A trip to Nashville with teens automatically brings to mind walks down Music Row with all of its recording studios or visits to the art museums of the downtown art district. But the home of the Grand Ole Opry is also home to some of the best sports teams, multiple top-notch colleges and universities, and stunning outdoor spaces.
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What to do in Nashville with Teens
Nashville is packed with unique culture, a great food scene, tons of history, and stellar attractions. There really are fun things to do in Nashville for the whole family. These are some of our favorite places to visit in Nashville with teens.
1. Grand Ole Opry with Backstage Tour
A main attraction of Nashville is the infamous Grand Ole Opry. What started as a local weekly radio broadcast, has become a live show that has continued for almost 100 years.
Today you can attend shows at either the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville or at the Grand Ole Opry House in Music Valley. Come see the stage where the biggest names in country music have played.
While there are shows throughout the week at both venues, I recommend attending the evening show at the Grand Ole Opry and booking the post-show backstage tour. The hour-long tour will make you and your teens appreciate the performance you just saw. Plus, you might get to meet some famous country music artists!
2. Catch a Live Music Show
With eleven live music venues across the city of Nashville, you’ll be able to find at least one the entire family will enjoy! You’ll find intimate bars and cafes, outdoor amphitheaters, and larger historic stages. Head downtown for a mix of all of these, along with amazing places to eat before or after your show!
Visit the intimate acoustic setting of Bluebird Cafe in Green Hills, known for hosting both famous country performers and talented unknowns (just make sure to get tickets in advance).
For a real taste of Nashville culture try some line dancing to live music at the honky tonks on Broadway or enjoy an outdoor show at the Ascend Amphitheater on the banks of the Cumberland River.
3. Treetop Adventure Park
Drive out to the west side of Nashville to the beautiful shores of J. Percy Priest Reservoir. Treetop Adventure Park, part of Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort, is a great way to enjoy a thrill with your young people.
You’ll work your way through different courses made up of zip lines, swinging ropes, suspension bridges, nets, and more. Each course is color coded for difficulty and it’s fun to work your way from green to the most challenging black courses!
There’s a children’s ropes course (for ages 7 to 9 years), a juniors’ course (9 to 11 years), and 4 different adult courses for ages 12 years and up. Treetop Adventure Park is open from March through August and on the weekends beginning in September.
4. Country Music Hall of Fame
In downtown Nashville you can spend an entire afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame since there is so much to do. You can see the historic Studio B that’s considered the birthplace of the “Nashville Sound.” Walk through the Hall of Fame and the museum.
There are exhibits covering the entire history of country music with historic artifacts from world-famous shows and spotlights on current Country music stars.
The museum has special activities for younger kids to enhance their museum experience, as well as age-specific music and art workshops during school breaks. Teens will enjoy the recording studio where they can make their own music, and many of the hands-on activities throughout the museum.
Or you can also attend a show in the CMA Theater. The 776-seat theater is a popular venue for musical artists as well as comedians.
5. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Northeast of downtown Nashville is Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the massive plantation once owned by the US Army general and 7th President of the United States. Today it’s a museum and historical landmark that you can visit. Walk through exhibits in the museum covering Jackson’s life, presidency, and impact. There’s also a gorgeous mansion and the Jackson Family Cemetery.
You can walk the grounds with small structures, gardens, orchards, and fields. Inside the former enslaved people’s quarters, you can see an especially moving exhibit.
There are different tours from VIP tours with guides to self-guided audio tours and even The Hermitage Enslaved: A Wagon Tour – a wagon tour of the entire estate to learn about the men and women enslaved by Jackson. The Hermitage is open from 9 AM to 5 PM every day except Wednesday.
6. Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
Cheekwood is located in the suburbs of Belle Meade, adjacent to Warner Park and Golf Course. It’s the 19th-century home of a wealthy couple connected to General Foods and Maxwell House Coffee.
Cheekwood Estate is known as a well-preserved example of an American Country Place Era Estate. These were 19th-century country homes established by families reaping the benefits of the Industrial Revolution.
Today you can visit the mansion that is set up as a museum and art gallery. The grounds are botanical gardens with themes like a children’s garden, an herb garden, a color garden, and more.
There’s even a sculpture garden that you can walk through with rotating installations. You can get tickets for just the grounds or for both the mansion and the grounds.
7. Nashville Zoo
The entire family will love a visit to the 188-acre Nashville Zoo. You can see over 3,000 different animals across 325 species, including a rare Andean bear. There’s a 4D theater experience, a 110-foot-high zipline ride that takes you over several animal habitats, and the Wilderness Express Train for younger children.
The zoo works to help save endangered species and also actively and regularly contributes financially to conservation programs across the world. If you want to see the work they do, you can book a Backstage Pass Tour and see parts of the zoo that no one else sees!
The zoo is open every day, but the hours change during the off-season, so check the Nashville Zoo website for updates.
8. The Parthenon
Something that looks completely out of place in the middle of Nashville is the Parthenon in Midtown’s Centennial Park. One of the city’s most popular attractions, this unique structure is the only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in Athens.
One of Nashville’s nicknames has long been “The Athens of the South” because of how many colleges and universities there are in the city. With this in mind, it was built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition.
After the exposition, locals fought to keep the structure from being torn down. Today, it contains a 42-foot-tall, full-scale replica of the statue of Athena and other Greek art exhibits. It’s also been hosting art exhibits since the 1930s and you can visit, see the special building for yourself and walk through the current exhibits.
9. Belle Meade Plantation
Just north of the Cheekwood Estate is another beautiful example of a southern plantation. The gorgeous Belle Meade Plantation dates to the 1840s, and functions as a historical site and museum today.
At one time, Belle Meade was well-known for its thoroughbred racing horses, its dairy business, and for being one of the largest slave-holding estates in the Confederacy.
You can choose from several different tours that will teach you about the lives of the Harding family who owned the estate, as well as the stories of the enslaved men and women who lived and worked there.
There are Segway tours or even an interesting tour about southern food. Belle Meade also has a restaurant, winery, and shops you can visit.
10. Kayak on the River
With the Cumberland River running almost through the middle of Nashville, going out on it is the perfect way to get a special view of the city’s sparkling skyline.
Cumberland Kayak has a convenient location in Shelby Park not far from the downtown area. Take in local flora and fauna, and admire the architecture with all of its breathtaking downtown bridges.
Kayaking the river is a wonderful thing to do in Nashville with teens. The portion of the river that runs through the downtown area is gentle and slow-moving. A guide will lead your hour-long canoe trip. You’ll get a life jacket and get to choose between single or double kayaks.
11. Try an Escape Room
Nashville has popular, top-rated escape rooms downtown and in the suburbs. The Escape Game Nashville has several excellent locations in the city and is known for its beautiful, fun rooms.
They have eleven different escape rooms to choose from, including a Nashville-themed room where you have to solve the clues to get a deal at a record label!
Escape Experience Nashville is another quality escape room company with a downtown location. They have four different rooms to choose from.
My family loves escape rooms as a way to bond and let loose. Just be aware that there are usually 8 players in a room. If you have a smaller group, you might have company or the option to buy the rest of the tickets. Or you can ask more friends to join you!
12. K1 Speed Go Kart Racing
One experience teens will love in Nashville is K1 Speed Go Kart Racing. This is a giant go-kart racing complex with other fun challenging games that the whole family will enjoy.
There’s a quarter mile track with fun twists and turns, so your heart will be racing as you take them at up to 40MPH! Everyone gets a number, and the track will document the place of each ride for some friendly competition.
In addition to go-karts, there are also arcade games, mini golf, VR games, air hockey, and more.
*Note: As of November 2022, the facility is temporarily shut down, so please check the website before making plans.
My teens love TopGolf and the location in Nashville is a great one. Even if golf isn’t usually your thing, the whole family will spend the whole visit completely entertained!
Set your group up in a high-tech golfing bay with air conditioning, fun music, and great food. Experienced golfers are welcome to bring their own clubs, but they don’t need to at TopGolf!
Players of all skill levels will have a blast trying to hit our colorful targets in dozens of different fun golf games. While you golf, you can order from our full menu of American classics, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
14. Bowling at Pinewood Social
If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville with teens who are not easily impressed, take them to Pinewood Social. They’ll love the trendy, industrial space and you’ll appreciate the elevated southern cuisine. Order a cocktail or a cappuccino from the bar and head to the super cute 6-lane bowling alley!
Pinewood Social also has a hip outdoor space with adults-only dipping pools, bocce ball, an outdoor kitchen inside a renovated airstream trailer, and live music. Or sit in turquoise booths inside and enjoy the music while you play board games or ping pong!
15. Street Art Scavenger Hunt
Nashville has a thriving art scene, and that includes a wonderful street mural series. A great way to see the city (especially if you’ve had your fill of the Honky Tonk Highway!) is to join Let’s Roam for a self-guided multimedia scavenger hunt through Nashville!
The company has created an easy-to-use app that the whole family can access with purchased tickets. Take a 2-hour walking tour in the downtown area, looking for clues and completing challenges. You’ll learn about Nashville’s historic landmarks and follow a map to different art murals.
16. Go Shopping in 12 South Neighborhood
You’ll find more fun art murals a few miles south of downtown Nashville in the 12 South neighborhood. There are also tons of old historic buildings and the cutest boutique shops!
Start at one end of 12 Avenue South and start walking. Check out Savant Vintage for all things thrifty or stop in Outdoor Voices for men’s and women’s clothing made from recycled and ethically sourced materials.
If you get hungry, there’s Wanna Spoon Cereal Bar with fun outdoor seating, frozen yogurt, and a mind-blowing amount of cereal and milk options! And 12 South is also known for the sheer number of high-end and gourmet restaurants along the avenue, so take your pick!
17. Try Nashville Hot Chicken at Hattie B’s
Hattie B’s has become a Nashville staple since it opened in 2012 in Midtown at 112 19th Ave S. It’s a family-owned business that took a century-old hot chicken recipe and perfected it.
Today, you can visit 4 different Nashville locations and choose Hattie B’s fried chicken in 6 different heat levels, from mild to very spicy. And the restaurant’s spicy chicken sandwich is another must-try!
Nashville hot chicken is traditionally served ripping hot with a side of white bread and pickle chips to help with the heat. This is a fun way for your teens to experience one of the most iconic food items in Nashville’s food culture.
*If the line is too line at Hattie B’s, here are a few others to try: Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack or Party Fowl.
18. Catch a Game
Another huge draw for tourism to Nashville is the city’s four professional sports teams. Why not take your sports fans to a game while you’re in the area?
The Tennessee Titans play football at Nissan Stadium in the fall. Nashville Sounds are a minor league baseball team that plays at First Horizon Park from April through September. If you attend a Friday night game, you can enjoy a fireworks show!
February through October, the Nashville SC play a mean soccer game at GEODIS Park, and you can catch the Nashville Predators hitting the ice at their downtown Bridgestone Arena.
19. Go for a Hike
If you’re looking for free things to do in Nashville with teens, or if you just want to get outdoors, go for a hike. The city is a great place to find conveniently located green spaces for a nature walk.
Just a few miles from downtown is the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, a popular destination because of its paved paths. There are miles of trails that are considered easy, and you can decide how far to go.
A little further out, Percy Warner Park offers 3100 green acres of parkland and trails. Try paved and unpaved hiking trails that range from easy to difficult across both flat land and steep hills.
Near Warner Parks is Radnor Lake State Park with 6 different hiking trails around the beautiful tree-lined Radnor Lake.
Or for the most popular Nashville hiking trail, park at the Rhodes Golf Course and take the Cumberland River Greenway. It’s 12 miles of paved trails that follow the Cumberland River through the entire downtown area!
20. Frist Art Museum
At the Frist Art Museum, even the building itself is an exhibit! Nashville’s art museum on Broadway is housed in a stunning art deco building that is maintained by The Art Deco Society.
Inside, you can explore exhibits highlighting international art history as well as contemporary art that showcases today’s hottest topics.
Check the museum calendar for free demonstrations by visiting artists, as well as free architectural tours held on the weekends.
Guests 18 years and younger are free. The museum is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For additional art education opportunities, you can also visit the Frist Center on the Cheekwood Estate.
21. Try a Game Board Café
Rick Keuler and Bob Bernstein put their unique geniuses together and came up with the amazing concept for Game Point! Why not take a rainy day during your Nashville visit (or any day) and visit this board game library and cafe? They’ve curated countless quality board games and card games and offer a delicious menu for you to enjoy while you play.
Game Point is a good option for a family who loves competition. If you need a little help, the cafe even has Game Coaches available in the evenings!
So, grab a table and order from their full menu, or check out the drink menu and coffee drink list. Plus, the cafe also includes a full board game store so you can shop and bring home a game to play with the family!
How Will You Spend Quality Time with Your Teens in Nashville?
Nashville is a special place full of unique music culture and wholesome fun. The food scene is a mix of southern classics and high-end cuisine, and the history is dramatic and important. Whether your family is interested in classic Nashville activities or something else, you’re sure to find fun things to do in Nashville with your teens!