If you haven’t visited Clarksville, Tennessee in a while, now is a great time to come and discover this vibrant town. Even residents might be surprised by all the history and craftsmanship in Clarksville.
There are art galleries and breweries, charming museums and acres of parks. You’ll also find places that honor centuries of history, from prehistoric rock formations to the modern music scene.
Visitors of all ages can gain a better understanding of Native American history and the complexities of the Civil War. And with miles of hiking trails, bike paths, and walkways, this Middle Tennessee town is sure to draw you to the great outdoors.
Ready to immerse yourself in Clarksville’s many wonders? Here are some of the absolute best things to do in Clarksville TN!
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COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN CLARKSVILLE TN
- Best Indoor Pool. La Quinta by Wyndham Clarksville boasts a full-service spa, indoor pool, and on-site fitness center. Guests will be within 8 miles from the Civil War Trail and Custom House Museum. There’s also a free breakfast here!
- Best for Foodies. Holiday Inn – Clarksville Northeast is a new hotel that’s centrally located to popular attractions. After a busy day, relax in the heated indoor pool or work out in the 24-hour fitness center. Unwind in the on-site restaurant, Burger Theory, while you indulge in mouthwatering gourmet burgers, signature appetizers and desserts. Grab a beer or cocktail while gathering by the outdoor fire pit.
- Free Hot Breakfast. Located 4 miles from Dunbar Cave State Park, TRU by Hilton Clarksville offers an amazing continental breakfast each morning, a fitness center, and cool vibes.
EXPLORE DOWNTOWN CLARKSVILLE
Downtown Clarksville embodies the charm and artistry of Middle Tennessee life. Offering a rotation of markets, seasonal events, and street festivals, this lively district is a true gem.
Most of the downtown’s buildings were constructed in the late 1800s, though they now hold distinctly 21st-century attractions: art galleries, micro-breweries, trendy restaurants, boutique shops, and peaceful walking paths.
You’ll also find the Roxy Regional Theatre downtown. Catching a performance here holds a historic charm, though you’ll be getting the best of modern production. Once a mid-century movie house, the Roxy in Clarksville is now a place for live entertainment. It offers 10 main stage events each year in addition to its alternative theater productions and numerous art exhibits.
No trip to Clarksville is complete without a trip to the Downtown Artists Co-Op Gallery. This historic building houses a host of inspiring creations. You can see paintings, photography, jewelry, woodwork, and other pieces by local creators. Most of the visual art is for sale, making this a great place to bring home a part of local artistry.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Clarksville when it’s warm, be sure to check out the Saturday morning Downtown Market. This lively outdoor market is a great place to stock up on local produce and crafts while enjoying the town’s unique charm. The Downtown Market runs mid-May through September and often includes live music.
BIKE MCGREGOR PARK RIVERWALK
Clarksville may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of Tennessee’s many scenic riverfronts, but it’s actually one of the prettiest you’ll find in the state. McGregor Park Riverwalk is a peaceful, well-kept place for strolling, biking, or simply taking in the views.
Begin your adventure at McGregor Park, which has an accessible playground, a boat dock, a small museum, and picnic tables. The pathway runs alongside the Cumberland River into downtown and will soon be part of Clarksville’s greater Greenway walking trails system.
The city presents incredible 4th of July and Christmas presentations you can see from the Riverwalk, but it’s a great place to visit anytime.
No bike? No problem. There’s a bike-share program, meaning you can easily rent a bike and enjoy these trails hassle-free.
TAKE IN THE HISTORY OF THE CUSTOMS HOUSE MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER
The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is one of the most photogenic buildings in the state, and inside you’ll find a general history and art museum that will engage visitors of all ages.
When it opened in 1898, this beautiful place was a Post Office and Customs House for the tobacco trade. Today, it’s an architectural wonder and a place for discovery. Permanent and temporary exhibits honor local history throughout the ages, along with artists who make the area so special.
The Customs House in Clarksville also has a hands-on family art studio, beautiful event spaces, and interactive exhibits.
SAUNTER THE CLARKSVILLE GREENWAY
Nine miles of fully paved pathways await you at the Clarksville Greenway. It connects downtown and Austin Peay State University to other parts of the city, offering an alternative (and eco-friendly) way to get around. Plus, it’s super scenic.
The route will take you along a trickling creek, across a 600-foot pedestrian bridge, and under dense tree canopies. You’ll likely see wildlife along the Clarksville Greenway, which was built on an abandoned railway. Reviewers appreciate that the trail feels safe and well-maintained.
Since Clarksville’s so close to the Fort Campbell army base, you’ll likely see lots of military personnel using the pathway, both as part of official training and general fitness.
Biking, skating, jogging, and pets are all allowed on the Clarksville Greenway. It’s an out-and-back trail, so keep that in mind as you plan your outdoor activity.
CATCH A FISH AT LIBERTY PARK & CLARKSVILLE MARINA
If walking alongside the water doesn’t satisfy your aquatic spirit, then head over to Liberty Park & Clarksville Marina. Here you can rent a boat and explore the Cumberland River in style, whether you prefer tubing behind a speeding vessel or a simple fishing day.
Head inland for even more family fun. There’s a 10-acre fishing pond, a spacious dog park, walking trails, a playground, sports fields, and an event center.
The Liberty Park Grill may be the highlight of your time here. This marina restaurant features yummy food and a great bar. Sip on a hand-crafted cocktail or try one of their Tennessee-brewed draft beers.
TOUR AND TASTE AT BEACHAVEN VINEYARDS AND WINERY
Beachaven Vineyards and Winery offers a taste of wine country right here in Middle Tennessee. Blossoming Celosia frames rows of grape vines, making this a picturesque place to picnic, sip, or stroll.
Beachaven offers daily tours that include a full tasting. You can also purchase wine by the bottle or glass.
In the warm months, the grounds typically bustle with groups and families out enjoying the scenery. There’s live music every weekend from May through October, and food trucks are often onsite for picnickers.
You can also bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy alongside your wine. Children are welcome on the property.
VISIT FORT DEFIANCE CIVIL WAR PARK INTERPRETIVE CENTER
One of the best views in Clarksville is located at Fort Defiance Civil War Park Interpretive Center. The bluff looks out over the point where the Cumberland and Red Rivers converge, and you can also see Downtown Clarksville and rolling hillsides.
But it’s what’s within the grounds that’s really worth seeing. This relatively new park invites you to step into history and gain a better understanding of the South’s complex past.
Like many Civil War sites, the site was once home to Native Americans, and the park aims to honor those roots.
Confederate troops constructed a fort on the bluff, and in February of 1862, Union soldiers captured it and occupied it for the rest of the war. Today, it’s one of the last remaining earthen forts from the Civil War.
Fort Defiance became a draw for freedom seekers and formerly enslaved people, many of whom enlisted in the United States Colored Troops or found work in the area. The stories shared in the Interpretive Center extend into reconstruction, so you can learn about the pain and perseverance of African Americans during and after the war.
The park also presents special events with reenactments and speakers.
SAMPLE THE SPIRITS AT OLD GLORY DISTILLING CO
There are often two conflicting spirits in Tennessee: old-school distilling rooted in pre-prohibition, and modern hotspots hoping to draw the trendy and discerning drinkers. Old Glory Distilling Co seems to have found the perfect balance between the two.
This restored warehouse produces a variety of small-batch spirits, honoring the practices that have made Tennessee the place for moonshine and whiskey. But it’s also fun to visit.
Tours are available for guests of all ages – it’s a great rainy day activity in Clarksville.
And for those 21+ who want to partake more, there’s a bar with craft cocktails that use their house-made spirits.
GET DIRTY AT DUNBAR CAVE STATE PARK
So now we know how you can explore Clarksville’s rich history, and it’s time to go even deeper – underground, that is. Dunbar Cave State Park embodies thousands of years of history. The Red River once formed this geological wonder, and a small stream still runs through it today.
Dunbar Cave is eight miles long, and you can only access it if you book a tour. During the tour, a knowledgeable ranger will take you through part of the cave, explain how it was formed, and show you Native American iconography that dates back to the 14th century.
The cave is just part of the 144-acre state park that offers hiking trails and wildlife.
TAKE IN THE AS THE RIVER FLOWS MUSEUM
Before venturing onto Clarksville’s riverwalk, head into As The River Flows Museum. This small attraction is located in McGregor Park, right by the Cumberland River.
Though visiting the museum will only take a few minutes, the knowledge you gain will enrich your time in Clarksville.
Twelve graphic panels will take you through the town’s history, from pre-settlement to modern-day. And it’s all based around the Cumberland River, a waterway that shaped the city throughout its history.
HIKE PORT ROYAL STATE HISTORIC PARK
Just outside of Clarksville is a hiking trail that’s sure to transport you in place and time. One year after Tennessee established statehood, the town of Port Royal was formed. Tobacco was used as currency, and it was a hub for traders headed to New Orleans via the Red River.
It also became home to Tennessee’s only silk mill, and was a thriving community of stores, taverns, churches, and warehouses.
Now all that’s left of the town is the Port Royal State Park site in Adams, Tennessee. It commemorates the bustling town, but more importantly, it honors the people who were marginalized during America’s most painful chapters.
Enslaved people built the thriving community of Port Royal, and it relied on their labor. It’s also a Trail of Tears trailhead. More than 10,000 Cherokee people slept in Port Royal as they were forced out of Tennessee under Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal policy.
So as you walk through the acres of beautiful pathways, you might have to confront some of Tennessee’s uglier history – a worthy endeavor to connect with the incredible people who walked here before us.
ENJOY LIVE MUSIC AND POURS AT STRAWBERRY ALLEY
You’ve walked the paths, encountered centuries’ worth of history, and maybe collected some local crafts along the way. Now it’s time to sit back.
Head back to Downtown Clarksville, where Strawberry Alley offers an inventive menu, craft beer, and live music.
Downstairs is a family-friendly restaurant with 10 beers on tap and a charming atmosphere. Upstairs is a taproom with yard games, fantastic city views, and weekly events.
In addition to their house brews, the bar at Strawberry Alley offers craft cocktails and limited wines.
TAKE THE KIDS TO INDOOR MINI-GOLF
If the weather outside is frightful, no need to worry — D&D Blacklight Mini Golf is the answer.
This mini golf course isn’t your typical course. This family owned and operated indoor mini golf course offers 18 holes of black-lighted fun. The theme is Fantasy Forest, and you’ll find glowing murals, gnomes, mushrooms, elves, unicorns and more along the way. You can also wear 3D glasses while playing, which adds even more depth to the experience.
And when you’re done, you can write on the graffiti wall using their fluorescent chalk markers. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also book a time in advance online.
In addition to mini golf, you’ll also find an arcade, pool tables, a laser maze, and a glow-in-the-dark paint room here.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO TENNESSEE
- YOUR TENNESSEE VACATION
- NASHVILLE: 35 Best Things To Do In Nashville With Kids
- FRANKLIN: 18 Things To Do In Franklin TN You’re Gonna Love
- WATER PARKS: 7+ Water Parks In Tennessee Your Family Needs To Visit Now
- WATERFALLS: 13 Amazing Waterfalls In Tennessee You Should Chase
WHERE TO STAY IN CLARKSVILLE TN
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