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Sure, there’s the music, but don’t overlook an essential part of the Nashville experience — the food! For families traveling with kids, finding family-friendly, fun places to eat in Nashville can sometimes be a challenge, but we’ve discovered there are tons of kid-friendly restaurants in Nashville. From old-fashioned burger stops to upscale or casual Southern fusion, use this guide to find the best Nashville restaurants for families with kids.
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Bobbie’s Dairy Dip
Bobbie’s Dairy Dip is one of the most iconic restaurants in Nashville and a must-eat for summer months. (Really. Bobbie’s has seasonal hours and is closed during the winter.) With a walk-up window and outdoor seating, Bobbie’s has been a Nashville tradition since 1951. You can order burgers and fries, but everyone knows you’re really there for ice cream sundaes and peanut butter shakes.
Lockeland Table is an award-winning East Nashville staple. The restaurant is known for its family-friendly Community Hour, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day, when a portion of proceeds is donated to local school PTOs. Adults can enjoy Korean street tacos or pimento cheese hushpuppies while little ones have grilled cheese, pizza, or corn dogs. We’ve enjoyed going to Lockeland Table to celebrate the first week of school since my kids were elementary schoolers. The restaurant is best for families with children who can sit still at a table for the full meal, although patio seating does provide some flexibility.
Nectar Urban Cantina
Nectar Urban Cantina is known for its expansive back lawn that somehow screams “kid-friendly” and “super trendy” at the same time. With live music, plenty of seating, and a fence surrounding the whole yard, Nectar is the go-to place for families on warm summer nights (and that fence means it’s great for families with tiny escape artists). But it’s not just about their outdoor space — the Mexican-inspired food is heavenly. I recommend the street corn and the Brussels sprouts.
East Nashville Beer Works
East Nashville Beer Works is a favorite with local families. Have you ever been in the car with crazy kids and thought, “I just need someplace with a playground?” East Nashville Beer Works is happy to be your safe space. Just grab a drink and a pizza (vegan options available!) and let the kids wear themselves out on the climbing wall and the slides.
Five Points Pizza
Five Points Pizza is one of our absolute favorite restaurants to visit, mostly because all four of us are addicted to their garlic knots. With locations in West Nashville and East Nashville, access to this amazing New York-style pizza is convenient to most places in the city. My kids’ favorite part of eating at Five Points Pizza is the lump of dough the restaurant provides to entertain their smallest customers (after being stretched, shaped, and torn, the dough usually ends up eaten by the end of the meal).
Rosepepper is known nationwide for its quirky signs declaring things like, “Tequila may not be the answer but it’s worth a shot.” We’ve been taking our kids here since our oldest was a baby when the hostess would greet us and ask how our “precious gift to the universe” was doing. The sizable patio area means there’s plenty of kid-friendly space where no one will fuss over dropped food and wiggles. Try the queso, then head across the street after your meal for Five Daughters Donuts or Jeni’s Ice Cream.
The Pfunky Griddle
Located in a tiny house in South Nashville, The Pfunky Griddle is a make-your-own pancake place. Why, you may be asking, would you want to go on vacation and then have to cook for yourself? Customization, my friend. Each table has a built-in griddle, and you can choose a selection of toppings and add-ins, including strawberries, M&Ms, pineapples, and granola. You can mix and match ingredients to suit every family member’s wishes. There’s even an option for gluten-free batter.
Gabby’s Burgers and Fries
The first clue about the amazing food at Gabby’s Burgers and Fries will be the cars filling the tiny parking lot and surrounding streets. The small, unassuming building is home to Nashville’s best burgers and sweet potato fries. A friendly atmosphere fills the building, which is bigger than it looks, thanks to outer rooms with plenty of space for families. This is a great place to refuel after visiting the Adventure Science Center, but be aware — the restaurant closes at 2:30 p.m. after the lunch rush.
Assembly Food Hall
The newly-opened Assembly Food Hall is one of the best spots to find kid-friendly restaurants on Broadway in downtown Nashville. With tons of dining options convenient to Nashville’s top tourist areas, there’s something for every taste. If you’re looking for Nashville’s signature hot chicken, then try the original at Prince’s Hot Chicken (and see if someone will tell you the story behind the famous dish — it’s a good one). Not sure if you’re up for super spicy chicken? Try Slim & Husky’s Pizza or Thai Esane.
The Market House at the Nashville Farmers Market
The Nashville Farmers Market is an easy daytime stop near downtown, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, and the Tennessee State Museum. Caribbean food, pizza, vegan tacos, and southern barbecue are all available, with spacious indoor seating as well as picnic tables outside. Grab some food and eat in the market house or take a picnic over to the park next door, then walk a couple of blocks north for dessert at the Cupcake Collection.
From old-fashioned burger stops to upscale Southern fusion, there are tons of kid-friendly restaurants in Nashville. Use this guide during your visit to find the best #Nashville restaurants for families with kids.
The Loveless Cafe
The Loveless Cafe draws locals and tourists with its traditional southern food, but the biscuits are the real star of the show. Loveless is great for large groups looking for an old-fashioned dining experience; be sure to see if reservations are available ahead of time. The wait can be long during peak hours, but there’s plenty to do on the property like visiting the tiny shops or playing cornhole. No time to wait? Swing into the Biscuit Kitchen next door to grab a few biscuits and preserves when you’re on the go.
Martin’s BBQ is a long-time Nashville fixture, and owner Pat Martin has expanded his food offerings to include Hugh Baby’s, a casual burger-and-BBQ stop with some of the best BBQ in Nashville. Their pulled pork sandwiches, hand-ground beef burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes are the ultimate vacation food. I recommend stopping by the West Nashville location, which offers a play area for kids on their covered patio.
Hunter’s Station is a food hall in East Nashville with plenty of open seating and patio space for families. The Grilled Cheeserie is one popular stop inside the hall thanks to their offerings ranging from a simple cheddar/toast combo to culinary masterpieces featuring house-made pimento cheese and Tennessee bacon. Citizen Market has breakfast and snacks from a variety of Nashville makers as well as free Wifi and board games for customers to enjoy. While you’re there, grab a scoop of Pied Piper Ice Cream from the market. (Try the one called Trailer Trash. Trust me.)
McNamara’s Irish Pub
McNamara’s Irish Pub has been a favorite for our family ever since we wandered in and discovered a room full of people dressed as pirates. While the restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner, the main event is the live Celtic music that starts most nights at 6 p.m. The steak & Guinness pie is wonderful, but families will want to note the “Leprechaun Corner” menu that offers kid-friendly grilled cheese and chicken tenders. Due to crowded tables, especially in the music room, this stop is best for kids who can stay at the table through the meal.
Coco’s Italian Market
Coco’s Italian Market has been making authentic Italian food in Nashville for generations. Servers have been welcoming and friendly to our kids on every visit, and I find that the patio area is particularly good for little ones. There’s also a bocce court so the whole family can play a game while waiting for food. And don’t miss the adjoining store, with selections of imported Italian favorites and homemade cannoli.
A taproom may not be the first thing that comes to mind for kid-friendly dining, but the folks at Tailgate Brewery welcome families of all shapes and sizes (plus dogs). We’ve taken our kids to trivia nights at the East Nashville location and felt right at home. The West Nashville location is the headquarters and features a huge patio with picnic tables and outdoor games.
Plaza Mariachi is the easiest way to sample Nashville’s international food scene. This elaborate indoor shopping area often features live music and performers. Mexican, Argentinian, and Mediterranean meals are available in the food court, and a terrific Indian buffet is just around the corner at Taj Indian Restaurant. Tito’s Playland, which has an indoor playground and video games, will be a hit with kids of any age. (Plaza Mariachi is our regular stop for paletas after a warm day at the Nashville Zoo.)
Jack’s Bar-B-Que has been part of the Nashville barbeque scene for over 30 years. Their Broadway location is a good stop for a quick meal within easy walking distance to the Ryman Auditorium and Ernest Tubb Record Shop. Don’t be daunted by long lines — the restaurant serves customers quickly, even on busy Nashville Predators game nights. (And don’t worry, there’s more seating upstairs.) Traveling with someone who doesn’t like barbeque? Try a “vegetable plate” with mac and cheese, fried apples, and corn. (Vegetarians, beware — many sides are flavored with meat, so double check ingredients before ordering.)
Acme Feed & Seed
Acme Feed & Seed is a great experience for families with older kids. At night the restaurant’s four floors become a hip destination for the party crowd, but in the daytime and early evening, it’s a great spot to sample unique Southern fusion dishes. Be sure to hit the rooftop, which offers panoramic views of the city and the Cumberland River. Stop by the store on your way out to find locally made chocolates, jams, and more.
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