The Best Things to Do in Franklin, Tennessee—From Music Parlors to Whiskey Trail Distilleries

Butch Walker having a rockin good time on the stage of Fox  Locke in Leipers Fork TN.

Nashville, Tennessee is famous for its connection to country music, like the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium, and the dive bars of Broadway that attract both aspiring musicians and bachelorettes in matching pink regalia. Many of the performers and celebrities who claim to live in Nashville actually reside in Franklin, Tennessee. This is a more laid-back area south of the city. 

It’s where you can still see big-name artists in small venues and “pickin’ corners,” areas in restaurants and stores where you can borrow an instrument for a jam session. International stars also come every year for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, held in, what else, an equestrian park. Franklin is also a place with a rich past. There are several Civil War battles here. In fact, a statue featuring soldiers of the United States Colored Troops has been installed as part of a program to give a better picture of African American life in the U.S. prior to and after WW2. 

Visitors can even bypass Nashville entirely, spending their time in the area thanks to the new Southall Farm & Inn, a rural resort on over 300 acres of farmland with guest rooms and cottages, luxury dining, and an onsite spa. It’s set in the rolling hills outside of town but has easy access to shops and restaurants. One thing is certain: there’s never been a better time to visit Franklin, Tennessee. 

How to get there

Nashville International Airport is the best option to get to Franklin. It has flights every day from all major US cities. From there, it’s a 40-minute drive into town. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can take a taxi or ride share. If you’ve got plenty of time, drive the Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the country and the section near Franklin is stunning. Stop by the famous double-arch Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge. 

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Butch Walker on stage at Fox & Locke

Meghan Aileen

Leipers Fork Distillery is located on the Tennessee Whiskey trail 

Tennessee Whiskey Trail

What to do

Get your bearings by joining a walking tour, which sets the stage with Franklin’s history. Franklin Walking Tours has a Fierce Females tour, which highlights noted residents like the suffragettes that helped earn voting rights for women and the town’s first female mayor. The aforementioned music venues, including Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor and Fox and Locke in Leiper’s Fork, can’t be missed as the likes of Wynonna Judd and Chris Stapleton have been known to drop by for impromptu shows. It’s also a good time to keep an eye on rising stars before they get signed. 

Kentucky is famous for its whiskey. But Tennessee also has a long tradition in making brown water. This was started by Jack in Lynchburg in 1800. But more recently, the first distilleries to open since Prohibition were thanks to the legislative efforts of Heath Clark, whose distillery, Company Distilling in nearby Thompson’s Station, is a highlight of the Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

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