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Tennessee Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Tennessee

7.3 /10
If you visit Graceland, it's obvious that you are a fan of the legendary singer, Elvis Presley. This is one of America's second most highly visited private homes, second only after the White House that attracts over 60,000 visitors each year.

This white-pillared mansion called Graceland is built in Georgian Colonial style on a 13-acre property and is situated in Memphis, Tennessee. Each year, hundreds of people from different corners of the world come here to see their hero's private sanctuary.

How did the name come about? During the American Civil War, the publisher of a newspaper in Memphis was S.E. Toof who owned a 500-acre farm called Graceland after his daughter, Grace... read more arrow
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In 1841, an American entrepreneur and developer Robertson Topp in Memphis, Tennessee, named Beale Street after a military hero. However, its original name wasn't Beale Street but Beale Avenue. At the time, its western end shops of merchants who traded along the Mississippi River, and on its eastern end lived the rich and famous. As time passed, several black musicians performed on this street, of whom the first was the Young Men's Brass Band.

Yellow fever struck here in the 1870s, forcing the city to let go of its charter in 1879. At the time, Robert Church bought land surrounding Beale Street after which he became the first black millionaire from the south of America. Finally in 1890, it was renovated with the construction of the Grand Opera House or Orpheum... read more arrow
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In downtown Memphis, at 450, Mulberry Street is situated the National Civil Rights Museum around which history abounds. In fact, no American can shrug it off because of the deep sentiments attached to it. For it was on the balcony of Lorraine Motel where the American civil rights activist and leader Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Today, this is the site of this museum which is constructed in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, around the former Lorraine Motel.

Lorraine Motel saved: Following King's assassination in 1968, this motel continued to stay open but was finally foreclosed in 1982. It was bought by the The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation. The museum was constructed in 1987, and it was finally open to the public in 1991... read more arrow
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On the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, you're sure to come across the Pyramid Arena—a 20,142-seat arena. Built in 1991 in the shape of a stainless steel pyramid, the original owners were the city of Memphis and Shelby County. Its unique structure is a throwback to the original in Egypt with which it shares its name.

Specifications: It is 98 meters tall and its base sides measure 591 feet. It has 32 stories and is the world's sixth largest pyramid, after the one at Giza, Egypt. In height, it is 16 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Its official name is "The Great American Pyramid." This structure is a replica to the tune of 60 percent of the Great Pyramid of Egypt and is one of the world's largest pyramids... read more arrow
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When looking for something interesting to do in Memphis, Tennessee, go to the Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium – it's a fascinating science and history museum. Originally built in 1923, it was the home of Clarence Saunders, who founded the Piggly Wiggly grocery stores. The house was later donated to Memphis in March 1930 and was called the Memphis Museum of Natural History and Industrial arts.

When visitors spend the day at this Museum and Planetarium, there are several sites to visit as well as activities to do, such as:

1. The Pink Palace Mansion has some of the original exhibits from the 1930s that include dolls, historical uniforms, Civil War memorabilia, birds, and stuffed animals.

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For travelers appreciating the outdoors, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides challenging hikes, and incredible scenery. There is an abundance of activities that are available to visitors that can keep even the most difficult children and teenagers interested and excited. The Great Smoky Mountains are a spectacular mountain range running along the eastern border of Tennessee, and are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains.

With an abundance of things to do in this National Park, the most difficult challenge is deciding what's next. Some activities include:

1. Camping – there are many campsites around the park providing a great base for a backpacking adventure, day hike on any of the 800 miles of trails, or a place to just view the panoramic vistas available from every direction... read more arrow
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Dolly Parton is an American icon, and her theme park, Dollywood in eastern Tennessee, is about 35 miles from Knoxville at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain. There is so much to do that it will take some planning to decide what to do each day. With affordable vacation packages, seasonal passes, group rates, and day passes, there is a great package for everyone.

Dollywood is a theme park that has an amazing variety of activities that family members of all ages will enjoy, including:

1. The Amusement Park has a wide assortment of rides including some breathtaking roller coasters, adventurous water rides, kiddie rides, and many more.

2. Adventure Mountain, which opens in 2010 is a two-acre multi-level area that contains over 100 challenging obstacles for the adventurous travelers to navigate, such as suspension bridges, flying islands, swinging beams, and so much more... read more arrow
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For those who truly love country music, the CMA Music Festival is absolute heaven! This four day music event occurs each year in June, in Nashville, Tennessee, and is hosted by the Country Music Association. This great festival started in 1972 and has grown exponentially to over 400 artists and celebrities now participating. People have come from all over the world to attend the festival.

Since there are numerous performances during the event, a variety of stages have been built and there are many activities going on each day, such as:

1. Choose from over 150 hours of concerts that are performed at Riverfront Park and LP field, and the Nashville Convention Center.

2. For those wanting an autograph of one of the celebrities, there are up to 30 hours of autograph sessions where visitors can meet their favorite performers and get their pictures taken with them... read more arrow
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The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art was founded in 1916 and is clearly the oldest art museum in Tennessee, and the original building is a national landmark in America. This is a great place to spend a day and visit the galleries, and participate in the various activities that are available each month. Both traveling exhibits and permanent collections are found in this exceptional museum.

There are several activities that visitors to the Museum of Art can see and participate in, such as:

1. Visit the permanent collection housed in the museum that includes Italian Renaissance, Baroque, French Impressionist, British artists and a variety of 20th century artists, including the Kress Collection.

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Talk about one of the most interesting waterfalls in the world, Ruby Falls in underground in a cave that was formed around 240 million years ago during the Carboniferous era, towards the end of the Paleozoic period. The Ruby Falls Cave is a limestone cave that is part of the Lookout Mountain Caverns. For the spelunker enthusiasts, this is a truly fantastic cave to visit.

For those outdoorsy travelers, Ruby Falls is in a beautiful area of eastern Tennessee, year round, there are numerous activities here, including:

1. Join the Lantern Tour with just a handful of other guest to tour the caverns guided only by the lights for the lanterns that guests carry. This tour is available year around.

2. For novice and seasoned photographers, Foto at the Falls is a tour designed for the camera bugs in the crowd... read more arrow
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The Tennessee Aquarium, near Chattanooga, is housed in a remarkable building and boasts the largest freshwater aquarium in the world. The River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings provide a fantastic home to over 12,000 animals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and so much more. This is an amazing facility to spend a day or two, and provides an array of fun and information to visitors.

There is so much to see and do at the Tennessee Aquarium, and include such sites and activities as:

1. Visit the Aquarium – the largest and highest-rated in the US, as well as one of the top ten tourist attractions in the country. See an amazing variety of sharks, stingrays, weedy seadragons, seahorses, and of course a huge collection of different species of fish... read more arrow
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The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Nashville, Tennessee and functions as a museum of musical history as well and an international arts venue. The Hall of Fame was created in 1961 when the Country Music Association announced the first three members to their hall of fame, including Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams, and the museum opened in 1967.

With the combination of the Music Hall of Fame and Museum, there are many activities for visitors to enjoy.

1. The Museum opened a brand new facility in 2001 accommodating a fabulous collection illustrating the 200 year history of country music. There are remarkable videos and recordings that visitors can watch and enjoy.

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The Centennial Park and Parthenon Replica is located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, and is a 132-acre urban park. In 1897, the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition created a full-scale model of the Athenian Parthenon that remained when it closed. This park was originally farmland belonging to Anne Robertson Johnson Cockrill, the first teacher in Tennessee. The land became fair grounds after the Civil War.

This Centennial Park and Parthenon Replica is a beautiful park with many activities that visitors will enjoy returning many times. There are numerous walking trails, picnic areas, and home to many different events year around. Areas of interest include:

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Tennessee is certainly home to country music and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is no exception. This is a four to five day festival that has been held on a 700 acre farm near Manchester, Tennessee since 2002. This festival features an amazing array of live music that includes country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, jazz, and many more varieties that musicians and visitors alike enjoy.

This very popular Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has numerous activities that various members of the family can enjoy, including:

1. There are numerous stages set up around the 700 acres for the musicians and the various singers to perform.

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The Ryman Auditorium was known as the Grand Old Opry House, which originally was the home to the Union Gospel Tabernacle, and later home to the famous Grand Ole Opry. It was built in 1892 by Thomas Ryman to hold revival meetings, and where Sam Jones, a celebrated revivalist, entertained visitors with his amazing wit and great story-telling. This building is considered a national landmark.

There are still many events that occur at the Ryman Auditorium that visitors can enjoy year around, such as:

1. This venue is home to numerous musical performances throughout the year that includes country, western, bluegrass, jazz, and many other varieties of music.

2. The auditorium also houses a number of charitable performances throughout the year in which the proceeds are raised to benefit a wide variety of charities... read more arrow
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Children and adults of all ages will enjoy the Nashville Zoo. This zoo houses animals from all over the world and regardless of whether the interest lies in birds, mammals, fish, or reptiles, this wonderful zoo can accommodate every enthusiast. The have a wide variety of habitats and many projects and activities that children and adults alike can participate in and enjoy throughout the year.

With all the animals and activities available in the Nashville Zoo, the hardest part is deciding what to do next.

1. There are a wide variety of habitats that all guests will want to visit, such as Gibbon Islands providing a great view of the zoo's primates in native settings... read more arrow
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Need something to do during of May? Try the Memphis in May Festival. This is a month long celebration highlighting the music of the area, featuring fabulous food that everyone will enjoy, and providing special events that are sure to excite all visitors to the area. Its illustrious history dates back to the 1800s when African American musicians would gather around Beale Street to perform.

With so much to choose from, this festival has numerous activities to offer, such as:

1. The Beale Street Music Festival kicks off the event with three days of music in the Tom Lee Park. This event finds musicians of every venue playing their favorite music for the crowds... read more arrow
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Sam Phillips started Elvis, B.B. King, and many other greats at the most famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It was originally named the Memphis Recording Studio, sharing the same building with Sun Records – quite convenient for everyone. The birthplace of rock and roll began in 1951 with Jackie Brenston and The Delta Cats. Many a songwriter and musician entered these doors and passed into fame.

A visit to the famous Sun Studios is a walk though time and a visit into history. The interesting things to see and do here include:

1. Take a tour of the most famous recording studio in the world... read more arrow
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A really fun place to spend the day is Mud Island – and no, it's not a great place to take a mud bath – in fact it's not even an island, it's a peninsula jutting into the Mississippi River. Opened in 1982, soon became home to restaurants, an amphitheater, a museum, a monorail, and several other attractions that entice guests to linger and enjoy the place.

There are a variety of activities to do in and around Mud Island, with such things as:

1. Harbor Town which is on the northern side and includes the Mississippi River Trail with beautifully manicured jogging trails and sitting areas overlooking the might Mississippi.

2. The Mississippi River Park is a great place to spend the day with available activities such as bicycle trails, paddle boats, rafts, or even just sit on the beach and relax... read more arrow
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The Memphis Zoo is a delightful zoo that is home to more than 3500 animals from around the world. It was built in 1906 as part of Overton Park, and sets on 76 acres. It began with 23 simple cages and a row of concrete dens for the bears, expanding over the years by adding an elephant house, a primate habitat, aquarium, and much more.

There are four zones in the Memphis Zoo that visitors can spend a day or two roaming through, such as:

1. The African Veldt is a large, grassy area featuring the large animals from Africa, such as giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and even ostriches and antelopes.

2. The Butterfly garden contains a wide variety of plants that the butterflies love to land on, and some of the most beautiful butterflies in the world... read more arrow
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Rock City is quite the spectacular roadside attraction on Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Described as a "citadel of rocks" on top of a mountain – the sightseers and visitors are stunned at the enormous size of the boulders and how they are "arranged". During a Civil War battle both sides claimed that seven states could be seen from the lookout of the Rock City summit.

As proclaimed on nearly 900 barns leading into the site, Rock City is a picturesque area that travelers need to see, and providing a variety of activities, such as:

1. The gardens wind along a complex trail with a multitude of strange rock formations, trees, and a huge variety of local plants... read more arrow
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For those who have never witnessed a truss bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge is an amazing sight. It spans the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, and was built in 1890. The top chord of this bridge is designed in five sections, which is similar to the Camelback design. This is a significantly historical bridge because it is spans a half-mile and is about 120 years old.

This Walnut Street Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, and provides the visitors and residents with a myriad of activities, including:

1. The view from this bridge over the Tennessee River is truly a spectacular sight. It's a great area for a stroll, or birthday party, or other special event... read more arrow
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Chattanooga offers such a variety of activities and the Bluff View Art District is a paradise for visitors who love the arts. This is set in a historically preserved neighborhood where visitors can find art galleries, gardens, restaurants, beautiful plazas and courtyards, and just a host of activities to refresh and rejuvenate the spirit. This art district is set atop stone cliffs affording an incredible view.

Visitors to this Bluff View Art District will find not only breathtaking views, but an assortment of things to do to fill up the day, such as:

1. The River Gallery is home to a variety of paintings by local and national artists, and many of them are present to give lectures or demonstrations each week... read more arrow
5.2 /10
Named after the famous 1941 song, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is an amazing hotel housed in a historic landmark – the famous Chattanooga train station. The building is beautiful and charming, and contains some of the original artifacts from the original 1908 train station; although it has been wonderfully restored. With Victoria style train cars for the guest rooms, this is has an intriguing allure.

For visitors staying at the hotel, there are some remarkable things to see and do here.

1. With old world glamour and charm, individual guest rooms are the railroad cars that are wonderful for a romantic getaway.

2. For those guests with larger families, the hotel has standard hotel rooms equipped with high speed internet connections, and queen or king sized beds... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Tennessee sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Tennessee by visiting the individual Tennessee attraction pages.