Downtown Franklin Shopping and Dining Overview

Visitors stroll through downtown Franklin, TN
Visitors stroll through downtown Franklin, TN

Franklin’s historic downtown is the perfect mix of past and present. The 15-block area centered by Main Street is filled with history‚ wonderful old buildings and friendly charm. It's also got some of the area's trendiest shopping‚ hippest restaurants and free wifi throughout.

Franklin Reinvented

Virtually abandoned in the 1980s, downtown Franklin then underwent a renaissance guided by a few entrepreneurs that brought dramatic updates‚ new businessess‚ and a new respect – and market value – for the area. Franklin’s new incarnation and preservation-minded spirit has netted it many awards over the ensuing years and helped make the historic downtown area a favorite for locals and tourists alike.

“It’s what you think of when you think of Small Town‚ USA‚ but it’s a real place‚” says Nancy Williams‚ director of the Downtown Franklin Association. “It’s kind of a hip Mayberry‚ a multi-generational place that’s very diverse in terms of what you can do and see here.” Among the things you can do in a 15-block area: get a pedicure; buy designer clothes; munch on a gourmet salad‚ chicken and dumplings or a tasty pizza; dine in an old jail; get a massage; find unique vintage objects; buy a toy train or a set of crystal wine glasses; design your wedding invitation; or have a martini.

Franklin Visitor Appreciation

Visitors to downtown Franklin can also get free public wireless Internet access, thanks to the efforts of the Williamson County Visitor Center. “We are always looking for ways to enhance the visitor experience,” said center manager Laura Musgrave. “Visitors already enjoy the personal attention they receive when they enter our quaint little office. Free Wi-Fi is just one more way we can let our guests know that we are glad they are here.” Andy Marshall‚ owner of Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant on Fourth Avenue South‚ cites the area's diversity of businesses and clientele as the reason he expanded his popular Leiper’s Fork eatery – and its legendary hamburgers – into Franklin.

“The whole feeling was just coming alive‚ and I wanted to be part of it‚” says Marshall‚ who packs his countrified place with locals and visitors for lunch‚ as well as dinner and live music in the evenings. “It’s been awesome – a really good move for us. We feel like we’ve been here for 20 years.” That kind of enthusiasm is common among merchants who do business downtown. “Being part of downtown is like identifying who you are in a sense‚” says Ed Cagle‚ treasurer of the Downtown Franklin Association. “The Cool Springs mall is great‚ and it serves its purpose well‚” he continues. “But what we have downtown is some thing you can’t find anywhere else – the look‚ the nostalgia‚ the history‚ the whole feeling that comes with downtown. And that’s important.”

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