Let’s face it: finding the perfect location for a guys’ trip can be a challenge. One set might want to fish, another is into live music, and then inevitably, it’s the weekend of someone’s can’t-miss game.
Others may be looking to soak up history, play a round of golf, or hit some hiking trails. You can find it all in Franklin, Tennessee, and we’ve put together a list of favorites to help inspire your itinerary.
Food and Drink
First things first: we need to get something to eat. Memphis and Austin might have a reputation for barbecue, but we’ll hold ours up against anywhere in the country.
For instance, Pitmaster Pat Martin at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville puts a fresh hog on the smoker every single day, and everything in the place is made from scratch. Other great options include Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant in downtown Franklin (consistently found on the Best Barbecue in America lists) and a relative newcomer, Hogwood BBQ in Cool Springs, that is quickly gaining a reputation for its artisanal smoked meats and sides.
If hot chicken is what you’re after, or an old-school meat-and-three lunch, you can find outstanding selections of both at Bishop’s Meat & Three and Cool Café, respectively, and 55 South on Main Street is another great choice for Mississippi Delta-Meets-New Orleans cuisine.
On the other hand, some occasions call for a steakhouse, and you can’t go wrong with Cork & Cow. Chef Jason McConnell’s dining room is known for exceptional cuts of beef and seafood and its extensive wine list and impressive cocktail program. The bar here is an experience in itself, but be sure to come early or get reservations for this popular spot among the locals.
We won’t judge if you like to keep the volume down and go to bed early, but for guys who like loud guitars and late nights, we’ve got you covered. Check out the Legendary Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor and Mockingbird Theater, two laid-back watering holes near downtown Franklin featuring the kind of hospitality and world-class talent you’d expect from Nashville’s neighbor to the south.
Catch the Big Game
For great food, atmosphere, AND a bunch of screens for the game, look to Brewhouse South, Jonathan’s Grille, or King’s Dining & Entertainment, all in the Cool Springs area. You can’t go wrong with either, and all have great tap and liquor selections.
Speaking of suds and spirits, why not add our Makers and Masters Trail to your weekend? Williamson County is blessed with a stable of distilleries, breweries, and a winery producing incredible brews, bourbons, and more, and they’d be delighted to show you behind the scenes.
Now that we’ve covered the essentials, it’s time to consider all the things to see and do in the course of a perfect guys’ weekend. On the first Saturday of every month, dozens of exotic sports cars, resto-mods, motorcycles, and numbers-matching classics gather for Cars & Coffee, and you’re invited.
If you’re inspired to take a drive down the Natchez Trace Parkway, you can even rent some wheels that will thrill: Enterprise in Franklin has a full selection of performance and luxury vehicles on offer. The Natchez Trace – America’s longest national park at 444 miles long – runs through Williamson County and includes spectacular scenery, historical sites, and hiking trails.
If outdoor sports are on the agenda, the Harpeth River that meanders through town is known for largemouth and smallmouth bass. The City of Franklin’s Parks Department maintains canoe launches that make for easy parking, and the river is fishable from the bank, via canoe or kayak, and it’s even shallow enough to wade in good weather. You can also skip the guesswork and find expert instruction and access to the honey holes with a guide from Franklin Fly Fishing Co.
If a quick round of golf sounds like fun, the nine-hole executive course Little Course at Conner Lane is inexpensive, well-maintained, and can be played in less than two hours. It is also outside Golf House, Tennessee, home to the Tennessee Golf Museum.
You can see artifacts from legends of the game like Mason Rudolph and current tour professionals like Scott Stallings and FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker. For a full round of 18, consider Franklin Bridge Golf Club, a challenging links-style course that runs along the Harpeth River bottoms and includes a driving range and practice facility. Persimmon Pub can be found at the 19th hole.
Other entertainment alternatives to squeeze in might encompass a twilight polo match at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, virtual reality arcade gaming at The Rabbit Hole VR, or an electric bike rental from Pedego – an excellent mode of transportation for visiting historic sites around downtown Franklin.
For the History Lovers
It would be a shame to visit Franklin and miss out on the powerful stories that shaped our community. Landmark Booksellers, located in one of the oldest buildings in town, can be found on the east side of the Public Square.
Proprietor Joel Tomlin not only curates an impressive selection of collectible books, but he’s a gifted storyteller himself. Then grab a combo ticket from the Visitor Center on Fourth Avenue North for Carnton and the Carter House tours. Each is a poignant site that will put you into the middle of the Battle of Franklin that forever changed American history on November 30, 1864. If you’re looking for a specialty tour – be it Civil War, architecture, ghosts, or even Murder & Mayhem – book a slot with Franklin on Foot, and you won’t be disappointed.
There’s something for everyone in your group, and you can pack many unique and memorable experiences into a few days here. Chances are, you’ll be talking about your guys’ trip to Franklin for years to come.