With the amount of times I’ve compared Franklin to a Hallmark movie, it should be a no-brainer that it’s a town riddled with romance. A stroll down Main Street or a fancy dinner anywhere in Williamson County makes the perfect backdrop for a date night, but it all comes alive in an extra-special way once the holiday season rolls around.
Whether it’s a first date, a friend date, or “just because,” we’ve rounded up five festive itineraries to keep the sparks flying all season long.
Date 1: Dinner and a Movie
Few places in downtown Franklin are more iconic than The Franklin Theatre, which leans into the holiday season by showing plenty of festive films. Book tickets in advance for a showing of classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, The Polar Express, Home Alone, and much more. Don’t fill up on popcorn and sweets, though! After the film, head across the street to Red Pony for a beef tenderloin or rack of lamb. Then, toast to love with a cocktail from Stable Reserve.
Date 2: Drive-Thru Lights
Each year, FrankTown Open Hearts hosts the Festival of Lights at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center. Load up your car with your partner and a thermos of hot chocolate, then spend time taking in dancing lights that span a whopping mile and a half. If you’re anxious to keep the holiday light tour going, cruise through some of Williamson County’s most charming neighborhoods, including Princeton Hills, Westhaven, Sunnyside, and downtown Franklin’s side streets. Then, grab a bite and a nightcap at the dazzling Sperry’s in Cool Springs afterward.
Date 3: Sweets with your Sweetie
We all love sugarplums, gingerbread, candy canes, and fruitcake (ok, maybe not), and there are plenty of bakeries and cafés throughout Williamson County ready to satisfy your sweet tooth. Warn your date to don their stretchy pants, then set out on a county-wide adventure to find all the best holiday treats. Think: gingerbread kits from Triple Crown Bakery, seasonal donuts from Five Daughters, a caffeinated pick-me-up from Hank’s Coffee Station, and a Gingerbread Latte from The Fainting Goat.
Photo Credit: @annabellethefox
Date 4: Pop-Up Bar Crawl
You may need to bring along a designated driver for this date night, because Williamson County brought their A-game for holiday pop-up bars this season. You can get your fill of jingle juice at spots like McGavock’s Coffee Bar and Provisions, which transforms into the movie reference-filled “World’s Best Cup of Coffee Bar.” Or, keep the sweets flowing with a visit to Americana Taphouse’s Dolly Parton-inspired Hard Candy Christmas bar. Then, venture out of Downtown Franklin for a stop at Spring Hill’s Magnolia Hideaway, which will transform into a festive escape all December long.
Date 5: A Date from Christmas Past
Franklin is synonymous with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol once the holidays roll around, thanks to the incredibly popular Dickens of a Christmas festival that takes place each December. While the festival itself makes for an excellent daytime date, you can keep the sentiment rolling into date night with a step back in time. Set out on a tour to learn about the city’s history (or its legendary ghosts), then stroll Main Street to pop into all the historic buildings and businesses in town. Stop at time-honored spots like Gray’s on Main or the Bunganut Pig (which has been in business since the ‘80s!), then pause for a nightcap at the storied Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor before blasting back to the present.