3 Music Cities for Families to Discover


Published:

Broadway

Photo by Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock

Kids and music go together like peanut butter and jelly, and these three unique cities offer music and family fun for all ages. You just have to decide which one to visit first.

New York

From Broadway plays to kindie music, no other American city offers the variety of musical talent and performances like New York. Here are some must-experience destinations if your family travels to the Big Apple.

Broadway

Broadway offers a variety of shows that appeal to kids. Those listed here are open to ages 5 and older. Learn more about what is currently showing at broadway.com.

• Kids will gawk at the life-size puppets in “The Lion King” as the puppets parade down the aisles to the stage.

• Bring your golden ticket and sweet tooth to see Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Kids will enjoy the eye-popping sets that make up Willy Wonka’s world.

• A “Wizard of Oz” retelling, “Wicked” is recommended for ages 8 and older due to some scary elements for younger kids, like flying monkeys. 

“School of Rock” features a cast of real-life kid rock stars and all the fun of the original movie featuring Hollywood star Jack Black. This play is best for older kids since there are some curse words and authority-defying themes.

CirKiz

Kids ages 7-13 will rave about this safe, daytime dance party in a family-friendly redo of popular New York City nightclubs. Enjoy DJs, electronic music and live performances. Visit cirkiz.com for locations and dates.

Carnegie Hall

Beloved artists from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to Judy Garland have graced Carnegie Hall’s stages. Share the magic with your budding musician through free family days and an interactive concert series. Learn more at carnegiehall.org/events/family-events.

Radio City Music Hall

If you plan to be in town during the Christmas season, don’t miss the high-stepping Rockettes as they perform their festive “Christmas Spectacular.” Take your family on the Stage Door Tour of this art-deco diamond and meet a Rockette in person. Learn more at rockettes.com and msg.com/venue-tours/radio-city-music-hall.

Kindie Music Scene

The Big Apple is home to kindie music greats like Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes. Look for various family concert series across the city, including Madison Square Kids and SummerStage Family Workshops. Visit madisonsquarepark.org/kids and cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage to learn more.


Photo courtesy of Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Center

Opryland


Nashville

Nashville’s earliest settlers created the foundation for its “Music City” nickname by playing fiddle tunes and buck dancing after landing on the shores of the Cumberland River. Later, during the 1800s, the first around-the-world music tour by the Fisk Jubilee Singers put Nashville on the map for music publishing. Here are some ways to discover the country music capital of the world for yourself.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Videos, a giant guitar-shaped tunnel and slide, and interactive exhibits will entertain young ones at this Nashville must-see museum. View memorabilia including costumes, cars and instruments. Go deeper into country music history with the RCA Studio B Tour, and see where greats like Elvis Presley recorded. Learn more at countrymusichalloffame.org.

Grand Ole Opry

Shows at the Grand Ole Opry combine new artists with country greats like Montgomery Gentry and Ricky Skaggs, typically consisting of eight or more performers who take the stage for an unrehearsed, live performance. Each act features two or three songs to keep things interesting for shorter attention spans. Enjoy concessions during the show. Learn more at opry.com.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

This resort — a destination within itself — accommodates almost 3,000 rooms, three large pools, a spa, 17 restaurants, an arcade, numerous atriums with gorgeous gardens and waterfalls, and an indoor river large enough for a boat tour. It’s the perfect place for your family to stay while exploring Nashville. Downtown destinations are just 15 minutes away.

Learn more at marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnago-gaylord-opryland-resort-and-convention-center.

Nashville’s Music Mile

Nashville’s Music Mile starts at the Music City Walk of Fame on Demonbreun Street. Take a few selfies with permanent sidewalk markers honoring famous musicians from all genres. Then picnic in nearby Nashville Music Garden. This public green space features six dozen varieties of roses named for country music stars and songs. Take some time to stop and smell the Tennessee Waltz, the Elvis and the Coal Miner's Daughter. Learn more at visitmusiccity.com.

Honky-Tonk With Kids

It would be a shame to be surrounded by honky-tonks, live music and barbecue and not experience these Nashville staples. Lucky for families, a number of Music City restaurants and cafes welcome kids and feature live music. Check out Rippy’s, Station Inn, The Bluebird Cafe, Acme Feed & Seed, Robert’s Western World and the Wildhorse Saloon, just to name a few. When in doubt, visit during lunch or join the early dinner crowd. Live music shows start as early as 11 a.m. Learn more at visitmusiccity.com/visitors/food.


Photo courtesy of AustinTexas.org

Austin City Limits Music Festival


Austin

Austin, Texas, claims to be the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Fortunately, much of this live music is also family-friendly and free. Check out these venues while you’re in town.

Shady Grove restaurant’s Unplugged series is one of the longest-running music series in the city. On Thursday nights from April through September, customers enjoy frosty beers on the shady patio and free live music performed by artists such as Rhett Miller and Flatland Calvary. There is also a kids’ menu. Learn more at theshadygrove.com.

Texas Radio Live From Guero’s Oak Garden takes place every Wednesday night at Guero’s Taco Bar. Families can listen to a variety of Texas’ best musicians. Enjoy live music Thursday-Sunday as well. The tacos aren’t bad, either! The kids’ menu consists of low-priced, kid-pleasing fare. Learn more at gueros.com.

Central Market in Austin North Lamar is a local favorite place to grocery shop and grab something to eat on the shady deck while you listen to live music. A large, nearby playground keeps the kids entertained. Central Market also hosts the Texas Community Music Festival each April, which features an eclectic mix of performers. Learn more at tcmfestival.com.

The Midway Food Park combines green space with a playground, a live music stage and food trucks. Hear musicians perform Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year. Learn more at themidwayfoodpark.com.

One of the best ways to take in a variety of new bands is by experiencing Austin City Limits Festival — perhaps the city’s most well-known, live music event. Kids under age 10 get into the festival free with parents. There are plenty of bands to see before bedtime, and the kids will especially enjoy Austin Kiddie Limits, where they can create crafts, attend music and dance workshops, and listen to live entertainment. This year’s festival takes place Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14, 2018. Learn more at aclfestival.com.

“Austin City Limits” appears weekly on PBS and is the longest-running music program in TV history. Visitors can win tickets to a live taping of the show, which can last up to two hours, at The Moody Theater. Fans can also take a backstage tour of the theater for $12 per person. Learn more at acltv.com.

Rodeo Austin, held every March, combines live music, a fair and a rodeo all in one. Enjoy 100-plus live performances and fairgrounds featuring a carnival, shopping and special attractions. Learn more at rodeoaustin.com.


Before You Go

These music cities will have your family singing your praises, so check out all three. Contact each city’s convention and visitors bureau for more information.

NYC & Company: nycgo.com

Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Center: visitmusiccity.com

Visit Austin: austintexas.org


Christa C. Hogan is a mom of three who takes advantage of Wake County’s year-round public school calendar to travel frequently with her kids.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

The Joy of Letters

The latest 'Father Figuring' column

4 Kids' Books to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

The latest 'Raising Readers' column

5 Ways to Address a Bad Grade on Your College Application

The latest 'College Transitions' column
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

December 2019

Wear your favorite holiday attire and dine with Santa Claus. Enjoy a delicious brunch, stories and crafts, and take pictures with the jolly man from the North Pole. 

Cost: $10/child. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
Joyner Park Community Center
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Girls ages 5-12 take their favorite doll and have a creative time together preparing for the holidays. Register by emailing llpolkhouse2@gmail.com.

Cost: $22/attendee, $20/sister

Where:
Historic Polk House
537 N. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Telephone: 919-676-6368
Website »

More information

See dancers and a guitarist from Flamenco Carolina perform a Spanish style of music and dance.

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Ebeneezer Scrooge was visited by three spirits, but what about the next Christmas? With heartwarming excitement, discover how the Cratchit family has fared in the year that has passed since old...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

The Durham Medical Orchestra performs with special guest Joseph Alessi, principal trombone, New York Philharmonic.

Cost: Free

Where:
Baldwin Auditorium, Duke University
1336 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

As a Christmas gift to our community and surrounding area, Wake Forest Presbyterian Church delivers the true Christmas story in a stirring virtual “walk” through Bethlehem to the stable...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church
12605 Capital Blvd
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Sponsor: Wake Forest Presbyterian Church
Telephone: 919-556-7777
Contact Name: Meghan Reynolds
Website »

More information

Fun for the entire family, enjoy this wonderful, witty retelling of a classic fairy-tale. With a score consisting of well-known pop songs, follow Snow White and her Seven Dwarves as they try to...

Cost: $10-$60/person

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 East South Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-996-8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
Website »

More information

The choir presents its 49th performance on Handel's "Messiah."

Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The first day of winter is right around the corner! Help us welcome the season by making a snow globe to take home. We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult...

Cost: For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); FREE. Registration

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850

More information

Children will enjoy this wonderful book written by John Denver reminding us not to forget about the wildlife this holiday season. We will make a craft then take a walk to look for our wildlife...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join RTOOT as it performs the music of great Italian composers as well as beloved Christmas classics. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $9/adult, $3 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Dan the Animal Man brings some of his animals from his vast collection to entertain all ages. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Help find candy canes hidden in Bond Park before the Grinch turns them green. Ages 6-12. Registration required online. Choose course #127871. 

Cost: $10/child

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Get into the holiday spirit by decorating cooking, making a craft and enjoying a holiday children's show.

Cost: Free

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

The Wake Forest Abilities Choir will present an evening of holiday music under the direction of director.

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrate pecans at the State Farmers Market.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us to learn about how Habitat for Humanity helps build houses, hear a Christmas tale and then build a graham cracker house of your own. Call to, 919-245-2532. Best for ages 4 and up with a...

Cost: free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

Is there a man in the moon, and is the moon made of cheese? Sip on some hot cocoa and listen to some of the stories people have told about the moon and find out if there is truth to them. Then...

Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompanime

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Discover family traditions from North Carolina and around the globe. Create art, enjoy free access to Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism, and have a special visit with Santa.

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art East Building and Museum Plaza
Raleigh, NC


Website »

More information

Bundle up and enjoy an evening around the campfire learning about creatures of the night and listen to Native American tales about some of our favorite nocturnal animals. Roast marshmallows and go...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Kids ages 5-12 enjoy indoor activities while parents enjoy a night out. Register online. 

Cost: $30/resident, $45/nonresident

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

Wear white clothing and play games, tumble and dance. Enjoy pizza, drinks and more. Ages 5-10. Registration required online. Choose course #127487.

Cost: $18/child; $28 for two children per family

Where:
Middle Creek Community Center
125 Middle Creek Ave.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Website »

More information

Friday, December 13, 6:00pm, at both the Millbrook and Wake Forest Campuses. Put on your Christmas jammies, grab a blanket and come out for a  festive night to watch the classic animated...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossroads Fellowship
2721 E Millbrook Road
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Sponsor: Crossroads Fellowship
Telephone: 919-981-0222
Contact Name: Lorraine Entwisle
Website »

More information

Have some fun and make something great at the Clay studio (and parents can sneak away and grab a bite or do some shopping at Northgate Mall). Each kid will complete and paint a piece of pottery...

Cost: $18 per child per workshop

Where:
1058 West Club Blvd
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Telephone: 919-560-2726
Contact Name: Lauren Tannenbaum
Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Sing along with the band as they perform holiday favorites of Christmas, Hanukkah, the winter solstice and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrate the love and joy that this season brings by creating art inspired by a Christmas tree. Register online. Choose course #126761.

Cost: $32/resident, $42/nonresident

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
Website »

More information

Our Reindeer Romp is open to the entire community and our Girls on the Run families. So join us! Celebrate as nearly 1,000 girls reach their end-of-season goals – the finish line is only the...

Cost: $30 - $35

Where:
Koka Booth Amphitheater
8003 Regency Pkwy
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Sponsor: Girls on the Run of the Triangle
Telephone: 919-401-6307
Contact Name: Jamie Botta
Website »

More information

Ages 5-12 make a picture frame for the holidays. Snack provided. Register online. 

Cost: $30/resident, $45/nonresident

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Travel with us to Puerto Rico with books, games and arts and crafts!  Join the staff of ISLA (Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition) for a fun filled hour! Best for ages 3 and up with a...

Cost: Free Gratis

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

One ticket admits the entire family to decorate a special gingerbread house. Supplies provided. Workshops available at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Allergy-free workshop available at 11 a.m....

Cost: $40

Where:
Family Preschool
4907 Garrett Rd
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Family Preschool
Telephone: 919-402-1500
Contact Name: Sue Henson
Website »

More information

Family Wildlife Series: Holiday Habitat Helpers Saturday, December 14, 2-3 Attract winter wildlife to your backyard by providing or improving their habitat.  Create simple outdoor decorations...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us as we watch for meteors during the Gemenids Meteor Shower. Local astronomers will help us observe these shooting stars and other phenomena in the night sky. As a bonus we may see or hear...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Favorite Christmas songs are presented in authentic Nashville country style with dazzling guitars and fiddles along with soaring harmonies. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $25/person

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

See the choir perform beloved Christmas songs with guest vocal group AVANTE. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for families in the Triangle by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!

Subscribe

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.