Watauga Lake

Can't-Miss Stops in Johnson City, Tennessee

This charming town cradled by beautiful mountains is your next Made in Tennessee getaway.

Each of the cities in Northeast Tennessee has a unique personality. For Johnson City - sometimes affectionately abbreviated to "JC" - the proximity of Appalachian outdoor adventure to the town's vibrant urban center gives you the feeling of pure Tennessee adventure in an ideal small town. Check out these experience for just a few of the many can't-miss spots of this mountain town.

Things to Do in Johnson City

Buffalo Mountain Park

One thing that makes Johnson City a certifiable outdoor-enthusiast's mecca is that you don't even have to leave the city limits to climb a mountain. Buffalo Mountain Park is a 725-acre wilderness where the slopes are steep, its hollows are deep and from the top, you can see Johnson City laid out on the valley floor below. Local tip: The park closes at dark, so be sure to plan your hikes accordingly. 

Shopping Downtown Johnson City

Some mountain towns never truly recover when the railroad or river traffic slows down. But that is not the story here. Johnson City's downtown district has plenty of excitement. As of this year, the Johnson City Farmers Market is held mid-April to October at the Pavilion at Founder's Park. And for musicians, you have to stop in Campbell's Morrell Music, located at 118 W Market Street.

Watauga Lake

The nearby Cherokee National Forest harbors Watauga Lake. The expansive lake has 106 miles of shoreline, with rolling mountains cradling it (perfect for that Instagram shot you're vying for). When you head out, be sure to bring a few small bills - $1s or $5s. There's a small access fee. To get there, follow US-321 out of town, headed east. 

The Down Home

One of the region's longest running music venue's, The Down Home is an iconic entertainment space, delivering its listeners quality music, prime performance atmosphere for musicians and values listening rather than socializing. This is the place if you want to hear some great songs among fellow music lovers.

Meet the Mountains Festival

Enjoy Northeast Tennessee's great outdoors during Meet the Mountains Festival Aug. 19-20, 2022 in Johnson City. Become an experiences outdoor enthusiast through numerous outdoor activities from paddling to hiking, mountain biking and fishing. Split into three zones - water zone, air zone and earth zone - the festival has activity stations like a zipline, rock wall, kayak demos, dock diving by Ultimate Air Dogs, mountain bike skills clinic, axe throwing and archery. Come out for two days of family-friendly outdoor fun.

Places to eat in Johnson City

Yee-Haw Brewing Company

Located downtown is this local favorite. White Duck Taco Shop and Yee Haw Brewing Company co-exist in an open-concept space that provides a social atmosphere fueled by more than just tacos and brews. You might stop in for a quick bite and wind up sticking around for a couple hours. 

Tipton Street Pub

If you're out hiking the trails till the sun sets, you'll miss the dinner hours of some of Johnson City's restaurants. That's where Tipton Street Pub comes in. Serving drinks until 3 a.m., this bar has a kitchen that'll flip the best burger in town until 11 p.m. 

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