15 Best Things to Do in Shelbyville, TN

Shelbyville, TN
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Shelbyville is a vibrant city situated in the hills in middle Tennessee, about 50 miles from Nashville.

This beautiful and historic city also serves as the seat of Bedford County.

Established in 1810, Shelbyville traces its roots to a 100-acre land donated by Clement Cannon, a local businessman and war hero.

It was later named after General Isaac Shelby, a Revolutionary War hero.

Widely known as "The Walking Horse Capital of the World," Shelbyville hosts renowned world equestrian events, horse breeding, and horse training.

The city offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, from sightseeing and outdoor activities to dining and shopping.

To get you started on exploring this thriving city, here are the best things to do in Shelbyville, Tennessee:

Tour Nearest Green Distillery

Exterior of the Nearest Green Distillery
Nheyob, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn about the history of the famous Tennessee Whiskey when you visit Nearest Green Distillery.

It is named after Nearest Green, who is said to be the first known African American master distiller.

A guided tour will take you to attractions throughout the property, such as the Philo & Frank speakeasy, the bottling house, and the single-barrel rickhouse.

Of course, you will also visit the tasting room.

No tour of Nearest Green Distillery would be complete without sampling their award-winning blends.

Indulge in a flight of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey while you appreciate the rich history of Tennessee Whiskey.

The distillery and working farm are situated on more than 300 acres of property on Highway 231.

Catch a Film at the Capri Theatre

Are you thinking of catching a movie while in Shelbyville?

Head to the Capri Theatre on Depot Street for a nostalgic movie theater experience.

Originally known as the Princess Theater, this art deco movie house was renamed and reopened as the Capri Theatre in 1948.

While it now has modern comforts, most of its original amenities have been retained, such as some signs and an old-school concession stand where you can get your popcorn fix.

Its façade glows neon at night, perfect for capturing a nostalgic street view.

The Capri Theatre has two screens showing current movie releases.

Camp at Crossing Creeks Farm

Savor the country air and relax under the beautiful night sky while camping at Crossing Creeks Farm.

The farm offers modern RV sites and picturesque campsites with private cabins, great for a rejuvenating family retreat.

You can wander around the farm, appreciate its natural beauty, explore the walking trails, and go birdwatching.

Gather by the fire under the stars at night and share stories of the day's adventures.

Don't forget to visit the farm store and check out some of their handcrafted goodies that you can indulge in while at camp or take some to enjoy back home.

Located on Eady Road, Crossing Creeks Farm also offers farm tours, where you can visit, feed, and learn more about their farm animals.

Go on a Hunting Trip at Cedar Rock Hunting Preserve

Whether you're hunting with a friend or visiting with a large group, Cedar Rock Hunting Preserve is ready to offer you a great Shelbyville hunting experience.

The preserve was established in 1994 and aims to preserve the art of bird hunting.

Visitors can go on a half-day guided hunt accompanied by dogs.

There's also the option to enjoy the experience at your own pace when you go on a self-guided hunt of pheasants and quails.

Groups are also welcome on European hunts.

Cedar Rock Hunting Preserve is located along Warner Bridge Road.

Experience the Tennessee National Walking Horse Celebration

Grand championship of Tennessee National Walking Horse Celebration
Randall R. Saxton, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's no better way to experience the charm of Shelbyville than to see this rich Tennessee tradition.

The Tennessee National Walking Horse Celebration is a world-renowned equestrian event.

It traces its origin to 1939 and has since been celebrated annually.

See more than 2,000 walking horses compete for the World Grand Champion title.

While the walking horse show is the star event, there are a lot of fun activities to enjoy during the 10-day celebration.

The Tennessee National Walking Horse Celebration complex at Shelbyville is Tennessee's largest event facility.

The venue spans more than 100 acres and features event venues, barns, horse stalls, and hundreds of RV sites.

Shop at Antiques, Arts & Collectibles Mall

Visit Antiques, Arts & Collectibles Mall on South Side Square for some vintage shopping.

More than 70 vendor booths are housed in the mall's 17,000-square-feet space and mezzanine.

It boasts a large, eclectic selection of antiques, furniture, jewelry, home decor, art, fashion items, and other vintage goods.

Whether you're looking for something to adorn your living room or on the hunt for a gift, you'll find unique and timeless items at these shops.

Visiting this mall is also a sightseeing tour in itself, as dealers decorate their own booths.

Antiques, Arts & Collectibles Mall also hosts holiday events and festival activities.

Feed the Ducks at Duck Pond Park

Are you looking for a relaxing no-frills outdoor activity?

Head to Duck Pond Park for some quiet time.

This small, pretty park features green spaces surrounding a pond with some beautiful resident ducks.

Don't forget to bring some food to feed the hungry ducks.

They love birdseed, corn, oats, and even some cooked rice!

You can find Duck Pond Park along Fairfield Pike.

Have Fun at the Bedford County Fair

If you happen to visit Shelbyville in July, you're in for a treat as this is when the Bedford County Fair takes place in the city.

This annual county fair boasts an exciting week of entertainment and fun, family-friendly activities.

Various competitions are held throughout the fair, including goat, rabbit, poultry, beef, and sheep shows and exhibitions.

While focused on showcasing the county's rich agriculture sector, the fair also features pageants, live music, amusement rides, and other performances for visitors to enjoy.

The Bedford County Fair is held at the grounds on Midland Road.

Check Out the Local Art Scene at the Fly Arts Center

Exterior of Fly Arts Center
Skye Marthaler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend a day of art appreciation at the Fly Arts Center.

The center, housed in a former textile mill building, is a performance and event venue focusing on local artists.

It features a theater, a reception hall, an art gallery, and a history museum.

Catch an art show, a musical performance, or a theater play.

The center also serves as a venue for art classes and other creative workshops.

You can find the Fly Arts Center on South Main Street.

Paddle on the Duck River

The Duck River is the longest river in the country, located entirely within one state.

The 284-mile river flows across Shelbyville, presenting many opportunities to enjoy the waters, including kayaking and canoeing.

Shelbyville's paddle access points to the Duck River are at the Fisherman's Park on Cannon Boulevard and Shelbyville City Park on South Main Street.

Enjoy a serene atmosphere as you paddle in the beautiful river, said to be one of the richest and most diverse in North America.

The Duck River is home to hundreds of species of fish, aquatic plants, and wildlife in surrounding areas.

Go Horseback Riding at Clearview Horse Farm

A visit to Shelbyville would not be complete without some horseback riding.

Enjoy the beautiful countryside when you go for a ride around Clearview Horse Farm.

The farm sits on more than 100 acres of picturesque land.

In addition to Tennessee walking horses, they have a great selection of other horses, so beginners need not worry about comfort.

There are also other activities you can enjoy at the farm, like fishing or visiting with your RV.

You can find Clearview Horse Farm along Highway 231 South.

Unplug at HV Griffin Park

Spend a day unplugged at one of the city's best active spaces.

The 84-acre HV Griffin Park is a great place to reflect, recharge, and get active.

Walk around, immerse in the fun atmosphere, and enjoy the country air.

The park features green open spaces, forest areas, sizeable modern play areas, a dog park, and an indoor recreation center.

It also has areas for sports, such as tennis courts and even a skate park.

HV Griffin Park is located along Tulip Tree Road.

Dine and Shop at Downtown Shelbyville

Buildings along Downtown Shelbyville
Ichabod, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After a day of sightseeing, explore the dining scene and go retail shopping at Downtown Shelbyville.

Are you interested in checking out the local food scene?

Head to the quaint cafes and restaurants for a taste of Shelbyville.

Afterward, explore the retail shops lining downtown for some quality local finds.

There are trendy apparel and fashion accessories stores, vintage and collectibles shops, and other boutique stores.

Downtown Shelbyville spans Public Square and parts of South Main and South Brittain Streets.

Stroll around the East Shelbyville Historic District

Take a step back in time and glimpse into the city's history when you walk around the East Shelbyville Historic District.

The district features more than 100 buildings and structures with significant architectural importance.

Styled in Queen Anne and Greek and Classical Revival, some of these buildings date back to the early 1800s.

The East Shelbyville Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

This historic district spans the streets of Brittain, Lane, Sandusky, Bryant, Deery, Jeff, and Frank.

See Cool Collectibles at Jon English Antique Sports & Cards

Visiting collectors, sports enthusiasts, and history buffs would not want to miss out on this vintage destination.

Jon English Antique Sports & Cards is a shop specializing in vintage sports items and memorabilia.

Browse the shelves of autographed items and historical sports equipment from many sports.

See their collection of vintage sports cards, and you might find a card you've long been looking for.

They also have interesting vintage advertising items such as outdoor signs, posters, and salesman samples.

Find some cool gifts for sports enthusiasts, or take home a unique piece to display with your collection.

You can find Jon English Antique Sports & Cards on Depot Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Various natural and historical attractions and outdoor activities await you in nearby cities and towns in the county.

Check out some of these spots near Shelbyville that you shouldn't miss.

Explore Downtown Bell Buckle

Daytime view of Downtown Bell Buckle
Brian Stansberry, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you looking for more dining and shopping opportunities nearby?

Take a drive to the quaint streets of Downtown Bell Buckle.

You'll come across shops offering interesting, healthy drinks, books and coffee, and more vintage pieces and antiques.

You can also find artisan crafts and home decor.

Indulge in comforting homemade sweet treats at the ice cream parlor.

Downtown Bell Buckle is just an 11-mile drive up north of downtown Shelbyville.

Visit Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum

If you're keen to learn more about the Tennessee tradition of the walking horse, visit Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum.

Located in the nearby town of Wartrace, the museum houses artifacts, memorabilia, and other historical items to preserve the heritage of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

See photographs of past celebrations and know more about the World Grand Champion title holders.

Drop by their gift shop for some souvenirs to take home.

Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum in Wartrace is just a 10-mile drive northeast of Shelbyville.

Go Fishing at Three Forks Bridge

The Duck River flows through Shelbyville, but if you want to go fishing, head to the part of the river near Three Forks Bridge in Wartrace.

The bridge's surrounding areas are stocked with rainbow trout annually.

There's also an opportunity to fish bass downstream from the bridge area.

Fishing in the Duck River is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate its rich natural beauty.

You can reach Three Forks Bridge after just about an eight-mile drive from downtown Shelbyville to the town of Wartrace.

Final Thoughts

Horses, whiskey, and history await you in the city of Shelbyville.

An exciting destination worth visiting for its history and traditions, adventure, and outdoor recreation opportunities, it's one of the state's most fascinating places to visit.

Experience the city's charm by trying the things on this list of the best things to do in Shelbyville, Tennessee!