With the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains serving as a backdrop, Bristol is known for its incomparable outdoor beauty, and is one of Northeast Tennessee’s most precious jewels. A rich musical heritage, a world-renowned racing facility, and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet make it a perfect destination for your next great adventure!
Cover photo: The New Respects; photo by Eli Johnson
Featuring more than 40 square miles of inland lakes, rivers, and freshwater streams in the area, it only makes sense to start your day off with a trip to South Holston Lake and Holston River. If you love striking views, it doesn’t get much better. And you really should bring your fishing gear along because these waters are stocked full of a variety of trout, bass, catfish, crappie, and more. Fly fishermen, in particular, flock to the fabled weir dam, an angler’s paradise.
Enjoy lunch at one of the several locally-owned restaurants in historic Downtown Bristol before heading off to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. The museum tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions —recordings that were influential in shaping early commercial country music’s sounds and practices. It consists of interactive exhibits and video experiences, artifacts, a performance theater, a radio station, and much more.
On most nights, you can enjoy live music at one of a number of downtown venues. If you happen to visit in September, you can enjoy Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, which takes place annually over three days and nights and is one of the Southeast’s largest musical festivals.
During your time in Bristol, a must is a visit to The Pinnacle, the region’s largest shopping center. The premier open-air shopping destination is packed with dozens of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. A variety of shopping opportunities are also available in Downtown Bristol where you’ll find several boutiques and specialty stores.
Hidden Gems: Bristol Caverns, one of the city’s most beautiful attractions, features three levels of caverns and an underground river.
If you love parks and golf, Steele Creek Park is a great place to take the family. Encompassing more than 2,200 acres, it features a 52-acre lake, 18-hole disc golf course, miles of hiking trails, nine-hole golf course, paddleboats, nature center, splash pad, playground, picnic shelters, and the Steele Creek Express, a 24-gauge replica of a steam engine.
No trip to Bristol is complete without a visit to Bristol Motor Speedway, one of NASCAR’s most popular race tracks. If there’s not a race going on, you can still get some great photos of the bowl-shaped facility, which seats more than 140,000. Before leaving town, you’ll also want to be sure you grab photos in front of the famous Bristol sign and the country music mural on State Street.