Bristol is a unique city. Situated on the border of Tennessee and Virginia, the town is quite literally divided between the two states.
This charming town, nestled in the Appalachian mountains, may be the perfect place for your next getaway. So here’s our guide for a perfect weekend in Bristol, TN/VA.
Start your trip on the TN side by visiting Bristol’s caverns. These majestic caverns are said to have formed millions of years ago. Tours are led every twenty minutes, and you can have a picnic lunch on the grounds before you go in. There’s even an underground river!
After your adventure underground, head to Paramount Theater/Paramount Center For The Arts to catch a performance. Originally opened in 1931, this theater was renovated in 1991 to reflect the Art Deco style. The theater also houses a breathtaking Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. Paramount doesn’t limit itself to theater, but features concerts as well. There’s also a rumor that it’s haunted!
If the performing arts isn’t your style, try visiting Tri-Cities Escape Game for more fast-paced entertainment! Finally, settle down for a bite to eat at Machiavelli’s, a local Italian pizzeria.
Bristol is a city that prides itself on being the “Birthplace Of Country Music”, and you can certainly find some amazing destinations if you’re a music lover. Stop by the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and hear the amazing story of how the Carter family, Jimmie Rogers, the Stoneman family, and 19 other artists made their start in a makeshift studio right in this very town. Their recordings are so influential not only to other artists, but it led to Congress recognizing Bristol as the official Birthplace of Country Music.
After visiting the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, take a stroll through historic downtown. There are many shops, restaurants, art displays, and even a theater for you to enjoy. You’ll also be able to walk right over the border from one state into the other. If you’re traveling with children, be sure to check out the “Caterpillar Crawl”, a permanent scavenger hunt downtown.
Be sure to visit the Bristol Slogan sign before you leave downtown. This historic electric sign celebrated its 100th year in 2010.
While Bristol may be the Birthplace Of Country Music, there is another thing the town is known for; NASCAR! Kick back and relax Saturday evening at the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway. There’s even a dragstrip for an annual NHRA series.
If you’re planning a fall trip, be sure to visit the third weekend in September for Bristol’s annual “Rhythm and Roots” festival. This is an award-winning festival with 20 stages and over 100 artists, celebrating a variety of music from bluegrass to soul. There’s also a 5k, children’s events, a chili cook-off, and many more activities that make this a must-see.
As with most small towns, you’ll find that businesses and attractions have restricted hours on Sunday. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty to do! Take this time to enjoy one of the many beautiful parks in the area.
Cumberland Square Park is one of the many parks you should definitely visit in your time at Bristol. This park has a war memorial, music pavilion, playground and children’s theater.
Creation Kingdom Zoo and breeding facility is a privately owned zoo that specializes in caring for and rehabilitating rare animals. They’re one of the few privately owned zoos who are a member of the Species Survival Programs. This zoo has many rare animals on exhibition currently, and has Sunday hours.
End your trip by visiting the outlet mall and seeing a movie! Grab dinner at one of the dozens of restaurants near the outlets. If you choose a restaurant with outdoor dining, chances are you’ll have a breathtaking view of the mountain range.
There are so many sights to see in Bristol, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one weekend!
So once you’ve visited the Birthplace Of Country Music, you’ll definitely be coming back for more!
(h/t Proud American Traveler)