River Trails and Tasty Ales: 18 Best Things To Do In Clarksville TN

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Things To Do In Clarksville can include visiting the Roxy Regional Theatre
The Roxy in Clarksville, TN Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Are you looking for a fun-filled vacation that is off the beaten path? Look no further than beautiful Clarksville, TN. Nestled on the banks of the Cumberland River, about an hour’s drive from Nashville, this Tennessee town is a perfect destination for travelers who want to see a slice of authentic southern life. Plus, it has plenty of fun activities to keep you entertained.

Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is minutes away across the state line. Many veterans decide to make Clarksville their home after retirement, and they own many of the businesses. It is currently the 5th largest city in the state of Tennessee.

I visited Clarksville with several other writers to learn more about the area. Here are some of the best things we found to do in Clarksville.

VisitClarksvilleTN hosted my visit. All opinions are my own.

Downtown Clarksville, TN

Clarksville’s downtown is a hub of activity, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and historic buildings to explore. It has a small-town feel and is quite beautiful. Stroll down Franklin Street to find unique boutiques, gift shops, and artisan studios. Or, visit one of the local breweries like Tennessee Valley Brewing Company, which offers a variety of craft beers and live music. If wine is more your thing, visit Clarksville’s only wine bar, The Vine on Franklin.

Roxy Regional Theatre

Check out the Roxy Regional Theatre, which has been around since the 1940s and still shows plays and movies today. The iconic movie house still has the classic marquee neon sign.

It is one of Clarksville’s premier entertainment venues offering plays, musicals, concerts, and other live performances year-round. When we visited, we viewed a performance of County Fair.

Things To Do In Clarksville can include visiting the Custom House Museum
The Custom House Museum and Cultural Center. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Customs House Museum and Cultural Center

The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is an educational institution in downtown Clarksville that offers a variety of programs and exhibits related to art, history, science, and more! The museum has several permanent collections on display and rotating exhibits that change throughout the year.

Things To Do In Clarksville can include visiting the Cannon at Fort Defiance Civil War Park
Cannon at Fort Defiance Civil War Park. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center

History buffs will love Fort Defiance, which played a vital role in the Civil War. The fort was built in 1862 by Union troops to protect the city and serves as a museum today. You can learn about the history of the Civil War in this area, see artifacts from the period, and explore the fort’s earthworks and gun platforms.

The center features interactive exhibits that tell the Battle of Fort Defiance story. Visitors can also explore the grounds.  

Clarksville Greenway

This scenic trail offers an excellent experience for both locals and visitors, with beautiful views of the river and forestry. Situated along the Red River and West Fork Creek, this 9-mile trail has gained statewide recognition for its beauty and popularity.

But here’s the best part – the Clarksville Greenway is more than just a trail. It’s part of the Rails to Trails initiative, transforming old railroad rights of way and river corridors into fabulous walking and biking trails. Not only does it offer a fantastic outdoor experience, but it also promotes environmental stewardship.  You can even bring your furry friend along for the adventure!

Things To Do In Clarksville can include checking out the Dunbar Cave State Park
The guide is showing markings on the wall of the cave. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Dunbar Cave State Park

Hiking trails, picnic areas, and more are available in this state park, but the Dunbar Cave steals the show. It is a historic site located in Clarksville, TN. Many of the Clarksville hotels are nearby.

The cave is over 8,000 years old and was once used as a shelter by Native Americans. Today, guided tours allow visitors to explore the cave and learn about its history.  

In the 50s, the cave was the place to socialize in the evenings, with dances held near the entrance. When it was hot in Tennessee, the cold air from the cave was refreshing.  

Clarksville Downtown Market

If you love browsing unique local goods, then be sure to check out the Clarksville Downtown Market. This outdoor market is held every Saturday from May to October and features local artisans, farmers, and food vendors.

Shop for handmade jewelry, artwork, jams, and baked goods while enjoying live music and a picturesque setting. You might even meet their mascot, “Corny the Cob.”

Things To Do In Clarksville can include visiting the Wilma Rudolph Statue
Wilma Rudolph Statue. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Liberty Park & Wilma Rudolph Statue

Liberty Park is an outdoor paradise located in downtown Clarksville. The park features over 300 acres of lush green space with trails for walking or biking, playgrounds for children, pavilions, picnic tables, a fishing pond, sports fields, and a dog park.

A highlight for me was visiting the Wilma Rudolph Event Center and statue. I enjoyed learning more about her life and Olympic adventure.

Blackhorse Pub & Brewery

Blackhorse Pub & Brewery serves up some delicious craft beer made in Clarksville. It was the first of seven current craft breweries in the city. They also have delicious pub food.

They offer flights so you can sample several different brews before deciding which one(s) you want to take home with you – cheers!

Things To Do In Clarksville can include visiting Downtown Artists Co-op
Downtown Artists Co-op. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Downtown Artist Co-op

The Downtown Artist Co-op is a mecca for art lovers and creators alike. It is a collaborative space where local artists can showcase their works in a stunning gallery setting. The airy, light-filled space is a feast for the senses, with works ranging from colorful paintings to jewelry.

With an ever-evolving roster of exhibitions and events, the Downtown Artist Co-op is an absolute must-visit for anyone who loves art.

Things To Do In Clarksville can include checking out The Day After Statue
The Day After Statue. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Public Art

There are a few incredible sculptures in the area that you should check out. The Children’s Fountain at Strawberry Alley and The Day After, located between Second and Commerce Streets. And you definitely need to catch the sculpture on Franklin Street of Frank Sutton, who played Sgt. Carter from the Gomer Pyle show.

They also have some beautiful murals throughout the town.

Things To Do In Clarksville can include shopping at Miss Lucille’s Marketplace
Miss Lucille’s sign. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Miss Lucille’s Marketplace

Step into the beautiful world of Miss Lucille’s, where you’ll find a treasure trove of goodies spanning over 52,000 sq. feet! As you navigate the aisles of vendor booths, you’ll discover a delightful mix of vintage items, one-of-a-kind handmade goods, rare antiques, and unique gifts.

They have spacious aisles and easy access for those with mobility needs.  

Grab lunch at Miss Lucille’s Cafe for delicious local fare.

Beachaven Vineyards & Winery

This family-owned business produces award-winning wines in the heart of Middle Tennessee. It is a beautiful place. Before sampling the wine in the tasting room, take a guided tour of the vineyards and production facilities.  

Beachaven Vineyards & Winery is located just outside downtown Clarksville near Austin Peay State University. Visitors will find acres upon acres of vineyards producing some truly exceptional wines.

McGregor Park

Take a leisurely walk along the beautiful Cumberland River at McGregor Park. It’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the scenery. And if you’re feeling energetic, why not try out the automated bike share system, Clarksville BCycle?

But that’s not all! McGregor Park offers a range of amenities to enhance your visit. Stroll along the 1-mile walking trail, or launch your boat into the Cumberland River using the public boat ramp. There are also picnic areas and restrooms available for your convenience.

Things To Do In Clarksville can include viewing the Cumberland River from the Cumberland Riverwalk
View of Cumberland River from the Cumberland Riverwalk. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Cumberland Riverwalk

The Cumberland Riverwalk, sometimes called the McGregor Park Riverwalk, has miles of hiking paths and walking trails. This beautiful trail starts at McGregor Park and runs along the Cumberland River. You can even connect to the Red River Trail at the north end, which leads to the Clarksville Greenway.

If you head south, the Riverwalk will take you to the heart of downtown Clarksville via a pedestrian bridge over Riverside Drive.

Foodie Finds

The food scene in Clarksville is what surprised me the most. They have delicious scratch-made, locally sourced eateries. A few of our favorites are the Wild Flour Bake Shop, The Mailroom, Strawberry Alley Ale Works, Legend’s and Edward’s Steak House.

Things To Do In Clarksville can include visiting the Log Cabin at Historic Collinsville
Log Cavin at Historic Collinsville. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Historic Collinsville

Escape the chaos and return to a simpler era at Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement. Experience the charm of handmade toys, tools, clothing, and furniture. Immerse yourself in a world where food is grown in the garden. When we visited, we had the opportunity to make butter in a baby food jar.  

Embark on a self-guided tour through 16 meticulously restored log homes and outbuildings spread across 40 picturesque acres. The open-air setting allows you to feel the tranquility of the past as you soak in the authentic period furnishings and artifacts that showcase rural life before and after the Civil War.

Conveniently located just minutes from downtown Clarksville, Collinsville offers children a safe and engaging learning environment.

Things To Do In Clarksville can include visiting the Old Glory Disilling Co
Old Glory Distilling Co. Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Old Glory Distilling Company

Want to know the secret to crafting the perfect whiskey and bourbon? At Old Glory Distilling Co, they believe it’s all about doing things the right way. A small batch artisan distillery, they source grains from local farmers they know and trust, and they never cut corners. Every step of the process, from grinding and cooking to fermenting and distilling, happens on-site. And when it comes to aging, they let the oak barrels work their magic with time.

When we visited, we participated in a tasting of moonshine, bourbon, and whiskey.  

There are many reasons to visit Clarksville, a hidden gem in Tennessee. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or foodie, there’s something for everyone in this charming southern town.

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