2024 Tennessee Visitors Guide
Known for its strong musical heritage, Tennessee spawned the careers of many famous musicians, including Elvis Presley. Elvis lived in Memphis in the Graceland Mansion, which today welcomes visitors to the mansion to pay their respects to the King of Rock ‘n Roll in the Meditation Garden. Another well-known star is Dolly Parton, who has her own theme park called Dollywood in the Knoxville area. Other attractions in the area include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is located in Gatlinburg. Country music fans will enjoy a visit to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, where live tapings of the longest-running country music station can be seen and heard in a 4400-seat studio. Located in the south of Tennessee is Chattanooga, which is most famous for the Chattanooga Choo Choo. As well as a famous song about a train, the Choo Choo now refers to a restored railroad station that serves as a hotel and leisure complex.
Bordered by the Mississippi River to the west and the Tennessee River to the east, it is not surprising that West Tennessee offers an abundance of natural areas. Visitors to this region enjoy exploring one of the area’s parks, including Paris Landing State Park near Buchanan, where water activities are abundant. Other recreational areas are found near the centers of Union City, Henderson, Lexington and Huntingdon. West Tennessee offers much more than recreational activities however since the world-renowned city of Memphis falls within its borders. Known as the Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, this city features countless music-oriented attractions, including Graceland, the late Elvis Presley’s home. The Stax Museum of American Soul, Sun Studio and the Beale Street Entertainment District also draw countless visitors to Memphis. Every year the population of Humboldt swells during the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival, which celebrates the area’s strawberry industry with parades, fireworks and a Strawberry Mart.
Most people who visit Central Tennessee have one destination in mind—Nashville—otherwise known as Music City. The capital city of Tennessee boasts a strong country-music heritage and features countless music-themed attractions and events, including the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the annual Fan Fair Country Music Fest. However, Central Tennessee has a lot more to offer than the bright lights and sweet sounds of Nashville. Just an hour south of Nashville lies the town of Lynchburg, home of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Visitors enjoy touring the establishment and learning about the production history of the world-famous whiskey. Central Tennessee also boasts dozens of natural areas and attractions, including David Crockett State Park near Lawrenceburg and the stunning Cumberland Caverns found near McMinnville. Every July the city of Clarksville is abuzz during the North Tennessee State Fair. This week-long event features amateur boxing, a midway, live entertainment, and mud drag racing.
East Tennessee is filled with a diversity of attractions, recreational areas, and annual festivals, making it a popular vacation destination. Home to a number of urban centers, including Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Kingsport, East Tennessee never fails to entertain those looking for big-city attractions. Families, in particular, enjoy the Knoxville Zoo and the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Dollywood, a large theme park in Pigeon Forge, attracts visitors to its thrilling rides, annual festivals, and constant musical entertainment. Those in search of natural wonders appreciate The Lost Sea, which is considered to be America’s largest underground lake. Located in Sweetwater, visitors embark on glass-bottom boat tours that weave through the large, ancient caverns. Roughly half of the world-famous Great Smoky Mountain National Park is found in East Tennessee, with the other half located in North Carolina. With an entrance to the park near Pigeon Forge, this park is a haven for those wishing to hike, horseback ride, and camp.
Located in East Tennessee, the city of Chattanooga lies on the banks of the Tennessee River, making it an ideal place to enjoy boating, fishing, and other water sports activities. Those wishing to see a jaw-dropping attraction flock to Ruby Falls, located inside Lookout Mountain. This underground waterfall splashes down from a height of 145 ft (44 m) and is surrounded by ancient geological formations. One of the most popular attractions in Chattanooga is named after a famous train and song—the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Featuring a restored railroad terminal and an original car and engine, visitors can board the famed train and ride through the city. Families enjoy exploring the Tennessee Aquarium, which is located in a 60 ft (18 m) canyon and features over 9,000 swimming, flying, and crawling animals. Every June Chattanooga is abuzz during the Riverbend Festival, an event that showcases sporting competitions, children’s activities, musical performances, and fireworks.
Gatlinburg Visitors Guide
Gatlinburg is known as one of the gateway cities to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a popular draw for visitors from across the country. The city’s proximity to the Park allows guests easy access to all the hiking, biking, rafting, and more that is available. Arts and crafts are prominent cottage industries in this area of Tennessee, with shops offering everything from hand-crafted furniture to home-baked goods for sale. Visitors to the area should be reminded that black bears, deer, and other wildlife are abundant and should be treated with respect by visitors, ensuring a reasonable distance between themselves and the animals at all times. For those visitors interested in getting a glimpse of a bear, there is an observation station at Ober Gatlinburg that features an interpreter who can answer questions related to the local flora and fauna.
Knoxville Visitors Guide
Knoxville has played a major role in the history of Tennessee with the city has twice been the state capital. Although Nashville now boasts the title, Knoxville continues to provide a vibrant atmosphere that is further enhanced by the large University of Tennessee student body that calls the city home during their studies. Boasting a plethora of attractions, recreational opportunities, and annual events, Knoxville satiates the desires of all. Whether searching for unique shops in the Old City Historic District or viewing modern and contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Knoxville, this city is alive with culture. Recreational enthusiasts appreciate the city’s close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is a haven for those wishing to birdwatch, hike or camp. Annual festivals, such as the Dogwood Arts Festival in April and the 10-day Tennessee Valley Fair in September, keep locals and visitors entertained throughout the year.
Known as the Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, Memphis is a popular destination for those wishing to listen to fantastic live music and explore historic musical attractions. Visitors and locals alike appreciate the Beale Street Entertainment District, which features happening blues clubs, trendy restaurants, and other attractions. The most popular Memphis attraction is The Graceland Mansion of Elvis Presley, where tours of the 14-acre (6 ha) site are offered. Visitors to the mansion can view a pink Cadillac, the trophy building and many other artifacts that commemorate The King of Rock. Visitors also enjoy touring Sun Studio, where legendary performers like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins laid down their musical tracks. Every May visitors flock to Memphis to attend the Beale Street Music Festival, a three-day event that features performances by renowned blues, gospel, alternative rock and soul performers on four stages.
Appropriately dubbed Music City, Nashville is known throughout the world for its strong country music heritage. Countless visitors are drawn to Tennessee’s capital city for its music-themed attractions, including the Grand Ole Opry—a large studio and theater that is home to the oldest continuous radio program in the United States. Some of country music’s greatest stars perform regularly at the Opry and visitors often take in a live Nashville taping. Music enthusiasts also enjoy exploring the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or venturing to one of Nashville’s music clubs that feature live country, blues and jazz performances nightly. Nashville offers much more than just music, however. Popular non-music attractions include The Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Cumberland Science Museum. Nashville is also known for its events, including the Fan Fair Country Music Festival in June and the Tennessee State Fair in September.
Pigeon Forge Visitors Guide
Pigeon Forge is named for the passenger pigeons that populated the area when it was settled in the late 1700s. After a pioneer established a forge on the site, the names were joined into the present appellation. With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so close, outdoor activities figure heavily in Pigeon Forge. The area is billed as a family destination as well and offers a host of wholesome attractions, one of the most popular being Dollywood. Opened by country singer Dolly Parton, Dollywood features amusement park rides, live entertainment, food concessions and more. Pigeon Forge is also home to an Elvis Museum that boasts the largest private collection of memorabilia related to the King of Rock and Roll in the United States; self-guided tours are available.