With more than 150 majestic waterfalls, 1,200 miles of nearby lake shoreline, rich heritage, charming downtown shops and world-renowned outdoor fitness opportunities, summer is the perfect time to explore Cookeville.
Just off Interstate 40 and easily accessible by a short hiking trail, Bee Rock offers a stunning overlook of the Calfkiller River and Stamps Hollow. Legend has it that Native Americans gathered honey from hives underneath the cliff.
Cane Creek Park & Recreation Area is a 262-acre park with a well-stocked 56-acre lake, walking paths and mountain bike trails, disc golf and more.
A favorite kayaking and paddleboard spot, this 35-acre lake is fed by the Falling Water River. Only 10 minutes from downtown, it is an easily accessible hidden gem and a favorite for fishing catfish, bass and bream. A short, half-mile walking trail leads to a historic structure and cascading City Lake Falls.
Dogwood Park, an oasis in Cookeville’s historic downtown, features walking paths, a fountain with a splash pad, a performance pavilion and the fully accessible Heart of the City Playground.
With the motto of “Life is too short to stay indoors,” a stop at OE will prove they live their motto. Located at the entrance of downtown Cookeville’s Dogwood Park, this outfitter offers everything from kayak, backpack, bike and tent rentals to rock climbing/repelling and kayaking workshops and guide services to a full line of products and area-resources for your outdoor recreation needs.
Adjacent to popular Burgess Falls State Park and a favorite among hikers and trail runners alike, Window Cliffs offers up a 275-acre geological escape. Take on a strenuous 5.4-mile roundtrip trail with 18 river crossings rewarded by spectacular views of the unique geologic “windows” formed in the limestone cliffs, a Cane Creek oxbow and the picturesque Window Cliff Falls.
Shops & Museums
One of three local depots and built in 1909, the Cookeville Depot Museum is the place to explore Putnam County railway artifacts and memorabilia, including a 1913 Baldwin steam locomotive and two cabooses. It’s open year-round, and admission is free.
Located downtown and adjacent to Dogwood Park, the Cookeville History Museum features a self-paced permanent exhibit about Cookeville’s history, as well traveling exhibits and collection displays. Stop by Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m CT. Admission is free.
Historic WestSide boasts a wonderful collection of specialty shops, local restaurants, antique stores, craft breweries and more, all within walking distance of the Cookeville Depot and History museums.
Shop and dine with ease in Cookeville’s charming downtown as you take in the beauty of the Historic Courthouse Square.
Food & Drink
The Back Room Bistro prides itself on serving local food from local farmers. Stop by for breakfast and have an omelette, or grab a seat for lunch and enjoy a chicken or steak sandwich made with fresh meat that is roasted and sliced daily. They also have great vegan options, if you’re looking for a healthy bite.
After a bit of shopping, stop by Cream City Ice Cream and Coffee House for a snack, ice cream, coffee or a tasty strawberry banana smoothie.
Located in Cookeville’s Historic WestSide, the Red Silo Brewing Company partners with local restaurants sharing spent grain from their outstanding craft beer selections for creation of to-die-for pizzas, breads and more.
Ralph’s Donut Shop is a family-owned landmark frequented by locals and visitors alike. Don’t leave Cookeville without trying their apple fritter — the only Tennessee treat to be named on The Daily Meal’s ranking of America's 25 Best. Most recently, the shop was also listed as Best Doughnut in Tennessee on the Daily Meal’s “The Best Food and Drink in Tennessee for 2019.”
Located in Cookeville’s historic WestSide, this downtown hot spot serves up world-class dishes from Executive Chef Chad Combs, winner of the World Chef Challenge. Focusing on Southern comfort food as well as offering a full vegan menu and several gluten-free entrées, there’s something for everyone. Warning: the grit puppies are addictive.
As Cookeville’s first moonshine destination, Tennessee Legend is a sipping shop located on the historic Putnam County Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown offering up free tastings plus production/bottling onsite of moonshine, whiskey, bourbon, vodka, rum and cream liqueurs. They’re also dog friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend.
Discover the hotspots and hidden gems of America's Scenic City