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Why Williamson County, TN, is a Hub for Arts & Culture

From galleries to festivals, add a little artistry to your life with these must-dos and must-sees in Williamson County.

By Rebecca Treon on December 5, 2022

People enjoy a concert at FirstBank Ampitheater. The theater is in Thompson's Station, which is located in Williamson County, TN.
Firstbank Amphitheater

Williamson County is just a stone’s throw away from Nashville’s glittering entertainment options, but you don’t have to trek into the city to enjoy yourself. Williamson County has a thriving scene all its own, offering residents a wealth of ways to stay entertained, whether they’re young singles or growing families. 

“One thing I love is that instead of tearing down some of the historic buildings, they give them a facelift and breathe new life into them — we have so much history here, and they’ve done a great job preserving it — downtown Franklin looks like something out of a Hallmark movie,” says Katherine Hellard, a Franklin native who still lives in the area. “We have festivals that have tons of activities for the kids, vendors and food, like PumpkinFest and Dickens of a Christmas — people come from all over for them, and they have something for everyone.”

People enjoy cocktails on the porch at Company Distilling, which is located in Williamson County, TN.
Company Distilling / Sean Fisher

That’s the Spirit

Williamson County has a range of restaurants to choose from, including many locally owned, independent eateries. More recently, the craft brewing, distillery and winery scene has blossomed in the area, including Curio Brewing in Franklin, which combines the world’s favorite beverages — coffee and beer — under one roof; Leiper’s Fork Distillery, which sources local ingredients; Company Distilling, which offers a beautifully rustic location in Thompson’s Station; and Arrington Vineyards, which hosts food trucks and live music.

People gathered on the lawn at Arrington Vineyards located in Franklin TN
Nathan Lambrecht

“Arrington Vineyards has live music performances — you can pack a picnic, bring your kids, and enjoy the day. They’re very family-friendly,” Hellard says. “Franklin Theatre is one of my favorite places, too — it has a picturesque marquee right in the middle of downtown, and during the holidays, they do special events and screen all the Christmas classics, like ‘Elf,’ ‘Christmas Vacation,’ ‘White Christmas’… it’s so much fun.”

People eat outside at Puckett's Grocery in downtown Franklin, which is located in Williamson County, TN.
Amy Whidby

For a Song

With its proximity to Music City, naturally, Williamson County has numerous local venues where residents can catch live music performances. Mockingbird Theater at The Factory is a favorite, with a full bar and the chance to see a range of genres in an intimate setting. At Gray’s on Main, get a meal of hearty Southern fare with a side of live music. In Leiper’s Fork, Fox & Locke (formerly Puckett’s) has been serving comfort food and tunes since the 1940s, Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor is known for its juke joint vibe, and the newly opened FirstBank Amphitheater hosts performances in a former quarry.

The area also has a vibrant array of independent restaurants, plus local shops, boutiques and galleries.

“If I have somebody coming to town, we’ll go have dinner in downtown Franklin and walk down Main Street. It really has a feel of smalltown America — there are cute little shops with clothing, gifts, coffee and ice cream,” says Sydney Ball, who works in Franklin and serves on the board of several organizations. “I love any of Jason McConnell’s restaurants — Red Pony, 55 South and Cork & Cow. Mere Bulles in Brentwood is fantastic — it’s in a historic home. And you can’t go wrong with Jeni’s Ice Cream.”

People walking around at a Big Time Rush concert at FirstBank Ampitheater. The theater is in Thompson's Station, which is located in Williamson County, TN.
Ben Neely

You Axed For It

For those who want to have a little action in their entertainment, venues like Sticks and Stones Axe Co. has 13 lanes for throwing and a mobile truck for events. Belong Gaming is a gamer’s paradise offering arena play, Digital Worlds VR in Franklin offers virtual reality setups for all ages, and Kings Dining and Entertainment offers bowling, air hockey, billiards, foosball, shuffleboard, plus indoor and outdoor dining.

Williamson County is an excellent place for families, too, with a wealth of entertainment options for kids and their adults, many of which are low or no cost.

Brentwood Library hosts many events, from games to crafts to storytimes and a range of books, in its Children’s Room. Families can peruse the stacks of new, old and rare books at Landmark Booksellers in Franklin’s historic Public Square. Noble Springs Dairy, which hosts a number of family-friendly events, is a great place for kids to explore life on the farm. At Urban Air Adventure Park, kids can get the wiggles out and bounce to their heart’s content.

At the heart of Williamson County are its people — a community proud of what it offers. 

“There’s something for everyone to be a part of here,” Ball says. “I’d encourage individuals who are new to town to look at engaging in some kind of community-based volunteerism to learn more about our community and meet people — there are several organizations that are civic-minded.”

Want to know more?

To learn more about the Williamson County area, check out the latest edition of Livability Williamson County, TN

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