Tennessee has a wide range of attractions that cater to all sorts of interests. From zoos to museums, there’s something for everyone.
This state is also home to a number of historical attractions that educate visitors about the rich history of Tennessee and the country as a whole. We’ve rounded up the 8 best places to visit in Tennessee that you can’t miss!
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Sun Studio is a music venue in Memphis that’s known as the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s also the place where many music legends began their careers including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
If you’re a fan of the music that came from this famous studio then you should definitely visit it during your stay in Tennessee. You can take a tour of the facility and see all of the priceless memorabilia from these legendary artists.
The studio is a National Historic Landmark and is located in downtown Memphis. It is open to the public throughout the day and tours are given by a knowledgeable guide.
A guided tour of Sun Studio is an unforgettable experience and the perfect addition to any trip to Memphis. With the help of your guide you will be able to re-live the beat, soul and attitude of the music that made this place famous.
You will be able to touch the microphone that once held the voice of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and you will be able to re-live all of the musical magic that took place here. You will also be able to purchase some great merchandise in the gift shop and you will receive a voucher to use in the cafe.
A national historic landmark and the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium is a must-visit for anyone who loves music. With a hall that’s been praised for its excellent acoustics and performances by some of the most popular artists of all time, this iconic performance space is an American treasure.
Take a tour of the building and enjoy a concert in one of its legendary stages. Or check out its museum for photographs and memorabilia of famous performers.
Guests can also see the dressing rooms of Minnie Pearl and Hank Williams. There’s even a chance to record their own music in the in-house studio.
The Ryman Auditorium is open for guided and self-guided tours daily. Its acoustics are world-famous and have remained unharmed in both the 2010 Tennessee floods and the 2020 Nashville bombing.
3.Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is an artifact-rich museum in Nashville, Tennessee, that protects over 2.5 million artifacts and features two floors of gallery space. Visitors follow the evolution of country music as an American art form within the context of history, and learn about the genre’s cultural impact.
Country music fans will be delighted by the collection of musical instruments, stage costumes and memorabilia at this landmark attraction. Originally opened on Music Row in 1967, the museum relocated to its current downtown location in 2001.
In 2014, the Hall of Fame and Museum expanded to accommodate additional exhibition galleries, archival storage and event space. This new facility now has a total of 350,000 square feet of gallery, event, retail and archive space.
Founded in 1964, the Hall of Fame and Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, educational organization. Its mission is to collect, preserve and interpret the art of country music for education and entertainment of diverse audiences. The Museum also operates Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print, one of the nation’s oldest letterpress print shops.
Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dollywood is one of the top attractions in the state. It is well known for its thrilling theme park rides, country and bluegrass concerts and tributes to Dolly Parton.
Dollywood is an award-winning, family-friendly theme park with a lot of things to do for everyone. Not only does it feature a range of exciting rides, but it also features the best in Southern Gospel music and traditional crafts.
Another fun place to visit at Dollywood is Wildwood Grove, a kids’ area with lots of things to do that is perfect for families. Here you can ride a ferris wheel, spin teacups, and more!
You’ll find plenty of water rides at Dollywood as well. It is a great place to cool off in the summer.
You’ll also want to check out the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame. This is a great place to learn about the pioneers of the genre, from The Rambos to Bill Gaither. You can also catch some great performances by local artists.
5.Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery
The Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery is one of the best places to visit in Tennessee. It is a 30-acre property that can be used for weddings and other special events. Its versatile indoor and outdoor spaces can accommodate up to 200 guests.
The estate started out as a log cabin in 1807 and grew to become one of the largest private estates in Nashville covering over 5400 acres (200 ha). Today, the property features a Mansion, a Visitors’ Center, a Winery, and 10 outbuildings.
There are two tours offered: the Mansion Tour and the Journey to Jubilee Tour. The Mansion Tour tells a century of Belle Meade’s history through the experiences of the Harding and Jackson families as well as the women, men, and children who labored here.
The plantation also offers an hourlong Journey to Jubilee Tour that tells the stories of enslaved African-Americans at Belle Meade from 1807 through the years following Emancipation. The guide uses primary sources to bring the enslaved people’s lives to life.
6.Titanic Museum Attraction.
If you’re a history buff, the Titanic Museum Attraction is the place to be. It’s a half-scale replica of the ill-fated ship and has all kinds of interesting displays.
It’s also an excellent place to take your kids. The exhibits are fun and interactive, so everyone will learn something new!
Each guest is given a ticket with the name of an actual passenger or crew member from the Titanic. Throughout the self-guided tour, you’ll hear stories about their life, learn about their voyage and honor their memories.
The experience is a little emotional, but it’s also kid-friendly. There’s a dedicated exhibit to the children of the Titanic and you can see what it would have been like to be on board this storied ship.
Visitors can walk the Grand Staircase, touch a real iceberg and try to stand on sloping decks, all while surrounded by over 400 personal artifacts from the Titanic’s passengers. Many of these items are on display for the first time in the world. This collection is valued at more than four and a half million dollars!
7.National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum is a fantastic place to learn about the history of civil rights in Tennessee. Located in the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated, this museum pays tribute to MLK and other famous figures in the civil rights movement.
The museum has several interactive displays that put seminal events in the movement into context. The main focus of the museum is on MLK and his role in the struggle for equality.
There are also a few displays about the Nashville sit-ins, where African-Americans protested racial segregation in downtown lunch counters. These were some of the first nonviolent acts of direct action in the 1960s.
This is a very well-done museum and I enjoyed it very much. The staff was very friendly and helpful.
The National Civil Rights Museum is a very interesting place to visit and one that should be a must on any tourist’s list. I recommend a two- to three-hour tour to really get the most out of it.
8.Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Located in downtown Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of the most popular attractions in the area. It is a fun-filled family experience and has been voted the #1 aquarium in America by TripAdvisor.
As a result, it’s always a good idea to plan to visit the aquarium during non-peak times. Visiting during peak times can be quite a bit more stressful for parents and couples, who may end up feeling like they’ve been trapped in an elevator all day.
The aquarium features a variety of exhibits including the tropical rainforest, shark lagoon, gallery of the seas, discovery center and more. There are also shows that kids and adults can attend.
One of the most popular exhibits is the Shark Lagoon, where guests have the opportunity to interact with 12-foot sharks and watch them swim through an underwater tunnel. They can also get up close to a giant sea turtle, sawfish, jellyfish, moray eels, tarpons and even cuttlefish! The glass-bottom boat ride over the Shark Lagoon is also a popular attraction. There is also a special program called “Sleep with the Sharks” where families can spend the night at the aquarium.