Choose Your Own Adventure
How you’ll start day 2 in Nashville depends on who you’re traveling with. If you’ve got kids, select Option 1, which affords you two choices: (a) the Adventure Science Center, which is convenient to downtown for those without a car and is a great place to go if it’s raining; and (b) the Nashville Zoo. Option 2 is for people who want to experience some history and outdoors in the morning, especially in the fall or spring when there are activities going on at Cheekwood and Belle Meade Plantation. Do note, though, that Option 2 is absolutely doable with kids as both attractions offer kid-focused activities. Start: Adventure Science Center or Nashville Zoo for Option 1; Cheekwood for Option 2.
Nashville in 2 Days with Kids
1a. Adventure Science Center
This interactive science center features 175 hands-on exhibits with themes including science, perception, listening, mind, air and space, and energy. Kids will easily spend 2 to 3 hours here.
1b. Nashville Zoo
Canopied by shade trees, the Nashville Zoo has more than 6,000 animals and 339 species, meaning you can easily spend a morning here.
If you can, schedule your day so you don’t eat a meal at the zoo but rather at this 70,000-square-foot marketplace. It serves Mexican food and more alongside live music and shopping. Because there’s so much activity and so many food options, the plaza is a hit with kids and parents alike.
Nashville in 2 Days without (or with) Kids
1c. Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
A bit farther toward the western outskirts of town, you’ll find this mansion and museum set amid a lush 55-acre park. Explore the wooded walking trails, landscaped gardens, and outstanding collections of American art from around the world.
Drive south on Forrest Park Dr. and turn left onto Page Rd. Drive 1.1 miles and turn right onto Hwy. 70 S./Harding Pike. Pass by Sola Salon Studios (on the right in 0.3 miles) and turn right onto Leake Ave. Turn left onto Parmer Ave. The plantation will be on the left.
1d. Belle Meade Plantation
Take a tour of this elegant Greek Revival home, built in 1853 on 30 tree-shaded acres. After you’ve traipsed through the antique-laden formal house, walk the grounds of this former horse farm to find the log cabin, creamery, and carriage house, or stop in for a complimentary wine tasting.
Drive southwest on Parmer Ave. and turn right onto Leake Ave. Turn left onto 27th Ave. N. and turn left into the park.
Start your afternoon here:
2. The Parthenon & Centennial Park
Walk through the scenic park and stop into the Parthenon, the full-scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece. Be sure to visit “Athena,” the 42-foot-tall statue of the goddess of wisdom, inside.
Take 25th Ave. N. to Charlotte Ave. Drive 3 miles to your destination.
3. Brunch in Germantown
If you’d prefer a more official sit-down meal to noshing at the farmer’s market (below) stop in to Henrietta Red for brunch (upscale seafood) if you’re here on a weekend, or try out Vui’s Kitchen (Vietnamese) or Monell’s (comfort food) on weekdays.
4. Nashville Farmers’ Market
Find fresh produce, food, restaurants, shops, crafts, classes, and chef demos at this year-round market. Grab lunch from one of the many excellent vendors including Bella Nashville’s handmade pizzas or Jamaicaway’s jerk wings.
Bicentennial Park is directly behind the Nashville Farmers’ Market to the east.
5. Bicentennial Park
Get a quick outdoor taste of Tennessee history by walking through this outdoor museum, which offers excellent views of the state capitol building.
The Tennessee State Museum is directly at the end of the mall.
6. Tennessee State Museum
After spending 30 years tucked away in the basement of the James K. Polk Center, the Tennessee State Museum reopened in 2018 as a free, expansive, modern museum where you can experience the state’s history in an hour or two.
Drive or catch a car southeast on Rosa L. Parks Blvd. toward Locklayer St. and take a slight right to stay on Rosa L. Parks Blvd. Use the left 2 lanes to turn slightly left to stay on Rosa L. Parks Blvd. and turn right onto Broadway.
7. Frist Art Museum
Housed in a historic post office building, here you’ll find first-rate exhibitions from throughout the world. The permanent ArtQuest Gallery is a wondrous, hands-on creativity center where children and adults alike can experiment with their own artwork.
Walk southwest on Broadway toward 10th Ave. N.
8. Union Station Hotel
This Victorian Romanesque Revival building was built in 1900 as Nashville’s main passenger railroad station. In 1986, it was renovated and reopened as a hotel. The stone exterior walls incorporate many fine carvings, and the lobby is one of the most elegant spaces in Nashville.
Walk southwest on Broadway toward 12th Ave. N. Turn left onto 12th Ave. S. Turn left onto Pine St.
9. Dinner in the Gulch
Choose from any of the spectacular restaurants in the Gulch including 404 Kitchen, Otaku Ramen, Emmy Squared, Bar Otaku, and more.
Walk to the Station Inn.
And here we have your final option:
10a. Station Inn
This battered-looking, unpretentious little music hall has been around for years and is the venue for top-tier bluegrass acts.
10b. Grand Ole Opry
Be prepared for a patriotic, toe-tappin’ time and plenty of corny jokes. It’s all part of the tradition here, where big-name acts share the stage with fading stars of yesteryear and up-and-coming talent. As mentioned elsewhere, Opryland is a hike, so this is only for people who won’t feel like their trip has been complete without it.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.