Top Things to Do in Franklin, Indiana

Posted on: April 24, 2024

This blog was originally posted in 2022 and updated in April 2024.

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, making it a great place to retire! 

This blog will explore some top senior-friendly 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

370 E. Jefferson St., Franklin, IN 46131

Take a step back in time at this candy shop inside the restored historic Franklin depot right in the heart of downtown. Open year-round and family-owned and operated since 2015, the shop has over 1,000 items and 30 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 shop has its own parking lot with a designated accessible parking spot.

Hoosier Cupboard

The Historic Artcraft Movie Theatre

57 N. Main St., Franklin, IN 46131

The Historic Artcraft Movie Theatre, the longest running movie theatre in Franklin, has shown movies since 1922. The 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 Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn; classics from the 1980s like Raiders of the Lost Ark, starring Harrison Ford; and family adventure movies like Night at the Museum, starring Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.

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 central Indiana’s most intact Art Deco movie houses and is listed on the Indiana State Register of Historic Places. To remain accessible to all, the theatre offers ADA-designated seating, an auditorium ramp, and accessible restrooms. 

Historic Artcraft Theatre

The Willard

99 N. Main St., Franklin, IN 46131

The Willard, a historical building dating 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 with a great view of the Johnson County Courthouse. They accept reservations for large groups and special parties.

Ann’s Restaurant

77 W. Monroe St., Franklin, IN 46131

As one of Franklin’s original landmarks, Ann’s Restaurant is a favorite among residents and visitors alike, known for being the best home-cooked food in the area. 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

135 N. Main St., Franklin, IN 46131

Housing over 50,000 historical Johnson County documents, photographs, and items, the Johnson County Museum of History is centrally located one block north of the Johnson County Courthouse and The Historic Artcraft Theatre. Started by the Alexander Hamilton chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, the Johnson County Museum of History is the current hub of year-round historic and cultural event programming. 

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.

Toodleydoo Toys

1 W. Jefferson St., Franklin, IN 46131

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. Public parking is available on West Court and Jefferson Streets, and also in the public parking lot one half block west of the store at the corner of South Jackson and West Jefferson Streets.

Toodleydoo Toys

Historic Greenway Trail

View Greenway Trails Map Here

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

3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208

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.

The museum is primarily barrier-free, although there are a handful of less accessible areas due to the historic nature or natural habitat of certain artifacts. All levels of the museum are accessible by ramps and elevators, and there are designated accessible parking spaces, accessible restrooms, complimentary wheelchair rentals, and accessible seating in the Lilly Theater and on the carousel. 

Indianapolis Zoo

1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46222

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.

The Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens are fully ADA accessible, including accessible restrooms, designated accessible parking, wheelchair and electric scooter rentals, automatic doors in each building, and designated wheelchair seating, elevators, and lifts.

Canal Walk

View Canal Walk Map Here

The Canal Walk, part of the Indiana Central Canal originally dug in the early 1800s, is a 3-mile loop that 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

4750 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222

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. Be sure to check their website before your visit for reservations and updates on the museum renovation closure. 

The museum strives to make all areas accessible to visitors, including wheelchair-accessible tour buses, accessible parking, and subtitles on bus tour narration for guests with hearing impairment. 

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