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25 Best Things to Do in Clarksville (TN)

Clarksville is a perfect city to experience southern charm and the amenities you’ve come to expect as a traveler, while also enjoying the ability to simply get away from it all for the most part. The historic city is located in a spot that gives visitors expansive access to the gorgeous natural areas surrounding, including the Cumberland River.

Additionally, there’s plenty of culture and cuisine to make every traveler happy. Overall, there’s a good mix of things to do and keep you busy, but it all retains its small-town charm that allows you to relax a little bit.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Clarksville :

1. See the History of Clarksville

Customs House Museum

The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center has 35,000 square feet of exhibits and activities, making it the second-largest general museum in the state of Tennessee.

The building, constructed in 1898, was a post office and also a customs house created in response to the area’s huge tobacco trade.

It’s one of the most photographed structures in the area (and for good reason — it’s beautiful!), and the focus has expanded to so much more than the tobacco industry.

You’ll see a selection of exhibits, galleries and a sculpture garden.

Permanent exhibits include the Explorers’ Gallery (with a kid-size grocery story and other similar activities), Becoming Clarksville (a history of the area), Memory Lane (with a recreated 1842 log home), Challenges and Champions (a sports gallery), the Lucy Dunwoody Bohm Porcelain Collection and the original Postmaster’s Office.

2. Stroll the Riverfront

McGregor Park Riverwalk

The McGregor Park Riverwalk features one mile of walking trails, picnic areas, a boat ramp into the Cumberland River, the As the River Flows Museum and more attractions over 15 acres.

The park is open late for sundown strolls, closing at midnight, and is free from any obtrusive skateboarders and loud audio, with strict rules to keep it that way.

The river is purely for boating and looks — no fishing or swimming.

3. Or Stroll in the Woods

Clarksville Greenway

If you’re not terribly into strenuous hikes, or have already seen the waterfront, you can go to the Clarksville Greenway for a nicely kept park that’s easy on the feet.

The paved trails are great for easy hikes, biking, walking and running.

Enjoy views of the forests and countryside, while still being nearby the amenities you need.

The Greenway is pretty large, but you can take your time and explore it all without feeling rushed.

However, keep in mind, the area could be prone to flooding, and if there’s a chance of rain, you may want to stay near to your car, as it’s advised that you leave immediately in the event of heavy rain.

4. Go Underground

Dunbar Cave State Park

Head to Dunbar Cave State Park, only a little over a mile away from downtown Clarksville.

Dunbar Cave is eight miles long, making it one of the largest caves in the county.

The huge space has been used for concerts, dances and shows of various kinds.

You can see the cave’s high historic, natural and archaeological significance displayed throughout, and even spot some ancient cave drawings that are thought to be part of a religious ceremony of some kind.

The cave stays a cool 58 degrees all the time, so be sure to bring a jacket!

5. Pack a Picnic

Liberty Park & Clarksville Marina

A perfect spot for a summer picnic is Liberty Park & Clarksville Marina.

The park areas are open through all the daylight hours, with the marina and boat ramps open every hour of the day.

There are community-built playgrounds, a 10-acre fishing pond, walking trail that’s almost 2 miles in length, access to the Cumberland River, multiple picnic pavilions, sports fields and an event center.

There’s also a dog park if you’re traveling with your furry friend.

6. Play Golf

D&D Mini Golf

If it’s raining or if the kids want to join in on the game, you can take your golf game off the green, and to D&D Mini Golf.

The indoor, 18-hole mini golf attraction is very popular with families, as it’s a blacklight course that brings you a ton of fun in a unique environment.

Each player also receives 3D glasses for a fully immersible experience.

The theme is Fantasy Forest, so keep your eyes peeled for the colorful gnomes, elves, unicorns and more.

Then, once you’re done playing, the kids can literally write on the walls, signing the graffiti wall with fluorescent chalk.

In addition to the mini golf, kids enjoy the arcade.

7. Make Your Own Art

Horsefeathers

Head to downtown Clarksville to Horsefeathers, a totally unique pottery and art studio.

Open studio hours are totally fee-free, and you can pick whatever pottery item captures your fancy, and then paint it.

However, keep in mind that this activity is best-suited for those travelers who plan to be in the area for about the next week or so, as you’ll have to wait to pick up your pottery after you decorate it.

For those who don’t have the time, you can also paint a wooden item, and take it home with you same-day.

The experts there will help you sand, antique, spray and create your wooden item so that you absolutely love your own work of art.

8. Reenact the Civil War

Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center

Pay a visit to Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center, and learn about not only the site’s Civil War role, but also the 200 years of history that took place here.

The spot was originally inhabited by Native Americans, and as settlers came onto the scene, the area turned into a trading post.

The fort was constructed by Confederate troops, and was captured by Union forces in 1862. Today, this fort is very well preserved.

The Interpretive Center also features exhibits on the events that took place in the area.

9. Have a Drink

Old Glory Distilling Company

Visit Old Glory Distilling Company to explore small batch, hand crafted spirits that are made by and for locals.

Sip on whiskey, white rum, vodka and moonshine.

The tasting bar is always open for samples, and you can schedule a tour for certain times in the afternoon.

10. Or Two!

Beachaven Vineyards & Winery

If whiskey and other spirits aren’t your favorites, you can try a taste of the local wine as well.

Beachaven Vineyards & Winery has been in business and highly acclaimed for the past 30 years.

Daily and free wine tastings and tours are available.

Unfortunately, though, you can’t buy wine by the glass while there.

Not to worry! You can buy a whole bottle, which is better, and they’ll supply the glasses for you to drink in the picnic area.

They also sell cheese, crackers, sausages and dips, perfect for accompanying your little impromptu picnic.

Sounds pretty good, right? The winery also hosts live music events through the warm months.

11. Step Back in Time

Historic Collinsville

Each summer, Historic Collinsville comes to life.

Set on 40 acres, the living history museum includes 18 restored log homes and other structures dating all the way back to 1830. See real period artifacts as you explore the set up, and learn all about how the earliest settlers lived and worked.

Each building has been painstakingly recreated to be as authentic as possible, making the experience both highly educational and very entertaining.

You’ll see what it really meant to live in rural Tennessee during the antebellum and Civil War eras, 1830-1870, just miles away from the Cumberland River, a once-vital transportation and shipping waterway.

12. See a Show

Roxy Regional Theater

The Roxy Regional Theater was opened in 1983 as a live theatre, and has become a staple in the community for great live shows and cultural experiences.

See world-renowned performances like Hedwig & The Angry Inch, or a concert of traditional Celtic folk music.

Check the theater’s calendar to see what’s coming up while you’re in town.

You’ll be sure to find something that catches your interest, whether you like Broadway musicals, Shakespearean dramas, jazz, classical music, children’s tales, cult classics or any of a variety of other options.

13. See the Local Art

Downtown Artists Co-op

The Downtown Artists Co-op is an association of local artists who promote the visual artists in the county.

There are 27 full artist members and 16 consignment artists, and you can visit their gallery, as well as their various events, including Pleinair: Art in the Streets and the Holiday Arts & Crafts Bazaar.

There are also First Thursday Art Walks (which are one of your best opportunities, as there’s free food, drinks and music in the evening), Gallery Talks and other events on their calendar, so be sure to take a look before visiting!

14. Go Shopping

Governor’s Square Mall

If you happen to be in Clarksville during some poor weather, maybe head over to the Governor’s Square Mall for a little shopping.

The mall is now the prime commercial and retail area in the city, and offers dozens of your favorite mall staples, such as American Eagle, Hallmark, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Hot Topic, as well as some southern favorites like Dillard’s.

There are also several lunch options in case you need a bite to eat while there.

A movie theater is also nearby, so you can catch a film before heading back out into the weather.

15. Walk the Arboretum

The Clarksville City Arboretum is situated along the Cumberland River in Fairgrounds Park.

There are more than 30 species of trees to spot.

You can even go on to the city’s website for a list of all the species, and then see if you can identify them and check them off the list! This centrally located spot is easy to get to, and can be a short, simple trip if you’re not looking to commit to a long hike or waterfront run, and just want to get a little fresh air and green space for a few moments.

16. See Some Old-Timey Trains

L&N Train Station

The L&N Train Station is a restored railroad station in the downtown area.

It looks like it did at the turn of the 20th century, and you can see a diesel locomotive, as well as a caboose that was donated by the RJ Corman railroad company, a brand that you’ll see throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, if you happen to travel the two states by road.

Now, the space is used by both the local farmers market and some artists, but is also home to the Montgomery County Historical Society.

It’s pretty interesting and you can see the artifacts and art exhibits for yourself.

17. See a Transportation Hot Spot

Port Royal State Historic Park

If you want to keep the transportation history theme going, pay a visit to Port Royal State Historic Park.

The 26-acre park is the site of part of the Trail of Tears, and holds a fair amount of history dealing with transportation.

It was one of the earliest trading posts in the part of the state, and was a significantly important crossroads, later known as the only stop on the Great Western Road between Nashville and parts of Kentucky.

You can see several roadbeds that have been preserved here, including one that’s supposedly from prehistoric times, and then, of course, the one that’s part of the Trail of Tears.

There’s also an early steel bridge from the 1800s, which you can walk over.

There are also buildings from the 1800s scattered throughout the park.

18. Visit the Grave of a Legend

Grave of Wilma Rudolph

At the Foster Memorial Garden, you can visit the grave of Wilma Rudolph, and also spot her statue around town.

Rudolph was a significant figure within the civil rights and feminist movements.

She won three Olympic gold medals and set two world records as a sprinter, doing so in 110-degree heat.

She was a highly celebrated athlete that some may not know about.

19. Shop at the Farmers Market

Farmers Market

With a destination that’s surrounded by beautiful rural regions, you know that you’ll find great, fresh produce from the area’s agrarians.

The Clarksville Downtown Market is open May through October, and brings not only local farmers and artisans, but also live music.

They even have their own market mascot, “Corny the Cob!” Stop by to shop for your afternoon snack, some foodie souvenirs to take back home or some handcrafted products.

20. Try Some Brews

Blackhorse Pub & Brewery

The city’s only microbrewery opened in 1992 and has been going strong and keeping the competition at bay.

Blackhorse Pub & Brewery is now a hugely popular neighborhood spot, right within downtown Clarksville.

The handcraft brew menu isn’t extensive, but what they do have, is good.

It’s also all brewed right on site.

The food includes great pub fair, and there’s even brunch on the weekends!

21. Eat and Shop

Miss Lucille’s

If you want to shop, but still get a bite of authentic local food while you’re at it, stop at Miss Lucille’s.

The Marketplace sells both thrift items and antiques, but the attached Cafe has great standard cafe items, which you can enjoy right before you get back to doing all your shopping.

There are lots of soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods to choose from.

22. Catch Some Live Music

Jammin’ in the Alley

If you happen to stop in Clarksville during the summer, be sure to take advantage of the concert series that goes on through the warm season.

Once a month, local musicians converge in downtown Clarksville to put on a great show.

The event is called Jammin’ in the Alley, and it not only promotes the local music scene, but also all the downtown businesses as a whole.

23. Adopt Local Pride

Rivers & Spires Festival

After a tornado destroyed a large chunk of Clarksville in 1999, the locals decided it was time to celebrate their town with an annual festival.

Now, you’ll want to put the Rivers & Spires Festival on your calendar.

The annual spring event draws tons of visitors, and it’s a great, free and family-friendly event that includes live music (from some pretty big country music names), children’s activities, beer competitions, a car show, an art market and even an arm wrestling tournament.

It’s a little bit quirky and all-around fun, so you won’t want to miss it!

24. Go Camping

Spring Creek Campground

If you really want to take advantage of this destination’s great outdoor scene, you may just want to pop open a tent and sleep under the stars.

Spring Creek Campground is a budget-friendly option for camping in the region, and has a great creekside setting.

In addition to offering designated spots for your tent, there are also facilities on site for showering and other important amenities, and there’s even a swimming area.

25. Hop Over the Line

Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum

Clarksville pretty much considers itself one and the same with Fort Campbell, even though the military base is over the border, in Kentucky.

The fort’s Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum is definitely a Clarksville attraction, and it gives guests a glimpse at the fort itself, the 101st Airborne Division, lots of military aircraft, vehicles, equipment and artifacts dating back to World War II, and as recent as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Better yet, the admission to the museum is totally free.

25 Best Things to Do in Clarksville (TN):

  • See the History of Clarksville
  • Stroll the Riverfront
  • Or Stroll in the Woods
  • Go Underground
  • Pack a Picnic
  • Make Your Own Art
  • Reenact the Civil War
  • Have a Drink
  • Step Back in Time
  • See the Local Art
  • Go Shopping
  • Walk the Arboretum
  • See Some Old-Timey Trains
  • See a Transportation Hot Spot
  • Visit the Grave of a Legend
  • Shop at the Farmers Market
  • Try Some Brews
  • Eat and Shop
  • Catch Some Live Music
  • Adopt Local Pride
  • Hop Over the Line

PlanetWare.com

14 Top-Rated Things to Do in Clarksville, TN

Written by Catherine Hawkins Updated Mar 24, 2023

Clarksville is the fifth largest city in Tennessee, located less than an hour north of Nashville and less than half an hour south of the closest town in Kentucky. Founded in 1784, this historic city shares the same scenic Cumberland River that flows past downtown Nashville, and features 30 parks and two state parks. This makes Clarksville a place where visitors are drawn to enjoy outdoor pleasures such as walking, hiking, biking, and having a picnic.

Historic downtown Clarksville

As a visitor to this university town, you might not have a bike. No problem, you can rent one from one of several stations located in the major parks.

If you time your visit in the fall, be sure to catch Riverfest, the community arts and recreation festival that happens during the weekend after Labor Day. From touring a cave (that was once a venue for big band concerts) to signing up for a painting lesson, your biggest challenge as a tourist in Clarksville isn't about what to do. It's about finding enough time. Start your sightseeing tour of this attractive destination with our list of the top things to do in Clarksville.

1. Tour a Cave at Dunbar Cave State Natural Area

2. visit fort defiance civil war park & interpretive center, 3. stroll mcgregor park & riverwalk, 4. fish, hike, bike, and go boating at liberty park & clarksville marina, 5. go treasure hunting at miss lucille's marketplace, 6. admire and explore the customs house museum & cultural center, 7. catch a show at roxy regional theatre, 8. stop by rotary park, 9. take an art class at swirlz, 10. meet your muse at the downtown artists co-op, 11. rent a bike and ride creekside on the clarksville greenway, 12. play blacklight mini-golf in 3d, 13. imagine pioneer life in historic collinsville, 14. go hiking at port royal state historic park, map of things to do in clarksville, tn, clarksville, tn - climate chart.

Dunbar Cave

Dunbar Cave State Natural Area has seen it all during more than 1,000 years of evolution. In pre-historic days, sometime around 1260 CE, people left proof of their presence by inscribing art on the walls of the eight-foot-long cave.

Fast forward to 1948, and the cave was purchased for $150,000 by country music star Roy Acuff and transformed into something akin to a pleasure palace. This was the era of big bands, square dances, and radio shows–all of which unfolded within the naturally air-conditioned entrance of the cave.

As a visitor to Clarksville, your experience could not possibly be different from the extravaganzas of the 1950s. Go on a ranger-guided tour of the cave, which was taken over and restored as a state natural area in 1973. In some ways, life is still pretty wild around here but that's because of all the wildlife that has come back: turkeys, woodpeckers, and swans.

One more thing you can do, not far from the cave, is play a round of golf. The 18-hole golf course established by Roy Acuff is known as Swan Lake Golf Course.

Address: 401 Dunbar Cave Road, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: https://tnstateparks.com/parks/dunbar-cave

Fort Defiance

Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center is a memorial park and 2.5-mile trail with scenic glimpses of downtown Clarksville and the Red and Cumberland Rivers. Visit the interpretive center, located on a hilltop 200 feet above the rivers, to learn about the important role this fort played during the Civil War. Since its construction in 2008, the 1,500-square-foot center displays weapons, clothing, and other artifacts to educate visitors about the historic fort that was named Defiance.

Built by the Confederate Army to defend Clarksville, the fort surrendered to Union control in 1862. This event ushered the fall of Nashville. Freed and runaway slaves set up camp at Fort Defiance and signed on here as the United States Colored Troops. Aligned with the Union Army, they fought for the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves.

Apart from gun mounts and other remnants of its tumultuous past, visitors to the park will find a gift shop, picnic tables, and washrooms.

Address: 120 Duncan Street, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: https://www.cityofclarksville.com/facilities/facility/details/fortdefiancecivilwarparkinterpretivecenter

McGregor Park & RiverWalk

McGregor Park & RiverWalk is one of the best parks and walkways to enjoy the fresh air of Clarksville. This is where you can escort your leashed dog along the 1.7-mile promenade that follows the scenic Cumberland River. Bring a picnic and enjoy the charming ambience at one of the picnic areas. There's a playground for the kids, a boat ramp, and washrooms.

Rent a bike at McGregor Park if you'd rather cycle than walk. The city has five BCycle stations where you can rent a bike, and McGregor Park is one of them. To learn about the history and contribution of Clarksville's rivers, visit the 12-panel exhibit at the museum entitled "As the River Flows." The museum is open year-round above the Cumberland.

Address: 640 N Riverside Drive, Clarksville, Tennessee

Fishing pond at Liberty Park

Liberty Park and Clarksville Marina could easily keep you busy all day. How many attractions and things to do can you pursue in a single urban park? Spend a few hours fishing at the 10-acre fishing pond, launching your boat from the four-lane ramp into the Cumberland, and hiking the 1.8-mile walking trail.

Your canine companion will enjoy the dog park, and children will have a ball at the community built playground. Play a variety of sports at the athletic fields. Refuel with a picnic at one of four pavilions.

Another thing you can do is rent a bike from the Liberty Park BCycle stations, one of five in Clarksville. Once you're done cycling, bring the bike back to where you started, or drop it off at another station: Cumberland Riverwalk, Downtown at Public Square, the Clarksville Greenway's Pollard Road Trailhead, and downtown at the corner of Public Square and Franklin Street.

Address: 1190 Cumberland Drive, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: www.cityofclarksville.com/facilities/facility/details/Liberty-Park-Clarksville-Marina-36

Miss Lucille's Marketplace

Miss Lucille's Marketplace is all about antiques, coffee, and more ! It's an unbeatable combination, and if you've never put the two together, you'll get the opportunity when you go treasure hunting at Miss Lucille's 52,000-foot "eclectic" marketplace. Before you embark on the adventure of browsing and bartering your way through the offerings of 200 vendors selling everything you can imagine, grab a java or one of the "signature drinks."

Sally forth into one of the broad alleys, designed with special needs customers in mind, and see what tempts you. Maybe it will be a vintage item or a piece of newly upholstered furniture from Miss Lucille's Furniture Design Room. Maybe it will be something off the menu at Miss Lucille's Café, so you can keep going and see what's around the next bend.

Address: 2231-L Madison Street, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: www.misslucillesmarketplace.com

Customs House Museum & Cultural Center

Visit the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center and imagine it as a former federal post office and customs house . Walk along South 2 nd Street in downtown Clarksville, and you'll experience a "wow" moment when you see this architectural gem built in 1898.

On the National Register of Historic Places since 1972, this impressive structure combines several styles of architecture. Its dramatic design features include four eagles at each corner, pitched gables, and decorative flourishes. Back in the day, Clarksville traded internationally in tobacco, and this was the place for foreign mail and customs. Before becoming a museum and cultural center, the building served for 40 years as home to the city's department of electricity.

With 35,000 feet of space for exhibits and special events, this stunning building is the second largest general interest museum in Tennessee. Check it out for fine art, children's exhibits, and everything you want to know about local history. The Heimansohn Gallery houses a model railroad. At the family art studio, collaborate with your kids to create a masterpiece out of Lego blocks.

Address: 200 S 2nd Streeet, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: www.customshousemuseum.org

Roxy Regional Theatre

Art Deco theaters are an eye-catching but disappearing design, so take notice when a community decides to keep one around. Clarksville's Roxy Regional Theatre is a special piece of architecture not only because it survived two fires, an economic depression, and wars. It went on to become an eclectic entertainment venue–a theater for all stages and ages.

Beyond serving as a screening house for movies and a stage for live performances , the Roxy brings drama class alive for teens. This is their regional arts school and summer training camp, where they can acquire skills and experience in live theater. From the Lillian Theatre of 1915 to the Roxy Regional Theatre of today, performing arts has dominated this corner of Franklin and First in the downtown public square. Peruse the website before your visit, and enjoy a show at the enduring Roxy Theatre.

Address: 100 Franklin Street, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: http://roxyregionaltheatre.org/

Rotary Park's Wade Bourne Nature Center

Rotary Park, a 111-acre nature park, is a playground that has something for everybody. For visitors seeking serious exercise, there are more than six miles of hiking and biking trails . For groups wanting to have fun while they kick up their heels, there's a sand volleyball court. Families can enjoy a picnic at one of the pavilions and a rousing game on the 18-hole disc golf course . Older folks might fancy throwing a few ringers around ye olde horseshoe pit–a throwback to an earlier era. Kids will gravitate to the playground and large open space area .

At Wade Bourne Nature Center , a 4,200-square-foot complex, visitors learn from displays and hands-on activities about plants and animals. Before or after your hike, this is the place to visit to deepen your appreciation of the natural world. Rotary Park has pavilions available for rent and two buildings with restrooms. Two local Girl Guides create the scavenger hunts that may present yet another way to engage in play at Rotary Park.

Address: 2308 Rotary Park Drive, Clarksville, Tennessee

Swirlz classroom

Make your mark as an artist at Swirlz. If you've always wanted to pick up a paintbrush, sign up for a class at Swirlz art studio. You don't need any previous experience. Just bring your curiosity and let one of three skilled art teachers guide you into a creative exercise. Find out if you've got talent or high hopes. Maybe you'll produce a painting that's worthy of a frame, or a colorfully decorated wooden sign (all supplies provided).

You can reserve a spot for yourself, or bring members of your family, age 10 and older. Book time for an art date with your son or daughter–paint on canvas during the week, or get creative with wood on the weekend. Even if you don't create a masterpiece, you're likely to have fun making memories.

Address: 29 Warfield Blvd, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: www.swirlzart.com

Downtown Artists Co-op

The Downtown Artists Co-op enables you to connect with Clarksville artists. If you've got a creative flair or you're a supporter of the arts, this place is designed with you in mind. You don't have to look far to find an exhibit of fine art or try your hand at an art class in this vibrant arts community. The co-op is a retail homeplace for many artists and their works in Clarksville.

Time your visit to coincide with a special event such as the annual holiday Christmas bazaar and exhibit. Here, you'll see not just paintings but jewelry, pottery, woodcraft, photography, and upcycled art–reusing and repurposing to create new works.

Suffragettes of Clarksville

Fittingly, two bronze statues grace the area near the Downtown Artists Co-op. One is "Tennessee Triumph," a tribute to the hard work of suffragettes. The other is a bronze salute to local actor Frank Spencer Sutton. If you're a fan of the late 1960s TV series "Gomer Pyle USMC," you'll recognize Frank as his classic character–Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter.

Address: 96 Franklin Street, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: www.dac.gallery

Clarksville Greenway

Clarksville Greenway is a nine-mile paved trail that takes you through the countryside. The BCycle station at the Pollard Road Trailhead of the greenway invites you to explore the trail on one of the city's rental bikes. Nine miles is a long jaunt on foot, but the cycling option delivers moderate exercise with a generous side of scenery in a fraction of the time.

You'll bike an abandoned rail bed and meander beside the Red River and West Fork Creek on a forested trail. Upon your return, you will find modern restroom facilities beside the large lot where you parked your car.

Address: 1101 Pollard, Clarksville, Tennessee

D & D Blacklight Mini Golf

D & D Blacklight Mini Golf reimagines the way you've always played mini-golf, but under black lights in 3D with a fantasy forest theme. This is just one of the colorful scenarios that awaits you. At this place of amusements on aptly named Holiday Drive, you may feel pulled in many dazzling directions.

Some of them you will recognize, such as the arcade, pool table, paint room, and laser maze. With everything glowing in the dark, a surreal vibe puts a new spin on old themes. Balladium is a game in which two opposing teams blast each other with foam balls from air cannons.

Any one (or all) of these activities are an excellent choice for youngsters, families, and groups of friends. You'll need a reservation to play on a busy day, such as a rainy Saturday or Sunday.

Address: 211 Holiday Drive, Clarksville, Tennessee

Official site: www.ddminigolf.com/clarksville-home

Historic Collinsville

Historic Collinsville was settled by pioneers during the 40-year period from 1830 to 1870. Within a half-hour drive from Clarksville , you can go back in time to wander through 18 restored log homes and outbuildings on the 40-acre grounds, and view furnishings from bygone times. You'll come away with eye-opening insight into the challenges of life for people who lived here during the Civil War.

At the wildlife center, learn about the plants and animals of this region and beyond. Watch for seasonal events such as spring homecoming, the fall pilgrimage, and Christmas festivities. After touring the exhibits, enjoy a Southern-style lunch or picnic. Reflect on the character of the people and livestock that resided here while strolling the nature trails.

Address: 4711 Weakley Road, Southside, Tennessee

Official site: http://historiccollinsville.com/

Eternal Flame at the start of the Cherokee Trail of Tears

Port Royal State Historic Park, located 14 miles east of Clarksville, was one of the first communities and trading centers in the state. Tennessee became a state in 1796, only 20 years after the founding of the nation. Just as the post office and customs house in Clarksville was important to the international trade in tobacco, Port Royal played a pivotal role as a regional inspection checkpoint. Learn all about this chapter in local history during the one-hour weekend tour, "From Commerce to Collapse."

An interpretive program is offered at the 26-acre park to teach school children about the sad chapter of history known as the Trail of Tears. This traumatic route was followed by Cherokee Indians on their forced relocation from Georgia and Tennessee to Oklahoma.

Another thing to do on your visit to Port Royal are two easy trails: Half-mile River Bottom Trail follows a section of the Trail of Tears beside the Red River. Hopson Spring Branch Trail begins at Main Street and follows Sulphur Fork Creek and the Hopson Spring Branch.

Address: 3300 Old Clarksville Hwy, Adams, Tennessee

Official site: www.tnstateparks.com/parks/port-royal

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fountain and sunset in historic downtown

Explore Clarksville, TN

Visit clarksville.

Historic Downtown Clarksville Sunset

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Adventure runs free in Clarksville! This vibrant city on the Cumberland River brings a blend of hip and historic, all underscored with a generous dose of Southern charm. A 40-minute drive northwest of Nashville along I-24, Clarksville is easily accessible for a fun-filled getaway. Visitors experience scenic outdoors, historic attractions, local spirits and restaurants, plenty of arts and culture, along with one-of-a-kind shopping. Whether you're exploring a family-fun destination, a romantic weekend, a girlfriend's (or guy friend's) getaway, or a solo trip to unplug and relax, you'll find options to make all of these trips affordable and enjoyable.  C'mon over, visit us in Clarksville! 

Public art makes Clarksville beautiful and welcoming

Visitor Information Center 180 Holiday Drive Clarksville , TN 37040

For the most up-to-date hours and information, please contact Visit Clarksville directly.

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The Thought Card

Immersive Ways To Explore Clarksville’s Rich History and Storied Past – Episode 145

Historic Clarksville Tennessee Attractions - Things to do in Clarksville, TN.

Unforgettable things to do in Clarksville, TN for history lovers and curious travelers. Steeped in history and rich cultural traditions, a trip to Clarksville, Tennessee, promises to transport you back in time, whether you choose to explore a general interest museum, retrace the steps of Civil War soldiers at a well-preserved fort, or venture beneath the surface to discover the mysteries of a prehistoric cave. Clarksville Tennessee attractions offer more than a glimpse into the past; they provide a deep dive into the city’s vibrant history, Tennessee way of life, and the influential individuals who shaped the county. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Clarksville TN, visit these incredible attractions celebrating its deep Southern roots.

Listen to this podcast episode below.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  | Spotify  |  Amazon Music  |  iHeart |  Any player

This podcast episode is created in partnership with Visit Clarksville .

00:00 Danielle Desir Corbett Welcome to Clarksville, Tennessee. An hour drive northwest from Nashville, Clarksville is located in Montgomery County, and it's the fifth largest city in Tennessee. Clarksville promises visitors a laid-back getaway with a small-town feel without sacrificing the amenities you might enjoy like good food, tasty cocktails, and fun things to do for the entire family. Clarksville is steeped in history, dating back to various Native American tribes, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. With Fort Campbell nearby, one of the largest military installations in the country, Clarksville is a military town. a melting pot of different cultures, Clarksville is home to military families and veterans, retirees, families who have called Clarksville home for generations, college students, and more. While downtown Clarksville is compact and walkable, Clarksville is spread out, so I'd recommend renting a car or bringing your own so you can explore beyond the historic downtown area and access even more places and things to do in or around Montgomery County. While strolling downtown, you'll find historical architecture, restaurants, coffee shops, lots of churches, public art installations, and a number of wall murals. There are no skyscrapers. Surrounded by the Cumberland River and the 144-acre Dunbar Cave State Park, there are biking, walking, and hiking trails and plenty of outdoor adventures like boating, kayaking, and fishing on 650 miles of navigable water. Locals say Clarksville is a great place to raise a family and I was told that it's a great place for starting a small business as well. While I have a blog post with a detailed travel guide sharing my favorite things to do in Clarksville, Tennessee, in this episode, we're focusing specifically on Clarksville history and culture. Curious about the past and Tennessean way of life? Learn about some of the influential people who shaped Clarksville throughout the ages at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center. Step back in time and explore what life was like in rural Tennessee in the 19th century at historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement, and discover the spiritual significance of the Dunbar Cave and how it's been used for thousands of years. Hey, Financial Savvy Travelers, I'm Danielle Desir-Corbett, and welcome to the Thought Card Podcast. Welcome to the Thought Card, a podcast about traveling money, where planning, saving and creativity leads to affording travel, building wealth and paying off debt. We are the Financially Savvy Travelers. All righty, first up is the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, Tennessee's second largest general interest museum, which features art, history, culture and science. Here you can find one of the largest collections of beam porcelain sculptures in the Southeast, a large model train layout, and a variety of rotating temporary exhibits. Typically located on coastal seaports, a customs house is where fees and duties for importing and exporting goods into and out of the country were collected by the federal government. And although Clarksville isn't located on an ocean seaport, they had a customs house because of their navigable waterways with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico.

04:23 Frank Lott The Customs House was built here in 1898 during the tobacco boom, and Clarksville was the largest exporter of dark-fired tobacco in the world. So, because of the amount of commerce that was being conducted here due to the tobacco industry, the federal government decided to build a facility that was both a joint Customs House and U.S. Post Office. That's why we have a Customs House in Clarksville, Tennessee. It served as three functions in its 124 years of life. It was built as a post office and customs house in 1898. Then it served for that capacity for about 40 years. In 1939, it became the city's Department of Electricity. And the post office, a new post office was built. But if you look here, here was your original postal counter. You know, you would pick up mail, buy stamps, buy money orders. And when it became the Department of Electricity, you would do the same thing here. I remember when I came to Clarksville in 1973, I came in here to open my electric account, you know, as a new resident of Clarksville. So I came up to this counter and, you know, signed up and paid my deposit.

05:40 Danielle Desir Corbett That's Frank Lott, the executive director of the Customs House, a longtime Customs House museum supporter who has been involved with the museum since the very beginning in 1984.

05:53 Frank Lott I've been associated with the museum since its very beginning, 1984. although I was not the director by any means, I was just a local businessman, you know, my civic work was always with the museum. I loved, I was a history minor in college, I wasn't a history major, but I was standing out here in the street in 1984 with my soon-to-be wife when they cut the ribbon to open the museum in the city's bicentennial year. I said to her, I said, I don't know what, but I want to be part of this. I don't know where that's going to lead us. But she's been with me every step of the way. And so I've been many terms on the board of trustees, chairman of the board, fundraiser, marketing consultant. But I've been director of the museum for going on four years, and it's kind of my dream job now. I feel like my whole 42-year career in marketing was like my apprenticeship to do this.

06:49 Danielle Desir Corbett So I want to highlight two exhibits in particular. Challenge and Champion is a permanent exhibit which celebrates the sports heritage of Montgomery County. While there are several featured athletes, Wilma Rudolph's story transcends the sports world. Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940. She was the 20th of 22 children and Wilma contracted polio at the age of four which partially paralyzed her left leg. She wore a leg brace for six years and eventually shut her brace in the sixth grade. The exhibit highlights how facing her illness head on challenged Wilma to overcome obstacles in her life. Wilma tried out for the basketball team and sat on the bench most of her first three seasons. Her basketball coach started a girls track team in 1954, mostly to keep the players in shape during the off season. Wilma discovered she could run faster than all the other girls. In 1960, Wilma Rudolph went off to become the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic game. When Wilma returned home, it was Clarksville's first ever racially integrated event, a homecoming parade and banquet.

08:25 Frank Lott Wilma, of course, was born here, was a polio victim in early childhood and overcame that just through perseverance, became a international superstar, the first athlete ever to win three gold medals in the single Olympics. Well, now that's multi-gold is pretty common in a lot of sports, but she was the first. She was a real pace setter, record breaker. And then, as I said, she used her bully pulpit of her celebrity to influence what was the forthcoming integration issues of civil rights, civil justice, and for both African Americans and women. She was on the vanguard of what was going on in those early years. I mean, one of the very first lunch counter set-ins happened here in Clarksville at a local restaurant because of her. And I think it's marvelous that she came back from winning these gold medals and she said, I'm not going to participate in a parade if it's not integrated. If it's not open to everybody, I'm not participating. I'm not sitting down to have a meal to celebrate me if it's not a meal for everyone. And I think that was such a strong message for a female, particularly a black female, to challenge our own society to that fact, that this is just the way it's going to be. And this county executive, Mr. Hudson, I love what he said in response to that. He said, Wilma, you've competed at the highest levels. You've brought home these gold medals. And he said to the audience, you know, ladies and gentlemen, you play a piano. You can play very nice music by playing only the black keys on it. And you can play nice music playing only the white keys. But the best music comes from playing all the keys on the piano. And I love that metaphor. for it is powerful and it stays with us. And then Wilma, of course, passed away in 1994. We had not even built this building yet. I had lunch with her about six months before she passed away and the former director and I were with her and she brought all these personal items from her Rome experience. And we said, Ms. Wilma, we promise you we will have a place of honor for this. They're here we have, you know, and all these wonderful items from her personal achievements have from Rome that we now can share with the public. I think she would be pleased.

11:05 Danielle Desir Corbett So not only an inspiration to athletes, Wilma helped promote racial and gender equality in her hometown, across America and the globe. I love this powerful quote by Wilma which reads, I can't are two words that have never been in my vocabulary. I believe in me more than anything in this world. Now, the next exhibit I want to also share with you is called Becoming Clarksville, which is all about the influencers who impacted this community and the influencing factors that led to Clarksville's establishment and success.

11:49 Frank Lott Early government leaders, you know, saw a vision for what Clarksville could be, and Clarksville had a lot of firsts. You know, we had things like, one of our citizens became the Postmaster General under James K. Polk, and he invented adhesive postage stamp. Letters used to be paid by the recipient. when they received it, and he said, let's make people pay for them when they send them. That way we get our money on the front end, right? So the government was wise enough to do that. We've had a lot of firsts like that. Dr. Robert Tecumseh Burt was an African-American physician who came to Clarksville. He was the son of slaves. He graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and then he opened the Burt Home Infirmary in Clarksville, which was the very first hospital in Clarksville. Now, there were doctors in Clarksville, but there weren't any hospitals. Other than during the Civil War, you had some military hospitals set up, but they were temporary. But he treated patients of all races. He wasn't just strictly for the African-American community. He was also one of the pioneers of, in childbirth, of cesarean deliveries. And he was one of the real pioneers of perfecting that technique. It saved a lot of people's lives, mothers and children.

13:09 Danielle Desir Corbett If you're traveling with little ones, there's a floor dedicated to engaging children called Explorers Landing. I really appreciated all the activities for children, like catfishing in the Cumberland River, identifying all different types of animals, a puppet theater, the bubble cave, the family art room, and introducing children to all different types of professions like plumbers and electricians. Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is also home to one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region. Interact with a miniature world, make cars move and helicopters fly. Children and adults of all ages really loved this gallery. You'll see their faces light up and just so much chatter and all these moving pieces. It's a really, really cool sight to see. So overall, visit Customs House Museum and Cultural Center for an overview of Clarksville. I recommend planning to spend a few hours here because there is a lot to see. Next, if you want to see what Tennessee looked like in the 1800s, visit historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement. Only 25 minutes from the downtown area, escape the hustle of modern-day life and visit historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement, which invites you to step back in time and experience rural Tennessee from 1830 to 1900. While the settlement as it stands never existed, the open-air 40-acre Living History Museum features a curated collection of 16 restored log homes and outbuildings which chronicle life before and after the Civil War. All the structures are authentic so there are no reproductions or models. Some structures have been disassembled and reassembled on the property while others have been moved here. Also, everything inside the homes and buildings are authentic and unique to the period. If you can, plan your trip around a guided tour or special event so you can access the fully furnished buildings. Ask questions to the staff and hear all of these really interesting stories. On a self-guided tour though, you'll start at the visitor center where you grab a map. As you explore the property, listen to short audio snippets which share a brief history about each building and how it was used. Restored to its original condition, you'll see an 1803 smokehouse, a loom house, a chicken coop turned into a cobbler's shop, an 1842 meat house filled with salt to cure hogs before smoking, a one-room church and schoolhouse, and so much more. Clarksville economy during that time was built on river trade, in particular tobacco, so be sure to explore Chestnut Taboo Barn, made from chestnut trees. This tobacco barn housed Burley tobacco, which was air dyed. The Chestnut Taboo Barn is undoubtedly, I think, my favorite structure. It was just interesting to see and imagine what it would look like to have this tobacco being air dyed and there are just spaces within the beams. And I never really saw a barn that looked like this. really small and compact, but really high up, long structure. And there were church pews in there as well. So I won't give it all away, but it was really, really interesting. And I think out of all the different structures, the Chestnut Taboo Barn definitely is one of those that stood out to me. One of the things I really appreciated about historic Collinsville is its openness to visitors using the artifacts. The Weakley family, who dreamed of rebuilding the settlement of Collinsville, started working on historic Collinsville in 1974 and opened it to the public in 1997. The Weakley family valued a hands-on approach to experiencing history, which means many of the artifacts are restored and also repurposed. Play your favorite songs on historic piano. Use a corn sheller. Children can play with handmade dolls made out of corn husk. And the blacksmith shop is fully functional and still used till this day. Not only can you immerse yourself in history, but you can literally touch it at Historic Collinsville. How cool is that? Capturing a moment in time, historic Collinsville is a rare gem, and it's fascinating to see how people lived in Tennessee. learn what they did for work and societal expectations for teachers, for example, in 1872 and 1915. Again, I'm not going to give it away, but there's just some really interesting things to learn about the thought process, expectations. Yeah, it's just, again, a fascinating, fascinating place to really step back in time and learn what life was like back in the day. Now, the third and last attraction that I want to highlight in Clarksville is Dunbar Cave. For a mix of nature and history, journey inside Dunbar Cave on a guided tour with a knowledgeable park ranger from the months of May to September. As one of the largest caves in Montgomery County, this eight-mile cave has been used for thousands of years and is a sacred place for Indigenous people. The cave entrance is a natural beauty. As you journey deeper, marvel at the drawings on the cave walls, some in charcoal, and others carved into the limestone dating to the 14th century. While they don't know exactly what the drawings mean, our tour guide shared some interpretations. On the tour, we learned the prehistoric Mississippian Native Americans believed Dunbar Cave to be a portal into the underworld. Their journey was dangerous, full of challenges both physically and spiritually. On the cave ceiling, not only will you see markings from cave torches during that time, but also initials and names of people and even graffiti etched into the cave walls like a portrait of a soldier. Excavations have revealed arrowheads, tools, and other ancient artifacts scattered throughout the cave. And there are spots where you have to crouch down and be careful of uneven and slippery surfaces, which makes for a fun adventure, I'll say, into the dark and mysterious unknown. There's one point where we turned off our flashlights and stood there in pitch darkness. After a few seconds, I was ready to power back on our flashlights. I'm telling you, it was pitch dark and a little eerie, but I'm still happy that we did that just to experience what it's like if, let's say, your flashlight went out or there was no torchlight. So that, again, just brought to light how dangerous this journey into the caves could be. Now leaving the cave, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, my chest, my entire body. I felt free. But also that hot Tennessee sun was beaming down on us and immediately my glasses fogged up and it was back to being hot again. So here's some more information about the cave. Before becoming a protected state park, during the Civil War, Dunbar Cave was used as a hideout for the Confederate Army. As a private property, though, it changed hands a few times, becoming a resort, a social gathering space, and a naturally air-conditioned music venue before its decline in the 1950s and 1960s. Over the centuries, Dunbar Cave has meant many different things to different people. Some considered the cave a place of shelter. Others, a sacred place, a place of relaxation in the healing spring waters. And others saw it as a place to have fun, to dance and let down their hair and have a really good time. You can still see remnants of the paved dance floor and concession stand from that time today. In addition to the guided cave tours, enjoy nearly five miles of hiking trails, spot wildlife and fauna, or enjoy a picnic on the grounds. Dunbar Cave was fascinating. There's thousands of years of human history here, and it's a definite must-see worth checking out when you're in Clarksville. For more historic attractions and other experiences to have in Clarksville, I recommend downloading the Visit Clarksville app, which helps you map out and keep track of all the places you've visited or want to go and visit. The app is super convenient and during my trip, I used it daily. Overall, Clarksville has a rich history. And what I appreciated the most about this trip is the city's commitment to preserving and sharing its history, culture, and heritage with locals and also visitors near and far. A special thank you to Visit Clarksville for partnering with me on this episode. You can find out what's new, things to do, where to eat and drink, and tips for planning your own Clarksville vacation by visiting visitclarksvilletn.com. I also want to say a special thank you to our special guest, Frank Lott, from Customs House Museum and Cultural Center. For my recommendations, a breakdown of costs, and to see all of the photos and videos from my trip to Clarksville, visit thoughtcard.com slash Clarksville for my Clarksville travel guide. All the links mentioned in today's episode will be in the show notes. While that's all for this episode, I invite you to join me for the next episode because we're going to be exploring Franklin and Leapers Fork, Tennessee. If you haven't yet, please be sure to follow the podcast so you get new episodes sent directly to your favorite podcast player, whether that's Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or something else. Until the next adventure, financial savvy travelers.

Historic Things To See and What To Do in Clarksville Tennessee

Table of Contents

What’s a customs house?

Noteworthy exhibits, historic collinsville pioneer settlement , dunbar cave , other podcast episodes you’ll enjoy.

Weclome to Clarksville, Tennessee!

How to travel without going into debt. Debt-free travel tips.

Clarksville promises visitors a laid-back getaway with a small-town feel without sacrificing the amenities you might enjoy like good food, tasty cocktails, and fun things to do for the entire family. 

Whether you’re interested in Native American history, The Civil War, or The Civil Rights Movement, there’s something for everyone to learn from. Here are some of my favorite Clarksville TN attractions.

Listen to this podcast episode on YouTube.

Customs House Museum

First up is Customs House Museum and Cultural Center , Tennessee’s second largest general interest museum which features art, history, culture, and science. It’s also one of the most beautiful ornate buildings in Historic Downtown Clarksville!

Here you can find one of the largest collections of Boehm porcelain sculptures in the southeast and a variety of rotating temporary exhibits which change every 90 days or so.

You might be wondering, ‘Customs House’ is a unique name for a museum.

Typically located on coastal seaports, a customs house is where fees and duties for importing and exporting goods into and out of the country were collected by the federal government. 

Although Clarksville isn’t located on an ocean seaport, they had a ‘customs house’ because of their navigable waterways with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Customs House served as three functions in its 124 years of life. It was built as a post office and customs house in 1898. In 1939 it became the city’s Department of Electricity. If you look here, here was your original postal counter. You would pick up mail, buy stamps, and buy money orders. When it became the Department of Electricity, you would do the same thing here. I remember when I came to Clarksville in 1973, I came in here to open my electric account. I came up to this counter, signed up, and paid my deposit. Frank Lott, Executive Director of the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center

The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is partially housed in a historic 1898 building, which was originally constructed as a Federal Post Office and Customs House to handle the large volume of foreign mail created by the city’s international tobacco trade.

‘Challenge & Champion’ is a permanent exhibit which celebrates the sports heritage of Montgomery County. While there are several featured athletes, Wilma Rudolph’s story transcends the sports world. 

Things to do in Clarksville TN - Customs House Museum and Cultural Center.

Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940. 

She was the 20th of 22 children and Wilma contracted polio at the age of four which partially paralyzed her left leg. She wore a leg brace for six years, and shed her brace in the 6th grade. The exhibit highlights how facing her illness head on challenged her to overcome obstacles throughout her life.

Wilma tried out for the basketball team and sat on the bench most of her first three seasons. 

Her basketball coach started a girl’s track team in 1954 mostly to keep the players in shape during the off season. She discovered she could run faster than all the other girls. 

In 1960, Wilma Rudolph went off to become the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic game. 

When Wilma returned home it was Clarksville’s first-ever racially integrated event, a homecoming parade and banquet. 

Not only an inspiration to athletes, Wilma helped promote racial and gender equality in her hometown, across America, and the globe. 

I love this powerful quote:

“I can’t’ are two words that have never been in my vocabulary. I believe in me more than anything in this world.” Wilma Rudolph

Next, explore “Becoming Clarksville” another permanent exhibit about the influencers who impacted this community and the influencing factors that led to Clarksville’s establishment and success. Some of the individuals you will learn about include Dr. Robert T. Burt who founded Clarksville’s first hospital.

If you’re traveling with little one’s, there’s a floor dedicated to engaging children called “Explorers Landing”. 

I appreciated all the activities for children like cat fishing in the Cumberland River, identifying animals, a puppet theater, the bubble cave, the family art room, and introducing children to all different types of professions, like plumbers and electricians. 

Customs House Museum is also home to one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region. Interact with a miniature world by making cars move and helicopters fly. For good reason, children and adults of all ages love this gallery. 

Overall, visit Customs House for an overview of Clarksville and Montgomery County, past and present. Plan to spend a few hours here because there’s a lot to see. 

Admission: $12 for adults (8-64), $5 for children (3-17), and children under 2 years old are free.

Customs House Address: 200 South 2nd Street, Clarksville, TN

Another Clarksville museum worth checking out if you want to see what Tennessee looked like in the 1800s is Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement.

clarksville tn tourism

Only 25 minutes from Downtown Clarksville, escape the hustle of modern-day life and visit Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement which invites you to step back in time and experience rural Tennessee from 1830-1900. 

While the settlement as it stands never existed, in the 1870s there was a town called Collinsville. However, due to the confusion of other similarly named nearby towns, by 1880 it eventually lost its name.

Today the open-air 40-acre living history museum features a curated collection of 16 restored log homes and outbuildings which chronicle life before and after the Civil War. 

Open to visitors from April to November, all of the structures are authentic so there are no reproductions or models. Some structures have been disassembled and reassembled on the property while others have been moved here. Also, everything inside the homes and buildings are authentic and unique to the period. 

If you can, plan your trip around a guided tour or special event, so you can access the fully furnished buildings, ask questions, and hear more passed-down stories. See docents dressed in 1800s attire, partake in butter making, Blacksmith demonstrations, spinning and weaving demonstrations, and more.

On a self-guided tour, start at the Visitors Center where you grab a map. 

As you explore the property, listen to short audio snippets which share a brief history about each building, the previous owners, and how it was used. 

Restored to its original condition, see an 1803 smokehouse, a loom house, a chicken coop turned into a cobbler’s shop, an 1842 meat house filled with salt to cure hogs before smoking. There’s also a one-room church and schoolhouse, the center for worship and learning. The Irby-Bumpus Wildlife Center displays animals from all over Tennessee and a Native American artifact collection.

Chestnut Taboo Barn at Historic Collinsville.

Clarksville’s economy during the 19th century was built on river trade, in particular tobacco, so be sure to explore Chestnut Taboo Barn, made from American chestnut trees which was popular before a blight wiped them out in the early 1900’s. This tobacco barn was special because it was used solely to house burley tobacco which was air dyed — this is why there are large spaces between the ceiling wood.

For a visual take a look at the short video below (left).

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Danielle | Travel Podcast Host + Podcast Coach (@thedanielledesir)

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.

One of the things I really appreciated about Historic Collinsville is its openness to visitors using the artifacts. 

The Weakley family, who dreamed of rebuilding the settlement of Collinsville, started working on Historic Collinsville in 1974, and opened it to the public in 1997. 

They valued a “hands-on” approach to experiencing history which means many of the artifacts are restored and repurposed. 

Play your favorite songs on a historic piano, use a corn sheller from that time period, children can play with handmade dolls made out of corn husks, and the Blacksmith Shop is fully functional and still used today.

Not only can you immerse yourself in Tennessee history, but you can literally touch it here.

Clarksville museums and Clarksville attractions - Historic Collinsville, TN.

Capturing a moment in time, Historic Collinsville is a rare gem – it’s fascinating to see how people lived in Tennessee, learn what they did for work, fun, and even some societal expectations.

Admission: $8 for ages 13 and up. $4 for ages 6-12.

Historic Collinsville Address: 4711 Weakley Rd, Southside, TN

Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement - Clarksville TN attractions

For a mix of nature and history, journey inside Dunbar Cave on a guided tour with a knowledgeable park ranger from May to September. Plan to spend roughly an hour in the cave which takes you a quarter mile deep. Cave tours sell out, so plan ahead and make a reservation.

As one of the largest caves in Montgomery County, this eight-mile cave has been used for thousands of years and is a sacred place for indigenous people. Since the cave is a sacred site for the Cherokee and other Native American groups, photography is not allowed. Bring your own flashlight or purchase one from the visitors center. It’s chilly in the cave so you may want to bring a light jacket, sweater, or hoodie.

clarksville tn tourism

The cave entrance is a natural beauty. As you journey deeper, marvel at the drawings on the cave walls, some in charcoal, and others carved into the limestone dating to the 14th-century.  

While they don’t know exactly what the drawings mean, our tour guide shared some interpretations. 

On the tour we learned the Mississippians (ancestors of the Cherokee) believed Dunbar Cave to be a portal into the Underworld. The journey was dangerous, full of challenges, both physical and spiritual. 

On the cave ceiling not only will you see ancient markings from cave torches, but also initials, names of people, and even graffiti etched into the cave walls, like a portrait of a soldier.

Excavations revealed arrowheads, tools, and other ancient artifacts are scattered throughout. 

There are spots where you have to crouch down and be careful of uneven and slippery surfaces which makes for a fun adventure into the dark and mysterious unknown. 

There’s one point where we turned off our flashlights and stood there in pitch darkness. After a few seconds, I was ready to power back on our flashlights. They say your eyes will never get accustomed to the darkness and without any light source you can quickly become disoriented.

Before becoming a protected state park, during The Civil War, Dunbar Cave was used as a hideout for the Confederate army. 

As private property, it changed hands a few times becoming a resort, a social gathering spot, and a naturally air conditioned music venue before its decline in the 1950’s and 60s. You can see remnants of the paved dance floor and concession stands from that time still today. 

Over the centuries Dunbar Cave has meant different things to many different people — shelter, a sacred place, relaxation in the healing springs water, or somewhere to have fun. 

In addition to the guided cave tours, enjoy nearly five miles of hiking trails, spot wildlife and fauna, or enjoy a picnic on the grounds. 

Dunbar Cave was fascinating; there’s thousands of years of human history here, a must-see Clarksville attraction. 

Admission: $18 for adults. Visitors under 5 years old are not permitted.

Flashlight: $10

Dunbar Cave Address: 401 Old Dunbar Cave Rd, Clarksville, TN 37043

For more historic attractions and other fun things to do in Clarksville, TN, download the Visit Clarksville app ( Android and iOS ) which helps you map out and keep track of all the places you visit. The app is super convenient and I used it daily during my trip.

Clarksville has a rich history, and what I appreciated the most about this trip is the city’s commitment to preserving and sharing its history, culture and heritage with locals and visitors, near and far. 

Next, read about things to do in Leiper’s Fork , a small rural community near Franklin, Tennessee, where time stands still and creativity shines through. Only 1.5 hours from Clarksville, plan a day trip to Leiper’s Fork for a laidback day exploring the countryside. You can also listen to the podcast episode below.

What are your favorite things to do in Clarksville Tennessee?

  • 5 Reasons To Visit Rochester, New York – Episode 86
  • Must Try Portland Food and Drink Experiences – Episode 132
  • Appreciating Adirondack Art, Nature, and History at Adirondack Experience – Episode 142

clarksville tn tourism

Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast , where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Hey y’all, just stumbled across this cool piece about our very own Clarksville, TN, and couldn’t help but share! 🌳🏘️ As a local, I’ve always appreciated our unique blend of history, military pride, and that unbeatable small-town vibe, just a hop away from Nashville. From the historic downtown filled with neat coffee shops and wall murals to the endless outdoor fun at places like Dunbar Cave State Park, Clarksville’s got a little something for everyone. 🛶🎣 With Fort Campbell close by, it’s amazing how diverse and vibrant our community is, thanks to the mix of military families, students, and long-time residents. Got me thinking, though – what’s your go-to spot in Clarksville for a weekend hangout? And for those who’ve been around, any hidden gems newcomers should check out? Let’s get chatting! 🗣️✨

interestibg blog, thank you for sharing

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Sometime Traveller

21+ Unmissable Things to Do in Clarksville, TN

By Sometime Traveller

19 October 2023

Clarksville is a city that surprises you with its diversity and charm. It’s a place where history, culture, nature, and adventure come together to create a memorable experience. Whether you want to learn about the past, enjoy the present, or explore the future, Clarksville has something for everyone. 

One of the attractions is so unique that it made our list of things to do in Clarksville a must-read! If you’re wondering what to do in Clarksville, TN and looking for some inspiration, read on and let us show you some of the city’s hidden gems. You’ll discover why Clarksville is more than just a city; it’s a destination worth visiting.

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Here are the best things to do in Clarksville, TN, for every type of traveller

Customs house museum and cultural center.

clarksville tn tourism

The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is not just one of the largest museums in Tennessee, but also a testament to Clarksville’s rich history. Established in 1898, this landmark once served the thriving tobacco trade as a post office and customs house. Today, it stands as a beacon of art, history, and culture. From the original postmaster’s office to the exquisite porcelain collection , from tales of local sports legends to engaging activities for children, there’s something for everyone. And let’s not forget the outdoor sculpture garden and the mesmerizing model train exhibit. Such magnetism undoubtedly makes it a highlight on the things to do in Clarksville list.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-648-5780 🌐 Website  

Dunbar Cave State Park

clarksville tn tourism

Dunbar Cave State Park, covering 144 acres , is a blend of nature and history . Within lies the significant Dunbar Cave, pivotal to Montgomery County . From its early days as a Native American ceremonial spot to its lively era as a dance hall in the mid-20th century , its legacy is rich. Stars like Roy Acuff once graced its depths. Such allure makes it essential on the things to do in Clarksville list. Today, its guided tours reveal ancient drawings and stunning formations. The park further entices with trails, ponds, and a visitor center.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 888-867-2757  🌐 Website

Swirlz Art Studio

clarksville tn tourism

Swirlz Art Studio is a haven for those yearning to explore their creative side . Here, everyone, regardless of age or expertise, can dive into the world of painting under the guidance of skilled instructors . From serene landscapes and lively animals to modern abstracts , the studio offers a broad palette of themes to inspire your masterpiece.

Not just about art, Swirlz provides a cozy ambiance where you can bring your own snacks and beverages to complement your painting experience. Whether it’s a romantic date night , a vibrant birthday celebration, an engaging team event, or simply a tranquil evening of self-expression, this studio sets the mood. Such a unique ambiance certainly merits a spot on the things to do in Clarksville list.

📍 Google Map Location   📞+1 931-320-9647 🌐 Website

Clarksville Marina

clarksville tn tourism

Clarksville Marina, nestled along the serene Cumberland River , spans 118 acres of pure recreational delight. This destination brims with features, from its inviting marina to the skate park, from the tranquil fishing pond to bustling sports fields . Whether you’re setting sail, casting a line, or just basking in nature’s embrace, it’s a sanctuary for all. Adding to its allure, the park’s calendar is dotted with vibrant events – concerts , festivals , and mesmerizing fireworks shows. The magnetic pull of such diverse attractions irresistibly places it on our things to do in Clarksville compilation.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-444-0646 🌐 Website

Miss Lucille’s

clarksville tn tourism

Miss Lucille’s is not just a shopping hub; it’s a world unto itself. As you step in, you’re greeted with an eclectic mix of an antique mall and a boutique marketplace , blending the allure of the past with contemporary chic. With over 200 vendors , the variety seems endless – from classic antiques and intricate jewelry to modern home decor and art. It’s the kind of attraction that beckons a spot on anyone’s things to do in Clarksville itinerary.

As if shopping wasn’t enough, your taste buds get a treat too at Miss Lucille’s Cafe , dishing out fresh salads, mouth-watering sandwiches, and aromatic coffee. And for those moments that demand a touch of grandeur, their elegant ballroom is the perfect host for weddings, parties, and more.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-896-1700  🌐 Website

Clarksville Greenway

clarksville tn tourism

One of the standout things to do in Clarksville is to immerse oneself in the serene embrace of the Clarksville Greenway . This peaceful haven is a paved trail meandering alongside the West Fork Creek and the Red River, stretching approximately 9 miles . Perfect for walking, running, biking, or rollerblading , it’s an invitation to bask in nature’s beauty. Along the way, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of dense forests, open fields, and diverse wildlife . Designed with visitors in mind, the greenway features several access points, ample parking, restrooms, and strategically placed benches. Indeed, the Clarksville Greenway offers a delightful respite from urban life, allowing you to reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-645-7476  🌐 Website  

Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center

clarksville tn tourism

For history buffs and curious souls, one of the essential things to do in Clarksville is a deep dive into the Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center. This site resonates with tales of Clarksville’s significant role during the Civil War . Perched on a bluff with panoramic views of the Cumberland and Red Rivers , this once-Confederate fort was erected in 1861 . Its dominion was short-lived, as Union forces took control in 1862, renaming it Fort Defiance.

Today, visitors can walk through the reconstructed fort , marvel at ancient cannons , and engage with informative signs . The interpretive center further enriches the experience, showcasing exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays painting a vivid picture of Clarksville’s wartime narrative. Beyond this, guided tours, immersive living history demonstrations, special events, and educational programs beckon, ensuring a holistic historical journey.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-472-3351 🌐 Website

McGregor Park Riverwalk

clarksville tn tourism

McGregor Park Riverwalk offers a picturesque view of the Cumberland River, juxtaposed against the downtown skyline. The riverwalk boasts a mile-long paved path, adorned with benches, gazebos, fountains, and intriguing sculptures . Dive deeper into the river’s tales at the As the River Flows Museum , exhibiting historical and ecological stories. Additional amenities include a boat ramp, fishing pier, playground, and picnic spot ‘. Is a treasured locale, where relaxation, activity, and fun converge, making it a must-add to our list of things to do in Clarksville.

📍 Google Map Location   📞+1 931-645-7476 🌐 Website

Old Glory Distilling Co.

clarksville tn tourism

At the heart of Clarksville’s vibrant scene is Old Glory Distilling Co., a defining name on our things to do in Clarksville list. This craft distillery champions local ingredients and time-honored techniques . Embark on an enlightening tour, journeying through the intricate processes of crafting whiskey, vodka, gin, and more . Post-tour, their tasting room invites you to savor their refined spirits. Fancy a memento? Their gift shop offers an array of merchandise, mixers, and accessories. Beyond spirits, expect a lively calendar with events like live music and trivia nights.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-919-2522 🌐 Website  

Beachaven Vineyards & Winery

clarksville tn tourism

Kicking off our things to do in Clarksville is the Beachaven Vineyards & Winery. Established in 1986, this family-owned gem crafts award-winning wines . Embark on a tour, witnessing sustainable grape cultivation and the intricate wine-making process . Their tasting room, a haven for wine enthusiasts, offers both sampling and purchase options. Beyond the vino, Beachaven also hosts vibrant events, from festive wine celebrations to memorable concerts.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-645-8867 🌐 Website  

Roxy Regional Theatre

clarksville tn tourism

Roxy Regional Theatre, nestled in a historic downtown Clarksville building, has been the heartbeat of local entertainment since 1983 . Originally a movie theatre, it now stages an eclectic mix from musicals to children’s shows . Apart from spectacular shows, it nurtures budding talents through classes, workshops, and internships . With its dedication to showcasing local flair and delivering Broadway-esque performances, it’s undeniably a must-visit on our things to do in Clarksville list.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-645-7699 🌐 Website

Downtown Artists

clarksville tn tourism

Downtown Artists Co-op stands as a vibrant cornerstone in the things to do in Clarksville. Nestled downtown, this community of gifted local artists showcases a spectrum of artworks, from paintings to pottery . As you traverse the gallery, marvel at the artists ‘ creativity and perhaps find a piece to call your own or gift to someone special. Additionally, the co-op’s events, including art walks and workshops, provide deeper insights into the art world. It’s more than just a gallery; it’s a celebration of Clarksville’s artistic spirit.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-919-3770 🌐 Website  

Clarksville Speedway

clarksville tn tourism

Clarksville Speedway is a thrilling place to enjoy some high-speed action and entertainment. The speedway, firmly etched on our things to do in Clarksville list, is a 1/4 mile dirt track that hosts various racing events throughout the year , such as late models, modifieds, street stocks, mini stocks, and more . Such exhilarating attractions make it impossible not to include in our Clarksville highlights. As an attendee, you can revel in the adrenaline, cheering for top drivers. Or, dive into the action by renting a go-kart or dragster. Beyond racing, Clarksville Speedway offers amenities like a campground, concession stand, and a souvenir shop.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-645-2523 🌐 Website  

Smith-Trahern Mansion

clarksville tn tourism

Smith-Trahern Mansion stands as a testament to the antebellum era’s grandeur and elegance. Built-in 1858 by tobacconist Christopher Smith for his beloved Lucy , its Greek Revival architecture, grand portico, and intricate balconies mesmerize visitors. While touring, one can admire the mansion’s original furnishings and timeless artifacts or get lost in the tranquil beauty of its gardens and gazebo. With a rich tapestry of history and tales of its previous inhabitants , the mansion offers more than just a visual treat. It also doubles as a venue for events like weddings and lectures. Its undeniable charm and historical significance make it a prominent highlight in our list of things to do in Clarksville.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-648-9998 🌐 Website

The City Forum

clarksville tn tourism

When seeking a whirlwind of fun in Clarksville, look no further than The City Forum. This family entertainment center is a mecca for exhilarating activities suitable for all ages . Whether you fancy bowling a strike, competing in an arcade game, dodging lasers in the laser tag arena, speeding down the go-kart track, practicing putts in mini-golf, gliding in the roller skating rink, or bouncing in the trampoline park, there’s something for everyone.

And when the adventures leave you famished, refuel at their on-site restaurant and bar. Whether it’s a weekend outing, a family gathering, or a simple day out with friends, The City Forum delivers endless amusement. This hub of fun solidifies its spot in our things to do in Clarksville recommendations.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-919-5051 🌐 Website

Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement

clarksville tn tourism

In our search for intriguing things to do in Clarksville, Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement stands out prominently. This living history museum vividly recreates 19th-century rural Tennessee life . Spanning across the settlement are 16 meticulously restored log cabins and outbuildings, which trace their roots back to 1830-1870. Visitors have the unique opportunity to step back in time , touring the cabins and immersing themselves in the daily life of pioneers, complete with authentic artifacts, period-appropriate furniture, and traditional tools. Not to forget the farm animals reminiscent of the era . Furthermore, the settlement becomes a hub of activity with its lineup of festivals, reenactments, workshops, and educational programs.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-245-4344 🌐 Website

Downtown Commons

clarksville tn tourism

Downtown Commons epitomizes the vibrancy of urban life. As the heart of downtown Clarksville, it boasts a vast lawn area versatile enough to host an array of events – be it concerts, movies, festivals, markets, or more . Added to this dynamic landscape is a stage for performances , a welcoming pavilion , a splash pad to beat the summer heat, and an ice rink that comes alive during cooler months . Truly, Downtown Commons captures the community spirit and pulsating energy that defines the city. Such a significant gathering spot inevitably earns its place on the list of essential things to do in Clarksville.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-245-3366 🌐 Website  

Sevier Station

clarksville tn tourism

Sevier Station stands testament to the rich history embedded in Clarksville’s roots. Serving as the birthplace of Valentine Sevier, brother to Tennessee’s inaugural governor, John Sevier, this historic site carries tales from yesteryears. Constructed in 1792 , the fortified log cabin wasn’t just a shelter but a bulwark against Native American skirmishes.

Beyond its defensive role, it functioned as both a trading post and tavern. As one delves into its story, seeing its well-preserved structure and furnishings, it becomes evident why Sevier Station holds such an esteemed place. Undoubtedly, its historical allure makes it a notable mention in the list of things to do in Clarksville. The tales of its inhabitants and the significance they played in shaping history are profoundly intriguing .

Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library

clarksville tn tourism

Amidst the things to do in Clarksville, the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library stands proud. This modern hub boasts an extensive collection from books to e-materials . Its digital amenities, from computers to Wi-Fi, cater to tech-savvy visitors. With events like storytimes, book clubs, and workshops, it’s a vibrant community space. Additionally, a cafe and gift shop offer leisurely respite for patrons.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-648-8826 🌐 Website

Clarksville Aquatic Center

clarksville tn tourism

Discover aquatic fun for all at Clarksville Aquatic Center , a premier addition to things to do in Clarksville. Dive into its state-of-the-art facilities, including indoor and outdoor pools, a lazy river, a splash pad, a slide tower, a diving board, and a lap lane . Catering to various skill levels, the center offers swim lessons , water aerobics, lifeguard training, and swim teams. Practical amenities like locker rooms, showers, restrooms, and a concession stand make for a hassle-free experience. Whether you’re splashing about or perfecting your strokes, this aquatic hub ensures a good time. Clarksville Aquatic Center is undoubtedly a gem for water enthusiasts of all ages.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 479-754-4100 🌐 Website

Strawberry Alley Ale Works

clarksville tn tourism

Strawberry Alley Ale Works in downtown Clarksville adds a flavorful touch to your things to do in Clarksville list. T his craft brewery and restaurant are all about satisfying your taste buds. Their taproom offers a variety of locally brewed beers , using regional ingredients and recipes . You can also take some of their brews home in cans or growlers . As for the dining experience, they serve American classics with a creative twist – think burgers, pizzas, salads, and more. Don’t miss out on the lively atmosphere, with live music, trivia nights, and happy hour specials to elevate your visit . Strawberry Alley Ale Works is where Clarksville’s culinary and craft beer scene come together.

📍 Google Map Location 📞+1 931-919-4777 🌐 Website

Clarksville, the vibrant city by the Cumberland River, beckons with a diverse tapestry of experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, culture connoisseur, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Clarksville has an abundance of things to do in Clarksville tailored to your preferences. From delving into the city’s rich history to immersing yourself in its vibrant cultural scene, from exploring its picturesque natural landscapes to embarking on thrilling adventures, Clarksville has it all.

I hope this blog post has ignited your curiosity and provided a roadmap for your Clarksville adventure. If you have any questions, desire more recommendations, or wish to share your experiences, please don’t hesitate to reach out below. Your journey through Clarksville awaits, and may it be nothing short of unforgettable!

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10 Best Things to Do in Clarksville, TN for a Weekend Getaway

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When you think about the state of Tennessee, what’s the first thing that springs to mind? The iconic cities of Memphis and Nashville, or perhaps the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are likely at the top of most lists for weekend getaways in Tennessee . However, after visiting the historic town of Clarksville, we would argue that this should be near the top of your next Tennessee adventure. After reading this post, you will be well equipped to know the best things to do in Clarksville, and perhaps you will be ready to book a weekend getaway here in the not too distant future.

old glory distillery clarksville

The city of Clarksville epitomizes the philosophy of Tennessee being home to a number of “hidden gems” that many visitors fail to appreciate. Frequently left in the shadow of the nearby city of Nashville (for good reason as we love Nashville!), visitors that take the time to drive less than one hour from Nashville International Airport (BNA) will have the opportunity to discover a college town that has a plethora of things to do.

clarksville tn tourism

From awesome attractions such as a whiskey distillery (Old Glory), to local eats and coffee shops, and many other reasons that will likely make you want to visit time and time again, Clarksville is a town that admittedly has fallen under our radar…until now! Let’s take a look at what Clarksville has in store for you, and after reading this post, we are convinced you will be ready to take the journey just like we did and we can 100% attest that you will not regret it!

clarksville tn

Where is Clarksville, TN?

Located less than a hour from Nashville, Clarksville is in the northern half of the state of Tennessee and just a short drive from the Kentucky state line. Whether you are planning a weekend road trip from Memphis to Nashville , or perhaps simply looking to create an adventure exploring the very best of the Volunteer state, Clarksville is in the perfect location to add to any type of itinerary.

downtown clarksville tn

Visitors flying into Nashville should look at renting a car to take the short drive over to Clarksville, primarily because it will give flexibility to experience many of the attractions located around this area of the state. From the great outdoors to hidden urban gems, road tripping is undoubtedly the best way to explore everything Clarksville has to offer.

clarksville tennessee

10 Best Things to Do in Clarksville, TN

Clarksville is home a myriad of attractions, ranging from historic sites to local restaurants that will capture your attention. Dependent on how long you plan on staying in the area will determine how many of the following you will choose to add to your itinerary, but we would argue that at least 2 or 3 days is required to get a true impression of everything this beautiful town has to offer.

clarksville tn sunset cumberland river

This list is by no means exhaustive, and we are always intrigued to hear other suggestions, so that we can explore something different on our next trip to this destination.

Explore Port Royal State Historic Park

Visit fort defiance civil war park & interpretative center, local coffee shops, local restaurants, experience customs house museum, visit the local downtown market, have fun at city forum, wander the aisles at miss lucille’s marketplace, visit a pioneer settlement at collinsville.

  • Enjoy a Sweet Treat or a Shot of Whiskey

Let’s start with one of the most historic locations in the Clarksville area. Port Royal State Park has played a significant role in shaping the historical landscape around this part of Tennessee, dating back to 1797 when the town of Port Royal was first founded. Today, visitors can enjoy an informative ‘townsite tour’ by the park ranger, and we were fortunate to experience a personal tour which is a great way to learn about this part of the state.

port royal state park clarksville

Throughout the 19th century, Port Royal played an integral role given the creation of a tobacco inspection point and it’s proximity to both a river and also being part of the Trail of Tears Highway. This regional town flourished due to the frequent presence of flatboats passing through the area to have their tobacco inspected, and subsequently sold which helped the growth of the area. Unfortunately, due to technological advancements (namely the creation of rail transportation), the demise of flatboat transportation saw the area begin to suffer, along with the American Civil War.

trail of tears clarksville

One of the best reasons to visit Port Royal beyond the history, is this is the perfect location to represent a microcosm of perhaps the US. Everything is interconnected, whether it’s from the story of enslaved men, women, and children, to the Cherokee nation, and agriculture and commerce.

You can see with your own eyes where a town that once prospered slowly saw generations move away due to technology, but how this area has been preserved is a credit to the local state government as it truly offers a unique perspective on life in the 19th century.

port royal state park

Another of Clarksville’s historic attractions can be found at the top of a bluff above the confluence of the Red and Cumberland Rivers. Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretative Center offers visitors the opportunity to explore this historic fort that played an integral role in the Civil War. Originally inhabited by Native Americans, this area became a trading center and settlement before being captured by Union forces during the Civil War in 1862.

fort defiance civil war park

Today, visitors can take a meandering walk through the site, exploring the iconic canons that are scattered throughout the park, before heading inside to learn all about this location. The more than 1,500-square-foot Interpretive Center features exhibits about Clarksville and the surrounding area, along with the fort during the Civil War years.

fort defiance civil war park clarksville

Before leaving, head outside on the patio to enjoy epic panoramic landscapes of Clarksville, and if you choose to visit late in the day, you may well be rewarded with incredible sunset pictures with a gorgeous backdrop.

fort defiance civil war park clarksville

We love exploring the local coffee shop scene when we visit a new destination, and Clarksville was no different. It’s fair to say, Clarksville did not disappoint and while we only visited a small number of the local establishments scattered across the town, we had amazing experiences at each one of them.

the amsterdam coffee shop clarksville

Perhaps our favorite was the first one visited during our stay – The Amsterdam. This European style coffee shop has a great atmosphere, with Dutch inspired decor providing the stereotypical European vibe. We sampled two of the seasonal favorites – a Belgian Biscoff Latte, and a Chai Latte. While the taste of the coffee is undoubtedly the most important, presentation is definitely appreciated and The Amsterdam goes the extra mile to ensure your preferred drink is perfectly prepared and appetizing.

the amsterdam coffee shop clarksville tn

Other coffee shops in the area that are worth visiting include, Founding Frothers (love the name!), Sanctuary on Main Street, The Thirsty Goat and inside Miss Lucille’s Marketplace. Again, these are just a small number of available options but you cannot go wrong with any of them, or the other local spots that make Clarksville a haven for coffee aficionados.

founding frothers coffee clarksville

When it comes to finding the best places to eat in Clarksville, there is no shortage of awesome local restaurants awaiting your visit. Whether you are planning to head downtown to sample one of the various local spots, or perhaps prefer to enjoy a relaxing dinner overlooking the gorgeous Cumberland River, there are countless options to satisfy every appetite.

the mailroom clarksville tn

Upon arrival in Clarksville, we wanted to find something close to our Airbnb. Located in the heart of downtown, Strawberry Alley Ale Works is a great option if you are looking for delicious local dishes, combined with a selection of craft ales on tap. Recognized as a restaurant offering a combination of chef-inspired food, expertly made craft beer, and perfectly situated in the heart of downtown, Strawberry Alley Ale Works is a place like no other.

strawberry alley ale works clarksville tn

We opted for one of the iconic burgers and fish and chips for our dinner options, but it’s fair to say you couldn’t go wrong with anything from the menu. Combine that with the 1820 Kölsch from the craft beer and cocktail menu, and you will quickly realize you made the right choice visiting this restaurant.

mailroom patio clarksville tn

Other options close to this restaurant include several with awesome rooftop patio dining areas – The Mailroom and Skyline 500 are two of the best options if you are looking for sunset views while indulging in your meal, but there are several other places that are equally enticing.

beer cheese blackhorse pub

We visited the Blackhorse Pub & Brewery to sample the infamous “beer cheese” which doesn’t disappoint, while our trip to Liberty Park Grill overlooking the river was another great choice. Regardless of what cuisine option you are looking for, Clarksville likely has something to satisfy your palate.

liberty park grill clarksville tn

If you chose to visit Port Royal early in your itinerary, head over to the Customs House Museum in the heart of downtown to learn much more about the history of the region. Located inside a historic building dating back to 1898, originally constructed as a Federal Post Office and Customs House to handle the large volume of foreign mail created by the city’s international trade in tobacco, today this museum is home to over 22,000 artifacts, photographs, manuscripts, and books.

customs house museum clarksville

The Customs House Museum is the state of Tennessee’s second largest museum and offers a combination of award-winning exhibitions, interactive exploration areas for children, and beautiful spaces for special events. A self-guided tour throughout the various museum floors will give a historical perspective on the area, along with highlighting some of the iconic sports starts from this part of Tennessee – namely the iconic Olympian, Wilma Rudolph, who was the first woman from the United States to receive three gold medals in a single Olympic Games.

customs house museum

Other stories to be uncovered here include the story of Pat Summitt, possibly the most infamous women’s basketball coach from her tenure overseeing the Tennessee Volunteers. Don’t forget to head on down to the banks of the Cumberland River to explore the Pat Head Summitt statue. Walking around this museum and admiring what was the area of the post office is an enlightening experience, especially as you consider how this location relates to the nearby Port Royal townsite.

pat summitt statue clarksville

If you visit Clarksville during the summer/fall months (May to October), head downtown on Sunday morning to experience the local market. With a number of stalls offering fresh, local produce, local handmade crafts, this is a great way to explore the local community and support small businesses in the area. It’s also great to hear that local farmers receive priority on booth space, while others will be given space dependent on availability.

clarksville downtown market

Visitors can enjoy artisanal products, listen to live music, and even head over to the petting zoo, ensuring there is something for all the family to enjoy. Ample parking is available either on the side of the road around the many downtown streets, while you can also enjoy free parking in the transit parking garage on Franklin Street.

clarksville downtown market

Exploring the market before heading to experience some of the other iconic downtown attractions is a great way to experience Clarksville on a Sunday morning. Don’t forget to first grab coffee at Founding Frothers to ensure you have plenty of energy to experience everything the local market has to offer.

Are you ready to take yourself back in time to your childhood years? Get ready to have some fun at the City Forum where you can visit the arcade, play indoor putt-putt, race to your hearts desire in go-karts, and test your skills in bowling. After an afternoon full of fun-filled entertainment, head over to Dock 51 to enjoy some fine dining options with a selection of hand crafted burgers perhaps the highlight menu items.

dock 51 clarksville tn

Those that enjoy the arcade can test their basketball skills with a number of games, while your hand eye coordination will also be tested with the fun piano game to see how many notes you can accurately hit in a timed period. Make your way around the Monopoly board before heading over to the baseball stadium to see how many home runs you can hit before you are struck out!

city forum clarksville

Are you ready for a little retail therapy during your visit to Clarksville? Head on over to Miss Lucille’s Marketplace to meander around over 52,000 sq. feet of vendor space offering local boutique creations with something for everyone to enjoy. Known as an eclectic marketplace, this location offers a variety of merchandise ranging from vintage finds, handmade goods, rare antiques, and new upholstered furniture.

miss lucille's marketplace clarksville

Don’t forget to grab a coffee or head inside the restaurant for a quick bite to eat before wandering the aisles of the marketplace. Southern inspired cuisine is available inside Miss Lucille’s Cafe, so whether you are intrigued by one of the homemade sandwiches or perhaps you want to devour a made-from-scratch dessert, there are plenty of options to satisfy your tastebuds.

miss lucille's marketplace clarksville tn

As you venture out into the aisles, you can be sure there will be something unique ready to capture your attention and inspire you to find a few souvenirs from your visit to Clarksville.

If you are looking for a truly unique experience during your visit to Clarksville, head to the nearby historic town of Collinsville to explore a pioneer settlement dating back to the 1800s. This rural pioneer settlement features authentically restored log houses and outbuildings dating from 1830 to the turn of the 20th century. From the interior furnishings to the local actors playing the role of those pioneer settlers, this is a unique experience that paints a picture of life in this era.

collinsville pioneer settlement

In 1974, JoAnn Weakley and her husband Glenn began the work on their dream of rebuilding the settlement of Collinsville. Today, visitors can travel to this rural location between April and November to experience a guided (or self-guided) tour of the settlement, learning about how the local school operated along with an intriguing look at how photographs were created during the 19th century.

collinsville pioneer settlement

Enjoy a Sweet Treat

A visit to Clarksville wouldn’t be the same without indulging in one of the many sweet treat options that are available across a myriad of locations. Whether your preference is ice cream, cheesecake, donuts, or something else, you can be sure there is a local spot waiting for you. Golly G’s Ice Cream is a highlight attraction for those that cannot resist this frozen treat, and you can even grab your favorite espresso during your visit. With a variety of flavors on offer, the difficult choice is knowing which options to choose.

golly gs ice cream clarksville

Parlor Doughnuts is a great choice any time of the day. Of course, it’s always a great way to start the day by grabbing coffee from one of your favorite spots before heading over to sample one or two of these decadent donuts. B’s Cheesecake is another classic option for those that want to grab dessert or perhaps just an an afternoon treat.

parlor doughnuts clarksville

These are just a few examples of sweet treat locations and we are convinced you won’t be able to resist any of them! Of course, if you prefer something stronger, head over to Old Glory Distillery to take a guided tour of this location and learn about the short but eventful history of this thriving distillery. Don’t forget to visit the gift store before leaving, as we are sure you will be enticed to purchase a bottle or two!

old glory distillery clarksville

Clarksville may not be the first place you think about visiting when planning a trip around Tennessee, but we hope after reading this you will be inspired to add this to your next itinerary. With so much history, cool attractions, awesome local places to eat and drink coffee, Clarksville is a destination that may fall under the radar but offers a plethora of reasons to justify a visit.

We feel that we barely scratched the surface with the variety of things to do in Clarksville but we cannot wait to return in the near future to uncover more hidden gems across this area of northern Tennessee!

Disclaimer – We would like to thank Visit Clarksville  for hosting us on this trip. These are solely our personal opinions/experiences and we were not financially compensated for this post. 

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This is a very nice and informative article where you can get enough information on Clarksville Tennessee. Clarksville is a wonderful location for not only visiting but living and working.

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Things to Do in Clarksville TN

Top 11 Amazing Things to Do in Clarksville TN

Clarksville, TN, is a perfect tourist point situated in the northern area. It is a place where you can expect northern beauty and enjoyment. As the city’s roots are historical, there are multiple things to do in Clarksville, TN. 

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Clarksville TN

Here are the 11 amazing things to do in Clarksville, TN. Let’s look at their details!

1- Cheer Across the McGregor Park Riverwalk

This park is a hub of picnic areas, a boat ramp, trails, and museums. This place itself is a recreational point having many local attractions in it. It includes most of the developed trails that follow the Cumberland River. It is the best path to stroll expended parallel to the river.

You can also execute biking and hiking at this place. The total area of the park asphalts with an admirable view. So, never miss the chance to cheer across McGregor Park whenever you are in Clarksville. 

2- Explore Beachaven Vineyards and Winery 

The Lousia owns Beachaven Vineyards and Winery. It is one of the oldest vineyards where you will find various things to do in Clarksville, TN . It is the best place to explore the world’s top-class wine with great relaxation. Also, the Vineyards and Winery are known for their continuous growth and best production.

You can also see how they prepare wine from local and regional fruits. It is a family-owned place, and it also contains a small picnic area, where you can sit and relax along with a glass filled with fresh wine.

3- Identify The History of Clarksville

It is a custom house to present cultural activities about the city. It is the 2nd largest museum in the state, spanning over 35,000 square feet area. This large area is known to exhibit multiple activities. The building was a post office, and later on, it was also used for the tobacco trade on a primary basis.

However, currently, this is a more attractive and well-maintained point in the area. It also holds some permanent exhibitions like memory lane, becoming Clarksville, and Kids’ grocery store.

4- Summer’s Picnic in Liberty Park & Clarksville Marina

It is the best picnic point to visit if you visit Clarksville in the summer. This park remains open throughout the day and also includes boating ramps. The park contains a public-based playground; walking trails expended almost 2 miles, sports fields, and event centers. There is also a fishing pond extended over 2 acres of the park, so you can also enjoy fishing. There is also a dog park facilitation if you travel with your pet.

5- Take Part in Golf in Fantasy Forest

It is a game arcade that is based designed on a Fantasy Forest theme. It is the best recreational point for kids to play Golf. On the other hand, adults can also participate in the game because there is no age limitation.

So, in rainy seasons if you want to play Golf, try Fantasy Forest Golf Game arcade. The atmosphere of the place is family-friendly. The black light theme and 3D glass is the main feature of the place where you can experience the perfect tone of the game.

6- Do Some Art in Swirlz Art Studio

It is an original art party studio where you can show your creativity by doing art. You can visit Swirlz studio whether you are an expert or a beginner. If you want to explore your inner artist, you can come alone to this place for practice. Only you need to reach your destination, and everything will be provided there, such as brushes and canvas to paint.

7- See Natural Views On Upland Trail

More natural views are waiting for you if you are energetic enough to stroll up. Yes, the Upland Trail consists of a short citified path about a half-mile in length. You will cross stunning natural views and historical buildings, even in this shortest mileage.

It is a trail that also contains three interesting bridges. This Upland Trail is present right in the heart of the downtown, executed by the community.

8- Supplement Your Knowledge with Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center

Fort Defiance Civil War Park is where Navajo warriors smacked the United states force in 1860. It is a history museum situated in an old civil war fort close to the Cumberland and Red river. You can drench back yourself in the civil war era to see war, injured, dead, and lived people.

9- Enjoy camping in Clarksville, TN

Clarksville is known for several outdoor activities, but camping is one of the best options. You can try camping at a peaceful place and enjoy your sleep beneath the sky, which is full of stars. If you are a tourist, it will also be a budget-friendly option to lower your residence cast. To enjoy camping there, you need a tent and a bag pack having your accessories. 

10- Hear Some Live Music

If you are a music lover, you can enjoy live music free of cost. The live concert series runs throughout the hot season of summer. You can enjoy local series that are played by some local musicians downtown. The live music series is called Jammin’ in the Alley. It is not just a love music concert but also works as a business downtown.

11- Visit Port Royal State Historic Park

It is a small and beautiful parkland area consisting of 26 acres of land that clutches a history. Founded in 1797, it is a trading and recreational site to enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, and picnicking. Hiking over the Port Royal State historic park will take you back in time with its story. So, visit this landmark point whenever you visit Clarksville.

Conclusion: Things to Do in Clarksville, TN

Tourists enjoy their culture, cuisines, and movie theaters in Clarksville, TN . There are many things to explore in the city, such as museums, vineyards, parklands, and theaters. Moreover, you can find travel services and assistance from Craigslist Clarksville.

What are the best things to do in Clarksville, TN? 

Check out the downtown area for various restaurants and shops, or take a scenic walk or bike ride on the greenways. Moreover, there is always something going on at the Clarksville Regional Airport – from air shows to concerts – and it’s just a short drive away.

What are the most popular attractions in Clarksville, TN? 

There are many great attractions in Clarksville, TN. The most popular include the Austin Peay State University campus, Cumberland RiverWalk, and General Jackson Showboat.

What is the climate in Clarksville, TN? 

Clarksville, TN, is generally considered a humid subtropical climate. The summers are humid and hot, while the winters are mild with occasional cold snaps. However, the precipitation is relatively distributed throughout the year, although there is a slightly higher concentration of rain in the summer months.

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Hey there! I'm Jesica, the dedicated writer at The Travel Vibes. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for discovery, I research and write about fascinating places around the world. Whether it's exploring ancient ruins or uncovering the latest urban gems, I bring you engaging and well-researched insights. Join me as we venture beyond the ordinary and discover the wonders of the world together!

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My 9 Favorite Restaurants In Clarksville, Tennessee

C larksville, Tennessee, is calling your name if you’re a fan of exploring new and exciting restaurants. Nestled along the Cumberland River, this charming city is a food lover’s paradise. With various mouthwatering options, from barbecue and breakfast spots to fine dining, there’s something to satisfy every craving.

Plus, just an hour from Nashville, it’s the perfect destination for a food-filled getaway. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Clarksville with a group of travel writers, and boy, did we feast like kings. I can’t wait to share some of the incredible restaurants we discovered. Keep reading to find your next favorite dining spot in Clarksville!

VisitClarksvilleTN hosted my visit. All opinions are my own.

1. Strawberry Alley Ale Works

When you’re in Clarksville, Tennessee, don’t miss Strawberry Alley Ale Works . This awesome alehouse is in the heart of downtown and has a fantastic selection of craft beers and tasty pub food.

They have a variety of starters. Our table shared a drool-worthy soft pretzel to start. For the main entrée, I couldn’t resist the Mediterranean seared chicken.

Now, let’s talk desserts: Strawberry Alley Ale Works serves them up in cute little mason jars.

The vibe here is cozy and the staff is super friendly. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long week or hang out with friends while sipping a brew.

What To Order At Strawberry Alley Ale Works

  • Starters: Soft pretzel served warm with housemade cheese dip or the potato chip nachos
  • Entrée: Mediterranean seared chicken
  • Dessert: The Trio with your choice of three different mini desserts served in tiny mason jars 

2. Wild Flour Bake Shop

This small bakery is a breakfast and sandwich shop serving the most delicious morning meals. They have everything from savory hangover bowls to sweet banana bread and French toast. I couldn’t resist trying the cinnamon roll French toast topped with candied pecans, caramel bacon, and maple syrup. It was absolutely amazing and a delicious way to start the day!

Not only is the food delicious, but it’s all made from scratch and freshly baked. The Wild Flour Bake Shop service is exceptional, making you feel right at home. And if you’re in a rush, you can always grab your breakfast to go.

As if that wasn’t enough, the bakery also has a locally made product gift shop in the back. You can find unique gifts to take home with you. It’s a one-stop shop for breakfast and locally made gifts.

What To Order At Wild Flour Bake Shop

  • Breakfast Entrée (Sweet): Banana bread French toast or the cinnamon roll French toast
  • Breakfast Entrée (Savory): Brisket hash

3. Blackhorse Pub & Brewery

Looking for a local hangout with great brews and eats? Look no further than Blackhorse Pub & Brewery in Clarksville. This veteran-owned spot has been serving the community for over 20 years. They were one of the first brewhouses in the Southeast.

You can enjoy craft beers all year round and they have seasonal brews and specialty beers to mix things up. Remember to check out their impressive cocktail menu too.

But it’s not just about the drinks here. Blackhorse Pub & Brewery also serves delicious pub fare to satisfy any craving. From tasty flatbread pizza to various scrumptious sandwiches, wraps, and salads, there’s something on the menu for everyone.

The atmosphere is casual, warm, and welcoming as you dine among locals. 

What To Order At Blackhorse Pub & Brewery

  • Starter: Crispy Brussels sprouts are fried and drizzled with hot honey.
  • Entrée: Eight different kinds of flatbread pizza
  • Dessert: The Big Cookie; we were too full for dessert, but it looked delicious.
  • Drink: Tasting flight of beer or a prickly pear margarita

4. Legends Smokehouse & Grill 

Legends Smokehouse & Grill is the ultimate destination for authentic barbecue cravings. With their meats smoked daily, you can always count on a fresh and flavorful dining experience. Owned by a veteran, this place offers a wide range of traditional American dishes that will satisfy your appetite from breakfast to dinner. Plus, they’ve got some surprises on the menu!

But wait, there’s more! Legends Smokehouse & Grill also takes pride in their homemade barbecue sauces. And guess what? Their Blueberry BBQ Sauce is a total crowd-pleaser.

We stopped there for breakfast, and while everyone else was ordering the standard breakfast dishes, I was feeling adventurous; I decided to start my day with a twist. I ordered their Pork-n-Roll — a warm, gooey cinnamon roll topped with smoked pulled pork and drizzled with their mouthwatering barbecue sauce. It was an absolute flavor explosion! The sweet and savory combo was just what I needed to kick start my day. Everyone at the table was drooling over my dish.

What To Order At Legends Smokehouse & Grill

  • Entrée: Pork-n-Roll; available for any meal!

5. The Mailroom

The Mailroom is located in a repurposed former federal building (post office) and offers elevated dining options and a beautiful patio overlooking the town. It’s the perfect spot for a date night or friend gathering.

What sets The Mailroom apart is its commitment to quality. Everything on their menu is made from scratch, ensuring an exceptional dining experience. I ordered their pecan-crusted rainbow trout with pineapple fried rice. For dessert, we shared the mouthwatering warm red velvet bread pudding.

But The Mailroom offers more than just great food. They also host private events and provide catering services, making them versatile for any occasion. And with their doors open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, plus a delicious brunch on weekends, there’s always a time to satisfy your cravings at The Mailroom.

What To Order At The Mailroom

  • Starter: Savory monkey bread
  • Entrée: Pecan-crusted rainbow trout or steak
  • Dessert: Red velvet bread pudding
  • Drink: Sugarcane mojito

6. The Mad Herbalist

I had such a unique dining experience at The Mad Herbalist in Clarksville. It’s not just a restaurant but also a tea lounge and blending lab. They make the most amazing freshly brewed teas and delicious bites. And the best part? The grounds and log cabin are stunning. Trust me, you’ll want plenty of time to soak it all in and savor every moment.

The lunch service here is unlike any other. You order your appetizer, entrée, and dessert simultaneously, and it’s served on fancy three-tiered serving plates. We were fortunate to sample a charcuterie board and the candied bacon on it was to die for.

The Mad Herbalist teas are served hot, iced, or sparkling; you get to choose.

Don’t worry if you have dietary restrictions; vegan and gluten-free options are also available.

But here’s the thing: Lunch is only served from Thursday–Saturday. Plan accordingly! And if you’re more of a brunch person, they’ve got you covered on Sundays.

What To Order At The Mad Herbalist

  • Starter: Fresh bruschetta and chargrilled bread or a charcuterie board
  • Entrée: MH buddha bowl or the avocado toast
  • Dessert: Bakery-fresh sweet breads
  • Drink: A flavored tea; “Peach Bum” was my favorite.

7. Cafe 931

If you’re a fan of delicious acai bowls and gourmet burritos, you must check out Cafe 931 . This family-owned restaurant is a hidden gem serving amazing breakfast and lunch options. 

Not only do they offer a variety of mouthwatering acai bowls and fresh juice blends, but they also have a spacious casual dining area. They also have curbside pickup available. 

What To Order At Cafe 931

  • Entrée: Acai bowl; I added coconut to mine.
  • Juice Blend: Erin — a blend of mango, pineapple, banana, orange, apple, and peach

8. Miss Lucille’s Cafe

Remember to visit Miss Lucille’s Marketplace in Clarksville for unique products from local artisans. And while you’re there, don’t forget to stop by Miss Lucille’s Cafe for a taste of southern hospitality and some seriously delicious food.

Their menu includes handmade sandwiches, bowls, soups, fresh salads, and shareables that will satisfy any craving. And, of course, their made-from-scratch desserts are a sweet treat you won’t want to pass up.

They only serve their amazing comfort food for lunch. They close at 4 p.m. daily. 

What To Order At Miss Lucille’s Cafe

  • Starter: Red pepper hummus with warm pita bread
  • Entrée: Cranberry club wrap or the “Yummy Yummy Bowl”
  • Dessert: Whatever they bake changes daily.

9. Edward’s Steakhouse

If a steak is what you are craving, look no further than Edward’s Steakhouse in downtown Clarksville on Franklin Street. This family-owned restaurant is the perfect spot for date night before catching a show at the Roxy Regional Theatre.

With an impressive menu of steaks, specialty dishes, appetizers, and sides, there’s something for everyone. And remember to save room for the mouthwatering desserts, topped off with a scoop of creamy ice cream. Indulge in a memorable dining experience at Edward’s Steakhouse.

Edward’s serves dinner beginning at 4:30 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday. 

What To Order At Edward’s Steakhouse

  • Starter: Fried green beans
  • Entrée: Sarah’s filet mignon
  • Dessert: Lava cake or bourbon pecan pie
  • Drink: Wine

Clarksville, Tennessee, is rich in culture and heritage, and its restaurants represent the city’s diversity. From local favorites like Strawberry Alley Ale Works to delightful pastries for breakfast at Wild Flour Bake Shop or scrumptious barbecue at Legends Smokehouse, there’s something that will make your belly happy!

Related Reading:

  • 4 Amazing Experiences In Charming Martin, Tennessee
  • 7 Reasons Outdoor Enthusiasts Love This Tennessee Mountain Resort
  • 13 Reasons To Visit America’s Favorite Quintessential Main Street

This article originally appeared on TravelAwaits

Robin O'Neal Smith

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This Board, through its funding activities and overarching support, will encourage and promote the public’s participation in and enjoyment of local attractions.

This includes, for example, visitor centers, performing arts centers, recreational facilities such as greenways and trails, and other government-owned tourist attractions.

The Clarksville City Council approved the formation of the ACT Authority as a legally separate entity from the City government, with Board appointments exclusively provided by the City. The Executive Director of the ACT Authority will be appointed by the ACT Authority Board.

Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts is enthusiastic about the ACT Authority’s potential to boost the arts, the local tourism economy, and global awareness of Clarksville’s rich heritage.

The new ACT Authority will be governed by a board of seven directors appointed by the City Council upon Mayor Pitts’s nomination. 

“I am grateful to the six very busy leaders who agreed to serve and will launch this very important initiative for our City,” Mayor Pitts said. “The Authority will be the catalyst for the arts for generations.”

Those inaugural members of the ACT Authority and their terms of appointment are:

Carol Clark: February 2024 – January 2027

James Durrett: February 2024 – January 2025

Salome Herrera: February 2024 – January 2027

Dwight Jemison: February 2024 – January 2026

Keya Patel: February 2024 – January 2025

Peter Reyman: February 2024 – January 2027

Reyman will serve as ACT Authority Chairman in the organizational launch. The Vice Chairman is Durrett, and Carol Clark is the Board Secretary.

An additional seventh Board appointment is forthcoming, pending City Council approval.

In part, the City is creating this Authority to assist with financing the new, expanded Clarksville Performing Arts Center (CPAC), a long-awaited capital project, on the site of the existing Roxy Theatre downtown. 

To finance a large CPAC that will provide a public service and also a private benefit, debt will need to be issued to pay for this project. State law prohibits the City from lending its credit. This separate ACT Authority can, therefore, issue debt and legally avoid the lending-of-credit issue.

The Authority, and not the City, will hold title to the property for the CPAC.

Funding for the ACT Authority will be derived from the revenue generated by operating the facilities.

Other funding sources will include:

– City Hotel/Motel occupancy tax of 2.75%, effective January 1st, 2025, and dedicated to tourism.

– County Hotel/Motel tax of 8%, with 12% of collections going to the City’s General Fund

Under this plan, the Arts & Heritage Council and Roxy Regional Theatre will each submit annual budget requests to the ACT Authority, which will, in turn, allocate funding to each entity.

The main objectives of the Authority are:

To maximize the economic, tourism, social, and cultural benefits of Clarksville

To identify and assist in developing cultural events and provide locations to display the various forms of art within Clarksville

Coordinate a calendar of events for cultural and artistic creators.

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  • Clarksville ACT Authority
  • Clarksville Arts and Heritage Council
  • Clarksville Mayor
  • Clarksville Performing Arts Center
  • Clarksville TN
  • Roxy Regional Theatre

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The 8 Best Cities To Vacation In Tennessee

clarksville tn tourism

Chattanooga

Clarksville, hendersonville.

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

Tennessee is peppered with charming small towns , but sometimes a city getaway is just what you need. These destinations—some will be familiar, others may be less so—offer plenty of vacation possibilities, whether you’re interested in touring distilleries, hiking in nature, learning about the state’s history, or something entirely different. Think of these as CliffsNotes for your next Tennessee trip.

Music City is not only the most popular destination in Tennessee, according to one survey , it was the most visited city in America in 2023. Music-themed attractions like the Grand Ole Opry , the National Museum of African American Music, Broadway's honky-tonks, and The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum are must-see spots, but there’s so much more to do here. Like all big cities, Nashville has a wealth of options: art museums (Frist Art Museum), sporting events (baseball, football, hockey, and soccer), outdoor activities (Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, kayaking the Cumberland River), a year-round calendar of events and concerts, a booming food scene , and plenty of kid-friendly options (Nashville Zoo, Gaylord Opryland Resort). While hotel prices are high in Nashville, there are stays for every kind of traveler, whether you’re looking for something luxurious or something for the whole family. This is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of place, and as the city continues to grow, so will your vacation possibilities.

Robbie Caponetto

For nature lovers who also enjoy city life, Chattanooga is hard to beat. The scenery alone—dramatic cliffs, epic views of the Tennessee River, expansive parks, leafy trails—is reason enough to visit. And with that comes an abundance of hiking, kayaking, ziplining, and biking opportunities. But you can also spend the day eating in great restaurants all over town, visiting an award-winning aquarium, touring the Hunter Museum of Art, exploring attractions like Rock City Gardens or Ruby Falls, and hitting up local breweries. Equally great for couples and families, Chattanooga is a well-rounded city that’s easy to navigate and still small enough that you can cover a lot of it over a long weekend. 

Similar to Chattanooga, Knoxville is a vibrant small city in eastern Tennessee that can feel like a small town. The dining scene here is comparable to much larger places, with offerings ranging from sophisticated (JC Holdway, Emilia), to old-school (Long’s Drug Store), to decidedly modern (Potchke Deli). A stop at Cruze Farm for some of the best soft-serve you’ve ever had is an essential. Downtown and historic Market Square is home to mom-and-pop shops, a fantastic farmer’s market, and year-round events. Explore the outdoors through Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness , an area that includes a 600-acre wildlife preserve, 60 miles of trails and greenways, historic sites, and many playgrounds and parks.

Visit Clarksville

There aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can see prehistoric art in a cave, then go hit up a winery. You can do both in Clarksville, and that’s not all. Dunbar Cave State Park is home to the namesake cave, which has an incredible display of drawings by 14th century Mississippian Native Americans. When you’re done with your cave tour, the park itself has several hiking trails. Go for a tasting at Beechaven Vineyards & Winery , one of Tennessee's oldest wineries, or try one of the area’s breweries or Old Glory Distilling . Go for a riverfront stroll along the Cumberland Riverwalk, which has parks, picnic areas, and also hosts year-round events.

Memphis is an essential destination for anyone who loves music, particularly soul, rock n’ roll, and the blues. A tour of Graceland is a must, but you’ll find music history everywhere you turn: Sun Studio, the Stax Museum, Beale Street, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, to name just a few. You’ll eat well here, too. Memphis is known around the world for its unique barbecue style, and while there are plenty of memorable spots , you can also find dumplings (Good Fortune), diners (The Arcade), fine dining (Bishop, Dory), and that’s just for starters . Book a night at The Peabody Hotel for an only-in-Memphis experience, hear live music at Overton Park, and explore the city’s botanical gardens.

While Franklin is technically a city (and a growing one, at that), it has proudly hung on to its small-town charm and friendly vibe , which is why so many people love visiting here. It is home to one of the most charming main streets you’ll ever find, lined on both sides with restaurants, boutiques, and the beautifully preserved Franklin Theater. Nearby, you’ll find The Factory at Franklin, a repurposed factory with small businesses and galleries inside, and the local farmer’s market (held every Saturday) on the outside. If you venture outside downtown, you’ll find rolling hills, horse farms, and scenery that’s beautiful in every season.

courtesy of Virginia Tourism

Get two states in one in this city on the Tennessee-Virginia border. When it comes to country music, Nashville may get all the glory, but Bristol is considered to be the birthplace of the genre, and you can learn all about it at  The Birthplace of Country Museum . Not surprisingly, the city is home to several great music venues, like The Paramount and The Cameo Theater, where you can catch live acts while you’re in town. The South Holston Lake and Dam is popular spot for fishing during trout season, and it offers dramatic views. For a luxurious stay, hop over to the Virginia side to check in at Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards , which has a beautiful inn and some pretty fancy yurts, too. Or stay right in town within walking distance to everything at The Bristol Hotel .

Nicknamed “City by the Lake,” Hendersonville is a picturesque and peaceful getaway (just outside of Nashville), especially if you enjoy time on the water. Old Hickory Lake has 44 public boat access sites and eight public fishing piers with several local marinas that can get you outfitted with everything you need. Or have fun on land at one of the city’s many trails and green spaces, like Sanders Ferry Park , which has a disc golf course, playground, basketball court, and more. Visit the oldest home in Middle Tennessee, check out a brewery, and enjoy a slower pace of life.

Related Articles

Census shows Clarksville leading growth in Tennessee, 5th overall

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Clarksville leads in annual population growth in Tennessee according to updated statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

An annual estimate from the bureau reveals that Clarksville is leading Tennessee with 6,062 new residents, bringing the Clarksville population to 176,974.

Clarksville is the fifth largest city in Tennessee, trailing Chattanooga by 7,112 fewer residents.

"These latest census numbers confirm what has become increasingly obvious to all of us, about our community," Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said. "Clarksville is a great place to live, work and play, and along with that, it is an affordable community that also embraces and encourages diversity. People from all over the nation have discovered our appeal based on these many factors. I'm proud of our showing in the census estimates, which is largely based on how we are now viewed, globally."

Jeff Tyndall, director of the Regional Planning Commission, explained that the census monitors migration information such as change of address forms, car registrations, building permits and birth and death records to estimate the change in growth annually.

In a news release, Tyndall said that over the two-year period since the 202 census, Clarksville climbed more than any large city in the U.S. in total population ranking, going from the 159th largest to the 153rd largest U.S. city.

Tyndall also said that based on subdivision plats approved by the Regional Planning Commission, Clarksville will have enough plats to meet the anticipated housing needs for the next five to seven years if developers proceed with their proposed projects.

Montgomery County continues to grow

The growth isn't just in Clarksville. Montgomery County has seen an increase of 6.9%, or 15,132 new residents, in the last two years.

"Montgomery County is growing faster than anticipated in the city and the unincorporated area, making it critical to focus on responsible growth where infrastructure already exists," said Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden. "It's no surprise that Clarksville is number one for growth in Tennessee. We have a beautiful city, great schools, and the best people."

Tyndall said Rutherford County is the only county that saw greater countywide gains during the two years.

What if a city doesn't agree with the census?

Since the annual report is an estimate done by the Census Bureau, it isn't always the current number of residents in an area. If a city or county doesn't agree with the estimate by the bureau, government officials can do a special census.

A special census would be done by going to an area in the city and doing a count of people in that area, like a new neighborhood that wasn't built during the last census. The numbers are then sent to the Census Bureau which checks the math and adds that to the city, giving them their new total.

Since these are an estimate, the numbers aren't always correct. The 2020 census said there were 166,722 residents, higher than the bureau underestimated in their 2019 report.

Tyndall said that the Planning Commission doesn't disagree with this year's numbers and doesn't plan on doing a special census until maybe late 2024 or 2025.

What cities made the list

Tennessee has 15 cities with more than 50,000 residents, considered a 'large city' by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here's the list based on the July 1, 2022 population:

  • Nashville – 683,622
  • Memphis – 621,056
  • Knoxville – 195,889
  • Chattanooga – 184,086
  • Clarksville – 176,974
  • Murfreesboro – 162,398
  • Franklin – 86,895
  • Johnson City – 75,514
  • Jackson – 68,380
  • Hendersonville – 62,896
  • Bartlett – 56,798
  • Smyrna – 56,516
  • Kingsport – 56,150
  • Spring Hill – 55,800
  • Collierville – 51,594

What's the change?

Clarksville was the fastest-growing city in Tennessee in 2022, beating Murfreesboro by 339 new residents. Here are the top 15 Tennessee cities with the most new residents based on the July 1, 2022 population:

  • Clarksville – 6,062
  • Murfreesboro – 5,723
  • Nashville – 5,488
  • Lebanon – 3,144
  • Chattanooga – 2,923
  • Knoxville – 2,291
  • Columbia – 2,232
  • Mt. Juliet – 1,759
  • Spring Hill – 1,678
  • Gallatin – 1,410
  • Nolensville – 1,374
  • Johnson City – 1,326
  • Franklin – 1,091
  • Smyrna – 991
  • Lenoir City – 931

Reporter Kenya Anderson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at KenyaAnderson32 .

clarksville tn tourism

CLARKSVILLE BLOG

10 fun experiences you’ll only find in clarksville, tn.

Clarksville, Tennessee might still be an undiscovered destination for most Americans, but with its recent explosion of new businesses and community development, it won’t stay that way for long. There's already a lot to see in this Southern river city, so you may have a hard time fitting in everything you like. Here is our guide of not-to-be-missed experiences you’ll find this spring and summer only in Clarksville.  Whether you're a foodie, shopper, history buff, arts lover or adventurer, Clarksville is a worthwhile and affordable destination. Use this guide to start planning your getaway.

1. Dunbar Cave Tour

family outside a large cave

Take a guided cave tour and see 14 th Century Native American Mississippian art. Dunbar Cave is the only public cave in the world where visitors can see historic drawings from this era. Tours are available four times daily, seven days a week, from May through September. In 2023, the 100-acre state park celebrates its 50th anniversary, so be sure to check out all the activities related to the cave's musical and Civil War history, wildlife and ecology. Aside from festivities and cave tours, the park offers trail-side picnic tables, 3+ miles of easy-to-moderate wooded trails, a display about Affricanna Town and the cave's history as a musical venue, along with a variety of wildlife species. Also, make sure to stop in the Visitor Center & Gift Shop for impressive displays about the cave's history.

2. Shoot Clays in Style

carving of "Big Foot" on a shooting course

You might frequent gun clubs and shotgun ranges, but we can guarantee you that you've never shot a course like Cross Creek Clays. After a drive to what feels like the center of nowhere, but is only 20 minutes from downtown Clarksville, you'll pull up to the massive lodge and know you're somewhere special. Granted, you're likely to see dozens if not hundreds of sasquatches throughout the complex, but even that's not the most impressive part of your experience. Three 16-station courses for shooters from novice to advanced are clearly marked and easily navigable. If the going gets too rough, the path and pull-offs are concrete so no one gets stuck. Attention to detail makes this beautiful place a truly unique shooting experience.

3.  Let the Hometown Heroes Inspire You

statue and sign of Pat Head Summitt

Every city has its heroes. Every city thinks theirs are special. We are no exception. Pat Head Summitt and Wilma Rudolph are champions. They are Olympic Gold Medalists. They both overcame challenges and difficult circumstances to rise to the pinnacle of success in their fields. They both blazed trails, achieving greatness at a level yet unmatched by any other female. At Pat Head Summitt's retirement from the UT Lady Vols Basketball program, she was the winningest NCAA coach in history -- men or women. At Wilma Rudolph's homecoming parade in 1960, she kindly told the Mayor that unless "her people" could attend, she wouldn't be there. Her homecoming parade that October was the first public desegregated event in Clarksville. We never tire of being in awe of their legacies and the inspiration they create still. Learn their stories at the Pat Head Summitt Legacy Plaza, Wilma Rudolph Event Center and Customs House Museum & Cultural Center and let them inspire you to greatness.  

4. Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement

a historically dressed doctor presents period medicines to a small group

Step back into the 1800s at Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement. The 16 restored and authentically furnished homes and buildings show visitors a glimpse of daily life in rural Tennessee. Visitors can take a self-guided audio tour or reserve a guided tour presented once daily. Try your hand (your arm to be precise!) at making butter. Discover all the clever and ingenious ways our ancestors "made do" with what they had, grew or made by hand to endure when neighbors may be miles away and stores, even further. Events take place throughout the year, so check their website or Facebook page for themed activities, day camps, and special events around the holidays.  

5. Free Outdoor Concerts All Summer Long

people sitting at an outdoor concert with a piano

Enjoy free outdoor concerts all summer long at Downtown Commons. The always-free Downtown @ Sundown series takes place on the first and third Fridays from May through October. Hear local favorites as well as regional and well-known performers from all genres. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs to spread out on the super-soft turf. Food trucks are on-site but you may also want to come early and enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants within walking distance. The Mailroom is across from the park and Blackhorse Pub, Strawberry Alley Ale Works, and others are within two blocks. For only $5 you can also jam to regional bands on the lawns at Old Glory Distilling or Beachaven Winery during the summer months. 

6. Soft Adventure Galore

kayaking

If you enjoy the outdoors, Clarksville offers all of the "soft adventure" opportunities that are fun for families with young children to senior adults. The level of adventure is up to you. Discover miles of hiking and walking trails at the Clarksville Greenway, Riverwalk, Liberty Park, Rotary Park, Upland Trail and more. Bike along the paved Greenway with both flat and hilly scenic sections, or bring along your trail bike and try out North Ford St. Mountain Bike Park and Rotary Park. Both parks offer areas suitable for young/novice riders, as well as more advanced cyclers with strong technical skills. Rock climbing is also a good option for young and old. King's Bluff Park is a great place to learn over 160 routes featuring a diverse degree of difficulty. The limestone crag is 9.78 acres with routes ranging in height from 30 to 80 feet. Once you've scaled the bluff, you'll soak up the panoramic river views. Kayak, tube, canoe, and fish the Cumberland and Red Rivers the 650 miles of navigable waterways. Golf and disc golf courses round out a hefty dose of an active getaway -- all right here in Clarksville! 

7. Savor the World's Flavors

two canolli's and a cookie on a platter

Clarksville's diverse population is evident in its craft food and beverage scene. Residents come to Clarksville from all over the world, thanks to the Fort Campbell Army Installation, Austin Peay State University and international industries. Often, people bring the flavors of the world back with them and open restaurants, delis, breweries, wine bars, or food trucks. The city is an unexpectedly solid place to expand your palate by trying new and different things. If you can stay awhile, you could eat from a different country every meal. Relish the authentic flavors of India, Thailand, Korea, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, South America, the South Pacific and more. If you're visiting the South and want to stick to a purely Southern dining experience, that's easy too. Hand-breaded catfish, biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, BBQ and sides, and classic burgers are thoroughly satisfying. Either way, don't miss the Honeybun & Cream at Johnny's Big Burger. 

8. Evill Nash Brewing Co.

four people holding glasses of beer in a cheer

Savor Evill Nash Brewing’s distinct flavors. This brewer specializes in small-batch, barrel-aged beers, and limited-release experimental beers. With mostly local ingredients like Szechuan peppercorn, toffee, and red sumac berries, you are sure to taste something you will not find anywhere else. With names like Smartie Pants Gose To College, Toffee Coffee Brown Ale, Pick Your Poison Pilsner and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Stout, these crafted brews are anything but traditional. While you're tasting, give all of Clarksville's breweries a try. Filled with passion and pride in their crafts, these brewers possess a patriotism that runs deep and flavors that are as unique as each of their personalities.

9. Shop Like Never Before

family shopping in an indoor market

Shoppers can, and likely will, spend hours at Miss Lucille's Marketplace. This 52,000-square-foot converted warehouse contains a little bit of everything: new, upcycled, repurposed, boutique, antique, collectible and handmade items. Men and women alike enjoy the experience of perusing the old and new, treasure hunting, or idea collecting. It's one of those places you simply must see and experience for yourself. For a needed refresher, the on-site cafe offers a fresh, from-scratch seasonal menu with family-themed entrees like Uncle Red's Reuben, Fannie's Chicken Salad and Born on the Bayou Bowl. The on-site coffee shop is no less creative, serving up creative cups and smoothies like The Three Leaf Clover, The Twilight Princess, and La Vie En La Rose.

10. Unbelievable Fun All Under One Roof

boy playing indoor laser tag

Play Putt-Putt, arcade games, two-story laser tag, high-speed go-carts and bowl all under one roof. At The City Forum, you can easily spend an afternoon being a kid again with games both new and classic. Or, purchase a loaded gift card and let your kiddos do their own thing. Even those hard-to-please teenagers will don smiles after time here. If that’s not enough entertainment, some of the best burgers in town are right next door (still under the same roof) at Dock 17.

Michelle Dickerson

Michelle Dickerson

Michelle Dickerson is the Visit Clarksville media and marketing director. She loves sharing stories about Clarksville's places, history and people, and showing the world its beauty. When she's not working you'll find her on the nation's backroads -- usually ending at a mountain or quaint town, tending her flower gardens, or relaxing with her boxer in her lap and a well-written book in her hands.

25 Jefferson Street Suite 300 Clarksville, TN 37040     |     1 (800) 530-2487

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  2. The 13 Best Things To Do In Clarksville, Tennessee

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  4. Cultural Look at Clarksville, Tennessee

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  18. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Clarksville (UPDATED 2024)

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