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Toronto or Tennessee

So we are planning our spring break. We will have our 14 year old. We’ve never been to either. Was thinking Memphis or Nashville. It’s a little cheaper to fly to Toronto. We are interested in things like food, museums, shopping, music. . Kind of all the touristy things. Which place would be better for a 14 yo? Is it possible to get around Toronto without renting a car? As I said, I don’t know much about either place. Only what people have told me and they both sound great. I know one will b much colder.

Posted by
1101 posts

I have not done Toronto with kids but my kids loved Nashville and Memphis. In Nashville they loved the Parthenon and in Memphis Graceland and the Bass Pro Shop in the giant pyramid.

Posted by
2224 posts

We love Toronto, and the public transportation is great. That said, I'd go for the warm in Tennessee! Toronto, being on the lake, is a little more fun in warmer weather.

Posted by
4065 posts

As one of the most multi-ethnic cities on the planet, you can tour the world in Toronto's restaurants, both elaborate and mom-and-pop.

Posted by
198 posts

In Toronto there are European-style food markets (St Lawrence Market, Kensington Market), a fantastic Chinatown. It's way off Broadway with a vibrant professional theater scene. There's Second City where some SNL and SCTV alums got their start. The view from the top of CN Tower. Art museums, opera, everything. Yes, it will probably be cold, but there's lots of fun things to see inside!

Posted by
10 posts

I moved to Nashville, TN for my retirement city five years ago. I could have gone anywhere I wanted, but selected Nashville. There is a ton of things to do here. If you are interested in history in general, and Civil War history in specific, there are numerous battle sites to visit in and around the city. Some very large but little known battles were fought here. The Battle of Stones River was a three day battle involving about 90,000 troops. Each side lost about one third of their forces. The Battle of Franklin was short but very ugly, even by Civil War standards. About 50,000 troops fought for 5 hours and racked up 10,000 casualties. The Battle of Nashville was the final crushing of Confederate General Hood's Army of Tennessee. The Parthenon is pretty cool. It's a full scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece. An afternoon or evening in the honky-tonk district on south Broadway is a must. The General Jackson paddleboat ride is great. It's a replica of a mid-1800s showboat. You can take just the boat ride, or attend dinner and the show. There are some museums, the Frist Art Museum and the Tennessee State Museum. Stroll around downtown and over the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River for a great view of the city. If you like music, tour or catch a show at the Ryman Auditorium where many country music greats got their start. The Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn Museums may interest you. Nashville is the state capitol, so there is the State House. Stroll around Centennial Park and Bi-centennial Mall. Grab a show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. There are several ante-bellum plantation mansions you can tour. Oh yes, the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's home is also here. I think that should keep you busy.

Posted by
245 posts

Toronto is a wonderful city, and your US dollars will go 30% further there. Great food, of all sorts -- Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural city in the world, so you'll be able to find and try just about any style and price-point of food you're looking for. Shopping, museums, music? Check. Good public transportation too.......the down side will be the weather during Spring Break which will be - dunno. Very variable.

Posted by
380 posts

Chattanooga is surprisingly delightful. Excellent aquarium and some great historical sites, as well as some fun kitschy ones: Lookout Mountain and Rock City.

Also St Elmo Tacos, if I'm remembering the name correctly.

Posted by
1332 posts

Well, the first question is does everyone have a passport and can meet the entry requirements into Canada? Past DUIs can be particularly thorny.

I’m going to be painting with a wide brush here. Renting a car would be very helpful in Nashville and not needed in Toronto. This is a general guideline and not Gospel.

Toronto is great for museums, if anyone has any interest in hockey, the Hockey Hall of Fame is there. The Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery are also world class.

Toronto is an international city and there’s just about any cuisine you can imagine and the strong US dollar makes dining affordable.

The spring weather can be iffy assuming your spring break falls around Easter.

Posted by
4629 posts

I'd choose Toronto but haven't visited.

I think of Nashville as primary a party town, drinking and listening to live music. Fun, but maybe not for a 14 year old. There is other stuff to do, but mostly lower tier stuff. Exceptions:

The Gaylord Opryland is amazing to see for any age.

The Hermitage is also a top tier site.

Posted by
422 posts

As a native Nashvillian, I feel very sad to read the its reputation has become that of a partying town. There is far more to do in Nashville than party, including:
-the world's only replica of the Parthenon
-the Country Music Hall of Fame
-Frist Art Museum
-Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
-Civil War history
-antebellum homes (Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation)
-very welcoming people

I'm not necessarily saying choose Nashville over Toronto, but please remember Nashville is about far more than partying.

Posted by
4065 posts

Toronto is a sports city. The basketball champion Raptors are enjoying another fine season. The Maple Leafs are so-so on the ice, as usual, but the Hockey Hall of Fame has enough atmosphere to interest even a casual fan. The baseball Blue Jays are rebuilding (again) but their stadium with its retractable dome is a show in itself. Season opens in early April. Toronto Football Club won the Major Soccer League Cup a few years ago; their opening game is in early March. The oldest pro team is the Argonauts, playing Canadian football, which is complicated to explain and won't be playing in spring anyhow.
All the arenas and stadiums are fairly near each other in the downtown core.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks everyone for the recommendations. We’ve decided to go to Toronto.

Posted by
996 posts

Please let us know what you do in Toronto! I have only ever caught a plane there, so I'd love to hear more about what there is to do from someone who visits as a tourist.

Posted by
7050 posts

The below link is an excellent resource for Toronto, published by their tourism bureau. I used it to plan my trips there (you can also check out one of the many library books covering Toronto)

Posted by
6804 posts

Headed to Nashville in May for a family get together, and I was astonished how much hotels cost. They are more expensive than in London. Later this year I’m headed to Spain and two nights in an 8th century castle cost 1/3 less than one night at our hotel in Nashville. That being said, there are probably more things your 14 year old would enjoy in Nashville than Toronto. For bang for the buck, I’d choose Toronto, so you made the right choice.

Posted by
1172 posts

We went to Nashville last summer. I would for sure pick Toronto. Much more to do, much better and diverse food and much more multicultural. Nashville was just ok.