On the edges of Western Tennesee lies Paris, the oldest incorporated town in this side of the state.
Aside from serving as the seat of Henry County, the city stands as a bustling hub for history and the arts.
Its past, both the good and bad parts, are remembered in various museums, festivals, and artworks seen in several locations.
But there are also lots of modern and family-friendly attractions that stand in contrast to the rich history.
They all come together to create a charming town that, while not as grand as its namesake in France, still has its own unique characteristics for curious travelers.
So when thinking of places to visit for an upcoming getaway, consider this city as your top choice.
Here are the 15 best things to do in Paris, TN:
Wonder at the Majesty of Eiffel Tower Park
It wouldn’t come as a surprise that a town sharing its name with a famous location would have some of the latter’s most iconic features.
Eiffel Tower Park is where Paris, Tennessee, starts to share similarities with Paris in France.
This outdoor destination has a replica of the famous tower that stands 70-feet tall, making it a highly visible landmark in a city that doesn’t have skyscrapers.
Standing like a solemn sentinel in the middle of the park, the tower lights up at night and provides a soft glow to the surroundings.
It’s almost as romantic as the real Eiffel Tower, if only it were a few feet taller.
Around it, there are lush grounds, a disc-golf course, and walking trails that bring you to some secluded and peaceful areas.
There’s also an Olympic-sized swimming pool where you can swim a few laps or take a cooling dip during summer days.
The best thing to do here is to sit just back and admire the regal beauty of the tall structure—just imagine that you’re looking at the real thing.
Catch a Show at Krider Performing Arts Center
The residents of Paris love a good show, and those passionate about performing arts are more than eager to oblige.
One of the best places to catch a stunning production is Krider Performing Arts Center, a 600-seat facility attached to Paris Elementary School.
It was named after couple Clem and Ruby Krider, with the former serving as a mentor for Parisians who eventually became Tony Award-winning actors and acclaimed playwrights.
Both traveling groups and local professionals hold shows on stage, attracting locals and visitors who want a good story or performance.
You can watch an intriguing theater play, live music concert, dance recitals, and even inspirational talks by prominent personalities.
Make sure to check their calendar if you’re planning to attend a show during your trip.
Join the Festivities at Arts ‘Round the Square
One of the most anticipated festivals in Paris is the Arts ‘Round the Square, a grand gathering of local artists and craftsmen.
It’s held every September, bringing crowds of people and cementing Paris’ status as an art center in Western Tennessee.
On Henry County Courthouse’s front lawn, individuals, groups, and local businesses erect tents and display some of their best products.
You’ll find beautiful paintings, eye-catching sculptures, handmade jewelry, stylish clothing, taxidermied animals, and so many other crafts.
While you peruse the tables, you’d be serenaded by talented bands singing on a makeshift stage.
Pick the items you like most and bring them home as a souvenir of your Paris trip!
Learn History at Paris Henry County Heritage Center
To get a glimpse of the city’s colorful past, make sure to stop by Paris Henry County Heritage Center.
This museum is located in Cavitt Place, which once served as the home to Colonel O.C. Barton, a past mayor and the rumored first millionaire of Paris.
With the Italian Renaissance Revival architecture, the building gives off a sophisticated charm that makes it stand out from the other structures around it.
You can join a tour that will allow you to explore the property's interiors and learn all about its history.
There are antique furniture, dining implements, lighting fixtures, and even clothing typical during the early 1900s.
The guides are very friendly and knowledgeable, and they’d give you the context needed to appreciate all the items on display inside the home.
Play a Few Rounds at Paris Country Club
Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, the Paris Country Club is a great place to test your golfing skills.
Located on the northern borders of Paris, this recreational facility has rolling hills bordered by trees and crossed by the many creeks of the region.
These features make for an exciting game in the 9-hole course, testing your course management and putting skills at the same time.
But there’s no real worry, especially if you’re confident in your abilities and can develop new strategies should you hit a snag.
If you’re not up for golf, the club has an Olympic swimming pool that’s perfect for swimming and cooling dips.
They also have a restaurant that offers American staples and comfort foods made from fresh ingredients.
Bring the Kids to Family Fun Center
Family Fun Center is a local Paris institution that has seen a revival ever since it went under the care of new owners.
This recreational facility is perfect for the whole family, with an inviting ambiance and friendly staff dedicated to making your stay a good experience.
One of the well-loved attractions is the bowling alley, which is open for both kids and adults.
Join a match and test your accuracy skills by scoring a strike!
There are also arcade games and rides that are great for children and the whole family, like coin-operated horses and racing games.
For those who want to test their pool skills, you’re welcome to play billiard on one of the many tables in one section of the center.
Go Restaurant Hopping Downtown
Paris has a bustling food scene, thanks to its Southern heritage and diverse community, and the best place to try the cuisine is downtown.
Here, the local favorite dining establishments are just a few doors away from each other, allowing you to visit them all in one epic restaurant tour.
Old West Steakhouse offers hearty American staples that will satisfy your cravings, such as flavorful steaks, tasty burgers, and a selection of fresh seafood.
At Olive Pit A Pasta House, you can sample authentic Italian dishes such as different types of pasta, risotto, and mouthwatering pizzas.
And for those who want to try dishes made from local ingredients, make sure to visit Fresh Market Restaurant.
While it’s farther north from downtown, their selection of prime ribs, salads, and other Southern comfort foods is well worth the extra travel time.
Do a Photoshoot at Westfalia Farms
Tucked in the northwestern edges of Paris is Westfalia Farms, a scenic events venue that takes advantage of the region’s natural beauty.
This 90-acre destination has verdant rolling hills, thick woodlands, a small lake, and a rustic farm setting that ties it all together.
Because of the views and the ambiance, Westfalia Farms has become a favorite wedding venue for local couples who want a memorable location for their special day.
The barn itself has modern interiors that are simply stunning with its soft lights and customizable decor.
The farm is also open for photoshoots, with the lake serving as the perfect setting for family portraits, prenuptial shoots, and other farm-themed activities.
Be sure to check out their calendar or contact them for availability before you visit.
Put Your Calves to Work at Paris Wheels Skating Center, LLC
Paris Wheels Skating Center, LLC is another family-friendly destination that offers plenty of fun and memorable experiences.
As mentioned in the name, this attraction is a skating center with a spacious rink open for both kids and adults.
It’s made from a blacklight reactive, maple hardwood that offers enough resistance for a seamless roller skating experience.
Many people come here to celebrate birthdays and special events, but visitors are welcome to stop by any time and put their calves to work.
There’s no need to worry if you don’t have any equipment, as they offer roller skate rentals.
And if you need to refuel after a few minutes on the rink, the center has concession stands offering energizing and satisfying snacks.
Eat to Your Fill at the World’s Biggest Fish Fry
Paris holds another festival that brings in throngs of people from all over the state and surrounding regions: the World’s Biggest Fish Fry.
What started as 1,600 pounds of catfish fried and served to spectators has skyrocketed to 12,500 pounds annually.
The event also began as a single-day activity and has turned into a week-long celebration happening on the last week of April.
Bring the whole family to watch colorful parades, grand pageants, live music performances, and all-you-can-eat catfish dinners that will have you stuffed.
There are also plenty of rides, exhilarating rodeos, and demolition derbies for those who want thrilling shows.
It’s the most bombastic even in Paris, so make sure you catch it during your vacation.
Explore New Worlds at Matrix VR Arcade
For an advanced gaming experience for the whole family, visit the hottest new recreational facility in town: Matrix VR Arcade.
The attraction uses virtual reality technology to give you an immersive gaming experience that's out of this world!
With more than 60 VR games in store, Matrix VR Arcade has something for any age any preference.
There’s even a racing simulator that allows you to drive a virtual car with tactile steering wheels, accelerator, and breaks.
The Xbox lounge offers a high-end experience with advanced consoles and the latest software for exceptional playtime.
While waiting, you can enjoy the HD, widescreen TV, and other amenities offered by the arcade.
Try a Cold Drink at Perrylodgic Brewing Company
The best way to cap off a weekend’s worth of adventuring in Paris is with a cold mug of beer, and the best place to get one is at Perrylodgic Brewing Company.
They are the first and only locally-owned brewery in town, so they’ve become the go-to destination for residents and visitors who want a refreshing beverage.
Made using fresh and quality ingredients, the brewery has a wide selection of ales, craft beer, and other alcoholic drinks.
These are perfectly complemented by their in-house tacos, salads, and other comfort foods.
While there, don’t forget to mingle with the locals and make new acquaintances.
And bring home a pack or two to drink during lazy weekends or special occasions.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Once you’re done touring the attractions of Paris, why not visit these other locations nearby?
Bring the Whole Family to Paris Landing State Park
Even though it has “Paris” in its name, Paris Landing State Park belongs to the town of Buchanan.
But it is still near enough for Parisians to simply drive to whenever they need an escape from busy city lives.
And you’re welcome to visit, too!
This 841-acre attraction sits next to Kentucky Lake, named for being the original site of Paris Landing that served as the starting point of the steamboat traffic in the region.
It’s one of the premier summer destinations in town due to its proximity to water, allowing visitors to go swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking.
There’s even the Paris Landing State Park Golf Course found within the park.
It’s an 18-hole course for those who want to test their putting skills during their visit.
Trek the Trails of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge
Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge is a rather extensive area covering most of the Tennessee River, but its Big Sandy Unit is where most residents from Paris visit.
This unit is still vast, covering the lands where the Kentucky Lake and Tennessee River meet.
And in an area as expansive as this, you can expect numerous wildlife species flourishing in the various habitats.
These include riparian lands, forests, swamps, and vast meadows.
You’re welcome to visit these ecological hotpots by taking the routes that crisscross into the refuge, such as the Britton Ford Hiking Trail and the Chickasaw Nature Trail.
But if you’d rather stay in the more developed areas of the park and see the views from a safe spot, then check out V.L. Child’s Observation Deck.
It’s a great perch to see the many waterfowl hunting, feeding, and flying near the water.
Marvel at the Sights of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
The Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is as majestic as it sounds, with 171,280 acres of natural wonders that are less than 30 mins away from Paris.
This expansive land has a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation, making it an ecological hotspot that’s home to thousands of native flora and fauna.
During your visit, don’t miss the Elk & Bison Prairie, Golden Pond Planetarium, and the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm.
Paris may seem like a small, sleepy town at first glance, but the curious traveler will find a vibrant community bursting with art and history.
From family-friendly game centers to vibrant festivals, from scenic farms to towering replicas of iconic landmarks, there’s something for every preference here.
So reference this list and add the top spots to your itinerary today!