Nashville Savor Summer Bucket List

If you are anything like me and a savorer of summer, once July 4th is over you ask yourself, “Where the heck did summer go?” We have mere weeks left before school starts so get out there! I thought I’d share a fun round up of 20 activities, many family oriented, to check off your Nashville savor summer bucket list.

ellington ag center Nashville

Summer fun memories at the Tennessee Agricultural Center with my girls when they were little!

Summer Saturdays at Tennessee Agricultural Center – This was one of my favorite things to do with my girls when they were younger. Each free Saturday event is held from 9 to 2 on Saturdays in July and focuses on a different agricultural theme such as Horsing Around or Goats Galore. This is a must do for families and you can also visit the horses stabled for the Metro Nashville Police Horse Mounted Patrol.

Cheekwood – Spanish artist Jaume Plensa has an incredible must see grand-scale show featured at the estate’s historic grounds and museum of art that is at the very top of my MUST DO list this summer! I have heard incredible things about it from everyone who has experienced it.  Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape is on display through November 1, but the Spanish Nights events will only be held on select Fridays through Oct. 2. I really would like to see this exhibit at dusk and after dark.

Family Program at Hatch Show Print – Take your kids downtown on select Saturdays this summer to learn how to make letterpress art made famous by Hatch Show Print.

Nashville Sounds – We went to our first game at the incredible First Tennessee Park earlier this summer and it is a definite Music City must do! There’s nothing better than an evening at a MLB game and who doesn’t love ice cream served up in a baseball cap?

Lightning 100’s Live on the Green – This free concert series takes place Aug. 20 and Aug. 27 and Sept. 3 and Sept. 10-12 at Public Square Park in downtown Nashville. The lineup includes my faves Shakey Graves.

Star PartiesIf your kids are into astronomy there are several great options for star gazing: Bowie Nature Park Star Party at 8:30 p.m. July 24 in Fairview, and a second one August 14 at 8:30 p.m. at Bells Bend Outdoor Center. Visit for details.

Waterpalooza at Centennial Park – This looks FANTASTIC! Advance tickets for this August 23 event are just $10. This event is kid and dog friendly and will feature old school fun such as pop-up water slides and water games, a dunking booth benefiting the Nashville Humane Association, live music, a beer garden, and a “Chill Station” with a misting tent, horseshoes, corn-hole and other outdoor games.

Leiper’s Fork Lawnchair Theatre – This is a fun free family movie night in quaint and picturesque Leiper’s Fork. (Hey Justin Timberlake just bought 126 acres in Leiper’s Fork so maybe you’ll see him…or maybe not!)
Belle Meade Plantation Nerd Night – Enjoy the dog days of summer on the back porch at Belle Meade Mansion during the August 20 event as part of this ongoing series. There will be a family friendly pickin’ party and jam session with the plantation’s music historian, Matt Klinedinst, and you’ll learn about 19th-century music.
Sugar Dive Ice Cream Happy Hours – Our favorite candy store in Green Hills is offering an ice cream happy hour in July! Get a $1 scoop of ice cream between 4 and 6 p.m. every day in July.
Regal Cinema Summer Movie Express – Catch a dollar movie with your kids. 10 a.m. showings and a portion of the sales goes to the Will Rogers Institute.
Kids Bowl Free Program – Register your kids and they will be eligible to bowl two free games daily (until 6 p.m.), all summer long! Participating bowling alleys include: Tusculum Strike and Spare (Nashville), Oak Valley Lanes (Nashville), Donelson Plaza Strike and Spare, Hendersonville Strike and Spare & Circus World, Thunder Alley FEC (Dickson), Murfreesboro Strike and Spare and Hermitage Lanes. This is a nationwide program. Find your local participating bowling alley at the Kids Bowl Free website.Brentwood Skate Center – We’ve thrown a few birthday parties here and it is always a blast from the past (the skate center opened in 1981.) This is a great way to beat the heat, get exercise, and have old-school fun.
Bluegrass Along the Harpeth – This free event in late July will get your toes tapping and is held in my favorite spot in Middle Tennessee, historic downtown Franklin.
Music in the Vines – These free weekend concerts are held on the grounds of Arrington Vineyards.Starlight Jam – This summer concert series is also held in Williamson County at Bowie Nature park in beautiful Fairview, Tennessee.
Padrino’s Pops – I tried these earlier this summer at a grilling event and they are amazing! Their main location is on Granny White, but follow them on Twitter to see where they will be set up.
Jeni’s Ice Creams – The  Hillsboro Village location just opened this summer and is on my frozen treats bucket list for summer!
Ice Day at Nashville Zoo – Speaking of cooling off, the Nashville Zoo’s annual Ice Day is July 25. We’ve attended this in the past and it’s great fun. Ice cream is served, the zoo animals get icy treats, and there are a lot of extra activities for kids. We even had a little run-in with fame and none other than Snowbird himself!
Mammoth Cave – Cool off with a trip to Kentucky and a cave tour. I’ve experienced this as a kid and now my own kids have tried it and loved it! It’s a great way to learn about cave formations and beat the heat.
Blue Lagoon Splash Park – Speaking of Kentucky, the Splash Lagoon Water Park at Beech Bend is a great family oriented park and Bowling Green, home to my alma mater Western Kentucky University, is a fun little college town. After you’ve spent a day at the water park, check out Double Dogs for dinner (which now has a location in Hillsboro Village). The Western Kentucky University campus (my alma mater) is also beautiful for an evening walk.


  1. Amy @ Fearless Homemaker says:

    Oh, thank you for posting this! I hadn’t heard of the Summer Saturdays at the TN Ag. Center, but they sound right up my 2-year-old’s alley! I just mentioned it to my husband, and apparently he has a lot of fond memories visiting there as a child and teen himself (he’s a born and raised Tennessean.) We’re going to check it out this Saturday, and then if we like it, the next 2 Saturdays, too. Thank you!! xo

    • Jamie Reeves says:

      Amy, I am SO glad you are going to check it out. Your daughter will absolutely love it. My 10-year-old daughter is obsessed with goats so we have the “goat Saturday” marked on our calendar! I’m not sure why not many people know about it, but it’s a perfect summer Saturday outing with kids.

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