Rutherford County: The Heart of Tennessee

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Sam Davis home, Smyrna, TN

Called “the heart of Tennessee” due to its location at the state’s geographic center, Rutherford County has a host of attractions loved by visitors from all over. Whether you’re taking in the living history at a historic battlefield or enjoying the brand-new shopping opportunities, you’ll find all sorts of fun things to see and do in the charming communities of Rutherford County.

Fun for the Whole Family

At The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, kids and adults alike can explore 20 acres of wetland habitats and 15 permanent indoor exhibits, including a freshwater aquarium, art room and the popular “Windows to the World,” with dress-up clothes, music and artifacts from various countries. The 18,000-square-foot museum, located on Southeast Broad Street in Murfreesboro, also hosts temporary exhibits, guest speakers and special events throughout the year.

If the weather’s right, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a hike through Long Hunter State Park near La Vergne. The park features nature trails for all skill levels and is adjacent to J. Percy Priest Lake.

In the summer, Smyrna’s Gregory Mills Park Splash Pad helps to beat the heat. Installed in 2006, the 3,000-square-foot outdoor water play area features geysers, water jets, a waterfall and more.

Shopping and Dining

Thanks to the opening of The Avenue at Murfreesboro in October, you don’t have to leave the county to find all the brands and bargains this holiday season. An open-air mall featuring 40-plus stores – including White House/Black Market, Ulta, Best Buy and Cost Plus World Market – The Avenue has become a shopaholic’s mecca.

Several locally owned boutiques also call Murfreesboro home, including Anastasia’s Attic, Leslie’s Shoppe, Sugaree’s and 2 Cute! Fashion, Jewelry & Gifts, all located on the public square.

With so many diverse dining options, it’s impossible to go hungry in Rutherford County. From the European-inspired menu at Cedars Italian & Greek Café in Smyrna to the cafeteria-style meat-and-three at Kleer-Vu Lunchroom in Murfreesboro, there are a multitude of restaurants sure to please any palate.

Miller’s Grocery in the small town of Christiana offers Southern favorites, while the Polynesian fare at The Omni Hut has been a Smyrna staple for decades. B. McNeel’s in Murfreesboro features a Sunday brunch that’s out of this world, in addition to entrees ranging from herb-encrusted lamb to shrimp and grits.

Rich in History

Step back in time with a trip to Cannonsburgh Village, near Murfreesboro’s public square. This authentic pioneer village – complete with a one-room schoolhouse, gristmill and general store – is also home to the annual Uncle Dave Macon Days, which draws 45,000 visitors each July.

Nestled on the banks of Stewarts Creek in Smyrna, the Sam Davis Home and Museum gives a glimpse into the life of an upper-middle-class Southern family of the Civil War era. Guided tours are offered daily at the house, which was built in 1820. Dating to around the same time, the ornate Oaklands Historic House Museum in Murfreesboro hosts Victorian-themed events and regular tours.

No trip would be complete without a visit to Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro. The Civil War battlefield is now a national park and cemetery dedicated to those who fought in the three-day battle, with a museum and visitors center.


  • Rutherford County Trivia

    • Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro is the state’s largest university, with more than 23,000 students.
    • Cannonsburgh was the original name of Murfreesboro.
    • An obelisk on Old Lascassas Pike in Murfreesboro marks the geographic center of Tennessee.
    • Smyrna’s Nissan plant man­ufactures more than half a million vehicles each year. The plant also offers factory tours.
    • RCA recording artist and 2006 Nashville Star winner Chris Young is a Murfreesboro native and attended MTSU.

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