Tips for the best weekend in Tennessee

Tennessee, with its rich history, vibrant cultural scenes, and stunning natural landscapes, offers a plethora of experiences that can make any weekend visit memorable. From the lively streets of Nashville and Memphis to the serene vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains, there’s something in Tennessee for every type of traveler. This article provides a guide to enjoying a perfect weekend in the Volunteer State, ensuring that you make the most of your brief getaway with activities and sights that highlight the best of Tennessee.

Explore the Vibrant Music Scene in Nashville

No weekend in Tennessee is complete without diving into its world-renowned music scene. Nashville, often referred to as “Music City,” is the heart of the country’s music industry. Begin your journey on Broadway, the bustling avenue lined with honky-tonks and live music venues where you can listen to up-and-coming artists and seasoned musicians alike. Make sure to visit the historic Ryman Auditorium, once home to the Grand Ole Opry, where you can take a tour or catch a live show.

While in Nashville, also take the time to explore the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This museum houses an extensive collection of music memorabilia, recordings, and exhibits detailing the history of country music. Another must-visit is the Johnny Cash Museum, dedicated to the life and music of the legendary singer-songwriter.

For a taste of something different, head over to East Nashville, where you can experience a more alternative music scene with venues that host everything from indie rock to experimental jazz. Here, the vibe is more laid-back, and you’ll find plenty of local eateries and chic coffee shops where you can relax and enjoy the local flavors.

Retreat to the Great Smoky Mountains

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, heading towards the Smoky Mountains for a peaceful retreat might be just what you need. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers breathtaking scenery, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and abundant wildlife. It’s a perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the natural beauty of Eastern Tennessee.

One of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the serenity of the Smokies is by staying in one of the many Tennessee mountain cabins. These cabins provide a cozy, intimate setting with stunning views of the sprawling mountains.

Spending a night or two in a cabin allows you to wake up to misty morning views and perhaps catch a glimpse of wildlife from your porch.

During your stay, consider visiting Cades Cove, a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and one of the park’s most popular destinations. Here, you can take a scenic drive or bike ride, spotting historic buildings and diverse wildlife along the way. For the more adventurous, the Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte offers a challenging hike with rewarding views at the summit.

Experience the Culinary Delights of Memphis

Memphis is another gem in Tennessee’s crown, known not only for its pivotal role in the history of blues music but also for its culinary scene. A weekend in Memphis should undoubtedly include sampling its world-famous barbecue. Places like Central BBQ and Payne’s Bar-B-Q offer a taste of authentic Memphis-style ribs and pulled pork that melt in your mouth.

Beyond barbecue, Memphis boasts a growing food scene with innovative restaurants that blend Southern traditions with modern culinary techniques. Visit the revitalized South Main district to experience a range of dining options, from cozy cafes to high-end eateries. For a unique dining experience, try out one of the city’s farm-to-table restaurants, which emphasize local ingredients and seasonal menus.

Don’t miss out on exploring Beale Street, where you can enjoy live music and street performances as you hop from one restaurant or bar to another. The vibrant atmosphere here perfectly captures the spirit of Memphis, making it a must-visit for any first-time traveler to Tennessee.

Unwind in Chattanooga’s Scenic Beauty

To round out your weekend, Chattanooga offers a perfect blend of history and natural beauty. The city is home to the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo, part of the railroad heritage that you can explore through various exhibits and a hotel stay in an actual railroad car. For panoramic views of the city and beyond, take a ride on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway.

Nature lovers should not miss the opportunity to visit the Tennessee Riverpark, a 13-mile riverwalk that stretches from downtown Chattanooga to the Chickamauga Dam. Along the way, you can enjoy parks, picnic areas, and public art installations. Rock City Gardens, just a short drive from downtown, offers stunning geological formations and “See Seven States” panoramic views.

Discovering the Historic Treasures of Knoxville

Knoxville, a city with a rich historical tapestry, offers a captivating journey through time for weekend visitors. Nestled along the Tennessee River, Knoxville is teeming with historical landmarks, museums, and districts that tell the story of its past and its significance during the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. A visit to the East Tennessee History Center is a must to delve into the state’s history through engaging exhibits and artifacts. Here, you can discover everything from the indigenous cultures that once inhabited the region to the innovations that shaped modern America.

After soaking up history, stroll through the Old City, Knoxville’s vibrant neighborhood, where Victorian buildings house eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and eateries. The area is perfect for leisurely walks, offering a glimpse into the city’s architectural beauty and the urban renewal that has reinvigorated Knoxville’s historic areas. Don’t miss the chance to see the Sunsphere, an iconic structure from the 1982 World’s Fair that features a gold-colored glass sphere atop a towering pedestal.


A weekend in Tennessee can be as laid-back or as action-packed as you desire. From the musical thrills of Nashville and Memphis to the peaceful retreats in the Smoky Mountains and the culinary delights scattered throughout, Tennessee offers a rich history of experiences. Whether you’re hiking in the mountains, exploring the state’s musical heritage, or enjoying down-home Southern cooking, Tennessee promises a weekend getaway that’s both enriching and thoroughly enjoyable.

Top of Form

Related Articles

Back to top button