A Visitors Guide to Historic Downtown Franklin


Nashville is a wonderful city to visit and live in, but sometimes it is nice to escape the traffic and hustle and bustle of  everyday Music City, for a place that runs at a little slower pace and has a bit of an old world charm about it. With Historic Downtown Franklin, just being a 30-minute car ride away down Music City Highway, it makes living life a little slower, for just a few hours a very easy thing to do.

Once you pull into the town square of Franklin, TN. you will feel like you have been transported to a small town right out of Southern Living magazine.

Franklin is the epitome of shop local, eat local, charming small town America. As the old saying goes, “good things come in small packages” – despite the size of Franklin, it is packed to the brim with history, events, restaurants, stores, and festivals.

Gray’s on Main

Located on Main Street proper, Gray’s on Main is housed in a building that was originally used as a pharmacy and has since been restored into the charming restaurant brimming over with character that it is today. Gray’s is a happy medium between an upscale restaurant and a casual restaurant. Offering a lunch and dinner menu and live music on certain nights – the atmosphere this restaurant offers honestly is not something that can be recreated elsewhere. The Sweet Tea Chicken & Waffles, Smoked Carolina Trout Dip, Brown Sugar and Bourbon Salmon, and Banana Pudding are always crowd pleasers!  Our hats are off for Gray’s on Main, located directly on Music City Highway!

Merridee’s Breadbasket

Located just off of Main Street Merridee’s joins the ranks of a select few restaurants that one would describe as being “the perfect lunch spot”. As you walk in you will instantly be hit with the aroma of pies, cookies, and cakes being baked in the oven and have an overwhelming sense of being back in your grandmother’s kitchen as a child. The molasses cookies, French silk pie, pecan roll, and chess bars come highly recommended. Just to avoid a sugar coma Merridee’s also has a wonderful selection of sandwiches, quiches, soups, and salads.

55 South

The food served at 55 South is the definition of down home southern comfort food. To go ahead and ease your mind yes, Nashville Hot Chicken is on the menu! Keep in mind though, the BBQ Chicken Nachos, Bag o’ Shrimp, and Shrimp & Grits also come highly recommended. The atmosphere is rustic, laid back, and casual – a great spot for a nice lunch, casual dinner, or Saturday and Sunday football watching.

Red Pony

Another notable restaurant on Franklin’s Main Street, Red Pony, channels the elegant rustic high-end Southern charm that is being craved by restaurant goers at the moment. The Red Pony is known for changing it’s menu at least six times a year in the effort to keep the ingredients used as fresh as they can possibly be at any given time of the year. Sophisticated Southern foods and crafted cocktails are what dinners at Red Pony are made of. The Cowboy Sushi Roll, Brussels, Scallops, and Beef Tenderloin are sure to make your taste buds dance in delight.

Cork & Cow

Even in the small town of Franklin an upscale steak restaurant is sure to be found, located right of Main Street and next door to Merridee’s. After opening a few years ago Cork & Cow’s reputation soon made its way to Nashville and has became a dinning favorite of both Nashville and Franklin natives. The Wagyu Meatball, Grilled Portobello, Filet Mignon, and Maine Lobster Tail always come highly recommended.


Downtown Franklin is absolutely packed with locally owned stores that have not expanded out of Nashville or even Franklin for that matter.

The Registry

If the words Juliska, Vietri, or Herend resonate with you then The Registry is most definitely the store for you, even if these words don’t resonate with you you will more than likely love The Registry. Locally owned by two fabulous women The Registry is know for its beautiful glassware, dishes, picture frames, home décor, and just happens to be the perfect place to purchase a wedding or special occasion gift or even just to treat yourself.

The Iron Gate

Another locally owned store that can only be found in Franklin, TN., The Iron Gate has some of the most beautiful home décor that is the perfect mix of French inspired antiques with a little modern thrown in here and there.

White’s Mercantile

For the country fans out there White’s Mercantile is owned by one of Hank Williams Jr. daughters. With two locations, one in Franklin and the other in 12th South, White’s Mercantile offer an assortment of goodies from everything to cookware, holiday themed decorations, men’s clothing, baby clothing, all the way to grape and strawberry jam from the Loveless Café.


If you happen to be walking around Franklin on a chilly day you just might have to drop into Binks to purchase a pair of gloves or a coat. A favorite outdoor store Binks has a wonderful assortment of coats, shoes, and clothing for both men and women

It’s Vintage, Baby

And of course there has to be one of the cutest children’s stores ever located in downtown Franklin. It’s Vintage, Baby caters to children’s clothes from infant to about age six. Offering a selection of  traditional children’s clothing to clothing with a bit of a modern twist It’s Vintage, Baby is sure to have something to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Landmark Booksellers

Landmark Booksellers is a locally owned bookstore that sales an array of first-edition books, current best-selling books, and has an adorable children’s shopping. Landmark is the perfect place to stop in, relax a little, and browse a few books before heading to dinner.


The Carter House

The Carter House is a beautiful one-and-a-half story brick home located just a little outside of downtown franklin. On November 30, 1984 the Battle of Franklin broke out and changed the life of the Carted farm.

The Carnton Plantation

If you are a Robert Hicks fan the Carnton Plantation, which inspired both The Widow of the South and Orphan Mother.  A tour guide at The Carnotn Plantation will take you on a 60-minute tour and tell you about one of Franklins most notable battles that took place in the front yard of The Carnton House.



The Franklin Theatre

Located on main street The Franklin Theatre  was established in 1937 and has since been refurbished. The Franklin Theatre frequently serves as a venue for music concerts and plays, and needless to say movies.

Boiler Room Theatre

In the mood for a play? Located in The Factory, the Boiler Room always has a production in the works that will enchant the audience

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Ric ( ric4destin@gmail.com ) lives and loves US 98, from Mobile to Apalachicola and every beach town in between. You can often find him writing fun quirky blogs for The Emerald Coast Brand, US98 or playing fetch with his white lab Destin along one of the many beautiful beaches. His favorite hang outs include Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill, AJ's, Harbor Docks, Boshamps, Red Bar, McGuire's, and Jo Patti's in Pensacola, all of which you can explore here on US98! Check out Dine Down US98 for our favorites spots and more!