Even though Murfreesboro is just 33.36 km (34.4 miles) south of Nashville, Tennessee, it has a completely different vibe. Whereas Nashville is the centre of country music, Murfreesboro is a historic city and is particularly known for the part it played during the American Civil War. Here you will find the Stones River National Battlefield, where one of the worst conflicts of the war occurred, and you can visit cemeteries, museums and mansions relating to the war.
However, there is more to Murfreesboro than this. The Stones River runs through the city, offering beautiful scenery and wildlife. The Murfreesboro Greenway System has over 27.3 km (17 miles) of trails to explore as well as parks where you can relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Murfreesboro is home to the state’s largest college, the Middle Tennessee State University, which puts on many enjoyable sporting events. Downtown Murfreesboro offers shopping, dining, and bars.
Everybody talks about The Alley on Main, and if you love steak and comfort food, this is the place to go. The great thing is that they make everything from scratch, like their lasagna with ¼ lb. of beef and pork, cheese, basil, and a meat sauce. Remember to bring a big appetite with you! Summers are hot and muggy in Murfreesboro, and the winters are cold and wet. The temperature ranges from a low of 0.5C (31 F) to a high of 32.7 C (91 F). There are plenty of things to do in Murfreesboro to warrant a stay of a few days or even longer, or maybe you just want a day out while staying in Nashville.
- Murfreesboro, Tennessee
- 20 Things To Do In Murfreesboro
- 1- Visit Stones River National Battlefield
- 2- Take A Step Back To The Past In The Historic Oaklands Mansion
- 3- Visit Cannonsburgh Village
- 4- Pay Your Respects At Stones River National Cemetery
- 5- Visit Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Centre
- 6- Visit The Wat Lao Buddhist Temple
- 7- Take Advantage Of The Murfreesboro Greenway System
- 8- Get Involved At The Earth Experience
- 9- Take The Kids To The Discovery Centre
- 10- Have A Beer At Mayday Brewery
- 11- Visit The Hazen Brigade Monument
- 12- Spot Wildlife at Murfree Spring Wetlands
- 13- Shop ‘Til You Drop On Avenue Murfreesboro
- 14- Immerse Yourself In Nature At Fortress Rosecrans
- 15- Enjoy An Evening Out In Downtown Murfreesboro
- 16- Visit the Barfield-Crescent Park and Wilderness Station
- 17- Escape From The Hustle And Bustle At Gateway Island
- 18- Shop In The Markets
- 19- Explore Middle Tennessee State University
- 20- Hike The General Bragg Trail And The Thompson Lane Trail
- 20 Things To Do In Murfreesboro
20 Things To Do In Murfreesboro
1- Visit Stones River National Battlefield
The Battle of Stones River began on 31st December 1862 and lasted for just 3 days.
However, it caused many deaths and casualties, the most of any battle during the American Civil War.
The Unionists won the conflict, and this gave them control over central Tennessee.
The Stones River National Battlefield is now a 570-acre historical park situated by the beautiful Stones River.
It has 11.26 km (7 miles) of paths with information boards about the famous battle.
It is possible to take a guided tour, which I recommend as you will get to hear lots of interesting stories.
However, if you decide to go it alone, you can download a free audio tour app on your phone.
2- Take A Step Back To The Past In The Historic Oaklands Mansion
Oaklands Mansion was the plantation home of the Maney family in the 19th century, and here you will learn about their affluent life before the American Civil War and the hardships they suffered afterwards.
The house is on the National Register of Historic Places and is now a museum.
You can see some of the furniture that belonged to the Maney family, including the family crib, Adaline Maney’s wedding china, and a 4-poster bed.
However, there are some very strange artefacts showcased, such as a postmortem portrait of Lavinia Maney, who died when she was a baby.
Outside the mansion is a 39.6-metre (130-foot) white oak tree, which is listed on the Tennessee Landmark and Historic Tree Register.
It was planted in 1770 and is one of the oldest trees in the US and measures 152 cm (60 inches) in diameter.
After you have seen the mansion, take a stroll around Oaklands Park.
It covers 31 acres and has a nature trail, a picnic area, and a playground.
There is also an arboretum where you will find trees indigenous to the state.
There are walking trails through the trees and markers telling you about them.
Oaklands Mansion is at 900 North Maney Avenue, Murfreesboro, 37129
3- Visit Cannonsburgh Village
If you would like to see what life was like in Tennessee between 1830 and 1930, Cannonsburgh Village will give you some insight.
It covers six acres and is a reproduction of what a pioneer village looked like.
You will be able to visit all the buildings you would expect to find in a village of that time, such as a school, a doctor’s surgery, a blacksmith, a general store, a chapel, a telephone operator’s house, and a gristmill.
You can wander around the village by yourself at no cost, or you can take a guided tour for a small fee.
Be sure to check that it is open before you go, as it is sometimes rented out for private events.
There is a small gift shop on site selling unique items and delicious ice cream.
Cannonsburgh Village is at 312 S.
Front Street, Murfreesboro, 37129
4- Pay Your Respects At Stones River National Cemetery
If you are interested in the American Civil War, you will want to visit Stones River National Cemetery, where around 6,100 Union soldiers are buried, as well as another 1,000 soldiers who served after the Civil War up until the Vietnam War.
However, Confederate soldiers weren’t allowed to be buried here.
They have their final resting places in the town cemeteries.
The cemetery is well maintained, and you are expected to be quiet and not allow children to run in between the graves.
There is a driveway leading to the middle of the cemetery, but you have to walk around the graves.
You can take a guided tour if you want to learn more about the history of the cemetery and the battle.
Stones River National Cemetery is at 2552 Old Nashville Highway, Murfreesboro, 37129
5- Visit Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Centre
You can take a guided tour of the Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Centre.
It used to be a school, and you will visit an original classroom from the early 1800s, as well as exhibitions that tell you about the early settlers of Murfreesboro, the Civil War, and the history of the African-American culture in the area.
The museum doubles as a cultural centre, and now again, there will be music events on offer as well as programmes relating to African-American culture.
Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Centre is at 415 S.
Academy Street, Murfreesboro, 37130.
6- Visit The Wat Lao Buddhist Temple
In the 1970s, the Laotian government was taken over by communists, and there was an influx of Laotians into the US.
They were sent to a selection of cities, and one of these was Murfreesboro.
It now has a thriving Laotian community which has built one of the largest and most spectacular Buddhist temples in the country.
The temple stands out because it is so colourful and intricately decorated.
Everyone is welcome to visit as long as they are respectful.
There is a crimson wall surrounding the area of worship, and within the wall are the cremated remains of Laotian people.
However, what is most outstanding is the golden statue with four faces in front of the prayer room.
It stands for peace, safety, good fortune, and prosperity.
The temple holds Sunday services and daily meditation meetings, to which you are welcome.
New Year comes in mid-April for the Laotians, and there are three days of celebrations.
If you are in Murfreesboro during this time, I recommend that you check it out.
There are cultural exhibitions, traditional dancing, and food stalls.
Wat Lao Buddhist Temple is at 5214 Old Nashville Highway, Murfreesboro, 37129
7- Take Advantage Of The Murfreesboro Greenway System
It isn’t difficult to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Murfreesboro.
It has 27.3 km (17 miles) of trails and boardwalks, making up the Murfreesboro Greenway System.
You almost feel as if you are in the country.
There are 16 trails along seven greenway systems where you can hike, walk, run, cycle, or skate.
Some of the trails go by Stones River, where you can fish or wade, and there are three small water boat launches, one on the east fork of Stones River and the other two on the west fork.
There are plenty of spots where you can stop for a picnic or to birdwatch and it’s the ideal place for the budding photographer.
The Murfreesboro Greenway System also connects parks, historical sites, and neighbourhoods.
8- Get Involved At The Earth Experience
This museum is a fun place for both children and adults, as it offers an interactive experience.
You will be able to see ongoing research and have the opportunity to take part yourself.
Go to the palaeontology lab where real dinosaur bones are cleaned and repaired, or see dinosaur souvenirs being made for the gift shop.
The Mid Tennessee Gem & Mineral Society offers workshops on jewellery making at the museum.
The Earth Experience houses many dinosaurs, fossils, minerals, gems, and rocks.
The highlight is the 11.58-metre (38-foot) male T-Rex, which is almost as big as the room it is in.
The Earth Experience – Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History is at 816 Old Salem Road, Murfreesboro, 37129
9- Take The Kids To The Discovery Centre
If you have younger children, they will love the Discovery Centre.
It is an interactive museum and nature centre, and it has a wetlands boardwalk.
There are trails through the wetlands that you can follow.
Inside the museum, there are plenty of things on offer to keep the little ones occupied.
The Wheels Gallery allows them to problem-solve.
Here they can drive a truck, change a tyre, or design a paper rocket.
They can draw, paint, and mould in The Studio and get to know their senses in the 5 Senses Gallery.
There is a super slide that teaches them about gravity, but they might get more excited by sliding down the two-story slide than thinking about Isaac Newton!
Outside, there is a water play area, so bring a change of clothes and a towel for your children.
The Discovery Centre is at 502 SE Broad Street, Murfreesboro, 37130
10- Have A Beer At Mayday Brewery
If you are looking for somewhere to have a night out, try the Mayday Brewery.
They have over 20 ice-cold quality craft beers on tap and offer food, including homemade pizza.
At times, there are also food trucks and as the brewery is family-run, you can expect excellent service.
You can even have a tour of the brewery, which ends with a tasting of a flight of beers.
Mayday Brewery is open from Tuesday to Saturday, and on different nights, it offers live music, music bingo, bingo, or yoga, among other activities.
The patio is pet-friendly, but keep your dog on a leash.
Mayday Brewery is at 521 Old Salem Road, Murfreesboro, 37129
11- Visit The Hazen Brigade Monument
The Hazen Brigade Monument is another place to go to pay your respects to the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who died during the American Civil War.
The monument is to be found on the original site of the Stones River battle and is the oldest monument in the US that still stands in its original locale.
It is unusual as it was built by the soldiers who survived the battle.
The story of the war and how it affected Murfreesboro is inscribed into the stone so take some time to read it.
You can later reflect on the horrors of the war in the beautiful and peaceful gardens that surround the monument.
12- Spot Wildlife at Murfree Spring Wetlands
Murfree Spring Wetlands is a city park covering 25 acres, ideal for nature lovers as there is a good chance that you will spot wildlife, in particular, birds, and also snakes, racoons, river otters, and muskrats.
You can download an app on your phone to record sightings of both wildlife and plants.
There are paved walking trails and elevated boardwalks that allow you to walk through the wetlands.
Even as you walk, you will learn about the area through information boards.
A history wall describes the wetlands from prehistoric times to the present, and there are stepping stones in a pond that teach you about the lives of aquatic creatures, particularly their food chain.
Murfree Spring Wetlands is at 460 SE Broad Street, Murfreesboro, 37130
13- Shop ‘Til You Drop On Avenue Murfreesboro
Avenue Murfreesboro is a beautiful avenue with sculptures lining the pavements.
You will find a wide range of shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars to choose from.
Why not spend the morning shopping and then have lunch at one of the many eateries?
If you fancy burgers or flatbreads, Bar Louie is a good choice, while excellent steaks are served at Longhorn Steakhouse.
If you’re looking for a light bite, Newks serves salads, soups, and homemade cakes.
There are family-friendly shops to be found, such as Barnes and Noble, which stocks both books and toys.
Michael’s Craft Store is great for adults and kids, as it sells crafts for all ages.
Children will love the science kits and the model cars.
For beauty products, head to Sephora or Ultra Beauty, and for fashion, Maurice and Belk offer good quality clothing.
Francesca sells unusual gift items and jewellery.
14- Immerse Yourself In Nature At Fortress Rosecrans
Fortress Rosecrans was built between January and June 1863 by Union soldiers and was the largest fortress built during the American Civil War.
It is nearly 1.6 km (1 mile) wide and covers 225 acres.
Not much of it stands today, but it is still a lovely place to spend a few hours.
The area is rugged, with deep woods, small sand dunes, streams, and low hills.
There is a 1.6 km (1 mile) long path running through it, which has information boards telling you about the history of the fortress.
You can hike or bike along the path and have a picnic in the area.
It is a lovely place to go if you want peace and quiet.
15- Enjoy An Evening Out In Downtown Murfreesboro
Downtown Murfreesboro is a great place to be in the evening if you want to get a drink or something to eat.
If you are in Murfreesboro on a Friday night between June and September, head to the courthouse square, where the Friday Night Alive event is held between 6.30 p.m and 9.30 p.m.
Music from all different genres is played, and you have the opportunity to dance.
The best thing is that it’s free.
There are restaurants for every taste in downtown Murfreesboro.
You have plenty of opportunities to try ‘good ole Southern cooking’, but you can eat Italian, Mexican, Japanese, or Chinese food as well.
If you just fancy a burger, Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint is a good choice if you want something a bit more exciting than a plain burger.
Try the ‘Elvis’, which is a burger topped with peanut butter, mayonnaise, Applewood-smoked bacon, and American cheese.
If you want a good night out, head to Boro Bourbon and Brews on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night when live music is played.
The bar offers upscale bourbon, wine, and snack food like chicken wings with a bourbon glaze.
If you are downtown between 3 p.m and 6 p.m., pop into the bar, as it’s Happy Hour on weeknights.
16- Visit the Barfield-Crescent Park and Wilderness Station
If you want to escape to nature while not leaving the city, head to Barfield-Crescent Park and Wilderness Centre.
It covers 275 acres and has 8 km (5 miles) of hiking trails, which start at the Wilderness Station.
You might be lucky and spot different wildlife, such as coyotes, bobcats, turkeys, deer, barred owls, and occasionally, a snake.
The Wilderness Station houses many educational animals for you to see, including owls, a hawk, snakes, armadillos, and more.
It offers educational programmes in the station or on the hiking trails.
There is also a gift shop selling local arts and crafts, nature toys and books, and drinks and snacks.
The park has campsites and offers retreat rooms for up to 75 people.
17- Escape From The Hustle And Bustle At Gateway Island
Gateway Island is a lovely, peaceful park where you can spend a few hours.
It is situated on the Stones River and covers 31 acres.
The Gateway Island trail is 1.6 km (1 mile) long and is part of the Murfreesboro Greenway system.
It is popular with both walkers and runners and is often used by charities for sponsored walks and runs.
The reception centre has a kitchen, which is useful if you want to hire the venue for a wedding, anniversary, or party.
There is a gazebo that overlooks the lake and some beautiful waterfalls.
It is the perfect place to hold a special event.
If you just want to visit, why don’t you walk the trail and then have a picnic lunch?
Gateway Island is at 1875 West College Street, Murfreesboro, 37129
18- Shop In The Markets
If you want to mix with the locals and catch a glimpse of their daily lives, as well as perhaps pick up something local, head to one of the street markets.
Between May and October, Rutherford Market is open on Tuesdays and Fridays in the mornings.
It is a producer-only market, and the vendors come from around 15 Middle Tennessee counties to sell seasonal fruit and vegetables, eggs, meat, baked and canned goods, flowers, and plants.
In addition, informative sessions are held in the lobby of the community centre between 9 a.m and 11 a.m.
You can learn about preserving food, sustainable gardening, and cooking with fresh ingredients.
Another market worth visiting is the Main Street Saturday Market.
It is open every Saturday morning from May until October and is close to the Rutherford County Courthouse.
Here you can find locally grown produce, locally raised beef, pork, and poultry, fresh eggs, and baked goods.
There are also craft stalls where you can find unique gifts to take home.
Rutherford County Farmers Market is at 315 John R. Rice Boulevard Lane, Agri-Park Community Centre, Murfreesboro, 37129.
19- Explore Middle Tennessee State University
Middle Tennessee State University has been named one of the best 388 colleges in the US.
It has over 20,000 students and is the number-one producer of graduates in Tennessee.
Visitors are welcome Mondays through Fridays between 8 a.m and 4.30 p.m for a tour of the premises.
You will see such departments as the Business and Aerospace Building, Floyd Stadium and Athletic Complex, the Fine Arts Building, and the Bragg Media and Entertainment Facility.
Sporting events can be viewed by the general public, so check their website to see what’s on.
Middle Tennessee State University is at 1301 East Main Street, Murfreesboro 37132.
20- Hike The General Bragg Trail And The Thompson Lane Trail
Murfreesboro has plenty of hiking trails, and the General Bragg Trail and the Thompson Trail are two of the best.
The General Bragg Trail is in a large park and offers a 2.4 km (1.5 mile) hike to the Stones River National Battlefield, going by the west fork of the Stones River, where you can fish.
In the park, there is a playground, a pavilion for picnics, and a bark park.
There is a parking lot for 40 cars.
The Thompson Lane Trail has an asphalt trail with river access where you can fish.
The trail leads to McFadden’s farm property which hosted the bloodiest encounter during the Battle of Stones River.
The trail is set in a large park with picnic tables.
The parking lot takes up to 60 cars, with room for trailers.
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