There’s no better place to get the flavor of a town than its downtown area, and Franklin has quite a few delightful restaurants and eateries on Main Street. Of course, there are plenty more delicious places to stop for a bite in the area, but if you plan to spend an afternoon shopping downtown, here are the places you need to know (in alphabetical order!).
The Lazy Hiker
First up is one of our local microbreweries, which sports a food truck in their main parking area. Grab a beer and drop an order at the truck, whether you get street tacos, burgers, or some gourmet concoction you’ll never see anywhere else! The trucks rotate every few months, so keep up with the offerings on the Lazy Hiker’s social media pages.
This southern food staple is home-cooked goodness tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Martha’s Kitchen is best known for their full buffet, complete with three meets, two soups, salad, and deserts every day—but if you want to know what’s really stolen our hearts, it’s the cranberry pecan chicken salad. It’s a local favorite!
Motor Company Grill
Want a blast from the past and a real foodie challenge? Look no further than the Motor Company Grill, a 50’s style diner with the notorious El Dorado cheeseburger. If you can down all four pounds of this beefy, cheesy, bacon-y monster on your own in 45 minutes, you’ll get a t-shirt and you photo on the Wall of Champions! And, of course, there are plenty of regular-sized cheeseburgers for anyone wanting big flavor without the stomach ache.
Root and Barrel
The most sophisticated restaurant on main street has two appetizers that keep us coming back for more. Whether you order their fried pimiento cheese balls drizzled with red pepper jelly or indulge in some panko fried shrimp and Thai chili sauce, you’ll have the perfect Franklin delicacy to pair with your cocktail.
Rockin’ Rollie Pollies
Last but not least, if you want a big bite of the wild west, prepare to sink your teeth into a bison burger at Rockin’ Rollie Pollies! The fusion-style restaurant has mouthwatering bison, beef and lamb gyros, build-your-own tacos, and many more off-the-wall combinations. You’ll be sure to find something for everyone!
Just need a little bite? We’ve got those, too
If you’re in the mood for something small, there are plenty of options downtown for snacks. Check out Rathskellar’s famous peanut butter cookies, Just Donuts’ donuts (bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?), Crabtree General Store’s hand scooped ice cream, Life’s Bounty’s baked goods, and Main Street Coffee’s frozen yogurt for a quick bite to eat.
Planning a Family Reunion in the Mountains
When it comes to getting your whole family together, there’s no better place to have a reunion than the North Carolina mountains. Franklin is home to both exciting outdoor exploration and family-friendly entertainment, so there’s plenty to do for people of all ages!
All that’s left to do is plan out the details—so here are the three big things to think about while planning your next family vacation in Franklin, North Carolina.
Get cozy with mountain lodging
First, you need a place for everyone to crash when they arrive from the four corners of the map. Whether you choose a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast, take into consideration where you’ll be spending the most time during your reunion.
If you’re keeping everyone busy from sunup to sundown, you can spread everyone out once it’s time to hit the hay. On the other hand, maybe you want to spend most of your time lounging indoors—in that case, planning to keep everyone in one location is the way to go.
Plan an expedition or two
What activities does your family enjoy? Franklin is home to gem mining, fly fishing, hiking, great live shows, and arcade gaming—so you’re sure to find something for everyone.
Even if you don’t want to split off for your activities, many options are great for people of all ages. For example, local hiking trails range from easy one-mile strolls to more challenging 15-mile treks, so finding one that’s perfect for your crew is a breeze.
Gather around great food
Let’s be real: Food is everyone’s favorite way to catch up. Once the whole family arrives, it’ll be on their minds, so it’s a good thing Franklin is home to a myriad of dining options. Take everyone out, or get catering and eat in!
Make memories and have fun!
The mountains are full of opportunities to celebrate the old while exploring the new, so there’s no better place to reminice family memories, make fresh ones, and have an adventure. We can’t wait to have you!
The mountains are full of fun and adventures—but what use is that if you have to leave your fur babies behind?
Not to worry. We love our pups, too, so you’ll find plenty to explore with man’s best friend by your side in Franklin, North Carolina.
Dog-friendly hotels in Franklin
First things first—let’s find you somewhere to stay for your mountain vacation. Our full list of lodging options includes several pet-friendly hotels and motels to choose from. You’ll be off to your next adventure in no time at all!
Dog-friendly hikes in the Smoky Mountains
No visit to the Smoky Mountains is complete without a hike! Most trails are pet-friendly so long as your furry friend is leashed at cleaned up after. If you’re not sure how much of the trail your dog can manage, we suggest starting with a shorter hike like the one-mile Rufus Morgan trail, Cliffside, Whiteside, or (if you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge) the four-mile Bartram trail.
Want to grab a bite to eat? Look no further than the Motor Company Grill—not only will you relish the old-timey diner’s burgers and shakes, but Fido also gets a menu of his own on the pet-friendly patio!
Dog parks for leash-free romps
After all those adventures by your side, your pup deserves a little leash-free time! Franklin has a brand-new dog park on Phillips Street, just down the hill from Main Street. It features separate spaces for big and small dogs, public restrooms, and even a walking trail around the exterior for those who’d like to stroll during the visit.
What vacation is complete without Man’s Best Friend?
We hope you enjoy your stay in Franklin with your pup! There’s plenty to do in our little mountain town, and so many memories to be made. We can’t wait to have you!
When planning to take your students out for a field trip, there are several boxes you want to check: How can you make it educational? Fun? Impactful and meaningful? Picking an activity or location can be difficult, which is why we’re here to help.
Whatever your goals, Franklin has plenty of field trip destinations to choose from—so what are you in the market for?
For outdoor exploration: The Little Tennessee River Greenway
The Greenway is perfect for younger children who want to get outside without leaving the beaten trail too far behind. With paved sidewalks wide enough for a group, the Greenway is a great location for a smooth tour of the local flora and fauna.
Kick it back at picnic shelters, climb on the playground at Wesley Park, challenge the students at the disc golf course, and trot across historic bridges together for a pleasant trip in the great outdoors!
For a show: The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts
Getting whisked away to watch a show in a 1,500-seat state-of-the-art facility is a rare and breathtaking experience, which makes visiting the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts (SMCPA) an awesome opportunity for your students—especially if they’re interested in the arts.
The SMCPA has school-day performances in the fall and spring every year with plays geared toward younger audiences, so each is family friendly and value oriented. It’s a perfect half-day trip that’s fun for the children and teachers alike!
For a historical experience: Historical Downtown
There’s plenty to see when you walk down the sidewalks of Franklin’s Main Street area. Count on hitting several museums in a day, like the Gem and Mineral Museum (which used to be a jailhouse!), Scottish Tartans Museum, and the Macon County Historical Museum.
Your children will learn all about our pocket of Western North Carolina, who lived here hundreds of years ago, and what brought our own ancestors to the valley. You might be surprised at the amazing stories hidden away in our small town!
For a reward: The Factory in Franklin
Good behavior is something to be celebrated, and there’s nowhere better to throw a party than the Factory. From arcade games to laser tag and bumper cars, the fun starts when you walk in the doors. The wide range of entertainment makes the Factory ideal for multiple grade levels, since there’s something for children of every age.
Plus, planning their meals is easy when you have restaurants in the same building, so stick around for some great food while you’re there! Enjoy pizza, burgers, and tacos at the Pizza Factory and the Taco Factory.
Explore Franklin together!
With so many different field trip opportunities in Franklin, the only hard part of planning your trip will be choosing where to go. No matter what you decide, you’re sure to have a great time with your students here in the mountains.
Whether you live a couple hours or a couple layovers from the mountains, this is the place to come when the holidays roll around. So what makes it worth the trek? Why pack up the family and meet in Franklin, North Carolina for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s?
Views that stop you in your tracks
Just like first-time stargazing or watching a meteor shoot across the sky, the stunning views remind us just how small our problems are. Everywhere you look, the sheer enormity of the mountains calls you to stop and take a deep breath.
And after all, isn’t that what the holidays are about? It’s a time of memory and reflection before the start of a fresh new year. As you look back on the past twelve months or twelve years, the mountains help hush the come and go of everyday life.
Festivals that ring in the season
Not everything is somber here in the valley, though! The holidays are also about celebrating, and Franklin knows how to throw a party. Whether you drop in for Winter Wonderland, PumpkinFest, or the Ruby Drop at New Year’s, you’ll be right in the heartbeat of the town.
Join us for live music, art shows, and some great food and drinks whenever you jump in the fun!
Postcard-perfect photo ops
Scenic overlooks are scattered all over the area, and you’ll have the perfect family memory with a fantastic backdrop for your Christmas cards. Come get pictures during October and November for those incredible autumn leaves, or pick any number of our local scenic parkways for a breathtaking portrait.
Plenty for everyone to explore
If you get a little cabin fever, why not do a little wandering? Adventure awaits around every corner, whether you try hiking in the forests or exploring our wild and mysterious town history. There’s something here for the whole family, no matter how old you are.
Our little town may seem quiet, but there’s still plenty to do if you know where to look!
It’s always homecoming, even on your first time
Have you ever looked at a picture of rolling green hills or mountains of richly colored leaves and felt homesick? A part of you feels like it’s been here before and desperately wants to come back, even if you’ve never visited.
That mysterious feeling makes the holidays even richer when you share it with family and friends. As you gather around good food and old stories, you can look out in wonder at this place that feels just as much like home as the people you love.