Music City Offers Family Fun


If country music is the first thing you think of when you think of Nashville (www.visitmusiccity.com), you’re not alone. But there’s much to the city than its (rightly) proud country roots. From the Grand Ol’ Opry to historic homes and funky boutiques, this city on Tennessee’s Cumberland River is a terrific family destination with things to offer the young and young at heart.

When it comes to selecting a home base for your Nashville excursion, it’s hard to beat the Gaylord Opryland Resort (https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/bnago-gaylord-opryland-resort-and-convention-center/overview/. Located outside Nashville’s city center, it’s a world unto itself, with boats and bridges and SoundWaves, an impressive waterpark that’s perfect for indoor and outdoor fun. Many of the resort’s rooms are set around a giant atrium with towering plants and gathering spots for kids and adults. This is the sort of place where you can comfortably check in and almost never leave.

But then, you’d miss all that the city has to offer.

Nashville’s nickname is Music City. That title is attributed to Fisk University’s Jubilee singers. Located in Nashville, Fisk is one of the country’s historically Black colleges and universities. Its Jubilee Singers were founded in 1871, and their touring helped saved the institution from financial ruin. Queen Victoria heard them play and noted that they must be “from a city of music.”

Venture into the heart of Nashville and you’ll discover museums and attractions that embrace the city’s musical heritage. The National Museum of African American Music (https://www.nmaam.org) is a standout. It traces the history of African-American roots in popular music, from folk and blues and Gospel to Motown, Hip Hop and beyond. The museum offers a highly interactive experience, where you can create your own beats, download music, take pictures and more. Located in the lobby of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Hatch Show Print (https://www.hatchshowprint.com/) offers a tour that includes creating your own printed poster. Hatch Print created posters promoting acts like Elvis, B.B. King, Bob Dylan and more, and the printworks still creates posters today. Visitors can see their signature cut-out process and learn about the company’s history, which dates all the way back to the 1870s.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (https://www.countrymusichalloffame.org/) itself offers a rich tapestry of how country music has evolved over the decades. Gold records, costumes and memorabilia are displayed across more than 350,000 square feet of space, so it’s easy to spend a morning or afternoon checking it out. The Ryman Auditorium (https://www.ryman.com/), where the Grand Ol’ Oprey began, offers another important look at one of music’s most iconic buildings. History buffs in the family will also enjoy strolling the grounds of The Hermitage (https://thehermitage.com/), President Andrew Jackson’s home. It’s an impressive place, offering a glimpse into the lives of those who lived and worked here, both free and those enslaved. Many of the pieces in the home are original to Jackson’s time, and detailed exhibits showcase what was happening in the country during Jackson’s time as president.


If your family has a taste for sweet things, a stop at Goo Goo Chocolate Co.(googoo.com) on 3rd Street is a must. The small shop celebrates the nation’s very first combination candy bar, a blend of chocolate, peanuts, marshmallow nougat and caramel. The shop’s employees are happy to explain the candy bar’s history, and you can watch clusters being made.You can even sign up for classes where you make your own.


At the Adventure Science Center (https://www.adventuresci.org), there are exhibits and hands-on activities that show kids the fun and learning process of science. Check out the planetarium, 12 Maker Space and more as you explore this fun-filled spot. Get your art on with a stop at the Frist Art Museum (https://fristartmuseum.org/), a collection of ever-changing and permanent exhibits, showcasing art from around the world. Budding artists and the art curious can create their own masterpiece in the museum’s ArtQuest interactive gallery. The Tennessee State Museum (https://tnmuseum.org/) gives visitors an idea of the state’s rich history. Its Children’s Gallery is designed just for the kiddos, offering hands-on activities, storytimes and more.


And of course, there’s also the Grand Ol’ Opry (https://www.opry.com/), quite possibly the beating heart of this music city. Shows are broadcast live every Saturday night, and visitors can attend those, along with concerts on Fridays and Sundays. The performers change daily and weekly, so check the Oprey’s website for details and tickets. Even if you don’t take in a show, you can still tour this pinnacle of country music.


Whether you head there for a long weekend or a week or more, Nashville is definitely a place for family fun.


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