Top Things to Do in Franklin, Indiana

Posted on: February 23, 2022
Johnson County Court House in Franklin Indiana

Franklin, located only 20 miles south of Indianapolis, has a lot to offer to those living in or visiting the area. From the restaurants and historic movie theater to the Greenway Trail and history museum, there’s something for everyone in Franklin

This blog will explore some top things to do in and around Franklin, Indiana. Join us on our adventure!

Discover Fun Things to Do in Franklin

Hoosier Cupboard Candy, Snacks and Ice Cream

Take a step back in time at this candy shop inside the restored historic Franklin depot. Family-owned and operated since 2015, the shop has over 750 items and 25 ice cream flavors.

In addition to all the sweet treats in Hoosier Cupboard Candy, Snacks and Ice Cream, guests are invited to view a private train and railroad memorabilia collection. The Franklin Railroad Depot Museum, located in the same building, is free for visitors, although donations are welcome.

The Historic Artcraft Movie Theatre

The Historic Artcraft Movie Theatre, on 57 North Main St., has shown movies in Franklin since 1922. The Historic Artcraft Movie Theatre opened as a silent movie theater and vaudeville house with an orchestra pit and full stage.

The current movie schedule includes films from the 1960s like From Russia With Love, starring Sean Connery; classics from the 1980s like The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long; and newer documentary releases like The Rescue, which chronicles the 2018 rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave.

The Historic Artcraft Movie Theatre has been renovated over the years and is currently owned and operated by Franklin Heritage, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) historic preservation group. It is one of the most intact art deco movie houses in central Indiana and is listed on the Indiana State Register of Historic Places.

Busy Historic Artcraft movie theatre in Franklin, Indiana.

The Willard

The Willard, a historical building that dates back to 1860, was originally a brick house owned by the McCaslin family, who later sold it to the Willard family in 1922. The Willard family built a hotel around the original house, and it became The Willard Hotel until the 1950s

After sitting empty for several years, a new investor purchased the building and transformed it into The Willard, best known for its pizza, chicken wings, and a wide variety of spirits. The Willard is a smoke-free, family-friendly restaurant and has a great view of the Johnson County Courthouse.

Ann’s Restaurant

As one of Franklin’s original landmarks, Ann’s Restaurant is a favorite among residents and visitors alike. Breakfast is served all day at Ann’s Restaurant, or you can choose from salads, sandwiches, wraps, or half-pound burgers.

Proceeds from the restaurant are donated to Tara Treatment Center, a program for those struggling with alcohol or drug addiction.

Johnson County Museum of History

Housing over 50,000 historical Johnson County documents, photographs, and items, the Johnson County Museum of History is centrally located on North Main Street in downtown Franklin. As the county seat of Johnson County, the museum takes great pride in sharing the past with museum visitors.

A cabin built in the 1830s sits next to the museum alongside a genealogy and local history library and is open to the public during museum hours.

Childrens wooden toy train and other toys at Toodleydoo Toys in Franklin, Ind.

Toodleydoo Toys

Serving Franklin, Greenwood, and Indianapolis, Toodleydoo Toys, located in Franklin, is a specialty toy store with a wide assortment of books, games, toys, and gifts. Whether you have little ones to buy for or are simply a kid at heart, you’ll want to set aside time to visit Toodleydoo Toys.

The store takes pride in providing excellent customer service and an engaging, hands-on atmosphere where you can play with some of the toys. Events and classes are also frequently scheduled for children of all ages.

Historic Greenway Trail

With almost four miles of paved trail, the Historic Greenway Trail runs by wetlands, parks, and creeks. It’s an excellent option for a multi-use trail commonly used for walking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading. The Historic Greenway Trail also connects to roadside routes that will take you all around Franklin.

Giraffes at the Indianapolis Zoo in Indianapolis, Ind.

Explore Nearby Indianapolis, Indiana

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a top-rated stop for families and people of all ages and is ranked as one of the best in the country. It’s only a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis and features five floors of interactive learning exhibits.

And, if you’re up for an outdoor adventure, you’ll want to visit Riley Children’s Health Sports Legend Experience, which offers 12 sports experiences on the grounds of The Children’s Museum. Some activities include climbing, football, basketball, a fitness path and track, baseball, soccer, hockey, tennis, racing, and more.

Indianapolis Zoo

Another popular stop in Indianapolis is the Indianapolis Zoo, located in White River State Park. The Indianapolis Zoo is open year-round and offers 64 acres of indoor and outdoor animal attractions and three acres of outdoor gardens. There are over 1,200 animals at the zoo from all over the world.

Some favorite stops include the extreme snake attraction with over 20 species and the macaw attraction featuring one of the largest flocks of macaws in North America. Visitors will also want to include the dolphin presentation in their day or consider participating in a unique 90-minute Dolphin In-Water Adventure program.

Canal Walk

The Canal Walk, part of the Indiana Central Canal that was originally dug in the early 1800s, runs through downtown Indianapolis. It provides a scenic waterside path for walkers, runners, bikers, and pedal boats. The Canal Walk runs north through White River State Park to 11th Street.

Entrance of the Indianapolis Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The museum, located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has one of the world’s largest collections of racing, antique, and classic cars, including over 30 cars that have won the Indianapolis 500. In addition to the permanent and rotating exhibits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, visitors can book specialty tours to get a behind-the-scenes look at the track.

Looking for Senior Living in Franklin?

If you’re searching for senior living in Franklin, Otterbein SeniorLife Franklin is a great place to consider. Otterbein Franklin is a continuing care community offering multiple levels of care. The 120-acre campus includes mature trees, ponds, and walking trails and is only a few minutes from downtown Franklin.

Learn more about our community by clicking on the link below.

Learn More About Otterbein Franklin