What comes to mind when you think of Tennessee?
For most people, it’s cowboys, country music, Elvis Presley and delicious BBQ. These things are all part of the Tennessee lifestyle, yes. But Tennessee has so much more to offer!
From museums to festivals to indoor playgrounds, you’ll never be bored when you’re in Tennessee. Whether you enjoy quiet, indoor places or loud, bustling outdoor activities, you’ll find somewhere to keep you entertained.
Major Tennessee cities offer some of the hottest tourist attractions, but there’s also plenty to see in the smaller towns you rarely hear about. There truly is something for everyone in the Volunteer State.
13. Feed the Ducks at Centennial Park
With it being summer, it’s great to find things to do outside. As a mom with two little ones, we enjoy frequenting local parks.
Get your kids excited about nature by heading over to Centennial Park in Nashville to feed the ducks. Take a lovely stroll around the trails while you’re there.
The park also offers a replica of The Parthenon in Athens, Greece which you can visit for $6.00, and there’s a playground and event center as well. Lots to do here all year round!
12. Check Out the Knoxville Museum of Art
For artistic and creative types, the Knoxville Museum of Art has a lot to offer. It celebrates the talents of East Tennessee artists and has a wide range of exhibits to peruse.
From contemporary pieces to art that honors ancestral roots, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The museum has free admission and free parking, so there’s no reason to miss out!
11. Visit the Memphis Botanic Garden
With gorgeous foliage to admire, the Memphis Botanic Garden is a definite sight for sore eyes. But its floral gardens aren’t the only thing to see there.
The center also has a farmer’s market, jewelry-making workshops, children’s workshops and can be rented for hosting private events. Adult admission is $8.00, but you can become a garden member and visit for free.
10. Spend the Day at Coolidge Park
Spend some quality family time in Chattanooga at Coolidge Park. Have a picnic, ride the carousel, or sit and admire the view of the waterfront.
You’ll also love cooling off at the interactive play fountain! When you need to dry off, walk across the Walnut Street Bridge to check out the local shops and restaurants.
9. Sip on Soda at A. Schwab Trading Co.
Located in Memphis, A. Schwab Trading Co. is the only original business still located on famous Beale Street. (Ever heard the song “Walking in Memphis”?)
You’ll find tons of Memphis merchandise here, like books, crafts and dry goods, but the real reason to go is to check out the awesome soda fountain. Indulge in gelato, a creamy milkshake or a glass of phosphate soda. De.lish.
8. Celebrate Literature at the Southern Festival of Books
During the second weekend of October, Nashville hosts its annual Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word. The three-day event is free and open to the public.
More than 200 authors participate in the event, which offers readings, book signings and meet & greet opportunities. This event is a must for book lovers!
7. Play at the Monkey’s Treehouse
During those miserable rainy Nashville days, many stay-at-home parents get cabin fever. But don’t worry- you can get out of the house and let those kids burn some energy at The Monkey’s Treehouse.
The indoor playground, located in Brentwood, lets your kids explore lots of different styles of play. There’s an actual treehouse, a small area for kids under the age of 2, as well as little play “stations” like a grocery store and fire station.
Admission is less than $10 per child and you having an hour or two of sanity is priceless!
6. Grab Some Grub at the Bloomin’ BBQ Festival
Nothing says Southern living like bluegrass & barbecue. I guess Sevierville knows how to party! Every May, the city hosts its Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival.
The free, family-friendly event offers delicious BBQ, live bluegrass music, arts & crafts, and even has a kids fun zone. For a good ‘ol Southern time, put this annual event on your calendar.
5. Pick Peaches at Jones Orchard
Established in 1940, this family-owned farm is what “living on the land” is all about. Located in Millington, Jones Orchard grows fruits like strawberries, peaches, blackberries and pumpkins.
Pick your own delicious fruit to take home, and enjoy seasonal events like a fall corn maze, hayrides and haunted Halloween attractions. You’ll also find jams & jellies made from the farm’s fruit.
4. Take a Tour of the Gibson Guitar Factory
Ever wonder how guitars are made? Well, now you can see firsthand what the process is like! Next time you’re in Memphis, head over the the Gibson Guitar Factory for a tour.
For $10.00, you will get the chance to witness how the brand’s guitars are made. You’ll see how the luthiers paint, buff & tune the instruments, and if you’re feeling really inspired, you can head over to the retail shop and take home a shiny new Gibson for yourself.
3. Groove to Music at Live on the Green
They don’t call Nashville “Music City” for nothing. Besides the live music venues that fill up downtown Broadway, the city also hosts an annual live music event called Live on the Green.
The outdoor music festival is a free concert series hosted by radio station WRLT. Held at Public Square Park, local, regional & national music artists fill up the stage, and people gather in the grassy area to enjoy the show.
2. Feed Your Sweet Tooth at Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co.
Do you know what Southern Artisan Chocolate is? Want to find out? Then head over to Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. in Nashville for a tour of the factory. For just $5.00, you get a full tour of the chocolate making process, including free samples (yum!).
Tours are only offered on Saturdays from 10:00-5:00, and are recommended for ages 8 and up. No cash is accepted, so make sure you bring your credit card.
1. Take a Jack Daniel’s Distillery Tour
I don’t drink, but I’ve been to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg a few times for tours. It’s a really fascinating experience!
The free tour includes a walk through the distillery, where you get to see the barrels full of whiskey and smell the strong scents that fill up the place. Once your tour is over, you get a free sample of lemonade because, as surprising as it sounds, the distillery is located in a dry county!
I don’t get out as much as I’d like, but when I do, these places are definitely worth the visit!
How many of these things can you check off your “Things to Do in Tennessee” bucket list?