Whether you’re visiting with your girlfriends or a local looking for an escape from reality close to home, a getaway to downtown Franklin, Tennessee is guaranteed to be good for the soul. The charming downtown district is riddled with history, packed with boutique shopping and brimming with mouthwatering restaurants and cheerful bars.
From where to stay to what to do, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to a historic Franklin escape.
Stay in the Heart of it All
When it comes to lodging in downtown Franklin, no spot is more perfect than the Harpeth Hotel. Nestled on Second Avenue just off of Main Street, the Harpeth is a luxury boutique hotel with well-appointed rooms, a bar, restaurant and coffee shop onsite, and stunning public spaces. The Harpeth lets you take the word “stay”-cation literally without ever needing to step foot off property.
Kick off your day in Franklin with a visit to McGavock’s Coffee Bar and Provisions for a latte and a fresh-baked pastry. While you’re there, you can even get in some shopping thanks to their collection of locally-sourced goods that rotate seasonally. Once freshly caffeinated, get some work done or curl up with a good book next to the fireplace in the onsite library.
Once five o’clock (somewhere) rolls around, grab a glass of wine or a craft cocktail (we love the Franklin Fizz) from the lobby bar at 1799 Kitchen + Cocktails, best enjoyed in the photo-worthy central courtyard. Snag a reservation and head back inside for dinner at 1799, with menu standouts including beef tartare toast, branzino and shrimp and grits. If a halibut dish is a special while you’re visiting, get it and thank us later.
Enjoy Boutiques, Antiques, Tours and Parks
The Harpeth is walking distance to all of downtown Franklin’s can’t-miss attractions, which include adorable boutique and antique shops, beautiful parks and storied history around every corner. For a complete experience, book a day with Franklin Driving Tours, a private tour and chauffeur service owned and operated by Franklin expert, Chuck Baril. Offering airport transfers, guided tours and even serving as the official chauffeur service for the hotel, an adventure with Chuck comes packed with historical tidbits and plenty of sightseeing. Not to brag, but Chuck is also the area’s most popular Elvis impersonator.
If you’d prefer to explore Franklin by foot, a walk straight down Main Street will give you a dose of it all. Stop in every adorable shop along the way, with standouts including knicknacks at Tin Cottage, home decor at the Registry, antique jewelry at Walton’s, and boutique clothing at Jondie. Also along Main, be sure to stop at the historical markers lining the street to learn more about Franklin’s history – including the Fuller Story.
If an outdoor stroll sans shopping is more your speed, visit one of Franklin’s area parks, including the Park at Harlinsdale Farm. The nearly 200-acre space includes a large dog park, catch-and-release fishing pond, kayak and canoe launch, and a historic horse barn perfect for snapping a charmingly rural photo. If kids are in tow, enjoy the playgrounds and picnic areas at Pinkerton Park instead.
Eat and Drink Your Way Down Main
Any time you’re visiting Franklin, we encourage you to come hungry, because there are no shortage of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. Start your day with a coffee and a good book at the historic-home-turned-Coffee House at Second and Bridge, or by catching up over a cold brew on the outdoor patio tables at Onyx and Alabaster.
When lunchtime rolls around, the choices become even harder. For heartier fare, head to Puckett’s Grocery for a classic meat and three, or keep things on the lighter side with a chicken salad sandwich from their next door neighbor, Meridee’s Breadbasket. You also can’t go wrong with a soup and salad combo from Franklin Mercantile.
Toast to the end of a day well spent in Franklin at JJ’s Wine Bar, a reclaimed home with a full cocktail menu and wine tasting vending machines for an extra layer of fun, or take a seat at the lively bar at O’ Be Joyful. Want to keep the party going? Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor is the place to be late-night.
Even if you follow this ultimate vacation guide perfectly, you’ve still barely scratched the surface of everything Franklin has to offer. We hope to see you in town again soon!
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