We're excited to kick off our new City Guides blog series focusing on the top places to take kids on your weekend travels. First up is Music City- Nashville! We invited our friend Lauren, mama to Liam, to share with us her top spots for food and fun.
There are so many quality burger spots in Nashville but the one we keep going back to is Burger Up. We have a major addiction to their burgers and fries. Liam even insisted that we went there for his fourth birthday. Pro-tip: go to the East Nashville location. It's usually a lot less crowded and they have a huge covered outdoor patio. This is a great place for all members of the family as it has vegetarian burger options, delicious salads and FRIED MAC & CHEESE BITES (what?!).
If you’re in the mood for amazing tacos (who isn’t?), few places in town come close to Mas Tacos. You can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, but my top recommendations are their World Famous Tortilla Soup, fried avocado tacos and street style corn (elote). The environment is super laid back, perfect for families or a casual taco tuesday date night. (They only take cash so be sure to bring some or use their ATM inside).
Treat yo self. I find that when I go to a new city, my eyes are set on finding the best treat places. So with that being said, I could easily name a handful of places for Nashville but let's just focus on GELATO! They make their gelato fresh daily and usually have a different selection of flavors each day. My favorite flavor combo is dark chocolate and coffee.
My all time favorite meal of the day is …..brunch! Something I look for in a brunch place: low-key, delicious and family friendly. Fenwick’s 300 is all of that and more. They have roomy booths, a large wrap around bar and a walk up coffee bar for all your local coffee needs. My top recommendations are the Bacon + Egg Fried Rice or French Toast but everything on the menu is amazing so you can't go wrong.
It's a local park/playground that we frequent because of its great layout and convenient proximity to other places. We often take Liam to the park to meet up with friends and then take a short walk over to Las Paletas for a delicious homemade popsicle. Sometimes on Sundays a few food trucks set up shop in the parking lot, which makes for the perfect afternoon of food and fun. And be sure to stop by the park to buy some local produce at their farmers market, which is held May- October on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-6:30pm. This park is located in the 12 South neighborhood which is a walkable area filled with local shops and restaurants including one of our other favorite treat places (I think you're seeing a pattern here.... we love sweets), Five Daughters Doughnuts. The neighborhood is also home to the “I Believe in Nashville” mural -- an infamous selfie spot for tourists.
Try to make your way over to see the inside of the Opryland Hotel. We love to escape there when the weather's not so nice (either too hot out or too cold). The tropical plants and flowers will make you feel like you're in Hawaii without the expensive ticket and long flight. It's a beautiful place to visit with huge waterfalls and even a guided tour boat ride ($$). If you want to save $20 on parking, then make sure NOT to park inside the gates of the facility. Instead, park on the outskirts of the mall (across from the movie theater) and walk over underneath the path covered by an awning.
If you're looking for a free way to cool off during the summer heat then take your kids over to the Cumberland River splash pad. It's located right next to the Cumberland River with walking access to downtown Nashville. So when you're done checking out all the things down Broadway or seeing the Johnny Cash museum, you can walk over the pedestrian bridge to enjoy the cool water and great views. There's also a free parking lot near the splash pad that you could park at to walk over the bridge to see downtown instead of paying for parking on the other side.
The zoo is worth checking out if you are staying longer than a few days. They are currently expanding and improving so there is always something new to see. The giant wooden playground is worth the visit alone. The coolest exhibit in the zoo has to be the kangaroos. It is a walkthrough exhibit where you can pet the kangaroos if they hop onto the trail. Make sure to visit during the morning hours when the kangaroos are more active.
Lauren lives in Nashville with her husband and son. You can find her on instagram @laurenallyson.