Great Escapes: Our guide to Franklin, IN

For a great escape not to far from home, we recommend Franklin.

INDY_Johnson County Courthouse_SEPT2022

The Johnson County courthouse located at the heart of downtown Franklin was built between 1879 -1881.

Photo by @carleygirl123

Table of Contents

Planning a getaway? Check out Franklin for a small-town feel that blends tradition with innovation (a ~40-min drive from downtown Indianapolis).

If you didn’t know, City Editor Nicole studied at Franklin College — which recently ranked in the top 25% on the US News and World Report Best College Report — so you could say she frequented the area + knows a thing or two about the spots to visit.

There’s also nothing like downtown Franklin + the Franklin College campus in the fall when the leaves have changed colors.

Why go?

  • Franklin is a charming area not too far from downtown Indianapolis but just enough outside of the city for a nice little getaway to slow down and enjoy the small town life.
  • Plan your trip around these upcoming events: Ethos Celebration of the Arts on Sat., Oct. 1 or the Winter Market + Holiday Lighting on Sat., Dec. 3.
  • Downtown Franklin is a picturesque and vibrant area with lots to eat, see, and do.
INDY_Wild Geese Bookshop_Franklin_SEPT2022

Wild Geese Bookshop is right around the corner from The Willard + The Artcraft.

Photo by Wild Geese Bookshop

Act like a local:

  • Food: A Franklin classic for dinner with friends and family is The Willard — built in 1860. You can’t go wrong with Indiana’s favorite breaded tenderloin sandwich ($8.99)
  • Drink: Main & Madison Market Cafe is the perfect stop for a caffeine break or a bozzy beverage to kick off the weekend. The cafe just launched some fall-inspired brunch cocktails. If a sports bar is more your scene, BoJak’s Bar & Grille is iconic in Franklin. Fair warning, you may run into some college students there.
  • Outdoors: Province Park just steps away from the Franklin College campus, is the perfect spot to take a walk, get some fresh air, and see the fall colors. There’s plenty of space for the kids to run around and play, too. Check out the Franklin Greenway Trail (60 acres) that runs through the park.
  • Learn: The Johnson County Museum of History started in 1931 and is a hub of year-round historic + cultural event programming that highlights the culture of the Johnson County region. You can even trace your family’s roots or research historical topics of the County in the Genealogy Library.
  • Watch: If you’re a movie buff, you have to see a movie at The Historic Artcraft Theatre, which is celebrating a century in Franklin this year.
  • Read: Check out this little independent bookshopWild Geese Bookshop — for a new read, thoughtful gifts, and pick-me-ups.

Where to stay:

More from INDYtoday