The best things to do in Franklin, Tennessee – from music parlors to whiskey trail distilleries

The best things to do in Franklin, Tennessee – from music parlors to whiskey trail distilleries

  • Travel
  • January 24, 2023
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Nashville, Tennessee is famous for its connection to country music, like the Mother Church of Country Music, Ryman Auditorium and Broadway dive bars that attract both aspiring musicians and bachelors in matching pink regalia. But many of the celebrities and artists who say they live in Nashville actually live in Franklin, Tenn., a laid-back community south of the city.

Here you can still see big-name artists in small venues and “pickin’ corners,” areas in restaurants and shops where you can rent an instrument for a jam session. International stars also come every year to the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, which takes place in an equestrian park. Franklin also has a deep history and is home to major Civil War battles and now has a statue depicting soldiers from the United States Colored Troops as part of a program that aims to paint a broader picture of African American life in the US before and after the war.

Visitors can even bypass Nashville entirely and spend 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 restaurants and an on-site spa. It’s in the rolling hills outside of town, but has easy access to shops and restaurants. One thing is certain, there has never been a better time to visit Franklin, Tennessee.

get there

Nashville International Airport is the best way to reach Franklin, with daily flights from 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 a ride. If you have 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. Be sure to visit the iconic two-arch Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge.

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Butch Walker on the Fox & Locke stage

Meghan Aileen

Leipers Fork Distillery on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail

Tennessee Whiskey Trail

What to do

Get your bearings on a walking tour that showcases Franklin’s history. Franklin Walking Tours has a Fierce Females tour that highlights well-known residents like the suffragettes who helped win the right to vote for women and the city’s first woman mayor. The above venues, including Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor and Fox and Locke in Leiper’s Fork, are not to 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 sign.

While Kentucky is known for its whiskey, Tennessee also has a long tradition of producing brown water, beginning with a famous man named Jack in Lynchburg in the 19th century. But more recently, the first distilleries to open since Prohibition were credited to the legislative efforts of Heath Clark, whose distillery, Company Distilling at nearby Thompson’s Station, is a highlight of the Tennessee Whiskey Trail.

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