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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.

By Stephanie Inman on July 14, 2016


You don’t have to look far in Williamson County to find a thriving arts and culture scene. If you don’t know where to look, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best galleries, historical sites, festivals, etc. in the county that you don’t want to miss.


Libraries in Williamson County are the perfect place to spend a relaxing weekend. The Williamson County Library has more than 456,000 items, so you are bound to find something you’ll enjoy. The main building is in Franklin, with other branches in Bethesda, College Grove, Fairview, Leiper’s Fork and Nolensville. The spacious Brentwood Library on Concord Road contains more than 165,000 books, as well as audiobooks, DVDs, music CDs, magazines, newspapers and reference databases. Both libraries feature family-friendly activities, including public readings, community events, classes and workshops. 


High-quality galleries abound in Williamson County. You must make a trip to Ansbach Artisans on the last Saturday of every month when they host a night of live art. You can meet, watch and collaborate with local artists as they are creating their masterpieces. For another night out, head to the Franklin Art Scene, which happens the first Friday of every month in downtown Franklin. You’ll be able visit many different galleries and enjoy a variety of craftsmanship, as well as refreshments and music.

One of those galleries, Gallery 202, is definitely worth a solo jaunt. It showcases paintings, antiques, glass and pottery created by local artists, all housed in historic Clouston Hall. Leiper’s Creek Gallery in Leiper’s Fork has enough variety to keep you engaged with every glance, featuring everything from representational painting to abstract expressionism and sculpture. 


Williamson County’s local theater scene rivals that of any major city. Since 1968, the Pull-Tight Players have been presenting dramas, musicals, comedies and original plays to captivated audiences. Boiler Room Theater provides a unique viewing experience in the Franklin Factory. Its compact theater, with only 120 seats, allows for an intimate experience.

A relatively new theater group, Studio Tenn was founded in 2009 and has become a huge hit with an impressive lineup of shows. The Towne Centre Players, who perform in Brentwood, not only present plays, but also host one-week acting camps throughout June and July for children ages 12-18. The Tennessee Renaissance Festival in May will transport history buffs back in time with a variety of performances that include a jousting tournament and a death-defying juggling act. 


Plenty of family-friendly festivals happen year round in Williamson County. Festival-goers can sample local, national and international beers at the Main Street Brew Fest in March. Main Street Festival is a two-day weekend in April that offers music, handmade crafts, food, kid zones and entertainment on three different downtown stages. Also in April, the annual Arbor Day Celebration at the Brentwood Library features such activities as face-painting, planting free seedlings and guided tours of the Library Arboretum.

Whether or not you are a jazz fan, the Franklin Jazz Festival is the perfect way to enjoy the spring weather while also listening to good music. The festival raises money for the nonprofit Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission. Another music festival is Bluegrass Along the Harpeth Fiddlers Jamboree—a different style of music but still loads of fun.

The  Annual Westhaven Porchfest kicks off in June, where you can listen to more than 100 musicians playing on 26 porches in the neighborhood. In downtown Franklin, you can easily get in the fall spirit at Pumpkinfest, which features costume contests, pumpkin carving and a chili cook off. Another must-visit downtown holiday festival is Dickens of a Christmas. Each December, the celebration features food, music, carriage rides and costumed volunteers who bring classic Charles Dickens characters to life.

Historic Sites

Williamson County is brimming with history. The Battle of Franklin was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, resulting in a massive loss for the Confederate army. Take a tour through the well-preserved historic site to learn more details about the battle and walk in the footsteps of the soldiers. While you are there, check out Carnton Plantation, a majestic antebellum home that was used as a field hospital during the battle.

At the Carter House, you can still see the holes left from the bullets fired during the Civil War. The oldest remaining black residence in Franklin is the McLemore House, which dates back to 1880. The house was built by a former slave and a successful farmer, and now is a museum dedicated to African American history.    

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