We recently took time with our family and headed to Tennessee with a mission of two things. One was to check out Music City (aka Nashville), and second was to see the Tennessee countryside with the Fall leaves and maybe spot a bear in the wilderness. We got this in abundance but what we didn’t expect was the small sleepy town of Gatlinburg to be not sleepy at all but super touristy full of amusement parks, rides, and lots of pancake places. Sometimes you’ve got to laugh because that’s the thing with travel, it’s not always what you expect and if there’s one thing about being up for an adventure is you have to make the most of the experience.
When you come to Nashville, you expect honky-tonks and music. After living in Dallas, we’re now used to country and music venues and cowboy boot stores so for this trip, we decided just to have a good look around see where the days took us. We only had two days, so we didn’t do all the touristy things, we just wanted to look around and soak up the atmosphere. Saying that, if you have more time and kids who are interested in Museums, Grand Ole Opry and the Johny Cash Museum looked pretty cool to do too.
Hire an electric scooter to see the views
OK, these are popping up everywhere around cities now in the US and also getting banned in many cities too. So we thought we’d give them a whizz to see the sights before they get banned. My kids loved it, and it was fun to whizz around and the best way to check out the views. Directly across from First Avenue is Riverfront Park created in the 1980s to commemorate the Nashville’s river history. It’s a great spot to scooter or walk along the riverbank all around to the Riverfront Park and Ascend Amphitheatre.
Public Street Art
One of our favourite things to do is check out public street art in the US. Nashville might be famous for its music scene, but it’s also renowned for its Nashville Walls Project which brings artists from all around the world to liven up the walls and streets. We had a map of where the street art was, and I told the kids to explore and let’s find them. It was kind of like a treasure hunt, and the prize was finding the street art. And, FREE! I’ve been a big fan of artist Kelsey Montague who travels the world and creates her wings on walls. She’s just recently completed one in Australia which I can’t wait to see when I’m back. But here, her #whatliftsyou wings was a highlight to get a pic with.
Across the road, you’ll find a host of other great walls as well as heaps through the city. My kids and I get a kick out of taking pics in front of street art, and it gives me a chance to talk to my kids about creativity and diversity and the messages they often display.
For more of a really comprehensive guide to Nashville’s best street art though check out the blog post by Kirsten one of my favourite travel bloggers from the Camels & Chocolate blog. Check out her blog post HERE.
Southern Food and Music
Southern food is easy food for all the family. Kids love deep-fried everything, so we always head to somewhere with some atmosphere and music. The main town has heaps of options, and during the day it’s great for kids. We checked out BB King’s Blues Club and tucked into BB’s pork tater tots, catfish bites, ribs and wings. Listened to some blues and then rolled on out of there.
Other places to think about are, Coyote Ugly Saloon, Buffalo’s Nashville, Old Spaghetti Factory, Hard Rock Café, Hattie B’s Chicken and Biscuit Love. By night we went to some honky-tonk bars in the main street for beer and dancing.
My kids love American Sweet stores, and it feels like there is always a nostalgic candy store in every town we visit in America that makes you want to eat the entire store, here more so.
There’s no question Nashville has loads of great sweet spots.
The Goo Goo Shop was the world’s first combination candy bar and still sells their famous Goo Goo Clusters in flavours like peanut butter pretzel, Nutella and dark chocolate coconut. Savannahs Candy Kitchen will literally make you feel like a kid in a candy shop. They sell everything from fudge and candy apples, to gelato and every type of candy. Sugar rush heaven.
But the one place that got us hooked was the newly opened Legendairy Milkshake Bar. This is the ultimate place for milkshakes and not like anything I have seen before. It offers a dozen specialty milkshakes, and it’s not cheap. At $13 a pop, it’s expensive, but they’re offered in mason jars which are dipped and coated with sweets and melted chocolate, and the milkshake is topped with varieties of goodies, like whole cookies, or doughnuts or cheesecake or brownie. This is what food bloggers call a freakshake, and we must be all freaks because we absolutely loved it!
After a quick two days in Nashville, we hit the road for The Smoky Mountains for a quieter pace.
If you liked this article you may also like: