It often happens in summer that I learn about a great event I wished I’d planned into my schedule the day it’s scheduled! The Nashville city Twitter and Facebook accounts post about some amazing things (and have even published some great music playlists for your weekend in town!) but I almost wish they’d just upload all their best events right into my personal calendar. Free music festivals? Movies in the park? Yes, please! So, for everyone who loves to have their schedules planned out far in advance, I’m giving you some information about some of the best summer family-friendly events to start planning for!
Bluebird on the Mountain Concerts
Did you know that the famous Bluebird Cafe goes mobile during summers, and their musicians play at Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory under the stars. Even better? The giant telescope is open for visitors to look through after the show, so your kids can get an amazing, close-up look at the stars beyond! It’s so popular that 2016 seasons are formally sold out, BUT, we know that limited numbers of tickets go on sale again at Ticketmaster the FIRST DAY of the PRIOR MONTH. So, tickets for a July 25 show will go on sale June 1. You can get them here!
July 4 Music City Hot Chicken Festival
What better way to teach your family about Nashville culture than going to a FREE hot chicken festival? Not for the faint of heart, this festival is, unfortunately, also on July 4! More than hot chicken, there’s usually music, games, prizes, a Fire Truck Parade, local arts and craft vendors… the works!
Musicians Corner Concert Series in May, June, September, & October
Another great FREE event fr families, this event takes place near Vanderbilt University, Midtown, and West End! On top of free, family-friendly music at Centennial Park near the Parthenon, there are food trucks, local vendors, and even a cute Kidsville area with activities and fun for the little ones! A number of famous bands and artists have played these stages, so check it out!
July 4 FREE Let Freedom Sing Concert
This event attracts thousands of people, and for good reason! The city pays for big-ticket artists (in 2015 it was Martina McBride, the Nashville Symphony, and Mikky Ekko) to perform for the crowds before and during the fireworks display. You need to arrive downtown in the afternoon to get the full benefit of this, but there are plenty of rooftop restaurants which are kid-friendly and provide a perfect view!
Movies in the Park April, May, June & July
There are many iterations of these events in East Nashville, West End & Midtown, and Green Hills! Arguably the biggest iteration is sponsored by the Nashville Scene, and happens in Elmington Park. Kid-friendly shows like 101 Dalmations and the Lego Movie have premiered in the past, with games, food trucks, giveaways, and more! Though the movies start at 8, it’s usually advised to pick a spot aroung 5pm. The East Nashville Grassy Knoll movie knights is very similar, and happens over by the park at Five Points!
Centennial Park Big Band Dances in August
Arranged by theme (waltz, foxtrot, salsa, tango, rumba, and more!) this event allows for big bands to play classic big band dances on the Saturday evenings in Centennial Park starting at 7:30. Even better, they have dance lessons starting at 7!
Metro Parks “Tales at Twilight”
In Cumberland Park in July, Cumberland Park becomes a haven for kid’s storytelling, dance, and music. Best for younger kids, it’s often a special occassion where they get to have fun under the stars and enjoy an amazing view of downtown.