Learn more about Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Bristol is built on sound: engines revving, fiddles singing and the silence of the outdoors. The downtown buzzes with live music and the outdoors quietly await just beyond. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains and surrounded by scenic South Holston Lake and the Holston River sits Bristol – The Birthplace of Country Music and home of the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” – Bristol Motor Speedway.
Any first-time visitor’s journey to Bristol should start downtown at the state line on State Street. Tennessee and Virginia are divided by brass markers and double yellow lines and are the ultimate photo opp. Historic downtown Bristol has been “A Good Place to Live” since 1856 and proof of that is the historic Bristol Sign, which has spanned State Street since 1915. Other downtown gems that can’t be missed include the Bristol Train Station, built in 1902, the Paramount Center for the Arts, which opened in 1931, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and an array of locally-owned restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, opened in 2014 and honors Bristol’s musical roots, which began with the historic 1927 Bristol Sessions. The museum tells the story of the Sessions recordings, explores how evolving technology shaped their success and highlights how this rich musical heritage lives on in today’s music. One of the premier music festivals in the southeast, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, takes place downtown each September. The annual three-day festival features more than 150 artists the third weekend of September and draws in excess of 50,000 music lovers.
It’s Bristol Baby! You can’t miss The Last Great Colosseum – Bristol Motor Speedway, which opened in 1961, and has long been one of NASCAR’s most popular tracks. It draws fans from all 50 states and more than two dozen countries to its highly anticipated April and August events every year. Bristol Dragway, which opened in 1965, hosts one of the most anticipated NHRA races of the year for drag racing fans every Father’s Day weekend, the Thunder Valley Nationals. The setting of the dragstrip, in a valley between the mountains, makes for some of the most unique sounds in the sport when dragsters rumble down the track in excess of 330 mph.
As the gateway to the region’s outdoors, Bristol is home to world class fly fishing waters, mountain bike trails and hiking year-round. South Holston Lake, one of the most visited lakes in Tennessee, is perfect for swimming, boating, fishing or waterskiing. The bass fishing on the lake is top-notch and the Holston River is considered one of the top fly fishing waters in the country. There are also a number of city parks that offer plenty of trails for biking and hiking, along with picnic areas. There are several public golf courses, one of which is at Steele Creek Park, which also features a Nature Center, seasonally run kids train, splash pad and paddle boating. Sugar Hollow Park and Whitetop Creek Park are multi-purpose sports complexes with plenty of trails and picnic shelters. Bristol also boasts two caverns: Bristol Caverns and Appalachian Caverns, which can be accessed year-round.
Home to many locally owned and chain restaurants, Bristol has some of the best BBQ and burgers you can find. The famed Burger Bar is among Bristol’s top locally-owned eateries, with other favorites including 620 State, Bloom Café and Listening Room, Stateline Bar & Grill, Machiavelli’s, The Angry Italian, Southern Churn and Blackbird Bakery. Bristol boasts mouthwatering craft beer at Studio Brew, Holston River Brewing Company, Elderbrew and Bristol Station Brew & Taproom. Two new distilleries are coming to Bristol: Appalachian Heritage (open now) and Lost State (open in 2019).
Stay in or near our downtown to enjoy live music any night of the week and during the day, get lost on the lake or on a trail and shop at our locally owned stores or nationally known favorites at the Pinnacle or the Falls. Discover Bristol!
For the most up-to-date hours and information, please contact Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau directly.
20 Volunteer Parkway
Bristol, TN 37620