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Tennessee Attractions

In your travels, you will discover that a number of Tennessee attractions rank among the best in America.

tennessee cavesThe Island in Pigeon Forge is one of Tennessee's most popular attractions. Image by Jeaneane Payne

Great Smoky Mountains

Dolly's Stampede - A fun-filled, action-packed Dinner and Show extravaganza for everyone! It's the perfect place for families, friends and groups to gather for spectacular special effects and amazing stunts by the most talented performers in the area. Dixie Stampede the only place that brings together stunning performers, amazing horse feats, fantastic stunt riders, magic and audience participation with a delicious four-course dinner extravaganza for one amazing price.

Dollywood - Unique as its namesake Dolly Parton, Dollywood theme park is a one-of-a-kind Smoky Mountain Family Adventure! Spanning 125 acres and nestled in the lush foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, near Gatlinburg, Dollywood is one of the most popular family vacation destinations.

Gatlinburg Sky Lift - Experience the thrill of riding the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. From the downtown boarding station, you'll glide skyward over Gatlinburg and the Little Pigeon River on a 500-foot ascent to the top of Crockett Mountain.

Gatlinburg Space Needle - The Space Needle is Gatlinburg's premier landmark attraction. The Needle climbs to 407 feet and towers over the Gatlinburg downtown areas. Day or night you can ride an elevator to the observation deck at 342 feet for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. Below the needle is a two level 20,000 square foot fun center with a variety of amusements for the whole family to enjoy.

Guinness World of Records Museum - features hundreds of astounding exhibits from the famous Guinness Book of World Records and the new Guinness Prime-time TV Show.

Hollywood Wax Museum is the only wax museum in the country devoted entirely to celebrity figures. The two-story Museum brings Pigeon Forge tourists and locals into the world of Hollywood Stars and allows visitors to get close to some of the most famous people in show business, recreated so faithfully that you'd swear they are alive.

The Island in Pigeon Forge - You've heard about the 200 foot tall Great Smoky Mountain Wheel with an amazing view of The Great Smoky Mountains! You will find it here. You will also find 60 retail shops, restaurants and eateries, rides and games, live music, attractions, a luxury hotel, and much more Take a break from the busy day by relaxing in a rocking chair while enjoying the beautiful Island Show Fountain.

Ober Gatlinburg - Ski slopes, ice skating, and lots of other outdoor adventure.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies - The 100,000-plus square foot marine attraction is home to thousands of fish and other types of aquatic life from around the world. More than 1.3 million gallons of water (mostly man-made sea water) accommodate the various exhibits and displays located throughout the facility.

The Tennessee Museum of Aviation - The museum a new 50,000 sq. ft. facility located right beside the airport's 5,500 ft. runway. This unique location makes bringing aviation history to life possible as airworthy vintage aircraft perform impromptu flybys for visitors. The hangar floor alone is 35,000 sq. ft. and the hangar is heated in winter.

The Titanic Museum - Experience life on board Titanic just as it was on her maiden voyage 100 years ago. Walk the hallways, parlors, cabins and Grand Staircase while surrounded by more than 400 rare artifacts. Touch a real iceberg, steer the ship, be seated in a real Titanic lifeboat and listen to actual survivors tell their stories.

Tuckaleechee Caverns - Carved over tens of thousands of years in one of the earth's oldest mountain chains, Tuckaleechee Caverns at Townsend are known as the "Greatest Site Under the Smokies." Estimated to be between 20 and 30 million years old, the Caverns are rich in history and lore in recent years as well.

East Tennessee Attractions


Bessie Smith Cultural Center - Located in an area once dubbed as the cityís black enterprise zone, (the famed 9th Street District) now known as M.L. King Boulevard, the museumís original goal was to present the many contributions African Americans made to the development of Chattanooga. The rise in the number of African American Museums during the 1960ís paralleled the growth in African American studies throughout the nation. Both visions were attempts to compensate for the failure of the American education system to provide adequate inclusion and contributions of African Americans in American history and culture.

Bluff View Art District - Bluff View Art District is a family owned and operated historic neighborhood filled with restaurants, a coffee house, art gallery, historic Bed & Breakfast, and plenty of gardens, plazas and courtyards where you can relax and rejuvenate.

Chattanooga Choo Choo - The Terminal Station seemed destined for the similar fate of Union Station (parts of which were built before the Civil War) at the center of town, which was demolished in 1973. But Terminal Station was saved from the wrecking ball by a group of local businessmen who were inspired by the theme of the "Chattanooga Choo Choo."

Chattanooga Zoo - Walk through the Gombe Forest with chimpanzees, Madagascar hissing rockroaches, and king baboon spiders. Take a walk on the wild side and explore the immense rainforest of Latin America. Here youíll see the amazing dexterity of spider monkeys and the mysterious prowl of jaguars, the largest cats in the Americas.

Lake Winnepesaukah - With family-friendly rides and attractions, Lake Winnepesaukah, located just outside of Chattanooga, is recognized as one of Americaís top ten family amusement parks for all ages.

Lookout Mountain - Lookout Mountain is home to three top rated, world-famous attractions that showcase the natural and historic beauty of the area, each with breathtaking views of the Tennessee Valley.

Northshore Chattanooga - From downtown Chattanooga, take the free electric shuttle or a chatty wagon to the Northshore area. You will discover fun local shops, restaurants, cafes and bars along with boutiques offering vintage and antiques.

Rock City - Located atop Lookout Mountain, just 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga, Rock City is a true marvel of nature featuring massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species, and breathtaking "See 7 States" panoramic views.

Ruby Falls - Ruby Falls is the nation's tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public. Descend 260 feet by elevator into historic Lookout Mountain to tour the cavern, see the falls and discover why this unique destination has been named one of the best things to do in Tennessee for over 90 years.

Southern Belle Riverboat - The absolute best sightseeing of the lovely city of Chattanooga is from the Southern Belle Riverboat. Enjoy a sightseeing cruise on our open-air deck with live narration.


Ijams Nature Center - Ijams Nature Center is a city park and community nature center. In its eighty plus acres, foot trails wind across streams, meadows, fern banks, and past bluffs overlooking Fort Loudon Lake.

Knoxville Walking Tours - Family feuds and wanted outlaws. You'll relive the days when Knoxville was the wild west and Gay Street was the OK Corral.

Star of Knoxville - This authentic paddlewheeler is United States Coast Guard approved for 235 passengers. The Tennessee River is one of the most beautiful rivers you will ever cruise. While cruising, you will enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in Knoxville. Not only will you see some of the history of the river, you will most certainly be relaxed by the riverís beauty.

World's Fair Park - The park offers several acres of lawn, waterfalls, and streams. It has a peaceful environment for relaxation. Water features include interactive fountains and a one-story-high geyser. A performance lawn provides a natural amphitheater-like setting perfect for concerts, festivals, parties and other special events.

Zoo Knoxville - Zoo Knoxville offers special programs. The zoo celebrates the wonders of the natural world. Through education, conservation, exhibition, research and recreation, the zoo tells the stories of the animals, the plants and the people who make up the communities of the earth.

Middle Tennessee Attractions


Belmont Mansion was constructed as one of the most elaborate antebellum homes in the South, with 36 rooms and 19,000 sq. ft. The estate contained an art gallery, conservatories, lavish gardens, aviary, lake and zoo.

Belle Meade Plantation

Carter House, built in 1830 by Fountain Branch Carter, witnessed one of the bloodiest battles during the Civil War on November 30, 1864.

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens are seen and enjoyed by 170,000 visitors each year. The property was once the elegant home of the Cheek family. The 55 acre site includes the original Cheek gardens, designed by Bryant Fleming, with pools, fountains, statuary, extensive boxwood plantings and breathtaking views of the rolling Tennessee hills.

Country Music Hall of Fame presents the crown jewels of its vast collection to illustrate country music's story as told through the turns of two centuries. A treasure trove of historic country video clips and recorded music, dynamic exhibits and state-of-the-art design, regular menu of live performances and public programs, museum store, live satellite radio broadcasts, on-site dining and fabulous public spaces all contribute to an unforgettable museum experience.

Downtown Presbyterian Church church was one of many buildings used as hospitals during the Union occupation of the city during the Civil War. It was designated Hospital No. 8 and housed 206 beds.

Delta Queen Steamboat Company - See the heartland of our great nation aboard the legendary Delta Queen®, and the magnificent Mississippi Queen®, the only genuine, overnight paddlewheelers plying America's rivers, for a journey brimming with fun, discovery and all-American heritage. The trip offers a unique blend of American beauty and history, its sumptuous river cuisine, lively "showboat" style entertainment, and the adventure of exploring Mark Twain's riverside America. Charming, historic river ports, lively cities, and stately plantations. Gliding along at a stately 8 mph, your mind has time to wander back to a time when life was a bit slower and more genteel, when these mighty rivers served as America's natural "highways," and an elegant paddlewheel steamboat was the epitome of travel. You'll explore the richness of riverside America as you step ashore at historic ports of call such as lively Memphis and stately Natchez, Mark Twain's Hannibal or cosmopolitan St. Paul, bustling St. Louis and gracious Louisville, charming Chattanooga and tuneful Nashville, friendly Cincinnati and dynamic Pittsburgh.

Factory at Franklin is a vibrant shopping, dining and entertainment complex located in Franklin, Tennessee. The Factory is a member of the National Register of Historic Places. The Factory occupies the circa-1929 buildings that once served as the Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef and later the Jamison Bedding Company.

Historic Carnton Plantation - On November 30, 1864, the tragedy of the Battle of Franklin, so devastating to the Confederacy, unfolded in the fields near Carnton, home of John and Carrie McGavock. Over 20,000 soldiers in the Army of Tennessee attacked well-fortified Union breastworks at the southern edge of town. Soon the McGavocks would witness the carnage of war as they opened the doors of their home to be used as a field hospital for wounded Confederates

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is open every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Parthenon - The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.

Tennessee State Capitol, completed in 1859, is located on a high hill in downtown Nashville. It was one of the most magnificent public buildings of its time, anywhere in the U.S.

Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum - Saved from demolition in 1954 by the Tennessee Society of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the historic house, built originally in 1799, was restored to interpret the early 19th century life of Judge John Overton, one of the state’s first Supreme Court Justices, the founder of Memphis, and a close personal friend of Andrew Jackson

West Tennessee Attractions


Beale Street Entertainment District - Located in the heart of downtown Memphis with three blocks of more than 30 nightclubs, restaurants and retail shops. Music includes traditional Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll.

Center for Southern Folklore - The Center is a non-profit organization that showcases and celebrates the wonders, lifestyles, people, history, and cultures of the South.

Davies Manor Plantation - This historic property, located in Bartlett, features the oldest log home in Shelby County open to the public, along with thirty-two surrounding acres and numerous outbuildings. These outbuildings include a former tenant farmer’s cabin, a commissary, a gristmill, and two nineteenth-century log cabins that were relocated to Davies Manor in 2007 from Libertyland.

Dixon Gallery and Gardens - The gallery features permanent exhibits along with temporary exhibitions throughout the year. There are also various gardens landscaped in the manner of an English park with open vistas adjacent to smaller, intimate formal spaces.

Graceland - Explore Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland Mansion. Fully immerse yourself in Elvis' life and career like never before at Elvis Presley's Memphis as you experience Elvis' roots, his influences, and his artistry. Savor delicious Memphis cuisine at our themed restaurants.

Magevney House - This small, white clapboard cottage was built in the 1830s and was home to Irish immigrant, Eugene Magevney. Typical of pre-Civil War, middle-class homes, it is furnished as it might have been in 1850 and features several personal possessions of the Magevney family, including a desk bureau and other antiquities.The house is one of the city's oldest remaining residences.

Mallory Neely House - Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located at 652 Adams Avenue in the Victorian Village Historic District, the Mallory-Neely House is one of the City’s treasured historic sites. It is all the more special in that it retains all of the original historic interiors, furniture, and artifacts almost exclusively. It offers a visceral experience walking through the home and lives of a family from over one hundred years ago.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame - What began as a tribute to Memphis’ legendary musicians who shook the world has finally opened as a museum that is as outrageous as its inductees! The Memphis Music Hall of Fame museum and exhibition introduces guests to some of the greatest musicians of all time – each responsible for shaping modern music and changing the world forever right here in Memphis. This fun, fascinating and educational exhibition features never-before-seen memorabilia, rare video performances and interviews, interactive exhibits, and much more.

Memphis Zoo - From the time you step inside the grand entrance, you know you’re in a very special place. The main entrance and courtyard pays honor in its design to the ancient city of Memphis, Egypt. The meandering streams, crisp waterfalls, native plants and tranquil gardens alone are a great reason to visit. Come play around in the Memphis Zoo. Hop on the tram and see everything from exotic animals to the petting zoo and everything in between.

Southern Folklore Gallery - The Center for Southern Folklore offers a wide variety of events, programs, and customized tours that showcase the music and cultural history of the Memphis/Delta region. To top off the programs they serve yummy southern comfort food.

Sun Studio - Sun Studio is known worldwide as “The Birthplace of Rock’n’roll”. It is the discovery location of musical legends and genres of the 50’s from B.B. King and Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis; from Blues and Gospel to Country and Rock’n'roll. Today its goal is to spread the story of Memphis’ history and culture through the music that put Memphis on the map.

T.O. Fuller Golf Course - The T. O. Fuller State Park Golf Course is located in the southwest corner of Memphis. Gently rolling hills and mature trees dominate this 18-hole golf course. Accented by color-infused scenery and native Tennessee vegetation, this 5,986-yard, par 72 course features wide fairways and Bermuda greens. The course's signature hole is a 196-yard, par 3, requiring an accurate tee shot to reach a small elevated green.

Wolfchase Galleria Mall - Wolfchase Galleria features Dillard's, JC Penney, Sears and Macy's plus 130 of the most exciting stores in the Mid-South. Stores like American Outfitters, Hollister Co., Fossil, bebe, Brooks Brothers, Wet Seal, Guess, Banana Republic, Gap, Pottery Barn, dELiA*s, The Disney Store, Journey, and Thomas Kinkade Gallery. While you're shopping at Wolfchase be sure to enjoy a variety of delicious foods at your favorite eateries located in the Food Court or one of two restaurants located in Wolfchase Galleria. To make your trip complete, take in the latest movie at the Malco Theatre or a ride on the fantasy carousel.


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