Things To Do in Tennessee: Franklin

Kristin Luna
| February 23, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
An ornate chandelier hangs above three trees inside an industrial-looking space with multiple sitting areas. Courtesy of Visit Franklin

Soak up the history and natural beauty of one of Tennessee’s most popular small towns with these things to do in Franklin.


The Factory at Franklin

As multi-year renovations at The Factory (above) continue, visitors to Franklin now are treated to an entirely new experience, one that includes sidewalks running the length of downtown connecting to the sprawling mixed-use development. Among The Factory’s upgrades, regional theater company Studio Tenn now has a permanent home with classics like Cabaret (May 9–19) on this year’s lineup.

Just outside of Turner Theater, The Skylight bar is a central gathering spot and hangout, ideal for a snack or drink before or after the show. There are also more dining experiences than ever; alongside Factory mainstays like Mojo’s Tacos are newcomers Greys Fine Cheeses, The White Alligator, Two Hands and etch.

Two adults ride bikes down a neighborhood street. Courtesy of Visit Franklin


There’s nary a better way to explore Williamson County’s pastoral side then hopping a Pedego electric bike (above) from downtown Franklin and taking advantage of the pedal assist as you take a scenic ride through countryside toward Leiper’s Fork. On your way out of town, you’ll cross the new bridge, which connects Franklin’s greenways in The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, meaning you can explore the city’s central core without ever getting onto the main road.

Don’t feel comfortable cruising around on your own? Pedego offers different guided rides, too, like a historic homes tour of Franklin and a cycle trip out to the Natchez Trace Parkway and its iconic and photogenic bridge.

A performer juggles three clubs at a colorful fair ground. Courtesy of Visit Franklin

Main Street Festival

One of Franklin’s largest annual events, the Main Street Festival (April 27–28, above) consistently attracts more than 120,000 visitors who come out to shop the 150 arts and crafts vendors, taste their way through the food and beverages, and enjoy the bevy of live entertainment acts from buskers to acoustic sets. While strolling Main Street, don’t forget to pop into the Franklin boutiques and indie stores like Tin Cottage, known for its paper goods, and plant shop Rooted from Yarrow Acres as you meander.


Bestia Mare

The newly opened Bestia Mare is a sister restaurant to Culaccino; its menu focuses on seafood from both coasts with an Italian twist. Expect appetizers to range from tuna crocchettes to steamed mussels to raw oysters and entrées running the gamut from snapper crudo, to linguini with clams, pancetta and various herbs and spices. Grab a table at the new rooftop, which overlooks historic Main Street.

A large hotel lobby filled with upholstered chairs and booths. The Harpeth Franklin Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton

The Harpeth, Curio Collection by Hilton

This AAA Four Diamond option, Franklin’s first boutique hotel (above), is not only outfitted with 119 comfortable guest rooms and suites, many with views overlooking the downtown corridor or central courtyard, but it’s walking distance from many of the best restaurants, shops and attractions in Franklin. If you don’t want to leave the property, you’re in luck: The Harpeth boasts an on-site, fine-dining restaurant, 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails, and its own coffee shop, McGavock’s, which serves all-day brunch in addition to coffee, cocktails, craft beer and wine. The Harpeth is pet-friendly, and the non-refundable deposit includes a treat bag and use of bowls and bed for your dog.

Cork and Cow

As Franklin’s dining scene booms, long-time restaurants like Cork and Cow continue to up the ante. Have your pick of cuts at this classic steakhouse, be it prime New York strip, tomahawk, bone-in ribeye or filet, with a large assortment of accompaniments (house-made pepper jelly, gorgonzola horseradish, honey tallow butter, to name just a few). Want something a little bit different? This Main Street staple also serves farm fare with unique fixings: Think pork belly dressed up with chipotle, cane sugar, cucumber, caramelized sweet potato and sesame or venison chops on a bed of polenta, drizzled with a port reduction and topped with fennel and pear.

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