Things to do in Franklin

About Franklin

For a kid-friendly visit, explore the magical world at The Factory at Franklin, enjoy interactive learning at the Adventure Science Center, or have a playful day in Pinkerton Park, each promising fun for all ages.
Visitors to Franklin should not miss the historic Civil War sites like Carnton Plantation, Carter House, and the Lotz House Museum, which provide a deep insight into America's past with informative self-guided audio tours.
Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the historic trails at Harpeth River State Park, engage in recreational activities at Harlinsdale Farm, or take a leisurely walk through the scenic Downtown Franklin Historic District.
Indoor explorers can enjoy the local artisans and culinary spots at The Factory at Franklin, catch a film or a live show at the Franklin Theatre, or step back in time at the Williamson County Archives.
The best Franklin tours include the self-guided historic home tours, Main Street's architecture walks, and the enchanting audio-guided journey through the boutiques and galleries of Leiper's Fork.
The Lotz House Museum, Carter House, and Carnton are Franklin's most visited museums, each offering a unique perspective on local history and the Civil War era.
For rainy days, the immersive indoor self-guided tours of historic homes like the Lotz House Museum provide a rich narrative experience, keeping visitors dry and enthralled with the area’s heritage.
Quick Franklin tours perfect for those short on time include the Downtown Franklin Historic District audio tour and the Civil War house museums, which offer succinct yet comprehensive snapshots of the city's history.

Best Things to Do In Franklin

Uncover the charm of Franklin with our self-guided audio tours, your passport to cultural gems and hidden treasures in this historic city.

Franklin: Leiper's Fork

What is it?
A picturesque village known for its arts scene, antiques, and Southern charm.
Why you should go?
Nestled just outside of Franklin, Leiper's Fork provides an authentic taste of Tennessee's rural elegance. Visitors will relish the opportunity to peruse through the myriad of art galleries, specialty shops, and antique stores. The village's laid-back atmosphere is a canvas for the best Franklin tours, which illustrate the locality's creative spirit and welcoming community through vivid narrations.

Franklin: Franklin Theatre

What is it?
A restored historic theater offering regular movie screenings and live performances.
Why you should go?
The legendary Franklin Theatre, with its iconic marquee, stands as a beacon of entertainment and history on Main Street. After undergoing meticulous restoration, it now shows classic films, hosts live music, and serves as a cultural nexus. These performances are accentuated by audio tours capturing tales of the venue's storied past, making it one of the harmonious Franklin activities for arts and culture aficionados.

Franklin: Pinkerton Park

What is it?
A lush, green oasis perfect for outdoor activities and leisurely pursuits.
Why you should go?
As one of the key fun things to do in Franklin, Pinkerton Park beckons with its stunning walking trails, playgrounds, and tranquil river views. This family-friendly park not only serves as a serene getaway from urban life but also presents an educational facet with historical markers detailing the area's past, all deciphered in the enlightening audio guide narratives.

Franklin: McGavock Confederate Cemetery

What is it?
The largest private Confederate cemetery in the United States, located adjacent to Carnton.
Why you should go?
Situated beside the famed Carnton Plantation, this sacred ground offers a somber reflection on the Civil War's human cost. With its rows of headstones, McGavock Confederate Cemetery is an essential stop for those looking to comprehend the battle's impact. Audio tour accounts provide a solemn recounting of the lives represented here, contributing to a holistic understanding of Franklin's history.

Franklin: Williamson County Archives

What is it?
A repository of historical documents, offering a window into the area's ancestry and lineage.
Why you should go?
The Williamson County Archives is not just a resource for genealogists and researchers but also for curious travelers seeking to uncover the roots of Franklin. The collected records, maps, and photographs found here are stories waiting to be discovered. Audio narratives explain the significance of the compilations, enriching visitor's knowledge on the genealogical and cultural heritage of the region.

Franklin: Historic Main Street

What is it?
The vibrant heart of Franklin, lined with Victorian architecture, unique shops, and eateries.
Why you should go?
Historic Main Street is the quintessence of Franklin's charm, offering a picturesque stroll through a bygone era. As a prominent feature on any list of what to do in Franklin, this thoroughfare presents a perfect blend of curated historical tours, artisanal shopping, and culinary delights. Audio guides available provide a rich narration of the area's storied past as guests amble through this lively cultural corridor.

Franklin: Carnton Plantation

What is it?
A historical plantation that reflects the sobering era of the Civil War in Franklin.
Why you should go?
Carnton Plantation serves as a poignant reminder of Franklin's Civil War heritage. This estate is essential for Franklin tours, offering visitors a profound look into the lives impacted by the war through well-preserved grounds, the restored antebellum house, and the haunting Confederate cemetery. The audio tour facilitates a deep, self-paced exploration of the plantation's significance and stories.

Franklin: Lotz House Museum

What is it?
An essential Civil War landmark showcasing the 1864 Battle of Franklin.
Why you should go?
Lotz House Museum stands as a testament to the harrowing Battle of Franklin. Not only one of the best things to do in Franklin but also an educational journey, the museum allows visitors to gain insights into the Civil War's impact on local families. Its collection of antiques and compelling storytelling through audio guides encapsulates the era's turmoil and creativity.

Franklin: The Factory at Franklin

What is it?
A vibrant complex of artisan workshops, galleries, and eateries in a refurbished factory.
Why you should go?
Embark on a unique journey through Franklin's cultural scene at The Factory. What to see in Franklin includes this center of creativity, where old-world ambiance meets modern-day artistry. Engage with local creators, enjoy handcrafted products, and savor local flavors, all while learning about the building's transformation from historic factory to artistic haven through the informative audio guide.

Franklin: Harlinsdale Farm

What is it?
A historic farm park providing serene outdoor experiences and recreational activities.
Why you should go?
For those seeking tranquility and a taste of Tennessee's pastoral landscapes, Harlinsdale Farm is the perfect escape. As part of the best Franklin excursions, it offers a chance to relax amidst the rolling fields and reconnect with nature. Picnic areas, walking trails, and fishing spots are described in detail in the comprehensive audio guides, making it an ideal location for family outings or solo explorers.

TOP-5 Tours in Franklin for First Time Visitors

  • Explore the historic Main Street, named one of the greatest places to visit in Franklin, and delve into the rich tapestry of boutique shops and architectural wonders.
  • Discover the Civil War history at Carnton, a must-see on any list of things to see in Franklin, immersing visitors in poignant and pivotal moments of America's past.
  • Lotz House Museum beckons with stories of the 1864 Battle of Franklin, offering a deep dive into the local lore and becoming one of the best Franklin tours for history enthusiasts.
  • Unveil Franklin's vibrant art scene with a stroll through the Factory at Franklin, where eclectic studios combine with delightful eateries to create fun things to do in Franklin.
  • Immerse in nature at Harlinsdale Farm, where the lush fields offer an idyllic setting for recreational Franklin activities and are a peaceful respite from the bustling city life.

Fun things to do in Franklin with kids

Franklin is a treasure trove of activities perfect for the whole family. First on the list is the Adventure Science Center, where interactive exhibits allow kids to engage in hands-on learning about science and technology. They can experience the wonders of space, dive into biology, or get creative in the engineering workshop. Then, there's the Franklin Zoo, a delight for animal lovers of all ages. Follow the audio guide through habitats of exotic creatures, offering education on wildlife conservation. Take a break from the city buzz at Pinkerton Park, a natural playground featuring open spaces for picnicking, trails for exploratory walks, and a playground designed to fuel the little ones’ imaginations. Each of these Franklin activities provides an exceptional combination of fun, learning, and the opportunity to create lasting memories for families visiting this vibrant city.

Things to do in Franklin with family

A family trip to Franklin promises a memorable mix of education, adventure, and relaxation. The CoolSprings Galleria stands as a family-friendly hub with its extensive range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It's an ideal spot for families to spend a day indulging in retail therapy, enjoying casual eateries, and experiencing fun activities suitable for all ages. Nearby, the SOAR Adventure Tower tests your limits with its thrilling rope courses and climbing features, offering an action-packed day where families can bond through teamwork and shared challenges. For a more laid-back experience, step back in time at the historic Carter House, where you can wander through the preserved property and learn about its pivotal role in the Civil War through an engaging audio guide. These diverse attractions highlight the best Franklin activities for families, ensuring an enriching experience for everyone.

Free things to do in Franklin

For those seeking experiences that delight without a price tag, Franklin offers plenty of free attractions to explore. An ideal starting point is the scenic Pinkerton Park, a favorite for both locals and visitors. Here, families can enjoy nature walks, children can play to their heart's content on the playground, and picnickers can relax under the shade of tall trees. The park's walking trails also feature historical markers that offer a glimpse into the city's past, providing an element of education to your leisure time. Another must-visit is the historical downtown area of Franklin, where you can embark on a self-led tour of the beautiful, historic buildings and charming streets, soaking up the ambiance of a bygone era. Lastly, the Natchez Trace Parkway, just a short drive from Franklin, gives visitors a chance to immerse themselves in natural beauty and explore historic sites along this famous trail, all while enjoying panoramic views of Tennessee's countryside.

Cheap things to do in Franklin

Exploring Franklin on a budget is both easy and exciting with a wealth of affordable attractions. Begin your journey at the McLemore House, a museum highlighting the African American history of Franklin. With a low admission fee, visitors can delve into the rich cultural narratives and accomplishments of the local community, guided by the informative audio accompaniment. The Lotz House, while echoing the echoes of the Civil War, offers inexpensive tours that provide insight into the history of Franklin and the impact of the Battle of Franklin, making it an enriching experience for history buffs. For those who enjoy outdoor activities, the Harpeth River State Park is a pocket-friendly destination where you can hike, picnic, or even kayak, allowing you to savor the natural splendor of Franklin’s picturesque landscapes without stretching your wallet. Each of these experiences offers visitors an enjoyable and affordable way to discover the charms of Franklin.

Things to do in Franklin for couples

Franklin beckons couples with its romantic allure and array of enchanting experiences. Start with a visit to Arrington Vineyards, where rolling hills and luscious grapes set the stage for a dreamy afternoon. Indulge in a wine tasting or bring a picnic to savor along with the vineyard’s own selections, all complemented by the strains of live music on weekends. For a journey through history, the Carnton Plantation offers a glimpse into the past with its beautiful grounds and gardens providing a tranquil backdrop for a couple's stroll. Engage with the past as you embark on the estate's tour, where shared headphones for the audio guide amplify the intimate experience. As twilight descends, take a leisurely walk across the pedestrian-friendly downtown's cobblestone sidewalks, dine at a cozy restaurant, and wrap up your evening with a sweet treat from one of the local confectioneries. Franklin's charm is perfect for lovebirds seeking memorable moments.

Things to do in Franklin at night

Franklin's night-time scene offers visitors a blend of historical charm and modern entertainment. One can start with an evening at the historic Franklin Theatre. Here, with its marquee lights shining brightly, couples and friends alike can enjoy a movie or a live performance in this beautifully restored venue, evoking the glamour of yesteryear. For a more spirited evening, the local breweries and distilleries offer tastings and tours, enticing patrons with their crafted beers and spirits – ideal places to unwind and savor the local flavors. Lastly, the downtown area transforms as dusk falls, presenting a lively atmosphere perfect for exploring. Stroll down Main Street and discover an eclectic mix of restaurants and live music venues where you can indulge in a delicious meal and enjoy the tunes of local artists. These nighttime offerings ensure that Franklin sparkles just as much after sundown, providing entertainment and leisure options to suit any taste.