Living in a destination city means I regularly get to play Kate Hudson’s 2003 romcom role of Andie Anderson; I’m my friends’ resident How To girl.
While I’m 100% comfortable dishing out the Nashville goods on:
- How to find the best brunch
- How to buy the best non-cliché souvenir
- How to try Jeni’s top ice cream flavors
- How to hit up the best cocktail bars
It wasn’t until my sister decided to bring her 8-month old (perfect) baby to Nashville that I realized my expertise was missing one glaring piece: How to plan a baby-friendly getaway.
With a baby in the picture, no longer can everyone walk, much less flash an ID at Attaboy or The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club. Baby eardrums can’t handle the heart-pounding beats at Cannery, and bedtimes arrive right as the main acts go on at The Ryman. But if you think a few hindrances were going to spoil our Nashville adventure, you’re wrong. Taking one out of Ross Gellar’s playbook, we decided to pivot.
We set out to experience all that Nashville had to offer with a little one in tow. Below you’ll find the baby-tested, mother-approved bars, restaurants, boutiques, and coffee places for a baby-friendly adventure in the 615.
Known for its early pretentiousness (see @baristaparlour for proof), Barista Parlor has come a long way in customer service. (Ignore the locals who tried it 2 years ago and never returned.) While you may feel slightly out of place at the original East Nashville or Golden Sound locations, the Germantown space is always unassuming and inviting. Wide walking lanes throughout every location leave plenty of space to navigate the room comfortably, no matter how many bags, car seats, or babies are in your arms.
Note: We ended up at Golden Sound for convenience reasons and loved our time, but Germantown will be the friendliest if you have any mild concerns.
If you’re looking to make a quick stop at the best craft coffee place in town, pull into one of the 15 min parking spaces in front of Crema. Park your stroller at one of the bistro tables to wait on your slow pour coffee or sweet iced Cuban. The bathroom here is incredibly roomy, so there’s enough space to bring the whole family in for a tag team diaper change if necessary.
Note: You’ll also get a great view of the city from Crema’s patio.
Steadfast’s multiple environment options; classic, clean design inside; and quick-serve rested butterscotch latte provide delight for you and your baby. If she or he starts to get fussy in the A/C, simply move to the sunlit patio outside or the shaded tables nearby.
Taqueria del Sol
Frequented by Dierks Bentley and fam, Taqueria provides incomparable service. Don’t worry about snagging your table—the manager will spot you in line and set up the perfect dining situation for your party. Sip an afternoon marg, and go all in on cheese dip.
Note: If you choose a seat on the patio, (you and) your baby will love watching the leashed dogs walking through 12 South.
Falling in my cheap eats category, McDougal’s delivers free ice cream to your table as you finish your fried chicken and sweet tea. Large picnic tables with plenty of space allow you to spread out your diaper bag, blanket, and toys, and the relaxed atmosphere takes away any concern of bothering other guests.
For a classier lunch experience, drop by Butchertown Hall. A peaceful environment combined with delicious food fits everyone’s palate. According to my 8-month-old niece, this subway-tiled, greenery-filled space is the perfect place for an afternoon nap.
Urban Cowboy BNB/Public House
Although we may have been the only ones passing around a giggly baby while playing musical cocktails, not a face in the place held back a smile upon seeing our mini visitor. We sipped our usuals (Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, and citrus-heavy tonics), and felt as wanted as the next guy.
The Filling Station
We waited out our Butcher & Bee reservation in the relaxed Filling Station. With board game friendly tables and several craft taps, this place is perfect for a quick round of Catan. Both the 12 South and East Nashville locations are inviting to everyone.
Note: If your companions want to drink, but you’re planning to feed the baby soon, order up a Topo Chico instead of beer.
12 South Taproom
Large tables, indoor/outdoor seating, and TVs scattered throughout 12 South Taproom create a flawless, laidback environment to catch a game. Try the rotating taps, wine, sake cocktails, and nachos, and make sure to check out the nightly specials. We ran into multiple groups here toting along their offspring without a care in the world.
Jeni’s freshly made waffle cones took over our senses and a low hanging chalkboard provided ample entertainment for the baby. My advice for your visit: write on the chalkboard and snap a pic to capture “Baby’s first Jeni’s.” And if it’s summertime, try the Lemon and Blueberries flavor—a favorite of Queen Jeni herself.
Note: Jeni’s is located directly across from Taqueria del Sol in 12 South, so plan to hit these places one after the other.
Who doesn’t love a Mexican popsicle? Las Paletas boasts creamy, fruity, and spicy flavors, leaving everyone happy. Pick your pop and then cross the street to Sevier Park for an easy-breezy stroll through the park. We loved our time here, and my sister (the mom!) recommends this outing for every mother with a stroller.
Butcher & Bee
We ended up getting to Butcher & Bee later than planned, so we were wary of a baby meltdown. Thankfully, our tiny human could be distracted by the open kitchen any time she started to get upset. The serve-when-ready tapas also created constant excitement for the adults at the table.
Note: Even if your child has a meltdown in this place, the whipped feta is worth it.
If you, like us, end up wanting a night in for an early bedtime, don’t surrender your Nashville meal opportunity. Instead, dial up Burger Up. They can load you with local beef, kale salads, and hand cut fries of all kinds. Just make sure to ask for extra house made ketchup and aioli. We usually split the black bean and quinoa burger with sweet potato and truffle fries.
Note: If you need an appetizer, you can’t go wrong with the fried mac and cheese bites.
ABLE (formerly Fashionable)—with its mission to provide economic opportunity to women across the world—produces quality leather goods, denim, jewelry, and footwear. This local brand is making a big impact. When we visited, the founder stopped by to chat about babies and parenthood. We’ve never felt more welcome, and we’ve never loved a neon-lit focal wall more.
This tiny shop is packed with books like The Comic Book Story of Beer for dad, the Boss Babe Activity Book for mom, and coffee table books that will make every human “ooh” and “ahh.” But wait—there’s also a whole corner prepared for baby! We spent a few minutes looking through board books with the baby and chatting with the friendly shop owner. And if we hadn’t already bought it, we would have picked up a copy of Feminist Baby.
Like its comfortable, cute, and basic styles, Vinnie Louise’s employees are helpful and easy to be around. The East Nashville location provides a plush chair in its largest fitting room, so it’s the perfect place to chill if it’s time to feed your baby.
Before leaving town, you must pick out a Nashville keepsake for you and for baby. Park your stroller outside White’s Mercantile (the aisles are tight), and carry your child in to find an art print, candle, or kitchen essential for yourself. Then make your way to the baby section for wooden toys or a Nashville-themed onesie sold in an adorable glass milk bottle.
Located behind Able, this mission-driven business touts Nashville pride on all of its branding. Continuously updated styles honor Nashville legends and hometown hockey stars. Choose the west location over the east for extra room for your stroller, and find shirts for mom, dad, and newborns. And remember—Spread love. It’s the Nashville way.
Amelia’s Flower Truck
You can typically find Amelia’s Flower Truck located in 12 South. Build your own bouquet and then take another stroll up and down 12 South to show off your new stroller décor.
At the end of her visit, my Denver-living sister gave Nashville an A+ for baby-friendly explorations. So what are you waiting for, mom? Make your way to Music City.
Cristy Wicks splits her time between freelance marketing, eating all the queso at Taqueria del Sol, and facetiming her niece, Austyn. A Texas native and 7 on the enneagram, she loves testing out new restaurants and hosting parties in her home near 12 South.