Downtown Franklin, Tennessee is a vibrant blend of historic preservation and modern sophistication. Just 14 miles from Nashville, you’ll find an oasis of Southern hospitality housed in a 16-block National Register district of award-winning antique shops, brick-and-mortar gift and book stores, fashion-forward boutiques, privately owned art galleries, lovingly restored homes and more.
We’ve earned recognition as an authentic, eclectic community whose locals have never met a stranger. Whether you’re looking to explore the locally owned shops that line Main Street, score a timeless heirloom in our antique district, catch a live show at our award-winning venues or grab a craft cocktail at one of our acclaimed restaurants, there’s something for everyone here. Check out our guide to begin exploring.
Downtown Franklin Association (DFA)
The Downtown Franklin Association, established in 1984, is a non-profit committed to historic preservation and community vibrancy. Since its founding, the DFA has helped spearhead the revitalization of Franklin’s historic downtown core. The organization and its members–made up of local business owners and merchants–have done it by following the four-point program of the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation: Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Restructuring.
Working in partnership with the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, property owners, city and county government, local businesses and merchants in our historic retail district, the Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) has helped create one of the nation’s Main Street success stories.
Downtown Franklin Mission
The mission statement of the Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) is to revitalize Historic Downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation, and to make our historic downtown commercial district “America’s Favorite Main Street.”
The vision statement of the DFA is to achieve this mission through promotion of the historic district, protection of its historic character and provision of organizational structure to achieve goals, with a focus on the economic development of the district.
The mission statement of the parent organization–the 48-year old Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County–is to protect and preserve the architecture, cultural and geographic heritage of Franklin and Williamson County and to promote ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.
Downtown Franklin Accolades
Downtown Franklin boasts an award-winning Main Street, brick sidewalks, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of “Best of“ accolades. It continues to earn national recognition as an authentic place that offers something for everyone in an atmosphere that reminds locals and visitors alike of a simpler time in our history – a place where community matters.
In May of 1995, Franklin was honored as one of the best downtown areas in the nation when it received one of five “Great American Main Street” awards in the first year of an annual competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Since then, accolades have included the “Best Small Town in Tennessee,” “America’s Most Romantic Main Street” and “One of America’s Greatest Antique Destinations,” among others. In May 2012, Franklin was ranked #4 on Livability.com‘s Best Places to Visit for Historic Preservation.
Recently Travel + Leisure Magazine named Franklin 8th best town in the nation. In 2014, Garden & Gun magazine named Franklin the “Best Southern Town” following a online readers’ poll. Click here to see our press page.
Downtown Franklin Festivals & Events
Any time is perfect for a visit, but we have fun, free events throughout the year – major festivals and happenings that have attracted visitors from all over the world. From Franklin’s Art Scene on the first Friday of each month to two street festivals consistently named as among the best in the Southeast (Main Street Festival and Dickens of a Christmas), there’s always opportunities to have fun in Franklin.
Downtown Franklin Merchants
You can meet our Downtown Franklin Asssociation merchants and explore Main Street through virtual tours… but the best way to experience it is in person. Small business can’t survive on virtual visits–so come see us. You’re part of what makes downtown Franklin “America’s Favorite Main Street!”