Tennessee can get quite warm during the summer months — It’s a big reason why we’re so fond here of ice-cold sweet tea and shady front porches. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep cool if you’re visiting Franklin on a hot, sunny day.
Go out for ice cream
Nothing beats the heat like an ice cream cone, and you’ll find a range of frozen dessert options in Franklin. At The Factory, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams serves up scrumptious scoops of high-quality ice cream — I recommend the Brambleberry Crisp and Brown Butter Almond Brittle.
Whit’s Frozen Custard in Franklin’s Berry Farms neighborhood gets high marks from frozen custard fans. La Paleteria Ice Cream Shop offers Mexican-inspired ice cream flavors that are drawing rave reviews from customers. And Hattie Jane’s Creamery has southern-inspired ice creams that are absolutely unforgettable.
Search the Stacks for a Summertime Read
Summer is a perfect time to dive into a good book, and downtown Franklin has one of the best bookstores around. Landmark Booksellers is billed as a booklover’s paradise, and as a longtime customer, I’d say that’s definitely the case.
Here, you’ll find a carefully curated collection of new, old and rare books, all housed in the oldest commercial building in Franklin. Visitors here have included Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston! Landmark also has the best vintage children’s book collection in Middle Tennessee. If you’re a book lover, you’ll definitely want to see this Franklin treasure for yourself.
Catch a classic movie favorite at the Franklin Theatre
The iconic Franklin Theatre is one of my favorite places to see a movie or show. They’ve added lots of fan-favorite movies to their summertime roster, and many of them have daytime showings, including Raya and the Last Dragon, Jumanji, Footloose, and Dirty Dancing, to name a few.
This summer, there’s a different movie playing almost every day of the week! You’d better believe I’ll be in attendance on multiple hot days over the next few months. How about you?
Indulge in retail therapy
It’s never too hot at the mall, and Franklin has one of my all-time favorites: CoolSprings Galleria. I love this mall because there’s something there for every one of my family members.
My teens love Hot Topic, Tilly’s, BoxLunch, and Forever 21, while I can be found at Altar’d State, Pottery Barn, and Sephora. And for my husband, there’s Macy’s and Johnston & Murphy. And for those of you with little ones, there’s an American Girl store, a Build-a-Bear, and a very well-stocked candy shop.
I also recommend downtown Franklin’s Main Street for shopping, even on a hot day. It’s easy to pop in and out of the many wonderful shops that line the street and you’ll also find plenty of places to stop in for a cold drink, a refreshing lunch, or a sweet treat.
Explore The Factory at Franklin
The Factory at Franklin is hugely popular with locals, and when you visit, you’ll understand why. Once a stove factory, this historic building has been transformed into a space that houses wonderful shops, restaurants, a performance venue, and the Saturday Franklin Farmer’s Market.
Get some grub at Mojo’s Tacos, Five Daughter’s Bakery, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Pinchy’s Lobster Company, or Mafiaoza’s. Grab a cold brew at Honest Coffee Roasters or stop in one of the shops that include home goods, gifts, flowers, and more.
Experience Virtual Reality
Virtual reality games are so much fun, especially when the weather outside is frightful! Franklin is home to The Rabbit Hole VR, a 6,000 square foot virtual reality arcade with arcade game sessions for anywhere from one to 12 players at a time and escape games for either two or four players.
Kids eight and up can play arcade games, ages and up can play all the games. Virtual reality games are one of the most fun things you can do with friends or family members of all ages — My immediate family ranges in age from 14 to 60, and we love playing VR games together.
Take a drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway
Want to enjoy the outdoors without breaking a sweat? Take a car ride down the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway. This 444-mile scenic byway runs from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi, and is managed by the National Park Service, and a portion of it runs right through Franklin’s rolling countryside.
Enter the parkway in Franklin and you’ll soon see incredible views (especially on the Natchez Trace Bridge) and plenty of wildlife. If you want to make an afternoon of it, I suggest you drive an hour down the parkway to mile marker 391.9, where you’ll find Fall Hollow. Once you park in the marked lot, you can take a paved pathway to a platform overlooking a large waterfall.
After that, keep going down the short, steep dirt path into the woods and you’ll find several more waterfalls, including one that falls into a clear pool of ankle-deep water and is perfect for kids (and adults!) to play in.
Here’s to enjoying a hot summer day in Franklin! Stay cool, drink lots of water, and make the most of all this charming historic town has to offer.