8 Cool Activities for a Hot Summer Day in Franklin

Franklin really shines in the summer, when our many acres of forests and fields are lush, green, and glorious. But while summertime offers a perfect opportunity for outdoor activities like hiking and biking, sometimes we all need a little break from the heat. Fortunately, Franklin has plenty of indoor activities that will allow you to have fun and keep cool at the same time! 

The Factory at Franklin

There’s no cooler way to beat the heat right now than with a visit to the newly renovated Factory at Franklin. Take a historic walking tour and learn about The Factory’s industrial past, then check out all the building’s newly-opened shops and eateries. Recent restaurant additions include The White Alligator and Hattie B’s, while Nashville mainstay Etch and Australian favorite Two Hands will be opening soon. Browse gifts and home decor at Lemon Gift ShopFork of the South, and Made in TN, jewelry at Judith Bright, or stylish vintage gear at The Find.  Enjoy a cocktail at The Skylight or take in a show at Studio Tenn or The Mockingbird Theater. You’ll find plenty of ways to spend an afternoon and evening here, no matter the weather outside. 

Craft Coffee Trail

When it comes to great coffee houses, Franklin is first-rate. Download a digital passport for the Craft Coffee Trail and you’ll find 12 area coffee shops to choose from — all offer cold, caffeinated drinks that will keep you going on the hottest of days. From The RedByrd Coffee Shop in Leiper’s Fork to the Coffeehouse at Second and Bridge, which you’ll find inside one of downtown Franklin’s beautiful historic homes, to the popular Frothy Monkey, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in addition to all your caffeinated favorites, there’s a café here to suit every taste.

Need a good book to go with that mocha? Landmark Booksellers in downtown Franklin is a true book lover’s paradise, offering new, old, and rare books inside Franklin’s oldest commercial structure. Built in 1808, visitors to this building have included Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston. Meanwhile, in Franklin’s Westhaven community, you’ll find Bound Booksellers, which has a well-curated collection of books, toys and games, gifts, and stationery. 

Paddle Dog

Rent canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards from Paddle Dog on Westhaven Lake and practice your floatation skills on one of the most popular lakes in town. Afterward, order burgers and beers at Paddle Dog’s lakeside restaurant and stick around for live music or Trivia Night. 

The Franklin Theatre

Take in a show at the historic Franklin Theatre, which offers a full roster of summertime events that include live music, family movies, comedy acts, date night films, and more. You’ll love the theater’s lush surroundings and state-of-the-art sound system, as well as its snack and beverage selection, which includes beer and wine. 

Historic Home Tours

The Battle of Franklin was one of the Civil War’s most harrowing battles, and the stories of the families who lived through it are riveting and unforgettable. Franklin has three historic homes that played pivotal roles in the Civil War’s Battle of Franklin and are open to the public for tours — CarntonLotz House, and Carter House. Since they’re located in close proximity, many visitors opt to tour all three in one day. Each tour lasts between 30 minutes and an hour and recounts residents’ experiences during what was believed to be the bloodiest incident in Civil War history. Want more? Drive a few minutes outside Franklin to Rippa Villa and find out what happened to the occupants of this plantation home during the Battle of Spring Hill, one day before the Battle of Franklin took place.

Spa Day

A hot summer day offers the perfect opportunity for some self care. Head to the Spa at Southall for a massage and facial in bucolic surroundings,  book a mani/pedi at A Moment’s Peace in Cool Springs, be sure and add a scalp massage to your treatments at Franklin’s Woodhouse Day Spa, or top off a day of shopping with a relaxing afternoon of treatments at The Spa at Leiper’s Fork.

For trendier treatments, you’ll find energy-balancing massages at The NOW Spa in downtown Franklin and infrared saunas and float therapy at Pure Sweat and Sēk Sauna, both in Cool Springs. In Nolensville, Serenity Salt Cave’s salt therapy sessions will help you relax and unwind in coolness and comfort.

Indoor Art Projects

Get creative and enjoy the air conditiong at Spark: An Art Studio. Once you’ve arrived in this cheerful Brentwood-based shop, grab a canvas or a slab of wood and fill clear cups with colorful mosaic tiles and bits of glass to coat it with. Soon you’ll have a handmade, textured piece of art to commemorate your trip.

No need to stop there—keep on crafting at AR Workshop Franklin, a DIY boutique specializing in handmade and hands-on crafting experiences, including pet beds, bottle openers, pillows, porch signs, and more. By the time you’re putting the finishing touches on your creation, you’ll be ready to brave the heat once again, customized décor in hand.

Want to spend a few hours painting your own pottery? Head to Third Coast Clay at The Factory at Franklin and pick from a myriad of vessels and sculptures that you’re free to customize however you choose.  

Indoor Games

Take aim with an axe at Sticks and Stones Axe Co. Go bowling with the fam at the Franklin Family Entertainment Center or Kings Dining & Entertainment in Cool Springs. Bounce, climb and zipline at Urban Air Adventure Park. Choose between retro, virtual reality, and next-generation games at Joyfull Arcade in Spring Hill.  Explore virtual reality with multi-player games at Digital World VR.  Whatever you choose, you’ll expend some energy and enjoy the luxury of air conditioning at the same time!