December 19, 2020
The Bristol Way
Discover the bright lights with a small city feel when you visit Bristol, Va./Tenn. This thriving hub features historical landmarks, cultural centers, and world-class dining around every corner.
Start your visit off with the Downtown Bristol Walking Tour for some of the area’s must-see attractions. Take a photo with the Bristol Sign, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a spectacular sight when lit up at night. With one foot in each state, you can straddle the Tennessee and Virginia border at this iconic location.
Step back in time at the Bristol Train Station, another National Register of Historic Places location. Originally built as a railroad town, Bristol’s history is inextricably linked to the railway line. Restored in the early 2000s, the large waiting room features cathedral ceilings, Gothic-style architecture, and a spacious balcony.
Be Entertained in Bristol
A visit to the area wouldn’t be complete without a stop at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, which celebrates the iconic 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings and their lasting impact on country music today. Through permanent and special exhibits, film experiences, and live performances, immerse yourself in the sounds and history of country music.
Plan a return visit for the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, featuring over 100 artists during a three-day weekend.
For more local music history, swing by the birthplace of tv, radio, and recording star Ernest Jennings “Tennessee Ernie” Ford. You can contact the Bristol Chamber of Commerce for tours of the house.
If you’re looking for more of the arts, two historic theatres feature a wide variety of music, dance, film, and theatre shows to delight all ages. Paramount Bristol and The Cameo Theater, characterized by Art Deco styling, feature performances by some of the biggest names in music and up-and-coming stars. The whole family will love the performances, workshops, and other educational programs at the Theatre Bristol.
Take in the Sights and Sounds
The Historic Downtown District features an eclectic mix of antique and specialty shops, art galleries, and restaurants in beautifully restored buildings. Do a little bit of window shopping or pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir. The resurgence of downtown with the opening of cultural amenities, breweries, and a distillery has made it the place to be for exploring by day and celebrating at night. Other stops on the walking tour include the NASCAR mural, Cumberland Square Park, and the WCYB radio station.
Just outside of town, Sugar Hollow Park is a scenic location for getting outside on the trails and by the water. Stand in the shadow of the Resting Tree, a hallowed spot marking the final resting place of some 100 enslaved peoples. The large oak tree is estimated to be between 400 and 600 years old.
Who could forget the famous Bristol Motor Speedway? Since 1961, this stadium-like venue has hosted some of history’s biggest auto races, sporting competitions, concerts, and events. Schedule your visit around an event at the renowned Speedway and Dragway for a heart-racing good time.
Unwind With a Side of History
Take a break from your sightseeing to refuel and relax. Sit down at the Burger Bar, a staple since 1942. It offers that classic diner feel, complete with mouthwatering burgers, chili cheese fries, and milkshakes. Local legend says it’s the last place Hank William Sr. ate at before he passed away.
You’ll find a cozy atmosphere with an order of amazing food and entertainment at Union 41. Located inside an old Greyhound bus station, the space has been transformed by culinary genius Torrece Gregoire, also known as reality star Chef T.
Spend the night in Downtown Bristol to access the area’s best restaurants and amenities. The Bristol Hotel features cozy rooms and sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountains while The Sessions Hotel has quickly become a top destination for the country music lover with onsite music venues and a day spa. Both hotels were created from renovated buildings and feature a rooftop bar with delicious cocktails, local brews, and epic views of the city.
Relax the Bristol way as you take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Virginia and Tennessee border.