The Best Family Activities in Franklin, Tennessee (2024)

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Just a few minutes from Nashville is its quieter cousin, Franklin, Tennessee. Franklin is perfect for families seeking a mellow Tennessee getaway. Whether it’s kid-friendly festivals, an educational (or spooky!) walking tour, or the tastiest donuts, there’s fun for the whole family in Franklin. The town of Franklin is charming and historic, offering vintage character with modern amenities.

Contents hide

1 Find a Festival

2 Visit a Farm

3 Explore the Town Center

4 Seek Out History

6 Outdoor Activities

7 When You Go

7.1 Getting There

7.2 Where to Stay

7.3 Where to Eat


The Best Family Activities in Franklin, Tennessee (1)

Some of the best things for families in Franklin are the special events and festivals hosted in and around the town. Our family’s favorite annual event is the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, which draws national and local musicians to an old horse farm every fall. The festival stretches across acres of fields and is great for people of all ages — children under 10 can attend for free with their families, and there’s a special stage featuring music and activities just for kids. (Don’t miss the pirate band!)

Franklin’s town square plays host to several annual festivals, including the Main Street Festival, which offers unique vendors and stages with live music. Each October, PumpkinFest brings costume contests and kids’ activities to the square. And be sure not to miss Dickens of a Christmas, when revelers in Victorian costumes take to the streets in the town’s historic district for tons of festive fun.

Pilgrimage Festival is family-friendly, with concerts and activities just for little ones during the day (and they can rock out to your favorite bands at night). Photo by Christy Nicholson.

Part of Franklin’s charm is its rural vibe, and one of my favorite children’s activities is visiting the local farms. Gentry’s Farm is a working farm that has stayed in the same family for decades. Each fall, they open up their land for families to visit their pumpkin patch, meet their farm animals, wind through the corn maze, and enjoy fall fun and treats.

Noble Springs Dairy is one of the best places for families to visit. The dairy farm is known for its artisan goat cheese and soap, but local moms know it as a fantastic place to take little ones. For a $10 ticket price, you’ll get an educational tour of the farm, learn about the cheese-making process, and still have plenty of time to pet baby goats.

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The corn maze at Gentry’s Farm offers just the right amount of adventure for kiddos. Photo by Christy Nicholson.

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Downtown Franklin has lots to offer, including a lovely, old theatre at the very center of town. The Franklin Theatre frequently hosts concerts and shows independent films, but it also offers family events like movie sing-alongs and magic shows. Be sure to check the event schedule during your visit.

A mile or two from the town square you’ll find The Factory at Franklin, a former stove factory now home to shops and restaurants. Enjoy an afternoon painting at Third Coast Clay, then head to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams or Five Daughters Bakery for a sweet treat. Do a family-friendly date night with a play or concert in one of the Factory’s theaters. Or if you are early risers, visit bright and early on a Saturday morning for the Franklin Farmers Market with its selection of local businesses, crafts vendors, and food trucks. (Be sure to try Ellie’s Old Fashioned Donuts. They even have vegan options!)

At the Factory at Franklin, you can paint your own clay, enjoy gourmet ice cream, shop for antiques, or catch a show. Photo by Christy Nicholson.

Franklin was the site of a bloody Civil War battle, and the city still bears the scars. The Carter House was right in the middle of the battle, and during tours visitors can see the bullet holes that still riddle the exterior of the house. Carnton Plantation was used as a hospital during the battle and offers tours of the home with its blood-stained floors (the tour is best for older kids due to graphic details).

Franklin on Foot offers walking tours of the city’s most historic sites as well as food tours. For fall visitors wanting a spooky experience, they also have tours focused on ghost sightings and true crime. On weekends in October, the historic Lotz House offers a ghost tour based around its role in the Battle of Franklin.

While in downtown Franklin, don’t miss the new historical markers in the area. The square has long been home to a monument to Confederate soldiers (the statue is nicknamed “Chip” due to a missing chunk in his hat). However, the city recently added “Fuller Story” markers detailing essential elements of the area’s Black history. The city also offers a self-guided African-American Heritage Driving Tour.

The Carter House still bears the marks of the Battle of Franklin. Bullet holes are visible in many of the walls. Photo by Christy Nicholson.

Arrington Vineyards is a few minutes south of Franklin, set in rolling hills with plenty of space for picnics and fun. It’s a beautiful setting for a date night, but you can also bring the kiddos along. (There aren’t any activities specifically for kids, but they can enjoy a picnic or listen to music under the stars.)

Just west of Franklin, you’ll find the unincorporated village of Leiper’s Fork. This small community of artists and farmers will be more interesting to the grown-ups on your trip, although older kids may get a kick out of the antique shops and old-timey stores. While you’re there, tour the Leiper’s Fork Distillery — the entire family can take the tour, although only adults can sample the products. (Also, locals know that quite few celebrities live just outside of Leiper’s Fork. But no, I can’t tell you who. It’s against the Nashville rules.)

If you need adventure, try kayaking down the peaceful Harpeth River with River Queen Voyages. Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary is a beautiful place to hike and enjoy a forest setting, and the park offers educational events with their resident owls throughout the year. If you’re looking for fall colors, drive through the Natchez Trace Parkway to see Tennessee’s beauty at its peak. Hike along short trails to discover Jackson Falls or Fall Hollow Falls.

Head out on the Natchez Trace Parkway to find hiking spots and waterfalls. Photo by Christy Nicholson.

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Getting There

Visitors to Franklin, TN, will fly into the Nashville Airport (BNA) and need to take a 30-minute car or taxi ride to the area. Once you are in the city, Franklin offers a transit service with $1 shuttles that travel between their most popular tourist and business districts. While downtown Franklin is walkable, I recommend renting a car if you want to explore historic sites, the Natchez Trace Parkway, Leiper’s Fork, or Arrington Vineyards.

We use CheapO’Air to find great deals on flights.

Where to Stay

The Harpeth Hotel offers a boutique experience in Franklin’s historic downtown and is within walking distance of shopping and historic sites. If a cottage is more your style, rent a cozy home and relax in Leiper’s Fork. The Cool Springs area is home to multiple hotel chains, including Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn, with plenty of fast food and casual restaurants nearby.

Where to Eat

Grays on Main is an old pharmacy transformed into a trendy restaurant. Puckett’s is a local favorite known for down-home cooking and live music. Meridee’s Breadbasket has lighter fare like sandwiches and salads, plus ridiculously good desserts and breakfast that is not to be missed.


The Best Family Activities in Franklin, Tennessee (2)

The Best Family Activities in Franklin, Tennessee (3)

Christy Nicholson is a writer, editor, and recovering perfectionist from Nashville, Tennessee. When not traveling with family, she enjoys cozy days at home reading, gardening, making music, and wrangling two awesome kids. Christy writes at about travel and sustainable living.

The Best Family Activities in Franklin, Tennessee (2024)


How do I spend a day in Franklin TN? ›

We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
  1. Lotz House Museum. © Lotz House Museum. ...
  2. Carnton. © Carnton. ...
  3. Franklin Farmers Market. ...
  4. Franklin on Foot, Franklin, TN. ...
  5. Timberland Park. ...
  6. Carter House, Franklin, TN. ...
  7. Leiper's Fork. ...
  8. The Factory at Franklin.

Is it worth visiting Franklin Tennessee? ›

If you're looking for a city filled with good food, interesting history, live music, and some good old Southern charm, then you need look no further than Franklin, Tennessee. This city – located just 20 miles south of Nashville – has it all.

What is famous about Franklin TN? ›

Founded in 1799 and named after Benjamin Franklin. One of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War took place here, bringing thousands of historic tourists each year to visit the site of the Battle of Franklin, Carnton, the Carter House and many other historic locations throughout the City.

Is Franklin Tennessee a nice place? ›

Franklin is in Williamson County and is one of the best places to live in Tennessee. Living in Franklin offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Franklin there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

What famous people live in Franklin Tennessee? ›

Celebrities Living in Leiper's Fork and Franklin
  • Justin Timberlake. Perhaps the biggest name living in Leiper's Fork is Justin Timberlake. ...
  • Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are formerly residents of Franklin. ...
  • Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. ...
  • Brad Paisley.
9 Nov 2021

Why are so many people moving to Franklin TN? ›

Franklin is just 30 minutes south of the country music capital of the world. With its close proximity to the city, Franklin allows residents to enjoy a suburban lifestyle without having the hustle and bustle of a city in their backyard. Most residents own their homes and grow roots in the area.

How far apart are Franklin and Nashville TN? ›

The total driving distance from Franklin, TN to Nashville, TN is 22 miles or 35 kilometers.

Does Franklin TN have a downtown? ›

Downtown Franklin is among America's best examples of outstanding historic preservation. Travel along brick sidewalks and among an idyllic collection of Victorian architecture in this 16-block National Register district--with more than 70 unique shops and restuarants.

Does it snow in Franklin TN? ›

The month with the most snow in Franklin is January, with an average snowfall of 2.2 inches. The snowless period of the year lasts for 9.2 months, from March 7 to December 14. The least snow falls around July 13, with an average total accumulation of 0.0 inches.

Is Franklin TN affluent? ›

Franklin, Tennessee, is one of the major cities in the Nashville metropolitan area and Middle Tennessee. About 80,000 people consider Franklin home. The median household income is $98,231, and the median home value exceeds $412,400. One of the richest people in Franklin, Tennessee, is Jon Yarbrough.

Is Franklin considered a suburb of Nashville? ›

Since the late 20th century, however, Franklin has rapidly developed as a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. Franklin's population has increased more than fivefold since 1980, when its population was 12,407. In 2010, the city had a population of 62,487.

Is Franklin considered Nashville? ›

Franklin is a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, and is considered one of the best small towns in America!

Is Franklin TN a good place to raise a family? ›

#5 - Franklin

There are plenty of restaurants, entertainment, parks, and cafes sprinkled throughout. Families do not only enjoy a lively town with great entertainment, but the school system is also one of the best in Tennessee.

Can I afford to live in Franklin TN? ›

Franklin is ranked 146 out of 273 cities across the US in terms of cost of living. The cost of living in Franklin is 93.2% of the national average.

What is the cost of living in Franklin TN? ›

With an estimated population of 83.5K, Franklin is the 448th largest city in the United States.
Cost of Living in Franklin, TN.
Cost of livingOne personFamily of 4
🏨 Rent & Utilities$1350$2065
🍽️ Food$525$1364
🚐 Transport$35.4$97.1
💳 Monthly salary after tax$5715
4 more rows

Where do celebrities live in Tennessee? ›

So, the truth of the matter is that when it comes to celebs, most celebrity homes in Nashville are actually in Brentwood or Franklin, TN. These are two of the most affluent suburbs in the Nashville area.

Do any celebrities live in Tennessee? ›

From celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan to Olympian Scott Hamilton to reality stars Kristin Cavallari and the Chrisleys, a quick look at the stars who've moved here recently. Nationally-known celebrities — who aren't even country singers — are part of recent waves of people flocking to Music City and the region.

Are there tornadoes in Franklin Tennessee? ›

Historical Tornado Events. A total of 92 historical tornado events that had recorded magnitude of 2 or above found in or near Franklin, TN.

Where is the best place to live in Franklin TN? ›

Legends Ridge is known for being one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Franklin. The community is filled with custom-built homes crafted by some of the most talented architects in Tennessee, including Insignia Homes and Premier Building Group.

Why Californians are moving to Tennessee? ›

Why Californians are moving to Tennessee. Californians are moving to Tennessee because of the high income taxes and the ever-rising cost of living in California. Other reasons include exciting outdoor activities, plenty of job opportunities, and affordable education in the Volunteer State.

How far is Franklin Tennessee from airport? ›

What is the distance between Nashville Airport (BNA) and Franklin? The distance between Nashville Airport (BNA) and Franklin is 18 miles. The road distance is 25.9 miles.

Is there a bus from Nashville to Franklin? ›

Nashville to Franklin by bus

Only 31 miles separate Nashville and Franklin, so you can choose a convenient bus route to make your trip comfortable and easy. A bus ticket will cost you on average 27 USD. Also, traveling by bus will cost you from 23 USD. You will have 2 stops during your trip.

How big is Franklin TN? ›

Is Franklin TN walkable? ›

In the city of Franklin, Tennessee, three neighborhoods benefit from the city's walk-friendly policies. These include Berry Farms, Westhaven, and downtown Franklin, known for walking tours and pedestrian-friendly atmospheres.

What is the main street in Nashville? ›

Free Music | 365 Days a Year Honky Tonk Highway

Find yourself mesmerized by the live music and neon lights of Broadway on Honky Tonk Highway – Nashville's famous street. World-class live music plays 365 days a year on the city's main drag.

Where can I park in downtown Franklin TN? ›

  • 113 3rd Ave N. 63 spots. 3 min.
  • 118 4th Ave N. 26 spots. 3 min.
  • 117 4th Ave N. 27 spots. 4 min.
  • 100 5th Avenue North. 65 spots. 7 min.

Where is Tornado Alley in Tennessee? ›

Tennessee is not part of Tornado Alley but it is a part of Dixie Alley, a term coined to describe the southeastern parts of the United States that have a higher risk of developing tornados.

How hot does it get in Franklin TN? ›

Yearly Averages
What's The Average High Temp in Franklin?70.4 °F
What's the Average Temperature in Franklin?58.8 °F
How Many Inches of Rain per year does Franklin get ?52.84 inches
How Many Rainy Days a year are there in Franklin?N/A
How Much Sunshine each year is there in Franklin (in hours)?N/A
2 more rows

Are there tornadoes in Tennessee? ›

Since 1996, Tennessee has averaged 31 tornadoes each year, according to data from the NWS. Here's a breakdown of how many twisters touched down in the Volunteer State over the last 25 years.

What is the wealthiest county in TN? ›


Is Franklin TN affordable? ›

Franklin's housing expenses are 7% lower than the national average and the utility prices are 9% lower than the national average. Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 4% lower than the national average. Franklin has grocery prices that are 2% lower than the national average.

What major city is Franklin Tennessee near? ›

Brentwood, TN. Spring Hill, TN. Nashville, TN.

What is the wealthiest suburb in Nashville? ›

Brentwood. Known for large country estates and rolling hills, Brentwood is an affluent suburb south of Nashville and one of the wealthiest cities in the country.

What is the nicest neighborhood in Nashville? ›

+ What is the nicest neighborhood in Nashville? According to CultureTrip, the nicest Nashville neighborhoods are Hillsboro Village, Green Hills, Downtown, East Nashville, 12 South, and Downtown Franklin.

Are people moving out of Nashville? ›

Despite being called the “It City,” Nashville saw the 12th largest population decline in the entire country and was one of only 12 cities that lost over 10,000 people, along with the likes of cities like Portland, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.

Is Nashville or Atlanta bigger? ›

Nashville is less crowded than Atlanta

However, Nashville covers 526 square miles, whereas Atlanta only covers 134 square miles, meaning Atlanta is far more crowded.

Where do you fly into for Franklin TN? ›

The nearest airport to Franklin is Nashville (BNA) Airport which is 18.2 miles away. Other nearby airports include Huntsville (HSV) (88.9 miles) and Chattanooga (CHA) (113 miles). How long does it take to get to Franklin from the Airport? It takes 27 min to get from Franklin to Nashville (BNA) Airport.

What is Nashville's nickname? ›

Nashville is known the world over as the Music City. What is much less well known is exactly how this nickname came to be.

Why is it so cheap to live in Tennessee? ›

No state income tax

That's why your income goes as far in Tennessee as just about any other area in the country. The state compensates for this income tax break with a higher-than-average sales tax (around 7%). This ensures that Tennessee's visitors help the residents cover a large chunk of their living costs.

What is the safest place to live in TN? ›

Top 10 safest places to live in Tennessee
  • Oakland.
  • Brentwood.
  • Spring Hill.
  • Nolensville.
  • Germantown.
  • Kingston.
  • Mount Juliet.
  • Collierville.
5 Aug 2022

What is the cheapest city to live in Tennessee? ›

2022 Most Affordable Cities in Tennessee
  • Memphis.
  • Lawrenceburg.
  • Lewisburg.
  • Union City.
  • Millington.
  • Paris.
  • Knoxville.
  • McMinnville.

Is Franklin Tennessee a good place to retire? ›

Money Magazine recently named Franklin in the “10 Best Places to Retire in the US in 2022,” for the second year in a row, citing “Franklin regularly makes our top 10 Best Places to Live list for all ages, but with 37% of its residents 50 or older, it's a fine place to retire too.” Franklin took the eighth spot in 2020 ...

Is Franklin TN growing? ›

Franklin is currently growing at a rate of 2.45% annually and its population has increased by 5.03% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 83,454 in 2020. Spanning over 42 miles, Franklin has a population density of 2,108 people per square mile.

How many people are moving to Franklin TN? ›

Growing by almost 9% from 2019 to 2020 to a whopping 87,237 residents, Franklin, Tennessee, is one place that families chose to settle down. Here are a few reasons why.

How do I spend a day in Franklin TN? ›

Because that place is always on our travel list.
  1. Do a Civil War Home Tour at Carnton House. ...
  2. Visit Downtown Franklin for Boutique Shopping. ...
  3. Lunchtime at The Factory (and shopping) ...
  4. Explore Leipers Fork. ...
  5. Drive over the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge , Natchez Trail Parkway. ...
  6. Attend Open Mic at Puckett's Grocery.
3 Jul 2018

Is Brentwood TN a good place to live? ›

Brentwood Tennessee is one of Nashville's top suburbs to live in. Brentwood is widely considered to provide the best public schools in Nashville. It's also home to some of Nashville's best luxury homes, however there is a variety of homes and housing styles (more than you might expect).

How far is Franklin Tennessee from airport? ›

What is the distance between Nashville Airport (BNA) and Franklin? The distance between Nashville Airport (BNA) and Franklin is 18 miles. The road distance is 25.9 miles.

What is the zip code for Franklin TN? ›


Is there a shuttle from Nashville airport to Franklin TN? ›

Franklin Shuttle Service

If you need an BNA airport ride to or from Franklin we can help you find and book quality ground transportation options from trusted partners. Options include shuttle, town car, SUV and limo from quality providers as Supershuttle, Groundlink and Blacklane.

What airport do you fly into for Franklin TN? ›

The nearest airport to Franklin is Nashville (BNA) Airport which is 18.2 miles away. Other nearby airports include Huntsville (HSV) (88.9 miles) and Chattanooga (CHA) (113 miles). How long does it take to get to Franklin from the Airport? It takes 27 min to get from Franklin to Nashville (BNA) Airport.

Is there a bus from Nashville to Franklin? ›

Nashville to Franklin by bus

Only 31 miles separate Nashville and Franklin, so you can choose a convenient bus route to make your trip comfortable and easy. A bus ticket will cost you on average 27 USD. Also, traveling by bus will cost you from 23 USD. You will have 2 stops during your trip.

Is Franklin TN a suburb of Nashville? ›

Since the late 20th century, however, Franklin has rapidly developed as a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. Franklin's population has increased more than fivefold since 1980, when its population was 12,407.

What area is 615 area code? ›

The 615 area code generally covers the north-central portion of the state of Tennessee serving communities such as Franklin, Gallatin, Hendersonville, Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Nashville and Springfield. The new 629 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 615 area code.

What zip code is Brentwood TN? ›

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