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If you’re planning a trip over to Tennessee, you’ve come to the right place.
Tennessee is one of the most beautiful and unique states in America and one of the hottest tourist destinations that we have on the east. With two historical cities just a few hours apart, you can take your vacation any which way you want and have an awesome time with your friends, your kids, or your spouse.
In this post, we’re going to talk about 5 Tennessee tourist attractions that you can hit for an unforgettable experience in The Volunteer State. If you’ve never been to Nashville, Memphis, or the surrounding area, you’re going to be in for a pleasant surprise. We’re going to find a tour that you’re going to love.
Tennessee is all about good food, good music, and fun people, so let’s get started.
Find a Tour In Tennessee
Finding something to do in Tennessee is almost too easy. It’s going to take you more than one trip to this state to feel like you’ve seen a satisfying amount of it. It’s equal parts beautiful, warm, entertaining, fun, and delicious. Let’s find the right tour for your Tennessee vacation.
1. Music City
Nashville has become one of the fastest growing cities in America in the last few years. It’s no secret why, either. It’s got just about everything you could hope for in a great tourist city. If you’re into country music, you can’t go wrong with a trip downtown, where you’ll find the Grand Ole Opry.
The Opry is an American institution, where anyone and everyone that’s ever picked up an acoustic guitar has performed. They still put on concerts showcasing the best country music has to offer today, so if you can get tickets to one, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable musical experience.
If you can’t get tickets to a show, that’s alright, there’s still a guided tour of the Opry, which used to be the site of one of the most popular radio shows in American history. There’s a lot to see and experience in this building, so set aside a few hours to do the tour.
When you’re done, hop over to Broadway, which is just a few minutes walk away. Broadway is also known as Nashville’s “Honky Tonk Highway”, where you’ll find some incredible (and old) music venues that serve up cold beer and hot tunes.
There’s no other place in America where you can step into some random bar and hear world-class musicians for free. Robert’s Country World, in particular, has seen a lot of talent pass through over the years.
2. History in Memphis
If country music isn’t your thing, head over to Memphis where rock n’ roll was effectively born. It’s technically the home of the blues, but Sun records was founded in Memphis by Sam Phillips in 1950.
If you don’t know who Sam Phillips is, do yourself a favor and head to Sun Records HQ, which has been converted into a museum. There, you can take a tour of the site where some of the most famous recordings from that era were cut and some of the more infamous faces in music hung out.
After you’ve gotten your fill of Sun Records, cross over the mighty Mississippi to Beale Street. This is a lively tourist spot where B.B. King, Louis Armstrong, and Muddy Waters wreaked havoc and reinvented music in the 1950s.
Beale has gone through a lot of change over the last 50 years. After going through a pretty big rough patch, many of the businesses were revitalized in the ’90s and it remains an incredible spot to take a tour and learn a bit more about Memphis’ rich musical history.
Beyond music, Memphis was an important location during the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s. Take a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum, which is built around the former Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
On a lighter note, Tennessee isn’t just known for its incredible music and historical importance. It’s also known as one of the central hubs for whiskey production in America, rivaling Kentucky’s bourbon scene.
The most famous of these whiskey distilleries is Jack Daniels. We do encourage that you take a tour of this enormous production facility, but you should consider taking in many of the smaller distilleries as well. It’s not hard to find a tour or even conduct your own tour of Tennessee’s whiskey scene.
There are no less than 20 legendary whiskey distilleries in and around Nashville and Memphis. If you’re a connoisseur of whiskey, then this is a can’t miss opportunity.
4. Incredible Food
Not only does Tennessee do whiskey as good or better than anyone, but they also have some of the best BBQ and soul food in the country. Of course, Nashville is famous for hot chicken and Memphis for their own style of BBQ, but the food scene in both of these places has blown up in the last few years.
Combining classic southern cuisine with modernity, many award-winning chefs have flocked to Nashville to open creative and delicious restaurants. You don’t have to walk very far off the beaten path to find next-level dining in Nashville. It’s become one of the coolest and most vibrant food cities in America.
Memphis doesn’t care about being cool. They know what they’re known for and they know that they do it better than anyone. They do dry and wet ribs like no other and they’ve become known for incorporating their famous BBQ into other foods like pizza, nachos, and spaghetti.
It doesn’t sound healthy, but you’re on vacation, so who cares?
5. Smoky Mountains
When you’ve gotten your fill of city life, you can take off to the Smoky Mountains. Great Smoky Mountain National Park was established in 1934 and is the most visited site in the national park system.
The park encompasses over 500,000 acres of forest, mountains, and rivers. It’s a great place to go for hikes, scenic drives, and you can visit historical attractions like old churches, cabins, and barns built by settlers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Equal parts beautiful and historic, a tour of the smoky mountains is sure to have nature and history buffs in your family gazing out the car window in awe.
Book Your Tennessee Trip Today
If you’re not jumping at the chance to go to this gorgeous, fun, and historic state now, then we don’t know what else to tell you. Fly or drive to Tennessee for your next family getaway, find a tour for everyone in the family, and sit back and enjoy the incredible scenery and wonderful weather. Why waste any more time?