Author Elizabeth holding a paddle for kayaking in Harpeth River, a things to do in Franklin

19 Best Things to Do in Franklin TN (in 2023)

Just a short drive from Nashville, there are some great things to do in Franklin Tennessee. Whether you’re just in Franklin for a day or staying here for longer, your schedule will be as packed as you want it to be.

Franklin is home to many historic buildings, a vibrant Main Street, boutique shops, cool restaurants, and beautiful scenery. As someone who takes regular day trips from Nashville, I love visiting Franklin for the city’s special events and festivals. 

Using my insider knowledge, I’m here to give you the inside scoop on the best things to do in Franklin!

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19 Best Things to Do in Franklin TN

Franklin Theatre

Catch a live show or watch your favorite movie in this art deco theater

Cars park in front of the Franklin Theatre building
The iconic Franklin Theatre marquee

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 538-2076 | Website 

Built as a movie theater in 1937, today the Franklin Theatre is the place to go for live music, theatrical performances, and movies in Franklin.

With seating for only 322, every seat is a great seat. Take a look at what’s on the schedule during your visit and then enjoy a show at this beautiful art deco theatre on Main Street in Franklin.

The Factory at Franklin

Look through the boutique shops, antiques, and art galleries

View inside the Fork of the South, one of the stores in The Factory at Franklin
Fork of the South, a general store in the Factory at Franklin

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 791-1777 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 6 pm daily

Located just a mile away from East Main Street, this converted 1920s-era factory complex is now full of restaurants, boutique stores, antique shops, art galleries, and other interesting attractions. 

This is one of the best things to do in Franklin TN if you love sugar. Since I have a sweet tooth, my favorite places there are Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Five Daughters Bakery.

Franklin Farmers Market

Browse items from local farmers and artists 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 592-1337 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 1 pm Saturdays 

If you’re in Franklin on a Saturday, stop by the Franklin Farmers Market held at the Factory in Franklin. Tennessee has plenty of local farms, and you’ll see all kinds of local produce and meats that supply restaurants in Nashville

It’s fun to walk through the market, and you can try out the baked goods and browse through the stalls selling local crafts.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Go for a drive and enjoy the views

The Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge under the clear blue sky in Franklin
Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge

📍 Google Maps | Website

For those who love the outdoors, take a drive down the historic Natchez Trace Parkway. This 444-mile road follows the original pathway first used by Native Americans. 

You probably won’t have time to follow the entire path because it takes about 5 days to drive, but you can enjoy the scenic stops along the beginning portion. These include the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge, a double arch bridge. If you visit in the fall when the leaves are changing, the views are absolutely beautiful.

👉 Read Next: 25 Top Places to Go in Tennessee

Carter House

Explore one of the Civil War sites in Franklin

View of the Carter House in Franklin from the outside
The Carter House in Downtown Franklin

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 791-1861 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm Sundays | Entrance: $18 adults, $10 ages 6-15

If you’re interested in Civil War history, then you’ll enjoy visiting the Carter House. Union General Jacob D. Cox took up headquarters in the house right before the Battle of Franklin. 

Over 1000 bullet and shrapnel holes are visible evidence of the battle that took place as the Carter family hid in the basement. Today, several different tours are offered of the house and the grounds.

Arrington Vineyards

Try a wine flight and enjoy a beautiful afternoon

Author Elizabeth enjoying her charcuterie plate in Arrington Vineyard
Me enjoying a charcuterie plate at Arrington Vineyards

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 395-0102 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 8 pm Monday-Thursday and Saturdays, 11 am – 9 pm Fridays, 12 pm – 8 pm Sundays | Entrance: Free 

You might not expect to find a winery in Williamson County, but Arrington Vineyards is one of the best things to do in Franklin. Pack a picnic (or order from one of the on-site food options) and enjoy sipping wine while looking out over the vineyards. 

You can also try out a wine flight and grab a bottle of your favorite to take home with you. The sweet flight is my favorite. There’s also live music on the weekends in the summer. There’s nothing better on a warm afternoon that listening to a band while drinking a glass of frosé. 

👉 Pro Tip: Time your visit for Food Truck Friday to try out some of the most delicious food truck offerings in the area.

Puckett’s Grocery

Eat homecooked-style Southern food

View of people outside the Puckett’s Grocery
Puckett’s Grocery in Downtown Franklin

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 794-5527 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 7 am – 10 pm Friday-Saturday

Puckett’s Grocery first opened in Leiper’s Fork in the 1950s. The restaurant now has 6 locations, including the one in Downtown Franklin, all serving delicious Southern staples. The meat-and-three is always a great option for lunch and dinner, but if you happen to be there for breakfast, try the skillet cinnamon roll! 

Besides the food, Puckett’s is known for its welcoming atmosphere. You’ll feel like family as soon as you walk in.

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary

Explore the flora and fauna of Middle Tennessee

A barn owl in Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
Barn Owl

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 370-4672 | Website | Hours: 8:30 am – 3 pm Monday-Saturday, Closed Sundays | Entrance: $5 adults and children, Free under 2 

Located in Williamson County, Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary is a protected area that’s home to more than 2000 species of native wildlife and plant life. The sanctuary is around 300 acres and contains multiple habitats including hills, forests, creeks, ponds, and meadows. 

There are activities for all ages. One of the most popular events is the marshmallows and hot chocolate hikes that take place during the winter months.

📚 Related Reading: 13 Hikes Near Nashville

Mill Creek Brewing Company

Sample the unique brews at this microbrewery

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 776-3377 | Website | Hours: 4 – 9:30 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 12 – 10 pm Fridays, 11 am – 10 pm Saturdays, 12 – 9:30 pm Sundays, Closed Mondays 

Mill Creek Brewing Company is a local brewery located in nearby Nolensville. If beer is your thing, then you’ll want to try the unique brews that are only available here. 

You can take a tour of the brewery on Saturdays or swing by for happy hour during the week. Check the website to see if there are fun events like trivia night or live music taking place during your visit to Franklin.

Harpeth River

Kayak or canoe down the Harpeth River

Author Elizabeth holding a paddle for kayaking in Harpeth River
Me ready for an afternoon of kayaking

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 952-4211 | Canoe Music City Website | Hours: 8:30 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: $55 canoe rental, $45 kayak rental

The Harpeth River runs through Williamson County. There are multiple spots along the river where adventurous visitors can put in their own canoes or kayaks. If you’d rather rent a kayak instead of bringing your own, Canoe Music City in nearby Kingston Springs offers rentals and shuttle service.

Leiper’s Fork

Discover one of the most charming small towns in Tennessee

View from the Leiper’s Fork Lawn Chair Theatre in Franklin
Leiper’s Fork Lawn Chair Theatre

📍 Google Maps | Website 

For a fun afternoon or evening, head to Leiper’s Fork. This small unincorporated community is located in Williamson County about a 15-minute drive from Franklin. Leiper’s Fork is a charming little town where you can browse art galleries and listen to live music while surrounded by pastures and farms on every side.

Pilgrimage Festival

Listen to local and regional artists alongside major names at this music festival

📍 Website | Festival Passes: $159-989

Each September, Franklin is host to a music festival that brings together artists from a wide variety of genres, including country music, of course. The lineup changes each year, but past performers include Jack White, Justin Timberlake, and Kacey Musgraves. 

More than 60 artists perform during the 2-day event. If you’re a music lover, this is an event worth attending.

🛎️ Need a Hotel? Check out these hotels in Franklin, so you can stay nearby during Pilgrimage Festival.

Carnton Plantation

See the historic home used as a field hospital during the Civil War

The Carnton Mansion from the outside under the clear blue sky
Carnton Mansion

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 794-0903 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm Sundays | Entrance: $18 adults, $10 ages 6-15

Carnton Plantation is another one of the historic homes that played a role in the Civil War Battle of Franklin. After the battle ended, Carnton Plantation was used as a field hospital by the Confederate troops.

Today, you can take an hour-long guided tour of the house and access the grounds. For history buffs, this is an interesting experience. 

Lotz House

Learn about the history of the Lotz House Museum

The Lotz House Museum from the outside during fall season
Front of the Lotz House Museum

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 790-7190 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am – 4 pm Sundays | Entrance: $14 adults, $6 children 7-13, Free for children 6 and under 

The Lotz House in Downtown Franklin was also affected by the Battle of Franklin. In addition to the battle scars the house has from the fighting, guests can see the many antiques the house contains. 

The original owner, Johann Albert Lotz, was a talented woodworker who showcased many of his best works in this house. If you are interested in history, this is a unique site to visit.

SOAR Adventure Tower

Test your abilities on the ropes courses

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 721-5103 | Website | Hours: 1 – 8 pm Monday-Thursday, 1 – 10 pm Fridays, 10 am – 10 pm Saturdays, 10 am – 8 pm Sundays | Entrance: $50, adults, $45 ages 8-17, $33 ages 3-7

For the fearless (and somewhat athletic) visitors, try out SOAR Adventure Tower. This fun destination has a variety of challenging ropes courses at different heights. 

It’s a great activity to try out with friends and family. If not everyone in your group is a fan of heights, they can always do the lower courses and stay near the ground.

Urban Air Adventure Park

Spend the day jumping, flipping, and having fun at this trampoline park

View of the entrance to Urban Air Adventure Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (629) 401-3144 | Website | Hours: 4 – 8 pm Monday-Thursday, 4 – 9 pm Fridays, 10 am – 9 pm Saturdays, 11 am – 7 pm Sundays | Entrance: $15.49-33.99 

Bring the family to Urban Air Adventure Park for a day of fun. The trampoline park and indoor playground is the perfect thing to do on a rainy day. Kids of all ages can enjoy trampolines, climbing walls, obstacle courses, and basketball all year long.

Franklin Family Entertainment Center

Bowl a strike at this family-friendly bowling alley

Cars parked in front of the Franklin Family Entertainment Center building

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 790-2695 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 10 pm Sunday-Monday, 10 am – 11 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 10 am – 12 am Friday-Saturday | Entrance: $14.50-19.50 

When it’s time to take a break from outdoor activities, Franklin Family Entertainment Center is a great way to spend time with the entire family. You can do classic bowling, try to win big in the arcade, play a game at the billiards table, or just enjoy the sports grill. 

Pinkerton Park

Explore Franklin’s most popular park

A Tinkerbell Playground signage in Pinkerton Park
The children’s area at Pinkerton Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 794-2103 | Website

When the weather is nice, Pinkerton Park is Franklin’s most visited park. The Tinkerbell Playground is one of the coolest playgrounds in the area. 

If you’re looking for cool things to do near Nashville with kids, then they’ll love playing at Pinkerton Park, and adults can enjoy the surrounding scenery on the 1-mile walking trail. 

Marcella Vivrette Smith Park

Hike the trails at 320-acre park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (615) 371-0060 | Website

One of the best things to do in Franklin TN if you enjoy hiking, Marcella Vivrette Smith Park in nearby Brentwood has 6 miles of rugged hiking trails. The trails are clearly marked and well-maintained. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of Middle Tennessee.

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This should get you started on a few of the best things to do in Franklin TN. There are lots of fun activities no matter what you’re interested in. As you plan your time visiting Franklin, take a look at the best things to do in Nashville just a short drive away.

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