DescriptionSatisfying both history buffs and casual sightseers, Franklin upholds small-town traditions as it continues to modernize. Innovative business ventures have breathed new life into many aging structures, including The Factory at Franklin, a complex of industrial buildings retrofitted into a mixed-use development. Here you'll enjoy antique shopping (there also are plenty of new goodies for sale), bars and restaurants, and live productions (the old boiler room now is home to Studio Tenn, a professional theater troupe).
High-tech, biodiesel-burning buses evocative of the community’s former electric-powered trolleys also operate throughout the area. (Fixed route service is $1; 50c (ages 0-4 and 65+). Exact change is required.) Hop aboard and ride past Victorian architecture in the city’s attractive downtown—a historic district now flourishing with chic boutiques and eateries that run the gamut from locally owned mom-and-pop operations to national vendors (yes, even Franklin’s quaint Main Street has a Starbucks). Although it's a lively locale to explore any time of year, downtown Franklin lures more than 100,000 people in late April with its Main Street Festival. The longtime event offers a juried arts and crafts show, children’s activities and live music.
You'll also discover several well-preserved sites in town, including Historic Carnton Plantation and The Carter House, both of which recall the Battle of Franklin, one of the Civil War’s most decisive conflicts. On Nov. 30, 1864, 5 hours of fighting resulted in the death, wounding or capture of more than 6,000 Confederate and 2,000 Union soldiers. The Confederacy lost six generals; seven more were among those wounded or captured. Other reminders of the bloody encounter are the 1823 Masonic Hall, the first three-story building in Tennessee, 115 Second Ave. S., and the 1834 St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 510 W. Main St. Following the battle, both edifices were used as hospitals for injured troops.
While highly protective of their man-made treasures, Franklin residents also conserve plenty of green space. Nine scenic parks present visitors such amenities as nature trails and athletic playing fields. Encircled by a 1-mile paved track, Pinkerton Park at 405 Murfreesboro Rd. connects to downtown Franklin via the Sue Douglas Berry Memorial Pedestrian Bridge. At 705 Boyd Mill Ave., 58-acre Jim Warren City Park features a 2.5-mile walking path, picnic tables and a catch-and-release fishing pond, along with a skate plaza for inline skaters and skateboarders.
Visitor InfoWilliamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau 400 Main St., Suite 130 FRANKLIN, TN 37064. Phone:(615)591-8514 or (866)253-9207
Self-guiding toursBrochures outlining a walking tour of Franklin's 15-block downtown historic district can be obtained at the visitor center. A self-guiding driving tour spotlighting Civil War sites also is available for a fee.
ShoppingThe Factory at Franklin, 230 Franklin Rd., a collection of 12 restored Depression-era buildings, now houses shops, galleries and restaurants. Victorian buildings along Main Street have been restored and house antique shops, specialty stores and restaurants. A growing antique district surrounds the intersection of Second Avenue and South Margin Street. CoolSprings Galleria , 1800 Galleria Blvd., offers 150 specialty stores.
Things to SeeThe Carter House