If you have heard of Manchester, Tennessee chances are you live nearby, or it was in relation to Bonnaroo. There is no doubt that Bonnaroo has been amazing for the city of Manchester. This huge music festival has lodged itself into the fabric of of the community(and is one of my favorite things), but it isn’t the only thing in town. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Manchester that aren’t Bonnaroo.
10 Things to do in Manchester Tennessee
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Old Stone Fort State Park
By far one of my favorite things to do in Manchester is visit Old Stone Fort State Park. The Old Stone Fort was built around 2000 years ago and was used by Native Americans for 500 years before abandoning it. The original purpose of the structure is unknown, but believed to be ceremonial. The park sits at the confluence of the Duck and Little Duck Rivers. Hiking trails meander around the park and along the banks of the river. These easy trail provide some great views of falls on the rivers.
This park has a nice campground too with 51 campsites. The sites have electric hookups.grills, picnic tables and can accommodate a unit up to 50 feet in length. Even though it sounds like quite a few campsites, the area feels very private. It is only about 10 minutes away from everything Manchester has to offer.
Beans Creek Winery
Next, be sure to check out Beans Creek Winery. Whether Mountain Red is your thing, or you would rather try the “Panty Droppin Peach”, Beans Creek has a wine for everyone. They have over 30 wines on their list, many of them award winning. The grapes for the wine a primarily grown in Tennessee too! Stop in for a tasting, or a class if they are offering one. The staff are attentive, informative, and most importantly kind. They also have live music on occasion!
When you get hungry there are a lot of local restaurants to choose from. Coffee Cafe is one of the best. Located right off the square, overlooking a flower garden and gazebo, this restaurant is in the perfect setting. The atmosphere is just the beginning though. The menu features fried chicken, steaks, burgers and everything a family owned joint in middle Tennessee should including weekend brunch. My favorite thing in the whole place is the Lemon Cello Cake though. I can not adequately describe how good it is, so I’m not going to try. You will just have to go eat it.
West Main Brick Oven Pizza
Another really good restaurant in Manchester is West Main Brick Oven Pizza. The chef John Mancini was taught to cook by his Nonna Nosenzo from Italy and has incorporated his family recipes into this great restaurant. I’m a fan of the West Main Ultimate pizza. It is cooked in a brick oven at 800 degrees, and has Pepperoni, prosciutto, Italian sausage, onion, red & green peppers, mushrooms, olives, and a cheese blend. The sauce is great and I really like the crispy crust the brick oven makes. There is a solid drink menu, and plenty of food options.
The Manchester Recreation Center has indoor pools, an outdoor pool with great slides, racquetball courts, wellness room, spin room, youth wellness room, aerobics, gymnasium and an indoor walking track. It is the perfect spot to work off all the calories from eating the tasty local food. Residents can get a membership, or you can pay a low daily fee when you visit. The outdoor pool facility is awesome! I would spend the whole summer floating around it if I could.
Black Iris Arts
If outdoor recreation isn’t your thing, or you would rather explore your creative side, consider taking a class at Black Iris Arts. A relatively new business, Black Iris Arts has a gallery you can purchase a unique gift from. They also offer classes in fused glass, stained glass and other creative mediums. If you have a little time and want to get creative, check them out.
Arrowheads / Aerospace Museum
Arrowheads / Aerospace Museum is a unique stop in Manchester. It is a small museum that houses everything from early Native artifacts to, civil war exhibits, and a lot of information on WWII’s impact on Manchester. There is stuff for the kids to enjoy too including Lionel Trains. Admission is $10 per person and you are sure to find something interesting there.
May Prairie State Natural Area
Most of the best things to do in Manchester are outdoors. Often overlooked, May Prairie Natural Area is a great place to visit. It is not nearly as popular as Old Stone Fort, but it has 364 acres of land and adjoins the Hickory Flat Wood Wildlife Management Area. May Prairie is home to Over 300 varieties of plant species with around 25 of them considered rare in Tennessee. It is beautiful in the Spring when the wildflowers start blooming.
Manchester Park System
Manchester Parks and Recreation Department maintains a fantastic park system. Fred Deadman, Manchester Sports Park, and Dave King Parks are connected by the Little Duck River Greenway. These parks have baseball and softball fields, Soccer Fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds, a skate park, and outdoor exercise equipment. The Greenway runs along the Little Duck River and is a great place to walk, jog, or bike. People come across all kinds of wildlife from Deer, to snakes and raccoons. If you are in town, don’t miss these great parks.
Finally, if you are fortunate enough to make it to Manchester on a Saturday in the Summer or Fall, you should absolutely check out the Community Market. Held on the square downtown, the Market is a gathering of local farmers, artists, and small businesses. With a focus on strengthening the local economy, it has expanded each year and is a thriving place for sellers and buyers alike. You can find unique products grown or made by people right in Manchester. I love the fresh berries and honey!
Other Things to Do Near Manchester
What are your favorite things to do in Manchester, Tennessee? Tell us in the comments. Consider subscribing to our blog so you don’t miss any new posts!