Nearest big city: Nashville
Franklin is a mainstay on Money’s annual Best Place to Live list (it took the eighth spot in 2020 and frequently appears in the top 10) for a reason. The heart of the city is known as the Great American Main Street, a 16-block stretch of historic buildings dating from before the Civil War to the early 1900s.
Residents can swing by the Franklin Farmers Market every Saturday to pick up fresh Tennessee sweet corn or locally farmed beef and pork. In the spring, they can peruse arts and crafts at the Main Street Festival.
In December, the town center transforms into Victorian England during the Dickens of a Christmas Festival, complete with actors in period costume. Interact with popular Dickens characters such as Fagin from Oliver Twist or Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.
Located 17 miles south of Nashville, music is very much a part of Franklin. Every summer, the Pilgrimage Festival plays host to popular musical acts like Dave Matthews Band and Tanya Tucker, covering every genre from rock to R&B to, of course, country.
There’s more to Franklin than just music and festivals. The city is one of the fastest-growing in the nation in terms of population and attracting a number of diverse businesses. Most recently, Mars Petcare expanded its headquarters in the city in 2019, bringing 700 jobs. Job growth is expected to increase another 17.5% by 2025.
While the median home price is $520,271, higher than the national average, property taxes are low, and there is no personal income tax in Tennessee. At $115,894, the median household income is also higher than in most other places on our list. — Leslie Cook