Nashville or Franklin on a Sunday Afternoon
October 19, 2009 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Visiting a friend who lives in Franklin, TN this weekend, but will have Sunday afternoon free. What should I do there or in Nashville on my own?

Already spending 1 day with friend each in Franklin and Nashville, so I'm guessing I should go to Nashville.

Interests include but are not limited to techy/sciencey stuff, NASCAR/any sort of vehicle racing, dessert, and unique local things (like Hatch Show Print and the Pantheon which I plan to visit on Saturday).

1. No car. I can get dropped off anywhere, and then take a taxi back later, but in between needs to be walkable. But I don't mind lots of walking, especially if the area is interesting to look at.
2. Don't want to go sit someplace listening to country music.

posted by radicarian to Travel & Transportation around Franklin, TN (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Parthenon is worth it for the weirdness factor alone. I know you don't want to sit somewhere and listen to country music, but what about the country music hall of fame?
posted by josher71 at 10:00 AM on October 19, 2009

Mm, you mean the Parthenon, I think, not Pantheon.

Well, Nashville is kind of difficult without a car, but here's my ideas:

You'll be near Hatch Show Print, which is downtown -- there's TONS of tourist trap places with Elvis ashtrays and cowboy boots, which is entertaining for a bit. Like history? You'll also be within walking distance of the Tennessee State Museum (straightforward overview from pre-Columbian times to present) and the Downtown Public Library, which has an excellent collection of the struggle for civil rights in Nashville (videos, documents, galleries, etc.)

Also if you like Civil War history, there are a couple of restored plantation-type places to visit -- Belle Meade Plantation and Carter's Court which is actually out toward Franklin. And a few miles away is The Hermitage, which was Andrew Jackson's estate.

Near the Parthenon is Vanderbilt University which may have some interesting art or science exhibits going on.

Here also is a link to the local alt-weekly, which has just come out with its annual Best Of Issue.

Hope you have a great time.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:02 AM on October 19, 2009

More ideas later, but I highly encourage you to visit the Bluebird Cafe for a show. I know you said you weren't interested in listening to country music, but the Bluebird is pretty special and certainly not all country music. You never really know what genre you'll hear. It's such an awesome small venue that no one should miss it on a trip to Nashville. Plus, you'll be in and out in under 2 hours.
posted by 26.2 at 10:16 AM on October 19, 2009

I want to second Bluebird. It's not the country music venue you're probably imagining.
posted by josher71 at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2009

Downtown Franklin is really walkable without a car. Sunday is going to be weird depending on when you get dropped off, because places will have odd hours. However, lots of local shops to visit, including IveyCake where you can get fabulous cupcakes and have lunch at the adjoining diner. It's fun to wander through the various antique stores, if that is your thing.

If you like music at all you should go to Grimey's. You may get a free beer out of it if you go on Saturday afternoon.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:46 AM on October 19, 2009

Cheekwood is the 1880's mansion built by the Cheek family, of Maxwell House coffee fame, now converted to an art museum, and its extensive grounds to a botanical garden. It's a lovely place this time of year, and a good place for leisurely strolling about for several hours, in fine fall weather. Radnor Lake is a manmade lake on the south side of Nashville, between Franklin, that was built by the railroads as a water source for steam locomotives; for the last 20 years or more, it's been a Tennessee state park, and has a number of lovely walking trails, in amongst a number of surrounding hills, and a good reputation as a nature preserve and bird sanctuary. If you do wind up downtown, and are looking for a place to wander around in fall sunshine, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park has some quirky charms historical features that not every visitor to Nashville takes time to appreciate.
posted by paulsc at 11:56 AM on October 19, 2009

Don't know if you like milkshakes or not but Rotier's in the west end consistently wins best milkshake in Nashville and I can verify that it is pretty awesome.
posted by josher71 at 12:47 PM on October 19, 2009

I'm not up on the latest since it's been a while, but...Another for Cheekwood, Radnor Lake, the Bluebird, but maybe more for the Parthenon, which is right by Vanderbilt, and a ton of other stuff within walking distance of downtown, if you don't mind walking some miles. There are cabs around the area, and buses as well, especially along West End/Broadway that all of this is oriented along. Right beside the Parthenon, on the edge of the front of the property, is Springwater, a dive bar that I understand became a bit of a hipster thing, but I think still has regular local freakshow open-mike nights. The other side of Vanderbilt campus is Hillsboro Village, plenty of nice restaurants and stores, and going towards downtown there's The Frist Center, Music Row, The Station Inn, which is more often bluegrass than country, and I've seen some fantastic shows there. You can walk in to plenty of little shops and clubs all around and hear all kinds of live music in varying degrees of quality. Alot of touristy crap, but some good stuff, too. If you're going to Nashville without a car, probably your best bet is around downtown.
posted by Red Loop at 2:35 PM on October 19, 2009

The neighborhood I grew up in, right near Vanderbilt, is my suggestion for wasting a Sunday. It's called Hillsboro Village, and there's a really cute cafe called Fido's, restaurants, shopping, and even a place where you can paint pottery. From there it's just a short ride over to Green Hills (slightly mall-ish which is not my favorite, but still a decent way to spend the day). Personally, I love to take pictures, so I'd suggest taking a camera and taking pictures at the Dragon Park (right near Hillsboro Village) and then cabbing it over to the Parthenon. Also, there's Belle Meade Plantation-- it would definitely require a vehicle to get there, but it's really cool and a fun dose of history.

Have fun, it's a great city. I also second the Bluebird Cafe suggestion, but I would urge you not to go the traditional music row hooplah... I never found it all that exciting.
posted by wild like kudzu at 3:56 PM on October 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! And please keep them coming!
posted by radicarian at 7:07 PM on October 19, 2009

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