James (owned by Reese Witherspoon). 12th Avenue South is chock full of quaint, unique store fronts and restaurants. My favorite was White’s Mercantile… and of course the picturesque murals!

Downtown Nashville | There is a reason that downtown Nashville is nicknamed Nash-Vegas. It is a happening’ place… that’s for sure! We walked the streets on a Thursday afternoon and loved that there was live music all along the way; and restaurants and bars owned by famous country artists (new and old). There were museums – the Johnny Cash Museum; the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum; Ryman Auditorium (where future stars get started). Just strolling these streets was an experience in and of itself!

Music Row | Home to record label offices, radio stations and recording studios, Music Row is at the heart of Nashville’s country music industry. The iconic Historic RCA Studio B, where legends like Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton recorded hits, is open for tours. Various country stars are honored with street names in the area, and in Owen Bradley Park there’s a statue of the influential record producer seated at a grand piano.

The Gulch | The Gulch is an upscale neighborhood known for its chic hotels, high-end fashion boutiques and trendsetting restaurants. In a striking art deco building, The Frist Art Museum hosts diverse, adventurous exhibitions, as well as film screenings and lectures. Renowned bluegrass musicians take the stage at The Station Inn, a tiny club open since the 1970s, while Mercy Lounge has indie, soul and folk gigs.

The Mall at Green Hills | I took a Lyft to The Mall at Green Hills one afternoon while my husband was at his conference. There were lots of great stores… it hosted stores like Altar’d State; J Crew; Nordstrom; Lily Pulitzer; Kendra Scott; Athleta and so on!

Vanderbilt University | I always enjoy strolling college campuses and checking out the university bookstores and Vanderbilt’s campus does not disappoint!

The Parthenon in Centennial Park | The Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was designed by Confederate veteran William Crawford Smith and built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

And if you take the kids: Nashville Zoo; Adventure Science Center; Fort Negley; Centennial Park; Boro Beach; Grand Old Golf & GoKartsDiscovery Center at Murfree Spring; and Lucky Ladd Farms

Our night at the Grand Ole Opry
Draper James (owned by Reese Witherspoon) on 12th Avenue South
12th Avenue South
Sunflower Cafe (a vegetarian’s haven)
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Alisa Sleep
Alisa was born and raised in Iowa before attending Arizona State University. She then lived in Chicago, Georgia and Florida before settling in Madison. From her nomadic lifestyle grew a love for the beach, as well as a fondness for spicy food, sushi, white wine, southern charm, Diamondbacks baseball and idyllic ocean sunsets. Alisa and her husband, Joe, are parents to Ava Mae (August 2012) and twins, Nora & Jacob (March 2014). Alisa is a work-from-home mompreneur with a passion for business, fashion, fitness, community and all things mom. When she’s not enjoying time at home with her family, you can find her sweating it out on the tennis court, training for the next big race, pinning her heart out on Pinterest and exploring Madison with her little ones (and sweet Boston Terrier, Peaches) in tow.

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