Cookeville is surrounded by the scenic, mesmerizing hills and mountains of the Cumberland Plateau. It’s the largest city of Putnam County, Tennessee. Cookeville boasts of more than 150 waterfalls and 1,200 miles of pristine lakefront. Doubtless it’s a beautiful place anyone should visit—at least once in a lifetime.
In this article, we list 25 unique and fun things we suggest you should do when you visit Cookeville.
Things to Do in Cookeville, TN
1. Start your day on a poetic note with a delicious breakfast and coffee at Poet’s Coffee
Poet’s Coffee is carefully designed with crystal clear glass windows so customers can enjoy the glory of Mother Nature in the scenic surroundings as they savor every sip of their coffee or food.
From classic Americano to a bold shot of Cuban espresso, there is almost no caffeinated desire that Poet’s doesn’t cater to.
The food here is just as amazing as the coffee. They offer a delightful symphony of flavors that will tantalize your any level of palate. Savory breakfast sandwiches, fluffy pastries and sweet treats, are some of the few items that should be on your list of things to taste here.
Ensure that Poet’s Coffee is more than just a coffee shop to you. Start fruitful conversations with people around and document your memories in pictures.
2. Connect to your inner child at the Cookeville Doll Museum
Of all the things to do in Cookeville, TN, don’t leave out visiting the Cookeville Doll Museum. This is one of the places in Cookeville where history will whisper to you and ensure that your play time never ends.
Doll enthusiasts, history buffs, and even clueless curious souls, have unique stories to get from 100+ dolls waiting for them in the quiet rooms of the museum.
The old Doll Museum is gently ensconced at 1656 W. Broad Street. Parking is free.
Every Saturday, from 1 to 4 PM, the Cookeville Doll Museum throws open its doors so everyone can freely come in to explore a world of wonder created by dolls of different shapes and sizes.
The dolls aren’t spooky. Feel free to visit the museum. You might just find your own inner child peeking out from behind their button eyes.
3.Go on a Pontoon Adventure with The Dabbling Duck Charters and discover Center Hill Lake’s hidden gems
Your experience of Cookeville, TN is far from over if you didn’t take a pontoon boat tour of the Center Hill Lake. The Dabbling Duck Charters LLC is dedicated to helping your bask in the glory of nature’s embrace around center Hill Lake.
Whether you’re seeking a family adventure, a romantic getaway, or a relaxing escape with friends, this boat tour is certainly one of the 25 unique things you should do in Cookeville, TN.
Your tour guides are couples (Captains Shane and Jaime Green). They own the The Dabbling Duck Charters. They have also lived in Cookeville for over a decade.
This means you are in good hands in this enchanting expedition to some of Center Hill Lake’s most captivating waterfalls.
Not only are the boat captains well-experienced chaps, they are also companionable.
|10:00 AM and 2:00 PM
|Cookeville Boat Dock Marina, 13800 Cookeville Boat Dock Rd, Baxter, Tennessee 38544
|First pier closest to the marina, slip number 1009
|Approximately 2.5 hours
|Seat Reservation Cost
|$45 + taxes per seat
|6 passengers per cruise
|Contact The Dabbling Duck Charters for availability
|Available on the left side of the parking lot near the marina
|On-site restaurant at the Cookeville Boat Dock Marina (seasonal hours may apply)
After marveling at the waterfalls, take a refreshing swim in the soothing waters of Center Hill Lake. Take a dip, float effortlessly, bask in the sun’s embrace and take nice pictures to preserve the experience.
4. Enjoy theatrical excellence and cultural enrichment at The Cookeville Performing Arts Centre
Cookeville Performing Arts Center (CPAC) is a worthy haven for both seasoned theatergoers and curious newcomers alike. If you like entertainment, this place is for you.
Don’t miss the transformative power of live performance at this theatre. Some of the activities you will enjoy here are: thought-provoking dramas, captivating dance recitals, side-splitting comedy shows and soul-stirring concerts.
CPAC has been hosting a diverse array of performances since 1979. They know their onion.
There is a beautiful place here called the Margery Hargrove Auditorium, a beautifully appointed venue named in honor of the region’s esteemed First Lady of Theatre.
The auditorium has plush seating, impeccable acoustics, and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.
|CPAC Box Office Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm
|Two hours prior to event performance time on weekends
|Our online ticket agent is ETIX. Tickets purchased from other online vendors or 3rd party sites may not be authentic.
|There is a $2.50 per ticket convenience fee for online orders.
|Over the Phone
|Call 931-528-1313. There is a $1 per ticket convenience fee for phone orders.
|Over the Phone
|Phone orders will be charged to the credit or debit card account as a credit card purchase, and may be picked-up before the event during box office hours, or at the door up to two hours before the event. No tickets will be reserved without payment.
5. Unleash your inner cowboy with horseback riding adventures
As you enjoy Cookeville, it’s not a bad idea to traverse trails, bridle paths, and forest roads of the Cumberland Plateau riding on horseback.
Circle K Horse Pavilion offers a range of riding options (the comfort of an indoor arena or the thrill of an outdoor adventure). The trail rides offer several breathtaking views of the area’s natural beauty.
Step into the world of horsemanship under the guidance of their experienced instructors who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and love for horses.
You can choose between private lessons for personalized attention or join a group session to share the experience with fellow riders.
To embark on that equestrian adventure, you have to get in touch with Circle K Horse Pavilion for full details.
6. Spend a refreshing day at the Hidden Hollow Park
Hidden Hollow Park stands as a true hidden gem in the heart of Cookeville. It’s the right place for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil place to have fun and clear their heads.
It’s one of the most serene places in Cookeville to visit in the spring, summer and fall.
The miniature golf course, canoes and paddle boats are all free to use during your stay. There is also volleyball courts awaiting those seeking competitive camaraderie.
There is a petting zoo. And for a touch of whimsy, don’t miss Dee Dee, the adorable stuffed deer that has become a beloved mascot of the park.
There is almost no limit to your fun here: you can swim, play golf or enjoy the warm embrace of the water fall around.
7. Experience Cookeville Train Museum
The Cookeville Depot Museum is a haven for train enthusiasts. The depot will captivate you and take you through a journey of the city’s rich railway history.
The artifacts of the bygone era of rail travel vividly recount the city’s railway legacy. The depot is housed within the original Cookeville train depot, dating back to 1909.
Some of the locomotive artifacts here are cabooses dating from the 1920s to the 1960s and Baldwin steam engine from 1912.
There are areas to enjoy picnic or just sit quietly and let the depot reveal its glory to you in silence.
|Directions to Cookeville Depot Museum
|Coming from the West:
|1. Take exit 286 for State Route 135/S Willow Ave towards Cookeville.
|2. Turn left onto Willow Ave.
|3. Turn right onto Broad Street.
|4. The Cookeville Depot Museum will be on your right, with parking available on both Broad and Depot Streets.
|Coming from the East:
|1. Take exit 287 for TN-136 toward Cookeville/ Sparta.
|2. Turn right onto S. Jefferson Ave/ TN-136 N.
|3. At the second light on the square, turn left onto Broad Street.
|4. Broad Street will run directly into the Depot, with parking available on both Broad and Depot Streets.
|1. Take the US-70N W exit toward Cookeville.
|2. Turn left onto E. Spring Street.
|3. Follow Spring St., turning right onto Cedar Ave.
|4. The Cookeville Depot Museum will be on your left, with parking available on both Broad and Depot Streets.
|1. Take the US-70N W exit toward Cookeville.
|2. Turn right onto E. Spring Street.
|3. Follow Spring St., turning right onto Cedar Ave.
|4. The Cookeville Depot Museum will be on your left, with parking available on both Broad and Depot Streets.
Entrance is free. To enhance your experience, we recommend that you go on a guided tour in the Depot.
We believe tour would provide a memorable experience of the intricate railway system and offer insights and anecdotes that bring the exhibits to life.
8.Indulge in a captivating excursion at the renowned Delmonaco Winery & Vineyards
The DelMonaco Winery & Vineyards is a 52-acre estate purchased by the DelMonaco family in 2006. The winery started operation fully on November 15th, 2008. Today it has about 30 acres adorned with over 10 varietals.
|– Enjoy 3 wine tastings at no cost
|– 5 tastings for $5
|– Try all 14 wines for only $10
|– Buy by the glass, flight (four 2oz pours of your choice), or by the bottle
|Private Table-Side Tasting:
|– Explore the entire menu for $40 per couple
|– Includes a block of Sweetwater Valley Farm cheese and package of crackers on a cheese board
|– Available for groups of four or more; reservation required
|Time (Monday-Friday, 3pm-5pm):
|– Two flights, a block of Sweetwater Valley Farm cheese of your choice, and a pack of crackers for only $25
There are 14 different wines for you to explore. You are entitled to sampling three wines for free. The winery also has in-house Bistro— try out some good food to heighten the pleasure of your visit.
|Experience at DelMonaco Winery & Vineyards
|– Available on weekdays
|Open Vineyard Walks:
|– Free to explore any day of the week
|– Wander through beautiful 20-acre vineyards
|Vineyard Scavenger Hunt:
|– Inquire with bar wine ambassadors
|– A fun way to tour the vineyard and winery with a chance for unforgettable views
|– Special prize awaits at the end
|To make the most of your visit by combining reservation tours with the freedom to explore the stunning vineyards at your leisure. Don’t forget to ask bar wine ambassadors about the exciting vineyard scavenger hunt.
There is also a variety of room options suitable for any gathering size. The vineyard yard or scenic bridge area offers an enchanting backdrop for nice pictures and tranquil moments.
9. Indulge in Retail Therapy at The Square Market
This listicle on things to do in Cookeville, TN won’t be complete without the Square Market. This is because the market is an opportunity to immerse yourself in Cookeville’s lively community.
The Market on the Square, is a gift shop and boutique business owned and operated by women (Marlene Massa and Mara Grimes).
The founders are always present at the store daily to contribute to the warm and inviting atmosphere of the market.
In the market, you can buy baby registries, gourmet, kitchen supplies, wedding gifts, jewelry and so many more useful stuff.
10. Explore the beauty of Dogwood Park
Dogwood Park is a serene downtown oasis. You can enjoy picnics, leisurely strolls, and engage in fun activities to unwind.
- Interactive Fountain: Revel in the joy of the interactive fountain, providing a refreshing splash from April through October.
- Performance Pavilion: Host to various events and gatherings, the performance pavilion adds a cultural touch to the park.
- Rose Garden: Immerse yourself in the beauty of the rose garden, a picturesque spot for quiet contemplation.
- Seasonal Concession Stand: Treat yourself to seasonal delights from the conveniently located concession stand.
- Restroom Facilities: Ensuring comfort for visitors, Dogwood Park provides accessible restroom facilities.
- Heart of the City Playground: Discover the area’s only all-inclusive, fully accessible playground—Heart of the City Playground—a space designed for inclusive play and community bonding.
6 N Jefferson Ave, Cookeville, TN 38501, United States
11. Embark on an Outdoor Adventure at Cummins Falls State Park
Cummins Falls graces the Eastern Highland Rim. It’s the eighth largest waterfall (at 75 feet high) in Tennessee.
What to do at Cummings Falls
Enjoy fishing fantasia along Blackburn Fork River:
For angling aficionados, Blackburn Fork River beckons with opportunities for wading and bank fishing.
The river’s gentle depths cater to a serene fishing experience, making it an angler’s haven devoid of the need for boat exploration. Cast your line into these waters teeming with bass and bluegill species.
Go on trail adventures
If you want to enjoy trails without permit restrictions, Cummins Falls State Park has you covered. Delight in the Waterfall Overlook Trail, a 0.4-mile gem offering scenic glimpses of Cummins Falls from above.
The Upstream Trail, spanning 0.5 miles, provides water access upstream of the waterfall. The Delia Bell Meadow Trail, a 3-mile odyssey, unveils an overlook of Blackburn Fork River, weaving stories of natural grandeur.
Visit the Gorge
Immerse yourself in the allure of Cummins Falls State Park, where the gorge reigns supreme as its most captivating and distinct feature. This is one of the beauties that set the Park apart from other Tennessee state parks. The gorge emanates rugged beauty and creates an untouched haven for nature enthusiasts.
Cummins Falls State Park, 390 Cummins Falls Ln, Cookeville, TN 38501
Only 200 people are allowed to hike each day. Make sure you book in advance.
12. Challenge yourself at Parkview Skate Park
The Parkview Skate Park is conveniently located along Scott Avenue. It’s right at the heart of Cookeville, making it a seamless and worthwhile addition to the list of things to do in Cookeville, TN.
The park is unsupervised and garners hundreds if not thousands of visitors weekly.
Skateboarding, in-line skating, BMX bikes and other non-motorized wheeled riding devices designed for skate park are allowed in the park.
Pets, drugs, alcohols, skate wax, etc. are not allowed in the park.
Test your skills and immerse yourself in the dynamic energy of Parkview Skate Park—a true gem for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts alike.
13. Explore Shops at Jackson Plaza
Jackson Plaza is in the heart of Cookeville on West Jackson Street. It’s an attractive location for shoppers. It’s a highly frequented mall in Putnam County.
Go to Jackson Plaza to grab some supplies as you execute what you find attractive on your list of things to do in Cookeville, TN.
The plaza sits on a property of approximately 340,000 square feet, so there is enough space for shopping and recreational pursuits. Moreover, there are diverse dining options to suit every palate.
Jackson Plaza Buildings 377 & 401377 W Jackson St
14. Experience Cookeville’s renowned ‘Our Protectors’ mural
‘Our Protectors’ mural is on a brick buildings. It’s almost 3D. It was made by a Cookeville artist to honor those who put in the work and dedication in the incidents of September 11, 2001.
The captivating mural beckons visitors with a poignant depiction of heroism and dedication. The sacrifices of police officers, paramedics, emergency technicians and firefighters, were all honored on the mural.
On the mural, wisps of smoke gracefully emerge from a window, skillfully cloaked in the iconic pattern of the American flag, seamlessly mirroring the shape of the United States.
A powerful narrative unfolded on the canvas. A sturdy ladder extends skyward, inviting exploration, with a valiant firefighter and a vigilant police officer stationed at its base. Above, a compassionate paramedic, positioned next to an awaiting ambulance, extends a helping hand to a woman in need, encapsulating the spirit of community and assistance.
This mural not only showcases artistic finesse but also tells a compelling story of resilience and collective support. A must-see for any tourist eager to witness the beauty of art intertwining with the noble tales of everyday heroes.
15. See the rich tapestry of Cookeville’s history at the Cookeville History Museum
Cookeville History Museum is at 40 E. Broad Street, Cookeville, 38501.
The Cookeville History Museum is a treasure trove that embraces the past, present, and future of Cookeville and Tennessee.
Follow the timeline, gracefully adorning the building’s interior. Trace the footsteps of the first inhabitants to the unfolding events of today.
Some of the museum’s permanent collection includes:
- A timeline of the area’s history, from the prehistoric Native Americans to the present day
- Artifacts from the Civil War, including a Civil War uniform and a musket
- Items from the city’s industrial past, such as a steam engine and a moonshine still
- Exhibits that showcase the area’s natural beauty and the wildlife that call it home
- Photographs and documents that provide a glimpse into the lives of Cookeville’s people
The museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibits throughout the year, which focus on specific topics or events in Cookeville’s history.
In addition to its permanent and temporary exhibits, the Cookeville History Museum offers a variety of programs and activities for visitors of all ages. These programs include:
- Guided tours
- Special events
- Hands-on activities
- Educational programs for school groups
16. Enjoy nature at the Burgess Falls
Burgess Falls is thirteen miles southwest of Cookeville. It’s a 217-acre scenic area managed by Tennessee State Parks.
Burgess Falls is truly a masterpiece of Mother Nature. It’s nestled amidst a canvas of rugged, gray rock.
There is an awe-inspiring waterfall, sculpted over eons by the relentless flow of Falling Water River. The river plunges an astonishing 250 feet across three cascading tiers.
The final plunge, the grand finale of this watery symphony, descends a breathtaking 130 feet, its effervescent spray creating a halo of mist that dances around the base of the falls.
The beauty of Burgess Falls is not merely a surface phenomenon; it is deeply rooted in the geological processes that have shaped this landscape over millions of years.
Three distinct geologic periods – Mississippian, Devonian, and Ordovician – have played a crucial role in creating this natural wonder.
Here are some of the things you can do at Burgess Falls:
Hiking: The park offers a network of trails that wind through the gorge and up to the falls. This way you can get up close and personal with this natural wonder. The trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate, so there’s something for everyone.
Picnicking: Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal amidst the natural surroundings of the park. There are several picnic areas with tables and grills. There are also plenty of shaded areas to relax.
Fishing: Anglers can try their luck fishing for smallmouth bass, catfish, and trout in the Falling Water River. There is a fishing pier located near the main falls, as well as several other designated fishing spots throughout the park.
Kayaking and Canoeing: During the warmer months, you can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle down the Falling Water River, passing by the cascading waterfalls. This is a great way to experience the beauty of the park from a different perspective.
|Open to the Public – Full Access.
|Daily from 8:00 a.m. central until 30 minutes before sunset.
|Tennessee State Parks.
|Dogs on Leash
17. Visit Cream City Ice Cream & Coffee House
Cream City Ice Cream & Coffee House stands out as a renowned destination to satisfy your cravings for delectable and sweet treats.
This establishment has gained popularity for its luscious frozen treats, offered in an extensive range of flavors.
They offer a wide variety of ice cream flavors, milkshakes, sundaes, and coffee drinks. They also have a variety of other food items, including sandwiches, salads, and wraps.
Things to enjoy
- Almond Toffee: Creamy vanilla ice cream with almond toffee bits.
- Raspberry Swirl: Sweet and tangy raspberry swirled into vanilla ice cream.
- Mint Chocolate Chip: Rich chocolate ice cream with a generous amount of mint chocolate chips.
- Rocky Road: Classic rocky road ice cream with nuts, marshmallows, and chocolate pieces.
- Toffee Crunch: Caramel ice cream with a generous amount of toffee crunch pieces.
- Blueberry Cheesecake: Fresh blueberry ice cream blended with cheesecake pieces.
Shakes and Sundaes
- Flavored Shakes: They offer a variety of flavored shakes, including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and coffee.
- Build-Your-Own Sundae: Create your own sundae with your favorite ice cream, toppings, and sauces.
- Classic Sundaes: They offer classic sundaes such as hot fudge sundae, banana split, and strawberry shortcake.
- Regular: Brewed coffee with milk and sugar.
- Drizzled: Brewed coffee with a drizzle of chocolate or caramel syrup.
- Frappe: Iced coffee blended with milk, ice, and flavoring.
- Latte: Espresso mixed with steamed milk.
- Cappuccino: Espresso mixed with steamed milk and foamed milk.
- Hot Chocolate: Rich and creamy hot chocolate.
- Smoothies: Fresh fruit blended with ice and yogurt.
- Tea: A variety of teas, including black, green, and herbal teas.
- Sandwiches: Grilled cheese, turkey club, and BLT.
- Salads: Caesar salad, Greek salad, and Cobb salad.
- Wraps: Chicken Caesar wrap, veggie wrap, and turkey wrap.
18. Enjoy diversity at the Muddy Pond Amish Community
Muddy Pond Community is a charming and inviting place with a lot to offer!
Over the years, the Mennonite communities along the road have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors.
The name “Muddy Pond” comes from the many small muddy ponds in the community.
Here are our suggestions for you:
Immerse Yourself in Local Culture:
- Leather Shops and General Store: Discover local craftsmanship, admire unique finds, and learn about the community’s heritage.
- Sorghum Mill/Muddy Pond Variety Store: Witness the production of authentic sorghum syrup, sample this natural sweetener, and explore local goods.
- Amish Farm Tours: Take a glimpse into the traditional agrarian lifestyle, learn about farming practices, and appreciate the Amish way of life.
Indulge in Culinary Delights:
- Country Porch: Savor delicious deli sandwiches, browse the charming gift shop, and enjoy the ambiance of this multifaceted destination.
- Troyer’s Café: Start your day with an expertly crafted cappuccino, indulge in mouthwatering pastries, and unwind in the serene book corner with a good read.
Discover Local Artisans:
- Handcrafted Furniture Shops: Witness the skill of local artisans, admire their unique creations, and perhaps find a special piece to take home as a treasure.
19. Get nostalgic movie experience at Sparta Drive-In
Enjoying the magic of outdoor cinema is certainly one of the “things to do in Cookeville, TN” you don’t want to miss.
To that end, the Sparta Drive-In offers more than just a movie. It’s an opportunity to create lasting memories in a unique cinematic setting.
The Sparta Drive-In attracts a diverse audience of locals and tourists. Connect with fellow moviegoers to get recommendations on must-see films or discover local attractions.
Admission rates are affordable. There are also a variety of payment choices.
- Admission Rates:
- Children 3 & Under: Free
- Children 4 to 11: $5.00
- Age 12 & Up: $9.00
- Radio Rental:
- Enhance your audio experience with a radio rental for $4.00. This ensures optimal sound quality during the movie.
20. Relish flavors of authentic Cajun cuisine
At Crawdaddy’s Grill ( located on the West Broad Street) the magic of Cajun delights awaits you. Crawdaddy’s remains one of Cookeville’s most beloved establishments.
This gastronomic gem draws locals and visitors alike with its irresistible charm.
Crawdaddy’s Grill welcomes you with different options of Cajun goodness that are perfect for sharing. The restaurant’s expansive size offers a variety of seating options—cozy indoors, refreshing patios and enchanting rooftops.
Final thoughts on things to do in Cookeville, TN
Cookeville, TN, is not just a destination; it’s an experience waiting to unfold. From outdoor adventures to cultural explorations and culinary delights, this charming city offers a diverse tapestry of activities for every kind of traveler.
As you wrap up your visit to this hidden gem nestled in the heart of Tennessee, let the memories of vibrant sunsets, friendly faces, and the rhythmic charm of Cookeville linger in your heart.
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