Road Trip! Why not head to Tennessee for your next adventure. Road tripping is the way many of us who don’t want to give up traveling for another year will be seeing new sites and trying new foods.
WARNING! This is a super long post because there is so much to see and do in Tennessee!
The state of Tennessee is in the southeastern United States and is the 36th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 states. It is bordered by eight states, with Kentucky to the north, Virginia to the northeast, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, Arkansas to the west, and Missouri to the northwest. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms its western border.
Nashville is the state’s capital and largest city. Tennessee’s second largest city is Memphis.
Tennessee has new attractions, expansions, hotels, restaurants, milestone anniversaries and unique experiences slated for the new year, including the Memphis Chess Club, National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Vida and the Vault (a cocktail lounge inside a bank building) in Knoxville, Gatlinburg SkyTrail and more.
Whether it’s for music, food, scenic beauty, road trips or family memories, “For the Love of Tennessee, Travel Safe.” So – gas up the car or the RV, load up the family and hit the road to Tennessee!
Tennessee Road Trip – what’s happening STATEWIDE in 2021
TENNESSEE MUSIC PATHWAYS – The statewide driving tour program highlights legends and hidden gem music events, locations and live music. Watch Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, “Country Music” and discover the places behind the stories.
WALLS FOR WOMEN – Walls for Women celebrates 100 years of women’s suffrage and Tennessee’s place in history ratifying the 19th amendment with original art created by all-female muralists in cities across the state.
THE ALGOOD AREA
ALGOOD FARMERS’ MARKET – A farm stand at the entrance of Algood’s downtown district will offer local produce and hand-crafted items.
RED OAK ROASTERS – Coffee shops in Algood and Rickman feature locally roasted coffee made with imported premium coffee beans from Matagalpa and other areas of Nicaragua, fresh baked goods and dining options.
THE BAXTER AREA
AMERICAN FARMHOUSE – This boutique has a blend of new and vintage All-American treasures for gift ideas and home décor.
THE MONARCH – The Monarch is a 16,000 square foot historic warehouse, renovated into an industrial, chic venue specializing in weddings, conference meetings and more by Tennessee businesswoman, Kellie Fitzpatrick (owner of Lenny & Eva).
TOAST RESTAURANT – Savor Southern-inspired American cuisine in Toast Restaurant at DelMonaco Winery and Vineyards.
THE BRISTOL AREA
BRISTOL DIRT NATIONALS – Bristol Motor Speedway, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2021, will invite some of the best short track racers to sling dirt inside the Last Great Colosseum during the inaugural Bristol Dirt NationalsMarch 15-20, 2021.
THE CHATTANOOGA AREA
THE CHATTANOOGAN HOTEL – The Chattanoogan Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton, in the heart of the city’s Southside is within a mile of downtown, offers a full-service spa and rooftop bar called “High Rail” to enjoy scenic views of the city.
FOOD TRUCK ALLEY – Can’t decide what to eat? Try a variety of dishes at the new Food Truck Alley downtown at Market and 5th.
THE KINLEY – Opening early 2021, The Kinley identifies itself as being the “living room” of a neighborhood and home base for active explorers and casual adventures visiting downtown.
NIC & NORMAN’S – Director Greg Nicotero and actor Norman Reedus from “The Walking Dead” opened their second restaurant, focused on great food and community, within the Chattanooga Choo Choo in a renovated and restored space.
TENNESSEE RIVERWALK – The Trust for the Public Land is working on the last mile to complete the 12 miles of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway, which will connect to the Tennessee Riverwalk, creating a 25-mile loop around the city in 2021.
THE COLUMBIA AREA
FARMSTEAD MARKET – Farmstead Market is the place to find homegrown jams, milks, vegetables, meats, candles, cookbooks, gardening supplies, hand-carved charcuterie boards and spices and olive oils from Nashville Olive Company.
THE MULEHOUSE – The Mulehouse is a 55,500-square-foot music and event venue located a few blocks from the downtown square to be opened by founder and country music radio personality and broadcaster, Blair Garner.
VINTAGE WINERY – Vintage Winery, tucked into a 1930s Esso ServiCenter, serves as a tasting room for Tennessee-produced wines from Pullen Mull Farm & Winery, Crown Winery and The Polk Collection, premium wines from the West Coast.
THE COOKEVILLE AREA
FRONING FARMS – Owned by 8x CrossFit Champion, Rich Froning, this bison farm provides a clean source of protein in snack products ranging including bison sticks, bison biltong, and hot sauce.
THE PUTNAM ROOM – More than a venue, The Putnam Room on the historic square is now serving dinner. Indulge in unique dining experiences each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings by World Chef Chad Combs.
RED SILO BREWING EXPANSION – Enjoy more seating options, a second stage for music performances ranging from Jazz Night to Open Mic Night, and a new performance and outdoor seating location inside an actual silo at Red Silo Brewing.
TABLE BOARD GAME LOUNGE – Feeling competitive? Hang out with family and friends at the new Table Board Game Lounge featuring a large selection of board games.
THE COUNCE AREA
THE LODGE & PAWS LANDING DOG PARK – Guests of the fully renovated Lodge at Pickwick Landing State Park can enjoy modern rooms with balcony views of the Tennessee River, a restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, boating, golfing, fishing, paddling, swimming and hiking. Nearby Paws Landing Dog Park features fenced in areas for big and small dogs, agility and playground activities.
The GATLINBURG Area
ANAKEESTA EXPANSION – Anakeesta’s $6.5 million expansion includes the new AnaVista observation tower in the Vista Gardens, a new Clifftop restaurant in Black Bear Village, Treeventure Challenge Course, and new shopping and dining options.
GATLINBURG SKYTRAIL AT SKYLIFT PARK – The Gatlinburg SkyTrail is a scenic walkway that will connect each end of the SkyBridge featuring an elevated boardwalk and unique views of the SkyBridge and panoramic Smoky Mountain vistas. Later in the spring, there will be rope bridges, elevated viewing platforms and a smooth walking path for a one-third-mile walk.
The GRANVILLE Area
SUTTON’S BLUEGRASS FOR KIDS – Young musicians ages 7-17 are invited to perform live on stage with professional artists weekly at Sutton’s General Store during Sutton’s Bluegrass for Kids, Jan. 9 – Mar. 14, 2021. All youth who participate will also be asked to perform at the Uncle Jimmy Bluegrass Festival on Heritage Day in Granville May 29, 2021.
WHISKEY DECANTER MUSEUM – Historic Granville’s new Whiskey Decanter Museum, set to open May 1, 2021, will feature one of the largest exhibits of Jim Beam Whiskey with more than 2,000 decanters symbolizing automobiles, famous characters, trains, space shuttles, Ducks Unlimited, cookie jars, salt & pepper shakers, farm scenes, famous places and more.
The HARDIN COUNTY Area
BOTEL CAMPGROUND – Botel Campground between Savannah and Counce on the scenic Tennessee River and a mile downstream of Pickwick Dam is known for its abundance of fish species, golf courses, rich history and recreation. A splash pad, playground and renovated pool are on tap for 2021.
The HENDERSONVILLE Area
“A BOUNTIFUL TRINITY” EXHIBIT – “A Bountiful Trinity: The Works of Romero Britto” brings together sculptures, paintings and works on paper by one of Brazil’s most recognized international artists, known for his colorful and optimistic creations. It’s on display at Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center April 24-June 1, 2021.
The HORNBEAK Area
BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL & BLUE BANK RESORT’S NEW KITCHEN AND BAR – The new Butterfly Festival at Blue Bank Resort includes pop-up shopping, guest speakers & seminars, gardening for butterflies, live music, tagging & release and boat tours. Check out the resort’s expanded kitchen and new bar showcasing brews from Tennessee owned breweries.
The JOHNSON CITY Area
MURALS OF JOHNSON CITY – Take a stroll downtown for one-of-a-kind photo ops, history and local eats with downtown Johnson City’s art renaissance in the form of murals and sculptures.
WINDSOR SPEAKEASY – The Windsor Speakeasy is known for their unique craft cocktails, seasonal cocktail menus, inconspicuous exterior, low lighting, leather and velvet pieces. The speakeasy is downtown, but you may have to hunt to find it.
The KINGSPORT Area
BAYS MOUNTAIN PARK AND PLANETARIUM CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY – Bays Mountain celebrates a half-century of education and features a picturesque 44-acre lake, hiking and biking trails, nature center and habitats featuring native wolves, bobcats, raptors and reptiles. A $1.2 million project to update the planetarium’s projection system is set to be completed by March 2021.
THE SPORTS MILL – The Sports Mill downtown offers more than 20 simulator sports, ranging from baseball, golf, soccer, basketball, football and cornhole. There’s also beer, seltzers, outdoor patio space, weekly food trucks and Mountain Dew slushies.
The KNOXVILLE Area
BERNADETTE’S – Three levels of magical crystal barrooms wait to be discovered downtown. Bernadette’s barrooms include the Knox County Quartz House, the Amethyst Lounge and a stunning rooftop of Crystal Gardens.
CANDORO MARBLE BUILDING – The Aslan Foundation is in the final stages of restoring the Candoro Marble Building, built in 1923. Tri-Star Arts will oversee programming at the site along with a new gallery space and artist studios.
KNOX BREW HUB – Knox Brew Hub, under the same ownership and Knox Brew Tours, serves many local brews on tap and could be considered a “beer concierge,” pointing visitors towards different breweries based on what guests enjoy.
NEW BREWERIES – Xul features taps with correct temperatures for the beer and has an affinity for dark pastry stouts and fruited sours. Geezers, located in the same building, is the newest brewery to grace the city’s brew scene.
NEW HOTELS – Element Knoxville West will open January 2021 with Marriot Knoxville Downtown set to open late fall 2021. Other new places to stay include Graduate Knoxville, Cumberland House Knoxville, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Aloft Knoxville West and Tru by Hilton Knoxville West Turkey Creek.
VIDA AND THE VAULT – Vida is a pan-Latin experience opening in the Holston Building in 2021, along with The Vault in the former vault inside the Holston’s bank building. Go below-the-surface for this swanky cocktail lounge experience.
ZOO KNOXVILLE’S ARC – The ARC (Amphibian and Reptilian Conservation Campus) will open spring 2021 to showcase the zoo’s pioneering conservation work with these species, and feature revolutionary STEM education resources.
The LAFAYETTE Area
THE BARN ON CHURCH STREET – The Barn on Church Street is a magical place for a wedding or event. Steeped in history, the 100-year-old barn has been lovingly renovated to maintain the charm of a barn while providing modern conveniences.
The LAWRENCEBURG Area
DAVID CROCKETT STATE PARK – Stay in newly renovated campsites, LEED certified cabins and explore the Crockett Museum, Crockett’s Mill Restaurant, birds of prey aviary, and eight miles of hiking trails offering scenic vistas at David Crockett State Park.
The MEMPHIS Area
CANOPY BY HILTON & CURVEW AMERICAN TAVERN – Downtown Memphis’ newest hotel is walking distance from many of the city’s premiere attractions: AutoZone Park, Beale Street, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and more. Canopy by Hilton also features Curfew, a classic tavern showcasing Spanish, American and Italian flavors courtesy of celebrity chef Fabio Viviani.
GRACELAND INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES – Graceland and Elvis Presley’s Memphis have introduced 10 immersive new experiences that allow guests to interact with the King like never before. Create your own Elvis album cover or movie poster and share it with your friends! Try on a digital sequined jumpsuit, tour the grounds of Graceland in a virtual golf cart and much more.
THE GROVE AT GPAC – Replicating the Germantown Performing Arts Center’s indoor space, The Grove delivers the same quality experience in an intimate, socially distanced outdoor setting. All types of performances are lined up, including theater, dance, orchestras, every musical genre, ticketed and non-ticketed events.
THE MEMPHIAN, A TRIBUTE PORFOLIO HOTEL – Take a few steps off the beaten path at The Memphian, set to open April 2021. Walk the line between southern hospitality, offbeat and elevated cuisine to get a genuine taste of Midtown’s unconventional personality, truly capturing the free spirit of the storied art district and Overton Square.
MEMPHIS CHESS CLUB – The Memphis Chess Club, founded in 1877, has been reinvented to include a full service café with great food and Southern hospitality where you can observe, play and learn the game of chess.
MEMPHIS TERRACE AT THE PYRAMID – The Mississippi Terrace attached to the Big Cypress Lodge at Bass Pro Pyramid features oversized furniture, a full bar, high-top tables, two fire pits and a newly redesigned patio with spectacular views of sunsets on the Mississippi River and the nightly Mighty Lights show on the Hernando de Soto Bridge.
WISEACRE BREWING CO. DOWNTOWN TAPROOM – The local craft brewery, that currently distributes to nine states, opened a new 40,000-square-foot brewery and taproom in the South Main District downtown. Once things begin to normalize, there will be seating for 330 guests indoors and up to 800 outdoors on a variety of patios.
The MONTEREY Area
THE LAKE AND TRAILS AT MEADOW CREEK PARK – The more than 300-acre Meadow Creek Park will soon feature a 13-mile mountain biking, hiking and trail running system. A new road is complete, offering ease of access to the lake, fishing and non-motorized boating.
THE LOVELY BREW – Sip and shop at Monterey’s newest coffee house with locally roasted seasonal coffee beverages and pastries.
The MORRISTOWN Area
1907 BREWING COMPANY – Opening 2021, 1907 Brewing Company will be Morristown’s first craft tap house, offering 24 constantly rotating draft selections including beer, cider and even craft sodas alongside packaged options to take home.
The NASHVILLE Area
AUDREY – Sean Brock’s restaurant, Audrey, in East Nashville complex in 2021 will have a menu of Appalachian-focused food, where Brock was born and raised. The complex will also feature an heirloom seed bank, Appalachian art, and a mindfulness center focused on the mental health of his team.
FIFTH + BROADWAY – Fifth + Broadway, set to open 2021, is a highly anticipated mixed-use development with office spaces, residential units, retail space, local and national dining options and the National Museum of African American Music. The development spans 6.2 acres and is close to Bridgestone Arena, Music City Center and Honky Tonk Highway.
MILESTONE ANNIVERSARIES – The Fisk Jubilee Singers, instrumental in preserving the unique American musical tradition known as Negro spirituals, celebrates 150 years. Springwater Supper Club & Lounge, the oldest continuously open and operational bar in Tennessee, marks 125 years. The iconic local, independent, family owned and operated music venue, Exit/In, celebrates 50 years. Frist Art Museum marks its 20th anniversary with new exhibits for 2021.
NASHVILLE YARDS – Nashville Yards will offer over 3.5 million square feet of Grade A office space, more than 1,000 residential units, and over 400,000 square feet of retail, two Amazon office towers, an AEG-backed entertainment district and more. Grand Hyatt Hotel plans to open in 2021, offering 591 guest rooms.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC – Opening Jan. 18, 2021 in the new Fifth + Broadway development downtown, the Museum will be a 56,000-square foot facility dedicated to preserving and celebrating music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans, featuring over 50 genres and subgenres through history exhibits and interactive technology.
W NASHVILLE – W Nashville in The Gulch will feature curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and communal spaces. This hotel will have 346 hotel rooms, 60 suites including two Extreme Wow Suites, 9,700-foot WET Deck pool and bar, two restaurants by Chef Andrew Carmellini of NoHo Hospitality Group and Nashville’s own Barista Parlor.
The PIGEON FORGE Area
APPALACHIAN SPRINGS OUTDOOR RESORT & TROUT FARM – Appalachian Springs Outdoor Resort & Trout Farm, opening Spring 2021, takes camping back to its roots to revitalize connections with family, friends and nature without sacrificing comfort or amenities of a memorable getaway.
CAMP MARGARITAVILLE RESORT – The resort, opening spring 2021, will have an upscale RV Park with 160 full hook-up sites, full service lodge with over 70 guest rooms, pool, pickle ball court and games area, camp store, restaurant and bar.
FLAVORTOWN AT THE TOWER SHOPS AT MOUNTAIN MILE – Guy Fieri of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives” fame is the latest celebrity to bring his restaurant to the Pigeon Forge area, set to open a restaurant called “Flavortown” at The Tower Shops at Mountain Mile.
PIGEON FORGE CHAIRLIFT AT PIGEON FORGE SNOW – One thousand feet long and 25 feet high, the Pigeon Forge Chairlift at Pigeon Forge Snow transports passengers to 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains, fountains, fire pits, flower gardens, playgrounds and nature walks.
SKYFLY: SOAR AMERICA AT THE ISLAND IN PIGEON FORGE – Opening late spring, SkyFly: Soar America will take guests on a flying adventure over Alaska’s glaciers, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Great Smoky Mountains and the nation’s most beautiful natural wonders.
TITANIC MUSEUM ATTRACTION (THE STORIES OF JEWISH PASSENGERS ABOARD) – Did you know there was a kosher kitchen and kosher chef on the ship? How did Anne Frank’s family have a tie to a Jewish family aboard? Learn the stories of Jewish passengers aboard at the Titanic Museum Attraction.
Don’t forget Dollywood!
The ROGERSVILLE Area
NEW RESTAURANTS ON MAIN STREET – Rogerville’s Main Street features new restaurants, including Bull Babies (casual gourmet southern comfort food), Hollywood Hillbilly (creative gourmet bar food), Red Dog on Main Taproom and Eatery and out-of-this-world hot dogs at Taste of Chicago.
The SAVANNAH Area
WINDSONG – Windsong at Pickwick Outpost is a private event venue at one of Hardin County’s most popular attractions. Pickwick Outpost General Store and Restaurant offers this rustic setting with a view of the woods and small creek.
WOLFE’S CAFÉ & MARKET – Wolfe’s Café & Market is a new family dining experience carrying on the Wolfe family tradition of hospitality and home cooked recipes since 1937.
The SEVIERVILLE Area
225-MILE CHALLENGE – Sevierville celebrates its 225th anniversary with the 225-mile challenge. Participants have 5 years to complete the miles – which can be logged by biking, walking, hiking, kayaking or generally being active in Sevierville.
DOWNTOWN STREETSCAPE – The downtown Sevierville streetscape features new businesses, widened sidewalks and decorative rails commemorating the line that once chugged through town and new mural art (Wings of Wander and another mural featuring a young girl – who may or may not be a young Dolly Parton – enjoying a burger at Red’s Café).
NEW RESTAURANTS – Try savory dishes at Hickory Cabin BBQ & Grill, get a Tennessee or Southern Jam burger with a Death by Chocolate shake for dessert at Graze Burgers, or check out the upscale eatery called The Appalachian.
NEW STORES – Explore home décor ideas at Gardenia Cottage Home, find something unique at Green Olde Deal Antique Mall, and pick up outdoor apparel at J Hardy Outfitters. Discover new flavors in the Smokies at recently opened shops including Tennessee Homemade Wines, with locally made libations like “White Knuckle Grape” and “Blueberry Bammer.” Cruze Farms Ice Cream is scooping up fans at their new location beside Ogle Bros. General Store.
SEVIERVILLE AXE HOUSE – A new family-friendly, thrilling experience in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Sevierville Axe Houseis the place to come and learn how to safely throw axes with amazing coaches.
SOAKY MOUNTAIN WATERPARK – Families and kids of all ages can enjoy the new Soaky Mountain Waterpark sitting on 50 acres that features exciting thrill rides, massive wave pool and rides and activities for the little ones.
The Rosemark-Kerrville Rural Heritage Trail is a 24-mile tour route for cars or bicycles connecting Rosemark, Kerrville, Barretville, Mudville and Stewartville. The tour covers world-famous blues singer Bobby Blue Bland, a Civil War raid, an early rural telephone company with a bicycle-riding repairman and other incredible stories.
The UNION CITY Area
DISCOVERY PARK OF AMERICA’S NEW EXHIBITS – Feel like a kid again and learn something new exploring exhibits at Discovery Park of America, including Agriculture: Innovating for our Survival, Southern Artist Showcase, 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World and The Fascinating World of Murry Hudson’s Globes and Maps.
The WHITLEYVILLE Area
UNION HILL DISTILLERY – Each bottle of Union Hill Distillery’s old-fashioned moonshine is made from scratch, handcrafted and labeled, including Distillers Choice (Sweet Mash) and Hatcher’s Best Moonshine (Sour Mash).
As you can see, Tennessee can make for a great road trip experience for your and your family. You can choose one area or spend much more time exploring the entire state!
If you really want to road trip this year – hit the road to Tennessee!