10 Unique Experiences in Clarksville

There's a lot to see in this Southern river city, so fitting in all your interests may be challenging. This article will help inspire and plan an extended getaway. Foodies, shoppers, history buffs, art lovers and adventurers will all discover that Clarksville is a worthwhile and affordable destination.

1. Tour Dunbar Cave

Take a guided cave tour and see 14th Century Native American Mississippian art. Dunbar Cave is the only public cave in the world where visitors can see historic drawings from this era. Tours are available four times daily, seven days a week, from May through September. In 2023, the 110-acre state park celebrates its 50th anniversary, so be sure to check out all the activities related to the cave’s musical and Civil War history, wildlife and ecology. Aside from festivities and cave tours, the park offers trail-side picnic tables, 3+ miles of easy-to-moderate wooded trails, a display about Affricanna Town and the cave’s history as a musical venue, along with a variety of wildlife species. Also, make sure to stop in the Visitor Center & Gift Shop for impressive displays about the cave’s history.

2. Shoot Clays in Style

Even visitors who frequent gun clubs and shotgun ranges have never shot a course like Cross Creek Clays. After a drive to what feels like the center of nowhere (but is only 20 minutes from downtown Clarksville), the site of the massive hilltop lodge lets you know you’re somewhere special. Even the dozens, if not hundreds, of sasquatches you’ll see throughout the complex, are not the most impressive part of the experience. Three 16-station courses for shooters from novice to advanced are clearly marked and easily navigable. If the going gets too rough, the path and pull-offs are concreted so no one gets stuck. Fencing alongside the cart paths, a large outdoor back porch with giant swings and an outdoor kitchen all add to the rural, rustic feel. Attention to detail from owner Joe Calabrace, a retired 160th Special Forces Veteran, makes this beautiful place a truly unique shooting experience.

3. Let the Hometown Heroes Inspire You

Every city has its heroes. Every city thinks theirs are special. Clarksville is no exception. Pat Head Summitt and Wilma Rudolph are champions. They are Olympic Gold Medalists. They both overcame challenges and difficult circumstances to rise to the pinnacle of success in their fields. They both blazed trails, achieving greatness at a level yet unmatched by any other female. At Pat Head Summitt’s retirement from the University of Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball program, she was the winningest NCAA coach in history — men or women. At Wilma Rudolph’s homecoming parade in 1960, she kindly told the Mayor that unless “her people” could attend, she wouldn’t be there. Her homecoming parade that October was the first public desegrated event in Clarksville. Learn their stories at the Pat Head Summitt Legacy Plaza, Wilma Rudolph Event Center and Customs House Museum & Cultural Center, and let them inspire you to greatness.

4. Step Back in History at Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement

Step back into the 1800s at Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement. The 16 restored and authentically furnished homes and buildings show visitors a glimpse of daily life in rural Tennessee. Guests can take a self-guided audio tour or reserve a guided tour presented once daily. Try your hand (your arm to be precise!) at making butter. Discover all the clever and ingenious ways our ancestors “made do” with what they had, grew or made by hand to endure when neighbors might be miles away. Trading posts and stores may be even days away. Themed activities, day camps, and special events take place throughout the year.

5. Hear Free Live Music All Summer Long

Enjoy free outdoor concerts all summer long at Downtown Commons, a full-block urban oasis in the center of downtown. The always-free Downtown at Sundown series takes place on the first and third Friday evenings from May through October. Hear local favorites as well as regional and well-known performers from all genres. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs to spread out on the super-soft turf. Food trucks are on-site, but dinner at one of the many restaurants within walking distance is also a good option. The Mailroom is across from the park and Blackhorse Pub, Strawberry Alley Ale Works, and others are within two blocks. For only $5 you can also jam to regional bands on the lawns at Old Glory Distilling or Beachaven Winery during the summer months.

6. Enjoy Soft Adventure Galore

If you enjoy the outdoors, Clarksville offers all of the “soft adventure” opportunities that are fun for families with young children, as well as senior adults. The level of adventure is up to you. Discover miles of hiking and walking trails at the Clarksville Greenway, Riverwalk, Liberty Park, Rotary Park, and Upland Trail. Bike along the paved Greenway with both flat and hilly scenic sections, or bring along a trail bike and try out North Ford St. Mountain Bike Park and Rotary Park. Both parks offer areas suitable for young/novice riders, as well as more advanced cyclers with strong technical skills. Rock climbing is also a good option for young and old. King’s Bluff Park is an ideal place to learn with over 160 routes featuring a diverse degree of difficulty. The limestone crag is 9.78 acres with routes ranging in height from 30 to 80 feet. Once you’ve scaled the bluff, you’ll soak up the panoramic river views. Kayak, tube, canoe, and fish the Cumberland and Red Rivers the 650 miles of navigable waterways. Golf and disc golf courses round out a fully active getaway.

7. Taste the World’s Flavors

Clarksville’s diverse population is evident in its craft food and beverage scene. Residents come to the city from all over the world, thanks to the Fort Campbell Army Installation, Austin Peay State University and dozens of international industries. Often, people bring the flavors of the world back with them and open restaurants, delis, breweries, wine bars, or food trucks. The city is an unexpectedly solid place to expand your palate by trying new and different entrees. If you can stay awhile, you could place to eat from a different country at every meal. Relish the authentic flavors of India, Thailand, Korea, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, South America, the South Pacific and more. However, if you’re visiting the South and want to stick to a purely Southern dining experience, that’s easy too. Hand-breaded catfish, biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, BBQ and sides, and classic burgers are thoroughly satisfying. Either way, don’t forego the Honeybun & Cream at Johnny’s Big Burger.

8. Swig this Brewery’s Unique Concoctions

Savor Evill Nash Brewing’s distinct flavors. This brewer specializes in small-batch, barrel-aged beers, and limited-release experimental beers. With mostly local ingredients like Szechuan peppercorn, toffee, and red sumac berries, you are sure to taste something you will not find anywhere else. With names like Smartie Pants Gose To College, Toffee Coffee Brown Ale, Pick Your Poison Pilsner and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Stout, these crafted brews are anything but traditional. While you’re tasting, give all of Clarksville’s breweries a try. Filled with passion and pride in their crafts, these brewers possess a patriotism that runs deep and flavors that are as unique as each of their personalities.

9. Shop Like Never Before

Shoppers can, and likely will, spend hours at Miss Lucille’s Marketplace. This 52,000-square-foot converted warehouse contains a little bit of everything: new, upcycled, repurposed, boutique, antique, collectible and handmade items. Men and women alike enjoy the experience of perusing the old and new, treasure hunting, or idea collecting. It’s one of those places you simply must see and experience for yourself. For a needed refresher, the on-site cafe offers a fresh, from-scratch seasonal menu with family-themed entrees like Uncle Red’s Reuben, Fannie’s Chicken Salad and Born on the Bayou Bowl. The on-site coffee shop is no less creative, serving up creative cups and smoothies like The Three Leaf Clover, The Twilight Princess, and La Vie En La Rose.

10. Fall into Unbelievable Fun All Under One Roof

Play Putt-Putt, arcade games, two-story laser tag, high-speed go-carts and bowl all under one roof. At The City Forum, you can easily spend an afternoon being a kid again with games both new and classic. Even those hard-to-please teenagers will don smiles after time here. If that’s not enough entertainment, some of the best burgers in town are right next door (still under the same roof) at Dock 17.

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