Family Fun Guide: 48 hours in Nashville

Every year throngs of tourists travel to Nashville, Tenn., to soak up the beats and eats of America’s famed Music City. From the storied Grand Ole Opry to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Johnny Cash Museum, opportunities to experience the city’s deep musical roots abound. But if music isn’t your muse, don’t skip a visit to this culturally-rich city. Instead, add these four off-the-beaten path stops to your itinerary and experience a completely different side of Nashville:

Antique Archaeology

The Antique Archaeology store in Nashville is the second of two locations related to the hit show American Pickers. (The first is in Iowa.) If you’ve never watched the show and are wondering what all the hype is about, essentially it’s about two guys who travel around the country looking through other people’s “trash” in search of other people’s “treasures.” And they just never know what they are going to find.

The Nashville site, which is part of an old Marathon Automobile car factory that now houses additional shops and event space, displays several items from Mike Wolfe’s personal collection. And if you bring enough moola, you can even shop some of the items picked on the show. American Pickers groupies who are restricted to a smaller budget will still love browsing the collection of T-shirts, hats, mugs, and other Antique Archaeology gear.

Jarrett was excited to see the bikes …

The Anderson Design Group

The Anderson Design Group is home to artist Joel Anderson and his team of amazing artists who create retro-inspired prints, including the incredibly popular national park seriesTheir vintage-inspired prints are crafted through a hand-illustrated style that hearkens back to yesteryear with a modern flair. We first learned about the prints while visiting a national park gift shop, but it wasn’t until I got on their website that I realized how extensive the collection is. They already have over 800 designs to their credit, with series that range from the national parks and world travel to vintage ads and camping fun (my personal favorite!).

The design studio shares space with a beautiful shopfront that features the Anderson Design Group’s extensive print collection, as well as local products for which the team has designed the product labeling. If you are looking for some local products to take home as souvenirs, this is the place to start: I saw everything from chocolate bars and seasonings to baking mixes and coffee.

We had so much fun browsing through the store, although it was really hard to decide on what to buy because we loved so many of the prints. We ended up even doing a little bit of Christmas shopping, but since those are surprises I can’t reveal everything we bought. 😉

We also got a sneak peak of Anderson’s newest coffee table book and collection, which features prints related to the Great Smoky Mountains. To celebrate the launch of the new collection, we’ll be teaming up with the Anderson Design Group to offer a fun giveaway, so be watching for details in the next few weeks!

The Hermitage

The Hermitage is the former home of our country’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson. I’ll be honest that I didn’t really know a lot about Jackson, so I learned quite a bit from our visit to the museum, house, and grounds. Jackson’s legacy is indeed controversial and muddied, but as one of the scholars noted during the new introductory film shown at the museum, it’s important to understand what happened in the past to chart a better future.

General admission includes a guided tour of the home, as well as a self-guided audio tour of the estate. The kids were delighted to discover there is a special children’s version too. This kept them entertained the entire time, and they were excited to share funny little bits of trivia with us throughout the day. Audio stops are noted on the map of the estate, and they are color coded so adults and children can select the age-appropriate version.


I would highly recommend visiting The Hermitage early in the day: We toured the house within an hour of the grounds opening, but by the time we finished, the line waiting to go in was quite long. (Only so many people are allowed in at a time.) Additionally, if you can visit on a day when duel re-enactments are taking place, it is well-worth your time. Staff members spent more than 30 minutes introducing visitors to the history of the duel, discussing the duel between Jackson and Charles Dickinson, and then re-enacting a duel as it would have happened in the antebellum South.

The Parthenon

Because what road trip would be complete without a visit to the strange and unique. 🙂 The Nashville Parthenon and the Athena statue housed within are full-size replicas of the original from ancient Greece. Walking around outside is free; the site charges a small admission fee to tour the inside.

Have you toured Nashville? If so, what do you think are the best non-music places to visit in Nashville?

For more details about where we stayed while visiting Nashville, check out our post here.

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