Here are 10 Reasons to Add Murfreesboro to Your Tennessee Travel Bucket List

Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Flickr - National Park Service
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Whether you come to explore the Civil War battlefields, interesting museums or simply stroll through the parks, Murfreesboro offers plenty of fun for all ages just a short drive from Nashville. There are several attractions that showcase local history and some are even geared towards kids. The city offers a nice mixture of history and modern that combines to make it a great destination for a day or even weekend getaway.

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About

Named after Revolutionary War Colonel Hardy Murfree, Murfreesboro was officially established in 1817. A year later, the city was made the capital of the state due to being the center of Tennessee. However, by 1926 Nashville had been growing in popularity and size and took over the title of state capital. Murfreesboro continued to be an agricultural and education hub for the region. The city had several schools which earned it the title of being the “Athens of Tennessee”. After surviving the tumultuous years of the Civil War, World War I, and World War II, Murfreesboro has continued to be a renowned city in the state. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

Things to Do

1. Take a Tour of Oaklands Mansion

Oaklands Mansion, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Oaklands Mansion, Murfreesboro, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – 615 Media

Address: 900 N Maney Ave, Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Built upon the 274-acres of land granted by Hardy Murfree to his daughter Sally Murfree, Oaklands Mansion is a beautiful Italianate home and a centerpiece in the city’s history. Sally Murfree and her husband Dr. James Maney had their home constructed over the course of several decades as it was added onto and expanded to become more elegant.

During the First Battle of Murfreesboro in 1862, Union forces had been camped out on the front lawn when Confederate forces led by Nathan Bedford Forrest’s calvary converged upon the site. During the battle, the Maney’s children reportedly watched from their second story bedrooms. Union Colonel William Ward Duffield of Michigan was injured during the battle and Dr. Maney allowed him to recover in the home for several months. During this time, Duffield’s wife came to stay at Oaklands leading to a lifelong friendship between the two families.

A few of the notable guests to stay at Oaklands includes Confederate President Jefferson Davis, First Lady Sarah Polk (wife of President James Polk), and Confederate General Braxton Bragg. The City of Murfreesboro obtained the home in 1958 and threatened to tear it down until local citizens raised money to preserve the home as a museum to honor the legacy of the Maney’s and the events that have taken place on its grounds.

2. Uncover History at Stones River National Battlefield & Cemetery

Stones River National Battlefield and Cemetery
Stones River National Battlefield and Cemetery, Murfreesboro, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Address: Visitor Center, 3501 Old Nashville Hwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37129

When Union General William S. Rosecrans along with his Army of the Cumberland converged upon Murfreesboro against Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, the Battle of Stones River broke out. Starting on December 31, 1862, and lasting until January 2, 1863, the battle raged on near the riverbanks and woodlands of this Tennessee city. The battle resulted in a Union victory but left behind the deaths of many soldiers. The 20-acre cemetery rests the remains of nearly 7,000 soldiers. The National Park Service preserves Stones River National Battlefield & Cemetery with a visitors center along with trails and cannons to resemble how the area would have looked at the time of the battle.

3. Step Back in Time at Cannonsburgh Village

Cannonsburgh Village, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Cannonsburgh Village, Murfreesboro, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Flickr – Late Bloomer

Address: 312 S Front St, Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Learn all about life in early Tennessee during the 1830s-1930s. Cannonsburgh Village has restored many local buildings such as a chapel, schoolhouse, gristmill and even a train caboose for visitors to explore. Offering free self-guided tours, the village is also home to the World’s Largest Cedar Bucket! The park makes for a great activity and provides a hands-on experience that brings history to life through a recreated community.

4. Bring the Kids to the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring

Address: 502 SE Broad St, Murfreesboro, TN 37130

This hands-on children’s museum is a great place for kids to get out of the car and stretch their legs in an immerse experience. From various events and programs to inspiring exhibits, the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring even offers an outdoor nature center with a boardwalk. Inside the museum, kids can learn all about fire trucks, the five senses and even pretend to conduct a train at a model depot.

5. Meander Along the Stones River Greenway

Bridge over the Stones River on the Greenway, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Bridge over the Stones River on the Greenway, Murfreesboro, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Flickr – patchattack

Sprawling 10-miles, the Stones River Greenway is a linear park that winds through various local communities and even parks. Explore the great outdoors by cycling or even walking the dog. Snap photos of the beautiful Cumberland River on your journey on the multi-use trail. The greenway is a great place to enjoy some fresh air and explore the local area.

6. See Dinosaur Bones at the Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History

Address: 816 Old Salem Rd, Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Visitors to the Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History will love meeting Frank, the 38 foot tall T-Rex skeleton! Along with 1,000’s of other artifacts and relics, the museum welcomes visitors to touch select dinosaur bones and rocks dating back millions of years. Witness paleontologists is action in the working onsite laboratory or read about the years of pre-historic history discovered not only in Tennessee but also around the world.

7. Snap a Picture of the Old Rutherford County Courthouse

Old Rutherford County Courthouse, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Old Rutherford County Courthouse, Murfreesboro, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Address: S Public Square, Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Built in 1859, the Old Rutherford County Courthouse has been a centerpiece in downtown Murfreesboro and a landmark for several notable events. The cupola atop the building was made to resemble the Tennessee State Capitol in nearby Nashville. During the Civil War, the courthouse was occupied by both Union and Confederate forces during various parts of the engagement.

The courthouse made regional history when in 1923, an unknown man made claim that he was a “Human Fly” and could climb to the top of the cupola. The man was successful in making it to the top, but tragically mis stepped on the way down resulting in his death. Two decades later during WWII, the courthouse and the surrounding square was used to train young recruits and was also the site of the air raid alarm for Murfreesboro. To this day, the courthouse stands as a symbol to the communities resilient and unqiue history.

8. Visit the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center

The Bradley Academy Historical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Bradley Academy Historical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Brian Stansberry

Address: 415 S Academy St, Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Housed in Rutherford County’s first school building built in 1918, the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center shares local history. Focusing on diversity and African American’s role in Murfreesboro, the museum offers exhibits on the Underground Railroad and Colored Troops of the Civil War. The museum shares information on early Murfreesboro and shows what a classroom would have looked like in the history school.

9. Spend an Afternoon at Barfield-Crescent Park and Wilderness Station

Address: 697 Veterans Pkwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37128

This 430-acre community park is one of Murfreesboro’s best kept secrets. Boasting 7-miles of unpaved and paved trails the park offers a great place to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Visitors to the park can enjoy various activities like tetherball or disc golf. Plus, there are two playgrounds for kids to get some energy out!

10. Stand in the Geographic Center of Tennessee

Address: 307 Old Lascassas Rd, Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Since 1834, the Geographic Center of Tennessee has been declared to be in this exact spot. Since marked with an obelisk by the Rutherford County Historical Society, this location allows visitors to stand in the center of the Volunteer State! A unique but exciting attraction, the monument is only a mile from the Middle Tennessee State University campus.

Plan Your Visit

Murfreesboro is located about 30 miles southeast of downtown Nashville. These 10 things to do make a great starting point for your adventure in the city. The best times of year to visit Murfreesboro can vary depending on what you are interested in doing. The summer months can be very hot, especially in July and August. Spring and fall are often visitors most favorite times of year due to the beautiful scenery and mild temperatures.

If you enjoyed reading this post or have visited Murfreesboro, Tennessee before, leave a comment below or share this post on your favorite social media!

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