Raise your hand if you want to see the Volunteer State! No one should have to twist your arm when it comes to taking a Tennessee trip, but if you’re still on the fence, here’s a round-up of the coolest spots in the state.
You’ve almost certainly heard of Tennesse’s biggest city, which is practically synonymous with country music. However, while you can certainly get your fill of the genre on any given night at the famous Honky Tonk bars on Broadway, there’s so much more to Nashville than meets the eye. Check out the funky Hillsboro Village neighborhood near Vanderbilt University, where you can enjoy a great breakfast at Pancake Pantry before shopping at sweet boutiques and bookstores. No trip is complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, but the indoor boat ride at the neighboring Opryland Hotel Gardens is pretty cool, too.
Both BBQ aficionados and blues fans flock to Memphis in droves, as you can find some of the best grilled meats and grooviest musicians in the entire nation here on Beale Street, the main drag. Whether you’re an Elvis fan or not, it’s worth your while to embark on a self-guided tour of Graceland, The King’s birthplace. History buffs head to the The National Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis. Round out your trip with a riverboat tour, which promises great views of the Mississippi.
This town often flies under the radar and stays in the shadows of Nashville and Memphis, but it’s a charming, family-friendly destination that’s full of arts, culture, and history. Look no further than the 13-mile downtown Riverwalk for a wealth of restaurants, shops, and museums, including the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Creative Discovery Museum. The funky Warehouse Row buildings house upscale home and fashion retailers in a chic and trendy environment that’s been praised by Southern Living magazine.
Here, history and outdoor activities combine for an unforgettably unique experience. Active types will love the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, where you can rent bikes, canoes, and paddleboards, and take classes as well. Don’t miss the Knoxville Zoo, either; it’s home to the endangered Red Panda, and is actually known around the world for them! In the mood for a day trip? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an easy drive, just about 40 miles south of the city.