12 Verbs To Do In Franklin Over The Holidays


Main & Madison Market Café

If you’re looking for a “rustic pastry,” head to Main & Madison Market Café, where you’ll drool over the Famous Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookie. (We hear it’s famous.) You can order an espresso to go with your breakfast ciabatta or enjoy a cup of Rishi gourmet tea. Keep an eye out for the winter pepperminty, caramel-y coffee specials, too. 100 N. Main St., 317-736-6246, mainandmadison.cafe


The Johnson County Museum of History doesn’t just deck the halls; it decks trees and the Victorian-themed room, too. It’s all perfectly festive, but the museum is more than just decor. It also has 400-million-year-old artifacts and a life-size replica of a Conestoga wagon. 135 N. Main St., 317-346-4500, co.johnson.in.us/jcmuseum


It’s not every day that a modern American restaurant reenergizes an old post office. But in a city known for historic preservation, RFD Franklin earns a stamp of approval. Now you can sit next to a wall of old postal boxes and order beef-tip gorgonzola and smoked-salmon deviled eggs. 55 W. Madison St., 317-733-7333, rfdfranklin.com


Do: Go to The Historic Artcraft Theatre this month for a showing of A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, or Christmas Vacation. Do: Appreciate the 35mm film. Do: Have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f*@k!#g Kaye. Don’t: Shoot your eye out. 57 N. Main St., 317-736-6823, historic


Main & Madison Market Café

For holiday shopping, hit up Salvage Sisters Antique Market, whose name nods to Franklin’s pride in historic preservation. More than 30 vendor booths carry hats,quilts, goat’s milk soap, clothing, antique furniture, baskets, china, tchotchkes and knickknacks, and locally made goods. 398 E. Jefferson St., 317-736-4353,


Spirographs have made a comeback, and posture-promoting balance boards are selling out. Thankfully, Toodleydoo Toys can help you with the kids’ wish lists. They have shopping guides for newborns and teenagers alike as well as visits with Santa for the real scoop (these will be different than before, presumably for the COVID-19 era). 1 W. Jefferson St., 317-346-7529, toodleydootoys.com


Architecture aficionados will love the Johnson County Courthouse, best described as “Victorian eclectic.” Inside, admire detailed ceiling medallions and a multistory atrium. Outside, “ooh” and “ahh” over the courthouse’s holiday lights. 5 E. Jefferson St., co.johnson.in.us


At the annual Holiday Lighting Festival, downtown businesses participate in a window-decorating competition. There is an outdoor farmers and vendors market, as well as lighted floats. New this year: 65 illuminated Christmas trees, each sponsored by a local business or family. See them all by strolling around the courthouse and city hall. Main and Jefferson streets, discoverdowntownfranklin.com 


Among the 32 proprietary scents made with local soy wax at Middle Davids Candles, seasonal favorites include Candy Cane, poured on a slant to create the traditional striping, and Christmas Hearth, aka “fire, pine, and wine.” 100 S. Jackson St., 317-738-3886, middledavids.com


Wild Geese Bookshop

Find handmade, fair-trade fashion at BYTAVI Boutique. The owners employ talented seamstresses in Cambodia to make original designs, including a lot of great bags. Production isn’t hurried or pressured, and each seamstress signs her work, too. Look for her signature on your long-sleeve swing dress, thigh-length cardigan, vegan leather tote, or face mask. 51 W. Monroe St., 317-494-6226, bytavi.com


Coffeehouse Five represents the south side in the city’s growing coffee scene. It roasts its own beans for drip coffee, nitro cold brew, and the customer-favorite raspberry mocha, but the real buzz is the company’s mission—it offers free pastoral marriage and addiction counseling. 41 W. Monroe St., 317-300-4330, coffeehousefive.com


Find good storybooks for all ages at Wild Geese Bookshop, a snug space with candles, tote bags, journals, and more, too. A subscription box is perfect for voracious little readers. 107 S. Water St., 317-494-6545, wildgeesebookshop.com