6 Things I'll Miss about Clarksville
Updated: May 26, 2019
1. Clarksville’s active community. Clarksville’s athletic community is rapidly growing. With a transient military population full of health-conscious soldiers and their families and native Tennesseans who appreciate the great outdoors, Queen City has no shortage of active opportunities. Some examples are:
Get in shape while making new friends at one of Clarksville’s many CrossFit gyms (most have child care – a rare find in this sport!)
Kayaking/canoeing/SUP down the Red River
Mountain biking or trail running at Rotary Park
Indoor bouldering at Clarksville Climbing or outdoor climbing at King’s Bluff overlooking the Cumberland
Trampoline bouncing at Planet3
Running or walking along the stunning Clarksville Greenway – or sign up for the Queen City 5K in the springtime and the Valor Run in the fall!
2. Queen City’s State and City Parks. I was so impressed upon my arrival at the variety of beautiful parks in Clarksville. Take a hike above, a self-guided history lesson at the museum and a cave tour within Dunbar Cave State Park.
Our favorite parks for playgrounds, hiking and taking in the gorgeous riverside/creekside scenery are Rotary Park, Liberty Park and Billy Dunlop Park. Splash pads are a must for toddlers in the hot Tennessee summer! Our go-to refreshing venues were Heritage Park – which is also an entry point for the greenway, Edith Pettus Park near the Austin Peay Campus – pairs well with Johnny’s Big Burger afterward and Clarksville’s Downtown Commons.
Less than an hour away from Clarksville is the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, perfect for camping, hiking or boating on Lake Barkley or Kentucky Lake. We only made it up here once for trail running and once for our second “babymoon” in a Lake Barkley cottage, but wish we could have spent more time here. Be sure to check out the Lake Barkley Lodge for a meal and sunset!
3. Clarksville’s growing craft beverage scene. I dubbed our town the new “libation destination” of Tennessee in this piece I wrote for the Clarksville Visitors Bureau. Since it was published seven months ago, King’s Bluff Brewery, Gladiator Brewing Co. and Trazo Meadery have all been added to the mix.
4. Shopping the New South! Fashionistas, Clarksville has some dangerously chic boutiques as well as antique stores with all the southern charm to boot. My favorites are the posh, yet affordable Couture Crush and the more casual Copper Petal, both in historic downtown Clarksville, as well as Miss Lucile’s Marketplace, an upscale flea market-style gift store that sells antiques and modern items from local artisans. It also has a quaint café inside and sells delicious flavored popcorn to nosh on while shopping. I’ve additionally heard great recommendations about Sango Pharmacy – which is more of a gift shop and apothecary – and hope to check it out before we depart in June.
5. Clarksville’s Rich History. Queen City is celebrated for its roots dating back to the late 1700’s 1800’s as a booming agricultural trading post known worldwide for its prominent dark-fired tobacco, still produced today in Sango-area farms. Unbeknownst to many, Clarksville was also a city that embraced diversity – a sort of neutral territory – during and after the Civil War that welcomed members from both the Union and Confederate armies.
What’s more, Clarksville’s resilient downtown has been ravaged over the centuries by a devastating fire, flood and tornado, yet has been rebuilt several times to achieve its former glory and preserve what remains of its impressive historic architecture. Read my guest post here to learn more about the historic buildings, or visit Fort Defiance and Historic Collinsville in person.
6. The city’s proximity to Nashville and the Great Smoky Mountains. If big cities are more of your thing, Nashville is a 45-minute drive and must-visit stop on your trip to Clarksville. Declared the “It” City in 2015, Nashville has loads of family activities from the Country Music Hall of Fame to the Nashville Zoo to agritourism adventures at Green Door Gourmet Farms. Music City has also earned its reputation as one of the best places to party for singles, as it’s currently the no. 1 destination for bachelorette parties. My advice is to look beyond Broadway and the Gulch into some of the outer neighborhoods such as Germantown, 12 South and East Nashville to find the best places to eat and shop.
Clarksville’s elegant emerald landscape only continues to climb in elevation as you head east toward the Great Smoky Mountains, with Gatlinburg situated at the park entrance. In just over three hours, the mountains loom over the twisted roads and make for a perfect long weekend getaway. We’ve spent a lot of time in Gatlinburg hiking and enjoying the scenery, so expect a separate post on this mountain town in the future on FTM.