A Tale of Two Cities
Twice the City, Twice the Fun
Visiting Bristol means being in two places at once, with the heart of downtown’s iconic State Street straddling the state line of Tennessee and Virginia.
Our “two-places” identity is more than just geography, though. It’s a mindset that visitors from around the world have come to understand as they discover Bristol’s many unique experiences.
From world-class adventures in the great outdoors, rich history and Appalachian culture, unique southern dining and nightlife, NASCAR motorsports, the bright lights and thrill of a casino, to the very birthplace of American country music… Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia are two places with endless possibilities.
As a guide, we’ve collected top signature trip ideas for your next vacation or weekend getaway, paired with dining and accommodations to complete any trip.
Signature Bristol Experiences
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum: A Smithsonian-affiliated museum in the heart of downtown Bristol explores the history of country music with the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings and the region’s musical heritage through interactive exhibits and experiences.
Bristol Motor Speedway: The loudest, and most exciting track in NASCAR, BMS draws race fans internationally for the fastest half mile in the racing world. Its tight turns and steep banks make it arguably the most challenging racetrack in all of NASCAR.
South Holston Lake & Rivers: Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, the outdoor beauty is in full effect as you take in a day on this 7,500 acre lake. The North and South Holston Rivers are home to some of the best fly fishing in the world, but equally perfect for kayaking or tubing excursions.
Downtown Bristol: Our famous downtown is a perfect way to spend time taking in unique historical and shopping experiences. There is even a guided walking tour of downtown that will take your through important landmarks such as The Paramount Center for the Arts, Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the historic Bristol Train Station, and the famous Bristol Sign that straddles the state line of Tennessee and Virginia.
After seeing some sites, it might be time to discover some of Bristol’s food scene. The good news is with all the great options available, you can’t miss, and you won’t go away hungry.
Burger Bar: Famously known as the last place Hank Williams Sr. was last seen alive. Saddle up to the beautiful retro ambiance and take in the nostalgic surroundings while you enjoy a menu that features burgers named after Williams’ songs. Finish the meal with a milkshake or float, and you’ll be singing “I Saw The Light” all the way home.
J Frank: If you’re looking for a mix of history and fine dining, J Frank will delight. Located in a beautifully restored Victorian home, it melds rich history with fresh local ingredients. Steak, seafood and signature cocktails are their specialty.
Blackbird Bakery: If you have a sweet tooth, look no further. While the specialty of the bakery is their expansive donut selection, you’ll find an amazing selection of pastries, brownies, cheesecakes, pies and cupcakes. A favorite of locals in the Tri-Cities area.
Quaker Steak & Lube: Just as notable in Bristol for their large outdoor patio and live music as they are for their expansive food and drink menu. Steak is in the name, but they feature over 20 different wing sauces.
Southern Churn: Leave a little room for desert and stroll down State Street for a stop in at The Southern Churn. Specializing in handmade, slow churn ice cream, and an incredible variety of fudge, all made on the premises.
Stay in Bristol, Hotels to Call Home
If you’re looking to stay in Bristol, we have many types of hotel and lodging options to choose from. Plan to call Bristol home while you’re here with convenient options for camping as well.
Sessions Hotel: Named after the 1927 recording sessions that rooted Bristol as the birthplace of country music. The Sessions hotel weaves our musical heritage throughout their warm and inviting decor with curated pieces. The hotel also features dining at Southern Craft, and cocktails on their rooftop lounge overlooking the city.
The Bristol Hotel: This boutique hotel offers guests sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountains at Lumac, their rooftop bar and restaurant. There is also dining with family style Southern fare at their street-front restaurant, Vivian’s Table. The hotel also features a historic ballroom for special events, meetings, and social gatherings.
Start Your Engines Campground: The perfect place for race fans enjoying events at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The campgrounds feature over 60 pads for RV’s and campers, accommodating full hookups for electric, water and septic. While its less than 5 minutes to the speedway’s gate, is also features shuttle service to and from the track.
Something for Everyone
Bristol is a tale of two cities; country music and racing, history and culture, the beauty of the Appalachians and delicious Southern cuisine. Come see us, and we think you’ll find Bristol is a good place to experience your next favorite vacation.