Here are 5 Reasons Why Franklin, Tennessee is World-Famous

From the outside, Franklin, Tennessee holds obvious charm. Downtown Main Street is one of the most picturesque streets in the country, for instance — a stretch of local businesses, eateries, and boutiques that dress up for every season and welcome visitors with warm Southern hospitality. But Main Street isn’t the only reason that Franklin has become one of the top vacation destinations in the state of Tennessee. At a deeper glance, you’ll find layers of rich history: generations of family land, patchwork farms, Civil War-era structures, scenic stretches of the Natchez Trace, long-standing restaurants, and decades of musical lore. That’s the beauty of visiting Franklin, Tennessee: We have a little something for everyone.

Small-Town Charm With City Perks

You could easily spend a full day perusing the shops in downtown Franklin, and many folks do — the shops are full of clothes, jewelry, plants, outdoor gear, locally made gifts, antiques, home decor, snacks, and paper goods. The beauty of Franklin, however, is that you can also drive ten minutes over to Cool Springs, our commercial hub for larger retailers like Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and even CoolSprings Galleria — a one-million-square foot shoppers’ paradise, with more than 150 stores. Shop small and then enjoy the convenience of Franklin’s proximity to all the urban perks you’d ever need.

Franklin’s Civil War History

If you’re passionate about American history, you’re likely already familiar with the Battle of Franklin, a pivotal battle in Civil War history where the Confederate Army failed to prevent the Union Army from advancing to Nashville. It was one of the worst Confederate losses in the Civil War; Gen. John Bell Hood lost nearly 6,000 soldiers along with six generals and other top military officials, and it happened right in our backyard. 

History buffs can explore several historically significant homes and landmarks that tell the story of the battle, including Carnton, The Carter House (and next-door Carter Gin Site and Park), Lotz House, Eastern Flank Battlefield Park, Fort Granger, and the Battle of Franklin Civil War Museum. For a thorough snapshot, try the Battlefield Walking Tour; the 90-minute experience explores a minimum of seven significant locations with a knowledgeable guide. (Tickets are available at The Carter House).

Franklin is committed to telling the Fuller Story of the Civil War in our region. In the last five years, the City of Franklin and a local community group installed five historical markers in Public Square to shed light on the experience of Franklin’s African American residents pre-, during, and post-Civil War. Four plaques are situated around the square and, in front of the old courthouse where slaves were once bought and sold, a bronze statue of a U.S. Colored Troops soldier represents the 186,000 soldiers who fought for their country and for their own freedom. Visitors can take a self-guided African-American Heritage Tour to learn more about the men, women, and children — both freed and enslaved — who constituted more than half of Franklin’s population before the Civil War.

A Treasure Trove Of Antiques

Whether you’re a dedicated fan of the American Pickers or casually enjoy spending your weekends scoping out estate sales, the antique scene in Franklin shouldn’t be overlooked. With both larger antique mall-style shops and smaller, hidden gems across the county, you can dig for treasure (or the perfect souvenir) in dozens of locations: restored cast iron, vintage jewelry, reclaimed barn wood, meticulously preserved seasonal decor, and one-of-a-kind art that captures the soul of Tennessee are all plentiful here. For a full day of antiquing, check out this list of some of our favorite antique stores and don’t forget a stop-over to Farm Fresh Vintage Finds & Creamery in Fairview — you can indulge in hand-scooped ice cream while you shop.

If you have an afternoon to spare, Leiper’s Fork is one of the most charming places to antique — this small village is full of character. Everywhere you turn, you’ll see an indicator of decades past, including vintage cars that welcome visitors to town and the legendary Pickin’ Corner with a deep musical history in Patina Home & Garden. Leiper’s Fork Market is a step back in time onto wide-plank wooden floors and walls dotted with old photographs, and Fox & Locke, the town’s can’t-miss restaurant, was formerly a 1940s-era grocery store.

Exploring The Great Outdoors

With so many activities in Franklin, it can be easy to overlook the adventurous outdoor experiences that our town has to offer, but you won’t want to miss the natural beauty of each season in Tennessee. There are dozens of parks in Middle Tennessee for hiking, biking, fishing, floating, and walking. Take a trip out on the Harpeth River with Franklin Fly Fishing Co. and rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, or bikes at Paddle Dog to enjoy the picturesque Westhaven Lake. For miles of forest trails and creeks, visit Bowie Nature Park in Fairview (and bring your pup!) or the newly-opened Peacock Hill Park in College Grove. At Southall, you can try an aerial adventure course, guided mountain biking, archery, a guided apiary tour, or even a falconry expedition. Come fall, the trees framing the Natchez Trace Parkway glow in deep yellows, reds, and oranges; climb up the Garrison Creek Loop Trail and soak up the best of what Williamson County has to offer. 

A Foundation Of Music

If you see a country music legend out shopping in Cool Springs or making a surprise appearance on one of Franklin’s storied stages, it’s just another day in Williamson County. (We’ve even seen music videos filmed in downtown Franklin by artists like Justin Bieber and Brad Paisley.) Walker Hayes and Jimmie Allen found their start on Franklin stages. Many acclaimed musicians and artists call Franklin and the surrounding area home-sweet-home, which enriches the quality of both our music and culture. Some of our musical folks even own local businesses that have become part of the fabric of our town — Kix Brooks is a co-owner of the beautiful Arrington Vineyards; Morgane Stapleton owns Tennessee Turquoise Company in Leiper’s Fork; Holly Williams sells one-of-a-kind gifts at White’s Mercantile on Main Street; the list goes on.

Franklin’s musical roots run deep, and not only because of our proximity to Music City. Franklin is part of the Americana Music Triangle, an area between New Orleans, Nashville, and Memphis birthing nine distinct genres that forever shaped the musical landscape. We celebrate Americana every year at the annual Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival: a weekend of musical exploration with world-renowned headliners and an Americana Music Triangle experience that brings fans head-to-head with Southern music heritage.

Live music can be heard at many spots around town, but you won’t want to miss spending an evening at the legendary Kimbro’s Pickin’ ParlorPuckett’sFox & Locke, or the historic 1937 Franklin Theatre, the crown jewel of Main Street.

Posted in , ,

Abbi is an adopted Tennessean who has fallen in love with the South—especially its people, warmth, and incomparable food. When she’s not telling stories or experimenting with family recipes, Abbi loves to explore new places with her husband Zach and dog Groot.