20 Best Things to Do in Bristol, TN (2022)

Bristol, TN
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Bristol is a small but very tourist-friendly city in Tennessee's Sullivan County.

It also has a twin city in Virginia that goes by the same name.

Even though it isn't very big, there are plenty of things that you can enjoy in this lively city.

Bristol has a lot of adventurous and beautiful places to visit.

It's incredibly famous for its motorsports facilities, which are considered to be the biggest in the entire country.

The city also has majestic mountains, beautiful hills, and some of the most indescribable beautiful locations.

In addition, Bristol is surrounded by beautiful views and natural gifts, making it a perfect destination for hiking and camping.

Here are the best things to do in Bristol, Texas:

Watch a Heart-Pumping Race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Car race in Bristol Motor Speedway
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Famously known as Bristol International Raceway in the past, Bristol Motor Speedway was constructed in the year 1960.

It is located in the Northeast Tennessee area and is a very famous short track that's also known as the "Last Great Colosseum."

Its nickname comes from its Roman-inspired architecture and unbelievable race car battles.

Exterior of Bristol Motor Speedway
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This vast speedway is one of the most famous racing venues around the world and can accommodate more than 150,000 spectators at one time.

Besides this speedway, the city also has a drag strip that is used for Thunder Valley Nationals, an annual racing event.

The entire attraction boasts beautiful scenery and is located amid a very lush green setting.

Aerial view of Bristol Motor Speedway's interior
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Enjoy the Many Facilities at Steele Creek Park

Rock formation on the grounds of Steele Creek Park
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Opened to the general public in the year 1964, Steele Creek Park is one of the most beautiful as well as the largest municipal parks in Bristol and all of Tennessee.

The park spans a whopping 2,000 acres.

Within its property, there is a 52-acre lake, multiple golf courses, night shelters, and a nature center.

The night shelters can be rented for private stays and events, while the visitors can use the golf course to spend some time indulging in the leisurely game of golf.

There is also a lodge that accommodates a party room, 20 picnic tables, a conference room, and a kitchen, which makes it ideal for any family vacation.

In addition, you'll find multiple exercise trails and grounds, soccer goals, as well as some swings that can be enjoyed by children.

On top of all that, the park has a replica of a real steam engine that is known as the Steele Creek Express.

With its multiple facilities, additional rental service, and splash pad, this park is ideal for a visit at any time of the year.

The place is definitely worth visiting and spending some worry-free time with yourself, your friends, and your family.

Admire the Views at South Holston Dam

Daytime view of South Holston Dam
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South Holston Dam was built in the year 1940 over the South Fork Holston River.

At that time, a total of three dams were built on the river, and this was one of them.

The dam was constructed with the main objective of controlling floods and the generation of hydroelectricity.

At present, the dam has a footbridge that leads to a long loop of wildlife trails along with Osceola Island.

View from the top of South Holston Dam
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The dam surrounds South Holston Lake, which makes this place quite popular among fishermen.

South Holston Lake is also famous as a fly fisherman's paradise.

The lake is perfect for enjoying some adventures like fishing, boating, water skiing, and observing nature in its natural setting.

The views are magnificent and definitely make this place worth visiting.

A bench overlooking the South Holston Dam
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Take a Walk Down Memory Lane at the Ernie Ford House

The Ernie Ford House is a beautiful small clapboard house of historical eminence in Bristol, Tennessee.

Bristol is the birthplace of famous entertainer and musician Ernie Ford.

This house represented the struggles he went through at the beginning of his career.

The residence has been restored and presently houses various artifacts that exhibit his struggles and his life as an artist.

The Ernie Ford House is quite calm and is located in a very serene place that gives very tranquil vibes to all the visitors.

It is an ideal attraction to visit for music lovers and fans of Ernie Ford.

Catch a Movie at the Twin-City Drive-In Theatre

For all the lovers of movies, the Twin-city Drive-In Theatre is an excellent spot to add to your Bristol itinerary.

The drive-in theater allows visitors to enjoy their favorite movies under an open sky.

You can also enjoy beverages and snacks at discounted prices while enjoying with your family or friends.

Book Tickets to a Live Performance at the Paramount Center for the Arts

Marquee of Paramount Center for the Arts
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The Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol was built in the late 1930s.

It is a multi-use performing arts center located right in the heart of Bristol.

The center is famous for organizing various events in the field of music, dance, film, theater, family entertainment, and comedy.

It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts a lavish and vintage interior design.

The theater is operated by a non-profit organization that charges little to no fees for all these entertaining shows.

It welcomes various artists from around the world, including a number who've received prestigious awards.

The Paramount Center for the Arts is also a great place to enjoy local art and music.

It is definitely worth checking out, and the events are fun.

To make the most out of your visit, make sure to check the events calendar in case you get a chance to see your favorite artists perform here.

Attend the Annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

The famous and award-winning Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival first took place in the year 2001 as a tribute to the city's legacy of country music.

The festival, which takes place every September, celebrates its various artists, upcoming acts, and diverse headliners.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is a festival where you can expect to watch some really great and unadulterated live country music shows.

The festival has 16 different stages and welcomes more than 100 artists from around the globe.

It is held in Bristol's bustling downtown area, which makes it very easy to grab some food as well as other necessary items while enjoying the festival.

If you visit the city in September, this festival is definitely an event you should consider attending to make the best memories during your trip to Bristol.

Shop for Fresh, Locally Sourced Produce at State Street Farmer's Market

State Street Farmer's Market was opened for the first time in the year 1999.

This market is supported with the help of government agencies of Bristol in Tennessee, Sullivan County in Tennessee, Bristol in Virginia, and Washington County in Virginia.

State Street Farmer's Market is an event where all the local vendors and farmers come together to display and sell their produce.

The market is open seasonally from May to October.

It is ideal not only for grabbing some freshly produced farm items but also for enjoying various festivals and events.

Events such as the National Farmers Market Week, Tomato Fest, Corn Fest, and Pumpkin Palooza are organized in this market.

These festivities are perfect for enjoying and understanding the city's agricultural setting.

The events are always very lively and offer a lot of exposure to the locals.

Experience the Best of Bristol's Bustling Downtown Area

Sunset over Downtown Bristol
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Bristol is believed to be the place where country music was birthed.

The downtown area is a vibrant place that celebrates this form of music and everything that the city has.

This part of the city came to be in the early 2000s and has grown tremendously in importance as well as infrastructure since then.

Many buildings have been renovated, some new installed, and others diversified since the inception of this area.

Marquee of theatre bristol artspace at Downtown Bristol
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At present, downtown is home to more than 20 businesses, which include various restaurants, nightclubs, antique stores, and a few specialty shops.

If you are looking for a mix of classic Bristol and the fancy vibe of the city, downtown is the place you should go.

The place attracts a lot of visitors due to its urban setting, beautiful shops, and unique restaurants.

Downtown Bristol is also famous as a venue for major entertainment events as well as music festivals that take place all throughout the year.

The place is quite lively and worth visiting.

Exterior of a restaurant at Downtown Bristol
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Explore the Mesmerizing Bristol Caverns

Bristol is a great place to visit for all those people who are interested in exploring underground caverns.

Bristol Caverns is located far below the surface of the earth and is one of the city's most majestic attractions.

Every time a person visits the caverns, they can rest assured they'll be having a very exciting yet strange experience.

Most of these chambers are paved, well-lit, and vaulted along the banks of an ancient underground river.

Some of these caverns are as old as 200 to 400 million years, while others were formed about 50 to 100 million years ago.

Most of the formations are a combination of different colors like red, blue, grey, brown, and white.

These colors have been brought about by the mineral content of the rocks.

The caverns are not uniform in shape, and some are huge while the others are very tiny.

You can experience the artistic mastery of nature as you admire the caverns from their floors to their ceilings.

These are definitely worth checking out for a unique and one-of-a-kind experience in Bristol.

Catch a Glimpse of the Famous Country Music Mural

The Country Music Mural is a creative and colorful art piece located in Bristol's Downtown Center.

This famous mural honors the legacy of the Bristol Sessions.

It is believed that these sessions, which occurred in 1927, were the actual reason behind the development of country music in the world.

The mural is inspired by those sessions and represents some artists and their musical instruments.

This work of art is extremely beautiful and exquisite.

It is well-preserved and maintained by the locals and authorities of the city alike.

While enjoying the murals, you can also enjoy various surrounding attractions such as the market and racing events.

You can also enjoy jam concert series near these murals.

Watch a Brilliant Comedy Show at Blue Ridge Comedy Club

Comedy and laughter have been seen to be the best medicine for any mood.

Blue Ridge Comedy Club is Shawn Carter's passion project—one that came about after spending time in the Tri-Cities scouting for a location for his club.

Shawn has spent the last decade living in Boston, Massachusetts and producing comedy shows for his local community.

He found his calling in creating opportunities for people who never thought they would be able to perform live on stage.

Blue Ridge Comedy Club is a fun spot to take friends and family for a good laugh.

On Wednesdays, you can enjoy the open mic and be amazed at the talent the comedians have to offer.

Alternatively, if you'd like to play a fun game, you can come on a Tuesday and get in on some of their competitive games.

If you're interested in trying your own hand at standup comedy, stop by Thursday's Last Comic Standing.

Finally, if you just want to come to hang out with your best buds on Friday or Saturday night and see some comedy acts that'll make you howl, then Blue Ridge has got something for you, too.

Hang Out in Whitetop Creek Park

The design work of Whitetop Creek Park started in 1993 by those supporting its creation.

With the help of several state grants and generous community sponsorship, the public got to enjoy this park's fantastic activities by 2001.

Along Highway 394 and just past the Bristol Dragway, this delightful 55.8-acre park was primarily used for softball and soccer.

Whitetop Creek Park boasts an abundance of amenities that make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

Visitors can enjoy fishing at the 1.5-acre pond, as well as walking or jogging along the one-mile trail.

If you like sports, Whitetop has plenty of opportunities for you to get your sports fixed thanks to its six soccer fields, four softball fields, four-sided score tower, basketball court, and a multi-purpose field.

These features, coupled with a pavilion with restrooms, playgrounds for kids, and concessions, make Whitetop one of the best parks in Bristol.

Experience the Craziest Sixty Minutes of Your Life with Tri-Cities Escape Game

An adrenaline rush lasts a minute; try something that lasts an hour.

Tri-Cities Escape Game runs real-life escape games that are unlike any you've ever experienced before.

They pride themselves on creating an environment that is entertaining and welcoming for everyone.

You and your friends can spend an hour solving puzzles, searching for clues, and ducking out of sight to escape from impending doom—just like you're in your own real-life video game.

With a myriad of different game styles to choose from, there will always be something for everyone to enjoy.

Tri-Cities Escape Game opens its doors at 642 State Street, across from popular hotspot The State Line Bar & Grille.

You'll have an hour to spend trying to solve a series of puzzles and working as a team to make your way out of the escape game.

Final Thoughts

There's no denying you'll want to relish the opportunity of having a real good time in Bristol.

What sights await you in this city?

Beautiful parks, stunning natural attractions, and theaters hosting captivating performances—and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It's necessary to start planning your vacation because the best times always seem to come during travel.

Use this list of things to do in Bristol, Tennessee as your guide to enjoying the best of what the city has to offer.

Don't forget to include your loved ones and family members in this plan, as they will definitely appreciate it.

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