One of Tennessee’s most captivating and quaint destinations, downtown Franklin’s Main Street epitomizes Southern charm. A prominent battleground in the American Civil War, the area intersects historic narrative and modern-day activity. The historic downtown is home to restored Victorian-era buildings filled with restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and other notable local businesses. Here’s a guide to eating, drinking, shopping, and exploring historic downtown Franklin!
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Downtown Franklin has no shortage of restaurants, from brunch spots and burger joints to fine dining establishments with elevated service.
- 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails: Located at The Harpeth Hotel, this dining spot serves upscale dishes galore — from broiled oysters and trout to bone-in pork chop and bison steak. The restaurant recently expanded its offerings to include weekend brunch service, featuring apple fritters, eggs Benedict, and all the delicious brunch cocktails you can think of.
- 55 South: Named for the stretch of road that inspired the flavors on the menu, this spot serves up Southern favorites like brisket tacos, char-grilled oysters, smoked wings, fried pickles, and so much more.
- Americana Taphouse: A bar and grill serving traditional food and a stellar craft beer lineup. Order oysters on the half shell, Taphouse Wings, ribs, fish and chips, blackened salmon, or any number of other classic dishes.
- Biscuit Love: A local favorite, Biscuit Love offers morning pick-me-ups like the East Nasty (a buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, cheddar, and sausage gravy), shrimp and grits, and a biscuit cinnamon roll. You can even take biscuits to go!
- Burger Dandy: This all-American burger joint has burgers galore, plus classic sides like crinkle-cut fries, onion rings, and milkshakes. Oh, the milkshakes! You can snag go-to flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, but they always have a monthly special, such as salted caramel brown sugar. Yum! Did we mention you can get it spiked?
- Cork & Cow: This steakhouse has been around since 2011, serving elevated seafood and steak dishes accompanied by creative cocktails and an extensive wine menu.
- Culaccino Italian Restaurant & Bar: Authentic Italian cuisine abounds. Signature dishes like wood-fired pizzas, panini sandwiches, and handmade artisan pasta pair with a stellar wine list and classic desserts such as tiramisu.
- Franklin Bakehouse: This bakery, deli, and market has everything you need — from parfaits, pastries, and sandwiches to wine and spirits.
- Franklin Mercantile & Deli: Dine in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or enlist the catering services from this longstanding area favorite. If you’re looking for a Franklin souvenir, you can even find a handmade soup or coffee mug.
- GRAY’S on Main: Housed in a historic pharmacy from 1876, this restaurant has been one of downtown’s staple eateries since its renovation in 2013. Enjoy live music as you feast on Southern classics such as pimento cheese bites with moonshine pepper jelly, chicken and dumplings, and banana pudding.
- Hop House Tennessee Taps: Bavarian pretzels, Nashville Hot Popcorn, Cheese Steak, and the Hop House burger are just a few of the menu items at this go-to for beer enthusiasts. With 37 craft brews on tap, you will surely find something you love.
- Kilwins of Franklin: A confections mecca, you can find everything to satisfy your sweet tooth — from fudge and chocolate-dipped strawberries to gourmet cakes and ice cream.
- Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor: The Kimbro’s menu is chock-full of wings, burgers, sandwiches, nachos, and other fare to accompany live music — which can be heard any night of the week.
- McCreary’s Irish Pub & Eatery: Channel the luck of the Irish with some Guinness, live music, and eats like corned beef and cabbage eggrolls, bangers and mash, and battered cheese curds.
- Merridee’s Breadbasket: This longtime staple has been serving up beautiful baked goods since 1984. Head in for brownies, bars, cookies, cakes, pies, fresh bread, breakfast, and lunch. The homemade soups and sandwiches are out of this world!
- Mellow Mushroom: This restaurant chain has locations all over the South, but this one might be its most charming. Order from a vast selection of stone-baked pizzas, calzones, burgers, sandwiches, and beyond.
- Puckett’s Franklin: Comfort food and live local music stand out at this longtime Franklin meat-and-three. Breakfast options include pancakes, skillets, and omelets, while lunch and dinner are geared toward barbecue platters, smoked meatloaf, and more.
- Red Pony: This restaurant opened in 2006 and has been going strong ever since. Dine on grilled lamb chops, beef tartare, scallops, and hickory-grilled bone-in ribeye.
- Ruby Sunshine: This brunch spot is a memorable one. Feast on brioche French Toast Bites, eggs Benedict options, biscuits and gravy, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding Pancakes. Talk about decadent!
- Sweet CeCe’s: This is the spot if you’re craving frozen desserts or cookies. Snag frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelato, sorbet, custard, and cookie selections.
- Sweet Haven: From farm-fresh frozen yogurt to ice cream sandwiches, shakes, and the most astounding popsicles, you’re in for a treat!
- Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe: Enjoy all your favorite Greek fare, from hummus and whipped feta to chicken kabobs, gyros, and baklava.
- Triple Crown Bakery: Shop cookies, cakes, and pastries, all made on-site — from brioche cinnamon rolls to quiche to scones. The bakery also offers a beautiful tea or coffee service, the latter with locally roasted beans from Honest Coffee served in a French press.
- Zolo’s Italian Restaurant: If you’re looking for a quaint, candlelit spot for dinner, head to Zolo’s. A longstanding restaurant in downtown, the restaurant has been serving up classic Italian fare (think bruschetta, calamari, baked lasagna, and chicken parmigiana) for over a decade.
DRINK: Coffee + Cocktails
- The Coffee House at Second & Bridge: While you can grab sandwiches and salads here, too, we’re drawn to the coffee. Stop in for a “Sweater Weather Latte” when the air turns crisp, or select from other options like the Toffee Coffee Latte, Honey Lavender Latte, and classic Americano.
- Frothy Monkey: A beloved local cafe and bakery, you can order everything from tea to a Golden Monkey Latte (espresso, steamed turmeric milk, honey, and cinnamon) to a country ham and pimento cheese biscuit or avocado toast. And it’s more than merely a breakfast spot. They serve lunch and dinner, too!
- JJ’s Wine Bar: JJ’s is rumored to be Franklin’s first wine bar, opening its doors over a decade ago. An upscale 21+ establishment with a dog-friendly patio, you can enjoy appetizers, artisan flatbreads, charcuterie boards, and more, paired with wines by the glass, cocktails, beer, and other beverages.
- McGavock’s Coffee Bar & Provisions: Located in The Harpeth Hotel, this cafe offers a European-style coffee bar with everything from lemon-ricotta toast or a ham-and-cheese croissant to heartier dishes like steak and eggs. Don’t forget a mimosa flight!
- O’ Be Joyful: This intimate tavern is the ideal spot for tacos, wings, the house Reuben sandwich, or a jalapeño burger alongside one of Franklin’s most extensive whiskey collections. Of course, you can also grab beer, wine, and seasonal cocktails.
- Onyx & Alabaster Coffee Lounge: Attached to an interior design market, this is one of the chicest coffee houses in the entire Nashville area. Enjoy a cup of Joe as you peruse lighting, textiles, and home accessories.
- Saint Goose: This wine and spirits shop specializes in organic, biodynamic wines and handcrafted whiskeys.
- Stable Reserve: This local distillery specializes in coffee and cocktails — the best of both worlds! You can also snag tasty gifts like chocolate truffles.
- Starbucks: Sometimes you just want what you know. While we suggest the other, locally owned options, as Starbucks is the same all over the country, their app certainly makes things convenient.
Though dining and drinking your way through downtown Franklin could surely occupy you for hours, the shopping is not to be missed. You can also drive a short distance to The Factory at Franklin, where even more dining and shopping await!
- Anthropologie: Known for its trendy apparel and home goods, this beloved chain opened in Franklin over a decade ago.
- Avec Moi: Shop new and vintage gifts, from tablescape accessories to seasonal decor. You can also find a selection of clothing, coffee table books, and more.
- Awaken TN: A one-stop shop for everything you need to experience solid, luxury sleep — from mattresses and bedding to essential oils and loungewear.
- Bink’s Outfitters: Bink’s carries everything you need for an active, outdoor lifestyle, such as backpacks, tumblers, and outerwear.
- Boutique MMM: The store’s motto, “A candy store of ladies’ shoes,” pretty much covers it!
- Cellar on Main: This women’s boutique and gift store has been around since 1998 (though it has moved a few times) and offers clothing, handbags, and beyond.
- Chico’s: Closet essentials abound, from shoes and accessories to outerwear and eyewear.
- Citizen: Shop men’s and women’s footwear, loungewear, and other apparel.
- DeAnn Gallery: Check out this open working studio from local artist DeAnn, who transitioned from a corporate career to painting years ago.
- Denise Carolyn: Located just off the main drag, this just-opened boutique offers women’s clothing, fragrances, and more.
- Emmaline: A longtime local favorite featuring a collection of contemporary women’s clothing with brands such as Vince, Frame, local jeweler Robin Haley, BA&SH, and more.
- EVEREVE: A range of clothing, shoes, and accessories that run the gamut from classic closet staples to trendsetting ensembles.
- Finnleys: Fashion-savvy clothing and accessories from rompers and jumpsuits to denim, dresses, and handbags.
- Franklin Antique Mall: Discover many vintage treasures in the old Franklin ice house. You can browse heirlooms, lighting, furniture pieces, and jewelry.
- Franklin Fine Jewelry: Shop custom jewelry, engagement rings, watches, antique jewelry, and more.
- Franklin Road Apparel Co.: A modern boutique with clothing for both men and women.
- Gallery 202: An art gallery showcasing local, regional, and national artists. View art from painters, potters, sculptors, jewelry-makers, glass-blowers, and more.
- The Green Room: A shop filled with earth-friendly, sustainable gifts, you can find everything from candles and home goods to baby gifts.
- Habit: Shop upscale accessories, denim, loungewear, outerwear, and everyday wear.
- Heart & Hands: If you’re looking for handcrafted gifts from Tennessee, this is the place!
- The Heirloom Shop: This family-owned and operated gift shop features popcorn, pillows, paper goods, recipe books, clothing, customizable bags, and so much more.
- Hester + Cook: Your go-to for stationery, party supplies, and decor. You can even snag game-night accessories, lighting, and wallpaper.
- Haylee b.: Peruse women’s apparel, from blazers and dresses to clothing designed specifically for curvy women.
- Imago Dei: A spiritually-based boutique with jewelry, clothing, candles, and more.
- The Iron Gate: This Main Street shop is one of the longest-standing — a beautiful display of home goods and wares, from bed linens and antiques to French-milled soaps and cozy throw blankets.
- JJ Ashley Antiques: This shop features home decor and furniture galore — from seasonal goods to swivel chairs, dining sets, and lighting.
- Johnnie Q: This gift shop has everything you need for birthday or hostess gifts. Think tongue-in-cheek plates featuring rock-and-roll icons, fragrances, vintage coupe glasses, and serving trays.
- Jondie: Female-centric apparel, jewelry, and accessories.
- Landmark Booksellers: This self-proclaimed “book lover’s paradise” is a treasure trove of literary finds.
- Mimi & Dottie: Jewelry designs along with fashion-forward clothing.
- Native Matter: Described as “a community shop offering home, pet, wellness, clothing, and accessory products,” you can find art, wellness and beauty products, textiles, pet accessories, and more.
- Olivia Olive Oil: Shop gourmet accompaniments — from balsamic vinegar and pasta to infused olive oils, cookbooks, and gift sets.
- Onyx & Alabaster: An interior design market with an attached coffee lounge, this spot is a go-to for textiles, lighting, furniture, and a dose of caffeine.
- PDs Franklin: Spruce up your living space with chandeliers, Turkish pillows, handmade pottery, dining tables, and more — all at discounted prices.
- Posh Boutique: A women’s clothing boutique with trendsetting styles, this is the sister store of Posh Boutique in Hillsboro Village.
- Purple Butterfly: A children’s boutique, you can find everything from custom, monogrammed apparel to seasonal kids’ clothing for every holiday.
- Rare Prints Gallery: A curated collection of vintage prints, maps, and artwork.
- The Registry: Your go-to for barware, flatware, linens, lamps, pillows, and virtually any other home decor or tablescape item you can think of.
- Rock, Paper, Scissors: Party decor, custom balloons, paper goods, and gifts abound. You can even find great stuff for your home office!
- Rooted from Yarrow Acres: Grab all the greenery you need for your home or office at this sweet little plant shop.
- Savory Spice Shop: Stock up on every spice and sauce, from jalapeño ranch popcorn seasoning to Calabrian hot pepper paste and pomegranate molasses.
- Sadie James Hat Co.: Tucked away on a side street, this bespoke brand offers appointment-only luxury hat designs. No two hats are alike!
- Tin Cottage: Shop apparel, accessories, and humorous gifts like oven mitts, kitchen towels, coffee mugs, socks, and more.
- Twine Graphics: Specializing in screenprinting, embroidery, promo gear, and custom apparel, this graphics shop is also great for Nashville- and Franklin-centric mementos.
- Vinnie Louise: Browse trending apparel, such as jumpsuits, shoes, bags, jewelry, and undergarments.
- Walton’s Jewelry: Shop a curated selection of antique and estate jewelry.
- The White Magnolia: An appointment-only bridal shop for gown shopping in a relaxed environment.
- Winchester Antique Mall: Shop rows and rows of furniture, home goods, art, and other vintage treasures.
- Body Architecture Fitness: This independent fitness studio specializes in personal training, muscle activation techniques, and beyond.
- Classic Sports Barber Shop: This barber shop has been in downtown Franklin for over 15 years. Head in for a sports-themed experience as you have your hair trimmed.
- Dion’s South: An upscale hair salon and med spa from award-winning hairstylist Richard Dion.
- Iron Tribe Fitness: HIIT training and one-on-one-style coaching are what make this gym popular.
- The NOW Massage: Recharge at this luxury massage locale offering scalp renewal, cupping, herbal heat therapy, and more.
- The Parker House: Inspired by trends from Australia, New York, and Los Angeles, this hair salon offers services like balayage, color correction, cuts, and blow-outs.
- Pedego Electric Bikes: Whether you’re looking to zip around side streets or go leaf-peeping to view the fall colors, Pedego has you covered on transportation. You can also register for Franklin history or historic home tours, a guided trip around Leiper’s Fork, or an adventure on the Natchez Trace.
- Pilates for Life: A supportive spot for people of all ages and fitness levels to engage in Pilates.
- Scout’s Barber Shop: A locally owned, unisex, walk-in barbershop.
- SkinTheory RX: A medical studio for skincare treatments, you can schedule services like facials, peels, microneedling, waxing, and more.
- Skoah Facial Shop: Pamper yourself with a facial or HydraFacial.
- Southern Aesthetics: A med spa offering services such as microneedling, facials, chemical peels, lashes, weight loss, laser hair removal, and more.
You can take a short drive to visit historic sites like the Mclemore House, picnic at the 200-acre Park at Harlinsdale Farm, canoe or kayak the Harpeth River, or tour Carnton Plantation. But downtown Franklin offers countless other ways to explore and enjoy the area, too!
- Franklin Theatre: This restored movie house is a great place to see movies, live music, dance performances, and more.
- Franklin Walking Tours: Sign up for an official tour of Main Street, take a 90-minute ghost tour, or learn more about “Franklin’s Fierce Females.” October even offers themed tours in honor of Halloween!
- Pull-Tight Player’s Theatre: Enjoy live theater in a charming, historic, intimate building that has been home to a grocery store, a church, and an antique shop over the years.
- Williamson County Archives & Museum: History buffs will love this opportunity to dig into historic records and genealogical research.
- The Harpeth Hotel: Downtown Franklin boasts only one hotel, and it’s this one. Located on the banks of the Harpeth River, this hotel is also home to 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails and McGavock’s Coffee Bar & Provisions. Stay in one of 119 elegant guestrooms, impeccably designed for comfort. Even better, you’ll be within walking distance of every restaurant and shopping destination on this list!
- Magnolia House Bed + Breakfast: If you are looking for another option with all the walkability that The Harpeth Hotel has, but at a lower price point that typically comes with a bed and breakfast, Magnolia House has four rooms and gets rave reviews.
As if downtown Franklin doesn’t have enough to keep us busy, here are a few additions that are coming soon!
- Cultheir: Stay tuned for this beautiful home store that sources makers from around the world.
- Leiper’s Fork Distillery: Located in the former Grilled Cheeserie space, this artisan distillery makes small-batch Tennessee whiskey.
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