As Nashville continues to grow increasingly popular among transplants and tourists, an ever-brighter spotlight is cast on the city’s surrounding small towns. It should come as no surprise that the rural Tennessee countryside gives way to civilization as idyllic main streets pop up among the rolling hills and farmland. The following list highlights some, but certainly not all, of the most charming small towns near Nashville.

Kingston Springs

Kingston Springs has an undeniable charm. This little town west of the city on Interstate-40 attracts artists and 9-5ers looking to settle down and spread out on a piece of land they can call their own. Located along the winding Harpeth River, Kingston Springs feels like a mini Knoxville with an earthy vibe and a strong community connection.


  • Skyking Pizza: A coffee shop by day and local watering hole by night, Skyking Pizza embodies all the charm and community of Kingston Springs on a Friday night when everybody and their mother can be spotted grabbing a slice after the game.
  • Kingston Springs Farmers Market: What’s a rural Tennessee town without local produce and handmade crafts? Residents love the Farmers Market in the center of town that takes place every Saturday from May until September.
  • L.L. Burns Park: This small town recently made a massive, million-dollar investment in the local park, and it has paid dividends as residents enjoy every inch of the 173 acres.

Ashland City

Not unlike Kingston Springs, its western Cheatham County neighbor, Ashland City brings the outdoorsy spirit to the north across the Cumberland River. The projected population this year hovers around 5,000 residents, making this emerging suburb popular among Nashvillians looking to flee the prices and density of the city. Just drive a few minutes out of town on Briley Parkway and you'll feel like you’re in a different world. The sky opens up as the cityscape recedes in the rearview mirror, and the terrain begins to feel a little wild and rife with potential.


  • SheyeGirl Coffee Co.: Local entrepreneur Sheyenne Rivers brings her unique spin on coffee to the center of town with her cafe and community meeting place.
  • Riverbluff Park: The town's entire southern border runs along the iconic river, making Ashland City the perfect place to put in a kayak or go for a lazy innertube float with some friends on a sunny afternoon.
  • Community Together on the Cumberland: This year, in lieu of the annual Sling into Spring, Summerfest, and Music on Main events, the city will be hosting a fall gathering for residents to enjoy riverfront views, local cuisine, and quality time with neighbors.


The center roundabout of downtown Franklin TN
Franklin, Tennessee has a charming downtown area.

Located in Williamson County just about 40 minutes outside of Nashville, Franklin feels like the biggest small town in Middle Tennessee. Once an embattled Civil War site, Franklin now looks like the set of a Hallmark movie with seasonal banners lining Main Street, charming boutique shopping, and local foods aplenty. There's so much to do, but these three attractions sum up the spirit of Franklin concisely.


  • Antique District: While residents love Franklin for the shopping and dining, history buffs really love it for the antiquing and cultural significance of the place. The Antique District is accessible to the most casual shopper but will undoubtedly impress more discerning visitors as well.
  • Franklin Theatre: No Main Street in small-town America is complete without a historic, 1930s movie theater. The newly renovated Franklin Theatre doesn’t disappoint with its glowing marquee and lineup of prominent artists and popular movie showings.
  • The Factory: The Factory is a one-stop-shop for window shoppers and locals looking for a night out. The renovated factory is essentially an indie mall within the massive echoing walls and rusty gears of a former stove production plant.

Leiper’s Fork

A home on a farm in Leiper's Fork, TN
Leiper's Fork is a small town with a big local scene.

Just outside of Franklin, off the Natchez Trace Parkway, sits another small town that's tiny in comparison but packs a punch when it comes to cultural goings-on and pastoral beauty. Leiper’s Fork feels almost like an artist colony organized around one main street along which local artisans and creators keep shops and galleries.


  • Puckett’s Grocery: The original grocery that started what would become a popular local chain, this nondescript general store and gas station serves as a prime time music venue by night.
  • The Art Scene: Main street is dotted with small, independent art galleries like David Arms Gallery located in a barn on the edge of town and Leiper’s Creek Gallery on Old Hillsboro Road.
  • Pot N’ Kettle Cottages: This event space and hyper-charming campus of cottages plays host to visitors who might come to see any one of the 650 residents of Leiper’s Fork.