A few months ago, we got the itch to travel with the kids & make it Henry’s first trip. He was still not in the 6 week flying clearance that most doctors recommend, so we were looking for a drivable place where we could spend a few days. We have heard great things about Nashville, and I’ve had a couple of very fun girls weekends there, but have never brought our family there for a quick getaway so we decided to check it out together!
Needless to say, this post will not include our reviews of the top bars or live music venues, but after spending several days there, we’d highly recommend the city to any family looking for a fun, centrally located, and entertaining place to travel.
We are here to reassure you that Nashville can still be absolutely so much fun with kids!
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center (this is a Marriott/Bonvoy affiliated hotel just in case anyone uses the Bonvoy app). The hotel is massive in the pictures online and even bigger in person. It’s incredible!
The hotel is made up of several “atriums” which are each as big as most other hotels themselves. We stayed in the front atrium which was awesome as there was live music every day between about noon and 10 PM. We definitely enjoyed taking some breaks throughout the day or evening after the kids were asleep for a glass of wine and some music on our balcony.
The hotel has several restaurants, bars, a great gym, pools, and you could definitely get some exercise just walking the grounds. The other amazing part of this hotel is the onsite water park called Soundwaves. It’s massive, caters to all ages (even the adults – multiple bars), and is absolutely worth spending a day or two at. They have a wave rider, slides, a lazy river, and huge slides for the big kids. This can be added with your rate when you book or just call when you’re there to see if they have room. Eloise had a blast going down some of the slides that were perfect for her size/age!
Our only complaint about Soundwaves is that the inside portion is very loud. If you have a child who might not do well with loud noise or echoes, just stick to the outside portion.
The hotel is right next door to the Grand Ole Opry and driveable to lots of different things in the city. We found Nashville to be very driveable in general.
Where we ate:
Cascades American Cafe – at the hotel. Just past the lobby, this was perfect for a family to grab a bite to eat. We enjoyed some very good sushi and cocktails while Eloise enjoyed a grilled cheese from the kids menu. We ended up eating here again because it was easy, the service was very good, and the food was just what we needed to be on to the next event. Also, when you have kids, having a restaurant that is right downstairs in your hotel with good food is super convenient!
Ravello Italian – at the hotel in the garden conservatory. This was one meal we probably could have skipped. Food was expensive and had little to no flavor. The wine was better, but very small pours and the service was just ok. Could have just been an off night, or poor ordering on our part, but we probably wouldn’t be back.
The Pfunky Griddle – We received a ton of recommendations to go to this place, and also a ton of feedback from people who do not pay to cook their own food. This is an old house near downtown that has been turned into a restaurant with griddles at every table. You order what you want to cook, they bring you the supplies, and you cook an amazing breakfast! Eloise absolutely loved this and the food was actually pretty good. I’d recommend this spot for something different/fun to do with kids especially.
Saint Anejo – Another highly recommended place and we learned why. First off, go early, there will be a wait. Rightfully so, a super cool/trendy spot in the Gulch with amazing Mexican inspired dishes. Bryan highly recommends the margarita (rocks no salt for him), and the guacamole was delicious. Worth the wait and we’ll be back!
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – It’s not all hot/spicy! There is mild chicken on the menu, and SO much more. Another spot with a line out the door and tons of recommendations. Amazing chicken sandwiches, tenders, and fries – a great spot for a fun lunch. Come hungry!
Where we played:
We took a day trip to the Nashville Zoo and had a great time, but we may have modified a thing or two had we known better. Out of our control, but we had bought tickets ahead of time and should have gone earlier in the day – it got very hot, and very muggy that day. There is a lot of tree cover at the zoo, but honestly not a ton of animals were out the day we went. A good spot to go spend a couple hours, but it wasn’t a “wow” zoo in our opinion!
We were lucky enough to catch one of our favorite music artists Mat Kearney doing a drive around Nashville concert while we were there and it might have been the highlight of our trip! He drove around to a few set out locations in a clear truck and played songs from his new album. Definitely something we will always remember!
Overall it was a fantastic trip and we will definitely be back since it’s only a 4 hour drive from us!