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Things to do in Tennessee, USA

Things to do in  Tennessee

Welcome to Tennessee

Tennessee is a road-tripper's dream: Visitors can wind their way down from the Appalachian mountains to the rivers and corn fields below, stopping at cities spaced just far enough apart for a rest, refuel, and repeat. Along the way, nature enthusiasts will fall in love with hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, river rafting on Pigeon River, and opportunities for adventure amid the rivers and foothills of the eastern part of the state, punctuated by the cities of Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Chattanooga. Views of the blue-hued mountains from the many stopping points along the roads near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are not to be missed—or for something special, see the landscape from above by helicopter.

Top 15 attractions in Tennessee

Ryman Auditorium

Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” Ryman Auditorium helped transform Nashville into a legendary music destination. Since 1892, the venue has hosted notable stars such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, and Minnie Pearl. Today, visitors can tour the 2,362-seat auditorium, visit the museum, or catch a live show.More

Downtown Nashville

Music City’s lively downtown doesn’t disappoint. Nashville’s entertainment hub is home to a who’s who of restaurants, hotels, and cultural hot spots, including the Frist Art Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. After dark, live music takes over the bars of Honky Tonk Highway.More

Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

From Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton, Nashville's stars have earned the place its title as “Music City,” and you can dive into that history and culture at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Learn about the best of this classic American music genre with historic video clips, recorded music, and a menu of live performances and public programs.More

Grand Ole Opry House

From radio broadcast to world-renowned stage show, the Grand Ole Opry showcases genres from country and bluegrass to folk, comedy, and gospel both live and on the radio. Unlike a typical concert, the Grand Ole Opry presents six or more artists during each show, giving the audience a variety of great music at each event. Superstars who have performed here include Patsy Cline, Blake Shelton, Willie Nelson, and Carrie Underwood.More

Nashville Riverfront Park

Nashville’s Riverfront Park was built in the early 1980s on the site where the area’s first settlers founded the city back in 1780. Today the sprawling green enclave on the banks of the Cumberland River is home to several attractions, including Fort Nashborough, Bicentennial Park, and the Ascend Amphitheater.More

Sun Studio

A veritable icon of music and a Memphis landmark, Sun Studio is known as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. In fact, the very first rock single (Rocket 88) was recorded here in 1951, when it was called the Memphis Recording Service. The former recording studio’s musical heritage—made famous thanks to the superstardom of artists such as Elvis and Johnny Cash—and collection of one-of-a-kind memorabilia make it an unforgettable stop in Memphis.More


The second most-visited home in the United States (behind only the White House), Graceland was home to Elvis Presley during the height of his career. Although the rock ’n’ roll singer and pop culture icon died in the white-columned mansion in 1977 at the age of 42, touring the wacky rooms of this 17,552-square-foot (1,630-square-meter) estate offers insight into the mind of The King, who is buried in the estate's Meditation Gardens.More

Titanic Pigeon Forge

Have you ever wondered what it was like aboard the RMS Titanic? Wonder no longer. At the Titanic museum, a two-story museum built half-scale (in a pool, to create the illusion of the big ship at sea), you can take a 2-hour self-guided tour designed to give you the sensation of being an original passenger on the ship’s 1912 maiden voyage. As you enter, you’ll be given a boarding ticket. Your ticket has the name and travelling class of one of the ill-fated ship’s actual passengers, whose story you will learn as you pass through the museum.At the end of the tour in the Titanic Memorial Room you’ll have a chance to check if your boarding pass belonged to a shipwreck survivor, or to one of the less-fortunate passengers. Because more than half of the Titanic’s two-thousand-plus survivors perished, the likelihood of ‘your’ survival is fairly low. (Young children are issued boarding passes that belonged to survivors, as to not totally bum them out.) The museum, which is the largest permanent Titanic museum in the world, holds 400 pre-discovery artefacts (a.k.a. belongings that were recovered floating in the water) in twenty galleries. The personal natures of the items on display closely tie into the individual stories represented at the museum. In the interactive exhibits you’ll get a real feeling for what it might have been like as a passenger on that ship.More

Music Row

No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to Music Row. This is the home of the country music industry, with a slew of record labels, radio stations, and recording studios working side-by-side. There are also live venues on or near Music Row, to check out established artists as well as up-and-comers looking to break through.More

Beale Street

From 1920 to 1940, artists descended on Beale Street to collaborate, creating a new music style that blended smooth jazz with hard-charging rock 'n' roll. This mix eventually gave birth to the blues, a new and distinctly American genre of music that gradually made its way into the United States' pop culture mainstream. A visit to today's Beale Street, now a U.S. National Historic Landmark District, allows travelers to check out the blues clubs that served as the launching sites for some of the most famous American blues musicians of all time.More

Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion offers Nashville visitors the chance to experience an antebellum-era home, complete with antique furnishings and period details. Uncover Belmont’s history and learn about its owner, Adelicia Acklen—one of the wealthiest and most successful women in 19th-century Tennessee.More

Tennessee State Capitol

The Tennessee State Capitol stands tall on Nashville’s highest hill as a symbol of its time, virtually unchanged since its construction in 1859. The structure is the masterpiece of notable architect William Strickland, who passed away during construction and was laid to rest in the building. The National Historic Landmark was built in Greek Revival style and is one of few state capitols without a dome. It was modeled after an Ionic Greek temple. Though classic in design, at the time it was considered innovative in construction.The capitol building is beautiful to see and historic to visit, with statues of many important political figures as well as the graves of President James K. Polk and his wife. Its walls are lined with beautiful murals, frescoes, and paintings, while its halls are lit by ornate chandeliers. It is still in use by the Tennessee state government today. It is the oldest operating state capitol in the country.More

Peabody Hotel Ducks

Peabody Hotel has some unique permanent guests in the famous "Peabody Ducks," who live on the hotel’s rooftop and perform a march toward the Grand Lobby twice daily. The tradition dates to 1933 when the general manager returned from a hunting trip and placed several live duck decoys in the hotel’s fountain. The guests’ positive response prompted their stay.More

Johnny Cash Museum

Despite its small size, the Johnny Cash Museum manages to hold one of the world’s largest collections of Johnny Cash artifacts. Bill Miller, one of Cash’s closest friends, gathered and cataloged the country music superstar’s memorabilia for decades, resulting in this popular Nashville attraction and Cash-fan pilgrimage site.More

National Civil Rights Museum

Built around the former Lorraine Motel—where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968—the National Civil Rights Museum immediately conveys its cultural and historical significance to all who visit. Exhibits chronicle some of the most important episodes of the Civil Rights Movement, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Little Rock Nine, Montgomery Bus Boycotts, and the famous sit-ins of the 1960s.More
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Top activities in Tennessee

Nashville’s Biggest and Wildest Party Tractor Tour (Ages 21+)
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Grand Ole Opry Show Admission Ticket in Nashville
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General Jackson Showboat Lunch or Dinner Cruise in Nashville
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Nashville Evening Trolley Tour
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Nashville Evening Trolley Tour

Nashville Food Tasting Tour with Secret Food Tours
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Nashville's #1 All-Inclusive Pub Crawl with Moonshine, Cocktails, and Craft Beer
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2-Hour Nashville Brewery & Distillery Tour by Golf Cart
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All about Tennessee

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People Also Ask

What is the number 1 attraction in Tennessee?

Nashville’s music heritage is on display at Ryman Auditorium, known as the mother church of country music and Tennessee’s number one attraction. Since 1892 the legendary venue has seen performers including Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, and Elvis, and visitors come to catch a live show or tour the music-themed exhibits.

Is there anything fun to do in Tennessee?

Yes, there’s lots to do in Tennessee. Country tunes play in Nashville honky-tonks, while Graceland and Dollywood are must-sees for music buffs. Nature plays a starring role, too, from the Great Smoky Mountains to outdoorsy Chattanooga. The history-rich Natchez Trace Parkway is a top US road trip.

What is the prettiest place in Tennessee?

Beautiful places abound in Tennessee, but gentle peaks and endless views make Great Smoky Mountains National Park the state’s highlight. It’s among Tennessee’s top attractions and also the most-visited US national park. Trails, cycling, and campgrounds are abundant in a forested landscape straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

What do people do on vacation in Tennessee?

Tennessee vacations range from Great Smoky Mountains hiking to exploring Nashville’s music scene. Other top vacation ideas in Tennessee include visits to Dollywood and Graceland or touring Civil Rights-era landmarks in Memphis. History buffs can drive the Natchez Trace Parkway past Civil War sites and ancient American Indian mounds.

What is Tennessee most famous for?

Tennessee is famous as the home of country music. In Nashville, also known as Music City, budding musicians still vie for stardom in downtown honky-tonks while top performers play historic Ryman Auditorium. Musical heritage, meanwhile, is preserved at the Country Music Hall of Fame and the memorabilia-packed Johnny Cash Museum.

Is it worth visiting Tennessee?

Yes, it’s worth visiting Tennessee. Nashville and Memphis are top US destinations for music lovers, while more outdoorsy types head for rolling peaks and trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Road-tripping the rest of the state, visitors encounter Civil Rights-era landmarks, blues bars, theme parks, and classic roadside attractions.


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