Things to Do in Tennessee: Bristol

Kristin Luna
| January 6, 2024 | 1 Minute Read
skyline view of Bristol at dusk with various buildings iStock


The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Bristol’s identity is intertwined with its place in musical history, so every newcomer’s visit should start at this museum, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The museum’s interactive exhibits tell the story of female artists who influenced the genre, as well as the famed 1927 Bristol Sessions that shaped country music’s sound.

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway is one of NASCAR’s most acclaimed short tracks, and its annual spring event, The Food City 500, returns on March 17. Nicknamed the Last Great Colosseum, this raceway boasts “the World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” as well as some seriously steep banks.

Bristol Caverns

It may be too cold to explore outdoors above the Earth’s surface, but winter months are prime time to check out Tennessee’s caves, where temperatures stay the same year-round. The ancient Underground River carved out Bristol Caverns some 200 million to 400 million years ago, and there are guided tours of the terrain daily via a paved path.


Exterior view of Delta Blues at night with patrons and live music performers

Delta Blues BBQ

This bluesy barbeque joint in Bristol has a distinctly Memphis vibe with its wooden walls and heaping trays of pulled pork, brisket and smoked sausage accompanied by sides like baked beans, fried okra, coleslaw and corn on the cob. Keeping true to its name, Delta Blues BBQ (above) also has live music on the menu every Friday night.

J Frank

This Bristol steakhouse, cocktail lounge and seafood eatery is not only one of the most beloved restaurants in town—thanks to upscale options like oysters Rockefeller; rainbow trout; sea bass; bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp; and generous cuts of filet and ribeye—it’s a historical landmark, housed in an old 19th-century Victorian home. In addition to dinner four nights a weekend, J Frank serves up a decadent Sunday brunch spread.

Aerial view  of The Bristol Hotel's rooftop bar with patrons enjoying the view The Bristol Hotel

The Bristol Hotel

This AAA Three Diamond boutique hotel (above) in nearby Bristol, Virginia, has contemporary room designs and, in its lobby level, an Appalachian-style restaurant, Vivian’s Table, with locally sourced and inspired dishes. It’s located next door to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and one block from the Tennessee-Virginia state line, making it a great home base for exploring all the things to do in town. Additionally, The Bristol Hotel’s on-site rooftop bar, LUMAC, features hand-crafted specialty cocktails and offers the best views in Bristol of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains and the iconic Bristol sign.

Keep reading in:

Other Articles You May Like