To properly celebrate all that Franklin, Tennessee has to offer, we recommend spending at least a week exploring our town’s storied history. From world-class restaurants to unparalleled live music to a downtown area chock full of Southern charm, it’s no wonder that visitors flock to Franklin. (We also have stunning farmland, vistas, parks, and an Americana music festival, to boot!) If you only have a weekend to spare, however, you’ll need to be strategic in your plans to hit some of our favorite local spots. Here are three days worth of highlights you won’t want to miss!
All trips to Franklin, regardless of the season, should begin with a leisurely stroll down Main Street. Stop in for breakfast at Puckett’s Restaurant, a restaurant whose Tennessee roots stretch back to the 1950s. You can never go wrong with their Skillet Cinnamon Roll—a giant cinnamon roll baked in a cast-iron skillet with a healthy smear of cream cheese frosting.
After breakfast, take a few easy hours to peruse the shops down Main. There is something for everyone (and a souvenir for every interest) along the street, including clothing boutiques, vintage jewelry, a fascinating plant shop, antiques galore, and the iconic Franklin Theatre.
If you’d prefer to explore the history behind our downtown area, take a guided walk with a Franklin on Foot tour led by some incredible Southern storytellers. The company has been operating tours for 20 years and offers a classic history tour, a Haunted Franklin tour, a food tour, a Civil War tour, and more!
When you’re ready for lunch, stop by Gray’s on Main. The former pharmacy has been transformed into one of Franklin’s most beloved restaurants and presents an ambiance just as special as your meal. Don’t forget to try the Bacon-Wrapped Figs which conveniently pair beautifully with their Anthem Spirit cocktail.
One of my favorite afternoon activities in Franklin is stopping by Landmark Booksellers. In addition to their lineup of author- and illustrator-led events, Landmark features a large collection of rare and out-of-print books—the kind of bookshop where every nook yields a treasure worth discovering. They also have over 2,000 signed first editions.
It’s time for Happy Hour! Make your way over to The Factory at Franklin (a little less than three-quarters of a mile from the bookstore) to sip on cocktails at Skylight Bar. The stunning, recently-renovated space is flooded with natural light and offers a thoughtful menu of drinks, including zero-proof mocktails. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m.
Pick up dinner at Mojo’s Tacos in the Factory—you won’t regret this vibrant lineup of tacos, nachos, fresh margaritas, queso, and even paletas. (Personally, I have only wonderful things to say about their Jalapeño Caesar Salad!) Mojo’s is a casual, family-friendly joint with a fun vibe. Whether a date night, work dinner, or anniversary meal, Mojo’s always seems to fit the bill.
Then, step back in time for a lesson in Franklin’s rich history. Take a tour at one, or all four, of the Franklin area’s Civil War sites. Carnton, Carter House, Rippavilla, and Lotz House each offer an individualized and unique perspective on the events of the 1864 Battle of Franklin from both a broad historical overview and the experiences of families living in these historic homes on the day of the battle. Don’t miss the historic African-American sites around Franklin or the March To Freedom statue in Courthouse Square, which honor the experiences of Franklin’s Black community through our history.
Grab a bite to eat at Franklin Mercantile (fondly called “The Merc”) which features an enticing deli lineup of sandwiches, paninis, wraps, salads, and soups. Don’t skip out on a glass of their perfectly sweet Fruit Tea.
After lunch, try a trip down the Harpeth River with Paddle Dog Adventures! A lazy paddle down the river in either a canoe or on a stand-up paddle board is one of the best ways to explore Franklin’s natural beauty. Depending on the time of year, you may even want to try a trip out fly-fishing with Franklin Fly Fishing Co. to “cast” away your worries. If you have kids in tow, you can also work some cuddly alpacas into your itinerary with a visit to Mistletoe Farm.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy the comradery of Scout’s Pub in Westhaven—a local, hometown bar with a menu that spans burgers, wings, pizzas, ramen, and even fish and chips. For a more refined dining experience, you may also want to check out Coal Town Public House in the same neighborhood; Coal Town has elegant cocktails and a charming outdoor area that overlooks the lake.
You simply cannot spend a weekend in Franklin without live music, so finish off your Saturday night by catching a show at one of the dozens of live music venues across Franklin and Williamson County.
On the last day of your visit, take a trip to the cutest village in all of Tennessee: Leiper’s Fork. Start with a comforting meal at Fox & Locke in a historic grocery store—they’re open for breakfast on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The menu will have your mouth watering, with biscuits and gravy, hearty omelets, breakfast burritos, and build-your-own biscuit sandwiches. Don’t be surprised when you walk in and it feels like a world-class music venue, because it is—the stage at Fox & Locke continues to host some of the biggest names in music. You never know who you’ll see!
After breakfast, take a stroll through the village. Make your way through eclectic art galleries, antique shops, and boutiques run by the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet. Stop by David Arms Gallery, explore the work of dozens of Southern artists at The Copper Fox, and experience the beauty of Leiper’s Fork’s oldest art outpost, Leiper’s Creek Gallery. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Pickin’ Corner in Patina Home and Garden!
If you appreciate a fine sip, give your taste buds a real treat at Leiper’s Fork Distillery. The hour-long tour of their historic location and distillery operation perfectly sets up the tasting experience for any whiskey or bourbon fan. Too shy to sip on a little “brown water” straight? Settle in on the porch of the historic cabin at the distillery for one of their signature cocktails.
If you prefer the idea of sipping a glass of wine on a lush hillside as you listen to music—head to Arrington Vineyards. The beautiful spot, co-owned by country music star Kix Brooks, is the perfect place to sit and relax on a Sunday afternoon. Not only are the wines top-tier (they even have frozen rosé!), the view over the patchwork Tennessee countryside is unparalleled.
Finish your stay in Franklin with one of the best meals you’ve ever had at Red Pony. It’s been a local go-to since 2006—the spot where we gather for special occasions and really, really good food. You can’t go wrong with their perfectly-grilled bone-in ribeye or silky shrimp and grits. Save room for crème brûlée!
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.