15 Free Things To Do in Franklin
As a mom of two young kids, it’s basically my job to find fun and entertaining activities to entertain my kiddos around town. Especially during the summer months, we are always on the hunt for an activity on the cheap!
Thankfully, Franklin and the surrounding areas are full of family-friendly parks, trails, and opportunities to learn the area’s history. I have created a list below of some of our favorite places to visit without breaking the bank!
Digital Walking Tours
Elementary age history buffs and adults alike will be intrigued by the digital walking tours available to download through Visit Franklin.
There are several free digital tours, including Historic Homes of Hincheyville, Great American Main Street, Haunts and Headstones, and more. This is a fantastic way to learn more about the area’s history and hear some interesting stories. Download and complete a walking tour, then head to the visitor center in downtown Franklin to receive a special prize!
Midnight Sun Scavenger Hunt
Learn about Midnight Sun, the famed Tennessee Walking Horse that called Franklin home, with a fun scavenger hunt for the whole family! Download the clues and search for the 10 horse statues hidden around downtown Franklin.
Each Midnight Sun statue is located in a spot of historical significance in shaping the history of both Franklin and the United States. Once you’ve completed the scavenger hunt, head to the visitor center in downtown Franklin to claim your prize!
Heritage Foundation Tours
The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County also offers self-guided walking tours highlighting several historic sites. Families can learn about local historical points of interest such as Landmark Book Sellers, Reconstruction Era Houses, and more through the downloadable tours! Find the maps to download here.
Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge
One of the most photographed spots along the Nachez Trace is the double arch bridge in Franklin. The bridge carries Natchez Trace travelers across the valley and Highway 96.
The picturesque bridge can be viewed from two locations, just north and just south, with parking areas at both locations to take in the stunning scenery.
Eastern Flank Battlefield Park
This park is one of the Battle of Franklin sites, consisting of 110 acres with walking and historic interpreted trails. It’s the perfect place for kids to ride bikes through the trails or take a leisurely walk while reading the various historic plaques located along the trails.
Cars & Coffee
Franklin is known for having unique vintage and custom car collections. On the first Saturday morning of every month, you can see these incredible cars at the Cars & Coffee event in the parking lot of Thoroughbred Theatre in Cool Springs. This event is free and is a great way to spend a fun Saturday morning with the whole family!
Pinkerton Park is just a hop, skip, and jump from downtown Franklin. The 34-acre public park includes the gated Tinkerbell Park, a one-mile lighted and paved pedestrian trail, and three picnic pavilions.
I have been taking my kids here since they were babies, and to this day, it’s still their favorite park in town!
Franklin Forge at The Factory
Local blacksmith, Bob Parks, creates custom forged ironwork inside The Factory at Franklin. Parks also offers free demonstrations daily for anyone who drops by!
This is a unique opportunity to see a true artist at work and browse some of his gorgeous ironwork.
Farmers Markets are one of my favorite ways to experience the community and get to know local producers. Whether you are in the market for locally produced goods or you just want to browse, Franklin has several opportunities to do so! The Franklin Farmers Market is located outside
The Factory on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the warmer months, guests can also enjoy some local talent playing live music at the venue. The Five Points Franklin Market is a new addition in 2021, right downtown! This market features local produce, handmade products, and artisan goods every Tuesday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
The Park at Harlinsdale Farm
The picturesque Park at Harlinsdale Farm is a go-to for family pictures and picnics. This 200-acre farm has been called the most significant historic farm associated with the modern Tennessee Walking Horse industry.
Amenities include plenty of acreage for running and playing, a 4-acre dog park, a 3-acre pond with catch and release fishing (state license required), and an equestrian trail!
Marcella Vivrette Smith Park
Marcella Vivrette Smith Park is home to the beautiful Ravenswood Mansion and more than six miles of rugged hiking trails. Choose between the four different trails ranging in difficulty and distance. My family enjoys these trails year-round; our dog, Bruce, also loves to tag along!
Another fantastic spot for kids to bike and scooter close to downtown Franklin is Bicentennial Park. Nestled in between downtown and the Harpeth River, this greenway also includes an overlook of the river. This is an ideal spot with plenty of shade trees to get some exercise on a hot summer day.
Downtown Franklin Water Fountain
A fountain in downtown Franklin sounds simple enough, but this wishing well filled with rubber ducks makes for endless entertainment for little ones.
Trust me; I’ve spent plenty of time sitting with fellow moms on the park benches surrounding the fountain while the kiddos frolic around the fountain trying to “catch the ducks.”
How could I include a list of fun spots for kids and adults without including the quaint village of Leiper’s Fork? The scenic drive alone is worth the trip, but this small rural town is a dreamy village you can’t miss!
With plenty of shops, art galleries, and local restaurants, visitors will be entertained pursuing the area while getting a taste of country life.
Franklin is home to a variety of family-friendly festivals that are free to attend. From the annual Main Street Festival featuring local vendors, performances, street food to Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas that each fills Franklin’s historic Main Street.
These fun festivals are part of what makes Franklin such a fantastic place to visit all year round! Check the dates and times of the various festivals here.