Best Places to Visit in Tennessee: Must-Visit Destinations from the Smokies to Music City
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Best Places to Visit in Tennessee: Must-Visit Destinations from the Smokies to Music City

Welcome to Tennessee sign - DeSoto Bridge

Tennessee’s got something for everyone, whether you crave mountain adventures, dive into music history, or want to relax in a charming small town.

This guide will take you through the best places to visit in Tennessee, hidden gems, and some handy tips for planning your Tennessee vacation.

Tennessee offers a wide variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Whether you’re seeking the tranquility of mountain vistas, the lively atmosphere of music cities, or the welcoming community of small towns, Tennessee has something for you.

History enthusiasts will appreciate the fascinating stories that are interwoven into the state’s cities and landscapes, while outdoor lovers can explore cascading waterfalls, scenic trails, and rushing rivers.

This guide is designed to highlight the most popular and iconic destinations in Tennessee, which you shouldn’t miss when visiting the Volunteer State for the first time.

👉Discover the soul of Tennessee with Skyscanner. Book your flight now and immerse yourself in the musical cities of Nashville and Memphis, where the rhythm of blues, country, and rock ‘n’ roll fills the air.

Tennessee: The Volunteer State

Tennessee is a state that has a lot to offer for travelers. It is famous for its music, history, and natural beauty.

From the smoky peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains to the honky-tonks of Nashville, Tennessee is a state full of diverse experiences.

It is known as “The Volunteer State” due to its citizens’ eagerness to serve during the War of 1812.

Whether you are interested in history, music, or nature, Tennessee has something for everyone.

  • Capital City: Nashville
  • Nicknames: The Volunteer State, The Big Bend State (due to the distinctive bend in the Tennessee River)
  • Borders: Tennessee shares its borders with a whopping eight states: Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri. No other state has so many neighbors!
Fun Facts:
  • Music Mecca: Tennessee played a vital role in shaping American music. Legends like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and Johnny Cash all hailed from Tennessee, and blues, bluegrass, country, and rock ‘n’ roll thrive across the state.
  • Mountains and Rivers: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States, graces Tennessee’s eastern border. The mighty Mississippi River forms its western boundary.
  • Whiskey Wonderland: Tennessee is famous for its smooth whiskey, with iconic brands like Jack Daniel’s calling the state home.
  • Presidential Legacy: Three former U.S. presidents—Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson— were all Tennesseans.
  • Civil Rights History: Tennessee played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. Memphis’s National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was tragically assassinated, stands as a powerful reminder of the fight for equality.

👉With Skyscanner, experiencing Tennessee’s festivals and cultural events is just a flight away. Book now and get ready to join the celebrations, from the CMA Music Festival to the Memphis in May International Festival.”

Tennessee’s Iconic Cities

The Star of Knoxville

Tennessee is known for its iconic cities that offer a range of experiences.

From the neon-lit honky-tonks of Nashville, where the sound of country music fills the air, to the blues-soaked streets of Memphis, where the ghosts of musical legends still linger, there’s a lot to discover.

Explore bustling downtowns full of live music venues, dive into captivating museums that trace the state’s history, and savor the flavors that define Southern cuisine.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the energy and soul that make Tennessee’s cities unforgettable.

Nashville: Music City, USA

Downtown Nashville, TN

Nashville is a vibrant city that emanates a lively energy with its unique soundtrack of guitars, fiddles, and soulful vocals.

Music is deeply ingrained in the city’s culture, and it’s not just a form of entertainment – it’s an integral part of life.

You can explore the famous music venues and discover unknown talents in the cozy bars.

Nashville also offers many historical sites, trendy neighborhoods filled with boutiques and restaurants, and a welcoming Southern hospitality.

Reasons to Visit:

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:

This museum is a haven for country music enthusiasts.

Explore exhibits featuring legendary musicians, admire their dazzling costumes, and learn about the genre’s growth through interactive displays.

The Ryman Auditorium:

Come and experience a piece of music history at the world-famous “Mother Church of Country Music.”

Step onto the stage where legendary musicians like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline once performed, and feel the energy that has inspired countless musicians.

If possible, it is highly recommended to catch a live show here – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Broadway & the Honky-Tonks:

Nashville’s Broadway is a vibrant nightlife hub, with neon lights and live music ranging from classic country to modern rockabilly.

Explore the honky-tonks in this lively area for an unforgettable experience.

👉Make your Tennessee vacation unforgettable by booking your stay in unique accommodations. Explore lodgings that offer more than just a place to sleep, from treehouses in the forest to converted train cars with a view of the countryside.

Memphis: Where Blues, BBQ, and History Collide

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Memphis is an experience that involves all your senses. It is a place where the smoky aroma of barbecue blends with the soulful melodies of blues singers.

The clinking of glasses in lively bars creates an electrifying atmosphere.

You can immerse yourself in the rich musical heritage that produced legendary figures such as B.B. King and Elvis Presley.

You can also explore the powerful history of the Civil Rights Movement and enjoy some of the most famous barbecue in the country.

Memphis offers a unique combination of grit, glamour, and a lot of soul.

Must-See Attractions:

Graceland

Graceland: A Rock and Roll Pilgrimage:

Take a step back in time and experience the grandeur of Elvis Presley’s former residence.

Embark on a tour of Graceland, witness the iconic Jungle Room, and gain a profound understanding of the life of the King of Rock and Roll.

Graceland is a mandatory destination for any music enthusiast as it provides a glimpse into the life and heritage of this cultural icon.

Beale Street: Where Music Never Sleeps:

Beale Street is the heart of Memphis’s music scene, also known as “Blues Heaven.”

This historic district is filled with live music venues that overflow onto the sidewalks.

You can take a stroll down Beale Street at any time of day and be mesmerized by the soulful sounds of blues, jazz, and rock and roll emanating from the open doors.

Whether you want to see a rising star at a smaller club or enjoy a drink at a bar steeped in musical history, Beale Street has something for everyone.

Day or night, you can experience a lively atmosphere that’s sure to leave you feeling energized.

National Civil Rights Museum: A Powerful Encounter:

Explore the complex and thought-provoking history of the Civil Rights Movement by visiting the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was tragically assassinated.

This museum offers a unique perspective on American history and provides visitors with an interactive and educational experience.

With multimedia displays, interactive exhibits, and historical artifacts, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the struggle for equality and the significant impact of this movement on American society.

Sun Studio: Where Legends Were Born:

Sun Studio is a place of great importance for music enthusiasts.

Despite its modest appearance, this brick building has a significant role in the history of rock and roll.

It was in this studio where iconic figures such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their early hits and started a musical revolution.

By visiting the studio, you can experience the creative energy that sparked a new genre of music.

👉With Skyscanner, experiencing Tennessee’s festivals and cultural events is just a flight away. Book now and get ready to join the celebrations, from the CMA Music Festival to the Memphis in May International Festival.”

Foodie Focus: Memphis Barbecue – A Religion, Not Just a Meal

Memphis Barbecue is a feast for the senses.

Enjoy slow-cooked pulled pork that has a smoky sweetness, fall-off-the-bone ribs that are slathered in a tangy sauce, and perfectly seasoned sausage links. 

Each barbecue joint offers its own unique twist on this beloved dish, from dry-rubbed to sauce-slathered.

Explore iconic spots like Central BBQ, famous for their signature dry-rub ribs, or Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, where ribs are piled high, and the atmosphere is pure Memphis.

Don’t forget to grab a side of creamy coleslaw and baked beans to complete your barbecue experience.

Knoxville: Urban Energy with a Scenic Backdrop

Knoxville Convention Center and Sunsphere

Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville offers a unique combination of urban vibrancy, artistic spirit, and easy access to breathtaking natural scenery.

Its revitalized downtown is full of energy and charm, with walkable streets inviting you to explore independent shops, lively restaurants, and a thriving farmers’ market.

Knoxville strikes a balance between Southern hospitality and a cool, youthful vibe, driven by the students at the University of Tennessee.

Whether you want to catch a play, cheer on the Tennessee Volunteers at a football game, or just enjoy the lively atmosphere around the campus, Knoxville has something for everyone.

What to See and Do:

University of Tennessee

Market Square: Knoxville’s Beating Heart:

Market Square is a lively and bustling hub in the downtown area that serves as a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.

It’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the outdoor tables, while taking in the eclectic mix of restored historic buildings and modern architecture.

You can also explore the various quirky shops and art galleries, or simply relax and people-watch with a cup of locally roasted coffee in hand.

Moreover, Market Square is known for hosting free outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and festivals, so there’s always something happening there.

University of Tennessee: Campus Buzz and Orange Pride

The University of Tennessee is home to the beloved Tennessee Volunteers, and it brings a burst of youthful energy into the city.

During game days, the entire city wholeheartedly embraces its team, so expect to see a sea of orange.

You can experience the electrifying atmosphere at Neyland Stadium, or explore the campus’s blend of historic buildings and modern facilities.

The Clarence Brown Theatre, located right on campus, offers an opportunity to catch a top-notch theater production.

Knoxville Museum of Art: A Creative Oasis

The Knoxville Museum of Art is a cultural destination in the city of Knoxville, with a focus on showcasing artists from East Tennessee.

The museum boasts a stunning contemporary design, which is itself a work of art.

Inside, visitors can explore rotating exhibitions that showcase diverse perspectives and spark conversations.

World’s Fair Park: A Legacy of Fun and Exploration

Hosting the 1982 World’s Fair, this park is still a lively downtown attraction.

Visitors can take a ride to the top of the iconic Sunsphere to enjoy panoramic views of the city, cool off in the fountains on a hot day, or take a leisurely stroll through the gardens.

It’s a great place to unwind and soak up Knoxville’s inviting atmosphere.

👉Plan your Tennessee journey with stays that cater to every traveler. From family-friendly resorts to romantic bed and breakfasts, discover accommodations that enhance your visit to the Volunteer State.

Chattanooga: Where Scenic Beauty Meets Outdoor Adventure

Downtown Chattanooga, TN

Nestled along the banks of the Tennessee River, with the majestic peaks of the Appalachian Mountains framing the skyline, Chattanooga offers an exciting mix of outdoor adventures, family-friendly attractions, and Southern hospitality.

Discover the breathtaking natural wonders such as towering waterfalls, panoramic mountain vistas, and mysterious underground caves.

Get your adrenaline pumping with rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and hang gliding. 

Or simply take a stroll in the revitalized riverfront district where you can bask in the sun in waterfront parks, appreciate public art installations, or savor the flavors of Chattanooga’s emerging food scene.

Why Visit Chattanooga?

View From the Bridge

Lookout Mountain: Where Nature Meets History

Take a trip to Lookout Mountain and experience the natural beauty and historical significance of the area.

You can challenge yourself by hiking on trails such as the one leading to Sunset Rock, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Chattanooga Valley.

Alternatively, you can visit Point Park, a Civil War battlefield that offers an amazing view of the entire region.

For an underground adventure, you can explore Ruby Falls, which features a thunderous 145-foot underground waterfall illuminated with colorful lights.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a ride on the Incline Railway, one of the steepest passenger railways in the world, boasting stunning views on the way to the top.

Tennessee Aquarium: Journey Beneath the Surface

Discover a world of aquatic wonders at the Tennessee Aquarium, which is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s most celebrated aquariums.

Follow the path of a raindrop from the river to the ocean and marvel at freshwater giants like river otters, alligators, and playful penguins.

Encounter sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles in diverse saltwater environments.

With interactive exhibits, animal encounters, and special shows, the aquarium offers a fun and educational experience for explorers of all ages.

The Riverfront: Chattanooga’s Vibrant Hub 

The newly revitalized Tennessee Riverfront district welcomes you to relax, appreciate the stunning views, and enjoy the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the city.

Take a leisurely stroll along the Tennessee Riverwalk, a picturesque pathway that stretches for miles along the river, dotted with waterfront parks and public art.

You can find a nice spot in the shaded Coolidge Park, admire the whimsical carousel, and let your children enjoy themselves in the splash pad.

Alternatively, you can rent a paddleboard or kayak and explore the river at your own pace, or take a sightseeing cruise on the Riverboat.

The bridges, including the iconic Walnut Street Bridge, provide pedestrian-friendly crossings and scenic areas where you can soak up the beauty of the city.

Outdoor Adventures: Chattanooga’s Wild Side

Chattanooga is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting a diverse landscape of mountains, rivers, and natural wonders.

You can challenge yourself by hiking to mountain vistas, where breathtaking panoramas await you.

If you’re an experienced rock climber, you can test your skills on world-class climbing routes.

Thrill-seekers can take on the rushing whitewater rapids of the Ocoee River.

Chattanooga also offers fascinating subterranean cave systems to explore, thrilling zipline adventures, scenic bike rides on the Riverwalk, or one of many challenging mountain bike trails.

With endless options for experiencing its natural wonders, Chattanooga is the perfect destination to ignite your adventurous spirit.

👉Discover Tennessee’s culinary delights with Skyscanner. Find your flight to savor the flavors of Southern cuisine, from Memphis barbecue to Nashville hot chicken, in the state’s bustling food scene.

Mountain Adventures & Small Town Charm

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Explore the captivating landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains, where misty peaks, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking overlooks create a perfect setting for an unforgettable adventure.

As you travel through, you’ll find the heartwarming hospitality of Tennessee’s small towns.

These charming communities nestled in the foothills offer a slower pace of life, inviting you to savor locally crafted goods, browse antique shops, and engage in conversations with friendly locals.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor thrills or a peaceful retreat, this guide will take you through the best of Tennessee’s mountain escapes and small-town treasures.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Land of Mountains, Mists, and Untouched Beauty

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a place where time seems to slow down and the misty air adds to its charm.

The park gets its name from the vast mountain ranges that appear as a bluish-gray haze.

You can enjoy the park’s natural beauty by walking, driving, or even horseback riding.

The park has winding trails, picturesque waterfalls, and historic remnants of Appalachian life that will delight you at every turn.

Whether you’re an adventurer looking to conquer challenging mountain summits or simply someone seeking a peaceful escape in nature, the Smokies offer a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts and soul-searchers alike.

Why Make the Smokies Your Next Escape?

Grotto Falls in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hiking Trails for Every Level:

The Great Smoky Mountains offer an ideal destination for hikers, with more than 800 miles of well-maintained trails that cater to all levels, from easy, family-friendly paths to challenging climbs.

You can explore hidden waterfalls such as Grotto Falls, where you can walk behind the cascading water, or tackle a more ambitious trek to the park’s tallest waterfall, Ramsey Cascades.

To witness a truly remarkable natural wonder, plan a hike during the synchronous firefly season, which usually starts in late May and ends in early June.

During this period, these bioluminescent creatures create a stunning spectacle, lighting up the forests like thousands of twinkling stars.

Scenic Drives and Endless Vistas:

If you prefer to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the park from the comfort of your car, then you can take the Newfound Gap Road which crosses the heart of the park.

This road offers panoramic views of the mountains at every turn.

You can stop at designated overlooks to take photos, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and soak up the sense of awe inspired by the seemingly endless mountainscape. 

For those interested in mountain history, the Cades Cove Loop is a great option.

It winds through a picturesque valley where restored cabins, churches, and a historic gristmill stand as a testament to the lives of the early settlers.

Along the road, you may even be lucky enough to spot some wildlife such as black bears, white-tailed deer, and elk.

Waterfalls: Where Wild Water Meets the Mountains:

Discover one of the most iconic attractions of the Great Smoky Mountains – its numerous waterfalls!

These natural wonders come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from easily accessible cascades like Laurel Falls to the remote and majestic Abrams Falls, which can be reached by hiking through dense forests.

You can pack a lunch, set out on a designated trail or venture off the beaten path in search of these hidden gems, and bask in a sense of peace and tranquility as you listen to the soothing sounds of cascading water against a backdrop of lush green mountainsides.

👉Let Tennessee enchant you with accommodations steeped in history and luxury. Choose from historic inns, boutique hotels, and grand estates for a memorable stay in this culturally rich state.

Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge: Endless Entertainment in the Heart of the Smokies

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Nestled together at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer a lively base for mountain adventures.

The atmosphere is filled with playful, touristy energy.

The main streets are lined with family-friendly attractions, arcades, mini-golf courses, and go-kart tracks, ensuring a great time for all ages.

Beyond the quirky charm of these towns, there are unique experiences that make the most of the stunning mountain background.

You can enjoy panoramic views from the top of mountain coasters, visit a sprawling amusement park, or explore underwater wonders at an aquarium that rivals the best in the country.

👉Skyscanner takes you to the wonders of Tennessee’s natural beauty. Book your flight and explore the majestic Cumberland Plateau, the serene Tennessee River, and the enchanting waterfalls scattered across the state.

Top Attractions:

Day 9: Pigeon Forge, TN (Dollywood)

Dollywood: Where Country Music and Thrills Collide:

Dollywood, the theme park named after Dolly Parton, offers a perfect blend of exciting rides, live music performances, and insights into the life of the legendary country star.

You can soar through the air on the thrilling Wild Eagle wing coaster, experience the thrill of a log flume ride, or take a leisurely ride on the vintage steam train, Dollywood Express.

Dollywood celebrates its Appalachian heritage with traditional Southern food and demonstrations by skilled craftspeople, making it a true homage to the culture of the region.

Anakeesta: Adventure Above the Clouds

Ascend to a unique mountaintop theme park via a chairlift or enclosed gondola from downtown Gatlinburg, and immerse yourself in a whimsical world of treetop skybridges, scenic overlooks, and lush gardens.

Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Take a stroll through the Firefly Village, an enchanting shopping area with a laid-back mountain ambiance, or enjoy a meal at cliffside restaurants with unforgettable mountain views.

Anakeesta offers fun activities for the whole family, coupled with breathtaking scenery that inspires moments of serenity.

👉Find your home away from home in Tennessee’s vibrant cities. Book a stay in places that put you at the center of the action, from downtown Memphis’s rhythm to the arts and crafts community of Gatlinburg.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: Dive into the Deep

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is consistently voted as one of the top aquariums in the country.

It takes you on a mesmerizing journey through extraordinary underwater worlds.

You can glide alongside sharks in the glass-bottom tunnel of Shark Lagoon, admire the playful antics of penguins, or encounter a dazzling array of colorful fish and sea creatures from around the globe.

Interactive exhibits and themed zones make this an educational and entertaining experience for ocean lovers of all ages.

Tennessee’s Best State Parks

Twin Falls, Rock Island State Park, TN

Tennessee is home to a variety of stunning state parks that safeguard and exhibit the state’s diverse natural beauty.

Explore these gems and encounter the excitement of discovery, from towering waterfalls and lush forests to rugged canyons and sparkling rivers.

Rock Island State Park: Waterfalls and Rugged Beauty

Rock Island State Park is situated in Central Tennessee and is popular for its stunning waterfalls, picturesque sandstone cliffs, and scenic views of the Caney Fork River Gorge.

You can explore the park’s hiking trails to catch glimpses of the Great Falls, a beautiful 30-foot waterfall, or visit the Twin Falls for a truly spectacular sight. 

The park offers opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and fishing in its scenic surroundings, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Cummins Falls State Park: Adventure to a Pristine Waterfall

If you are looking for a beautiful and popular waterfall to visit, Cummins Falls in Tennessee is definitely worth checking out.

You can hike through lush forests to get there, but be aware that the trail is challenging and descends into a gorge.

The final part of the hike requires some maneuvering and rock-hopping to get to the base of the falls, but the sight of the 75-foot waterfall plunging into a crystal-clear pool makes it all worth it.

However, please keep in mind that conditions can be dangerous after heavy rain, so it’s important to check the park’s website for updates before you plan your visit.

👉Experience the heartland of American music with Skyscanner. Secure your flight to Tennessee and delve into the history of blues in Beale Street, country music at the Grand Ole Opry, and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll.

Burgess Falls State Park: A Waterfall Wonderland:

Discover a stunning park near Sparta, Tennessee, where you can explore a series of cascading waterfalls.

Hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty will take you past four awe-inspiring waterfalls, culminating in the dramatic finale: the 136-foot Burgess Falls plunging into a deep gorge.

With its natural beauty and diverse terrain, this park offers an unforgettable experience for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Fall Creek Falls State Park: Waterfalls, Scenic Vistas, and Family Fun

Fall Creek Falls State Park is home to one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States.

The majestic namesake falls tumble down 256 feet, attracting visitors from far and wide.

The park boasts numerous hiking trails that lead to waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and lush forests, providing ample opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Whether you’re planning a family outing or a longer outdoor escape, the park has a variety of accommodation options, including cabins and campgrounds, to suit your needs.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area: Adventure Awaits

Big South Fork of the Cumberland River

Nestled amidst the rolling hills and rugged gorges of the Cumberland Plateau lies the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

This vast wonderland covers over 125,000 acres and offers an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, inviting you to explore its diverse landscapes. 

Whether you choose to conquer challenging climbs with breathtaking rewards or prefer a stroll along scenic paths that are perfect for the whole family, there’s something for everyone at Big South Fork.

So, lace up your boots and get ready to discover this natural treasure.

A Playground for Outdoor Enthusiasts

The Big South Fork offers exciting opportunities for water-based adventures beyond its trails.

You can paddle along the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, designated as a National Scenic River, and enjoy the stunning views of towering sandstone bluffs that rise dramatically from the water’s edge. 

If you’re feeling more daring, kayaking is an excellent way to navigate the river’s twists and turns, while calmer stretches are perfect for a relaxing canoe trip.

A Glimpse into History:

Amidst the exciting outdoor activities, take some time to learn about the captivating history of the region.

Discover the remnants of early mining communities and deserted homesteads, or pay a visit to Charit Creek Lodge, a rustic wilderness retreat that can only be reached by hiking.

The Big South Fork is a perfect combination of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and historical intrigue, making it an ideal getaway for adventure seekers who want to explore the Tennessee wilderness.

👉Secure a stay in the heart of Tennessee’s scenic landscapes. From riverside lodges to mountain resorts, discover accommodations that provide a serene base for your outdoor explorations.

Tennessee Food & Music Experiences

Hattie B's Hot Chicken

Discover the regional specialties that define Tennessee cuisine, explore the iconic Tennessee Whiskey Trail, and immerse yourself in the infectious energy that pulses through the heart of Nashville and Memphis.

Get ready to satisfy your taste buds, let the music touch your soul, and relish the smooth spirits that make Tennessee so unforgettable.

Tennessee Whiskey Trail: Immerse Yourself in Tradition, Flavor, and the Spirit of Tennessee

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail presents a distinctive experience beyond merely tasting the state’s renowned liquor.

It is a journey rich in history, a tribute to skillful craftsmanship, and an insight into the essence of Tennessee’s culture.

Follow the trail as it meanders through scenic countryside, historical towns, and past legendary distilleries – some with centuries of tradition, while others represent the new generation of whiskey innovators.

Why Embark on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail?

Become a Whiskey Connoisseur:

Explore the diverse world of Tennessee whiskey by visiting various distilleries.

Take a guided tour of each distillery to learn about the different processes involved in producing whiskey, from the selection of grains to the art of barrel aging.

Discover the fascinating stories behind legendary brands and their iconic bottles.

End your tour with a tasting session, where expert guides will help you identify the subtle flavors and aromas that make each whiskey unique.

The Journey is Part of the Experience:

As you embark on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, you will be greeted with warm hospitality that truly embodies the state.

Take a break and enjoy a hearty meal at a cozy small-town diner, and share the stories of your journey with friendly locals.

Explore the charming local shops filled with locally crafted goods in the small towns along the trail.

Some distilleries offer on-site lodgings or are located near quaint bed & breakfasts, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience without having to rush from one place to another.

👉Journey to Tennessee’s hidden gems with Skyscanner. Book your flight and get ready to discover the state’s picturesque small towns, historic sites, and local wineries.

Scenic Landscapes and Hidden Gems:

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail is not only about whiskey, but also a picturesque journey through the rolling countryside and past historic landmarks.

Some distilleries offer stunning views, while others are situated in valleys or beside babbling creeks.

Plan your trip accordingly to explore scenic overlooks, lovely towns, and uncover hidden treasures along the way.

Memorable Distilleries to Visit:

  • Jack Daniel’s Distillery (Lynchburg): The most iconic and popular of the Tennessee distilleries, a visit to Jack Daniel’s is a must for any whiskey enthusiast.
  • George Dickel Cascade Hollow Distillery (Tullahoma): Experience the unique mellowing process that sets George Dickel apart, and see the beautiful waterfall that gives the distillery its name.
  • Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery (Nashville): Resurrected by the descendants of its original founder, Nelson’s Green Brier offers a blend of history and modern innovation.
  • Prichard’s Distillery (Kelso): This small-batch distillery offers a more intimate experience and uses traditional pot stills for a distinctive flavor profile.
  • Nearest Green Distillery (Shelbyville): Founded to honor Nathan “Nearest” Green, the legendary first African-American master distiller who played a pivotal role in Jack Daniel’s history.

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail is an incredible experience that offers a unique adventure for your taste buds, mind, and soul.

Whether you’re a whiskey aficionado or just curious to know more, this journey will leave a lasting impact and a profound appreciation for Tennessee’s most renowned export.

Nashville Eats

Interstate Beef Ribs

Tennessee’s culinary scene is a delightful mix of flavors, where Southern classics are given inventive twists and local specialties rule the roost.

From the blazing heat of Nashville hot chicken to the smoky, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of Memphis barbecue, your taste buds are in for a treat.

Immerse yourself in the Southern tradition of hospitality as you relish the diverse flavors and welcoming ambiance that define Tennessee’s dining experiences.

Must-Taste Experiences:

Nashville Hot Chicken:

This dish is an icon, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

First, chicken is soaked in a fiery blend of spices and then fried to perfection to get that crispy texture.

You should choose your preferred level of heat wisely, as there are different options available, ranging from mild to “what was I thinking?”.

The dish is known for its strong and explosive flavors that might have you craving for a glass of sweet tea.

Nashville’s legendary spots like Hattie B’s and Prince’s are the best places to go for an authentic experience of this popular dish.

Memphis Barbecue:

Memphis is a city that takes its barbecue seriously, and for good reason.

The tender ribs and pulled pork are smoked low and slow over hickory wood and coated with tangy, sweet sauces that vary from place to place.

You can try the dry-rub style at Central BBQ, or head to Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous for their famous charcoal-cooked ribs.

👉Experience the charm of Tennessee by selecting from a range of accommodations. Whether you’re visiting for the blues in Memphis or the country music heritage of Nashville, find a place that resonates with the local vibe.

Beyond the Classics:

Tennessee’s culinary scene is not limited to hot chicken and barbecue alone.

There are farm-to-table restaurants even in smaller towns that offer fresh and seasonal flavors.

You can also enjoy comforting Southern meat-and-threes and unique regional treats like fried catfish, country ham, and biscuits smothered in gravy.

Whether you prefer upscale dining, casual eateries with a rich history, or hidden gems off the beaten path, Tennessee has something to satisfy both your taste buds and your desire for authentic Southern charm.

 Nashville Music Venues:

Nashville: Tootsie's Orchid Lounge

Tennessee is a music lover’s paradise, with iconic venues and historic sites scattered throughout the state.

It’s a place where musical legends were born, where genres collided, and where the soundtrack of America was shaped.

From buzzing cities to small towns, the infectious energy of live music fills the air, inviting you to lose yourself in the rhythm and soul of Tennessee.

Where the Music Never Stops:

Nashville’s Honky Tonks and Beyond: Nashville’s heart beats to the rhythm of country music, but it offers far more than that.

The neon lights of Broadway draw you into countless honky-tonks where rising stars and established legends share the stage.

Discover diverse venues showcasing everything from rock and roll to bluegrass, and catch intimate shows at renowned spots like the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe. Music spills out onto the sidewalks, creating a vibrant atmosphere unlike anywhere else.

Memphis: Birthplace of Blues, Rock, and Soul:

The soulful sounds of blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll echo through Memphis.

Beale Street, with its vibrant nightlife and historic music halls, pulses with the energy of live music.

Pay homage to the legends of Sun Studio, where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis made history.

Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol:

Journey to eastern Tennessee to explore the roots of country music at this fascinating museum in Bristol.

Interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations trace the evolution of country music from its Appalachian origins to its global influence.

Spotlight on Tennessee’s Music Venues

Nashville, TN

Nashville

  • The Station Inn: An intimate haven for bluegrass and traditional country music enthusiasts.
  • 3rd and Lindsley: A larger venue with great acoustics, hosting a diverse mix of genres.
  • The Basement East: A favorite spot for indie rock, Americana, and eclectic music fans.
  • Exit/In: A Nashville institution that has hosted legends and up-and-comers across genres for decades.

Memphis

  • B.B. King’s Blues Club: A lively Beale Street staple with great food and even better blues music.
  • The Orpheum Theatre: A beautiful historic theater hosting Broadway shows and concerts in a grand setting.
  • Minglewood Hall: A versatile venue showcasing both local and national acts in a variety of genres.

👉With Skyscanner, the vibrant streets of Chattanooga and Knoxville are just a flight away. Find great deals and explore these cities’ rich history, innovative museums, and outdoor attractions.

Beyond the Big Cities

  • The Caverns (Pelham, TN): A unique concert experience in a subterranean cave with incredible natural acoustics.
  • Jonesborough, TN: “The Storytelling Capital of the World,” this small town hosts regular live music events and festivals celebrating traditional Appalachian music.
  • The Bijou Theatre (Knoxville): A restored historic theater with excellent shows in the heart of Knoxville.

Practical Tips for Your Tennessee Adventure

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Before you pack your bags and set off for your Tennessee adventure, take a moment to consider these practical travel tips.

With a little planning, you can make the most of your time while maximizing efficiency and minimizing potential travel hassles.

When to Visit

Fall in Tennessee

Beating the Crowds: For the best weather and less crowds, visit in spring (April-May) or fall (September-October). Keep in mind that attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains may get quite busy during the fall foliage season.

Embracing the Energy: If you want to experience the full energy of Nashville or Memphis, plan your trip during a popular festival season. While this means encountering larger crowds, you’ll also gain access to special events and an extra dose of the cities’ unique vibes.

Weather Considerations: Tennessee summers can be quite hot and humid, especially in the lower elevations. If you prefer milder temperatures, stick to the spring or fall seasons. During the winter months, occasional snow and ice are possible in the mountains.

Getting Around Tennessee

Airports: Major airports like Nashville International Airport (BNA), Memphis International Airport (MEM), and McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville (TYS) offer convenient access to Tennessee via domestic and some international flights.

Rental Cars: Renting a car is generally the most convenient way to explore Tennessee, especially if you want to venture beyond the major cities or into the state’s scenic natural areas.

Public Transportation: Nashville and Memphis have public bus systems, but they’re most efficient for navigating within the cities. Smaller towns typically have limited public transportation options.

Rideshares & Taxis: Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft operate in the larger cities and surrounding areas. Traditional taxis are also available.

👉Immerse yourself in Tennessee’s hospitality by staying close to its top attractions. From luxury hotels in Nashville’s Music Row to cozy cabins in the Smokies, find the perfect retreat to match your adventure.

Tennessee: A Tapestry of Experiences Awaits

Tennessee State Capitol building (Nashville, Tennessee)

Tennessee is a state that offers travelers a unique blend of natural wonders, historical treasures, and unforgettable cultural experiences.

From the lively music scenes of Nashville and Memphis to the breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking to indulge in the fiery flavors of Nashville hot chicken and Memphis barbecue, get lost in the infectious energy of live music spilling out of honky-tonks, or sip on smooth Tennessee whiskey while learning about its rich history, this state won’t disappoint.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or a taste of Southern charm, Tennessee has it all.

Start Planning Your Tennessee Adventure Today!

👉Let Skyscanner guide you to the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Secure your flight today and prepare for an adventure in America’s most visited national park, with its sprawling landscapes and rich biodiversity.