Tennessee has some of the best barbecue in the world. Memphis-style barbecue is slow cooked and comes either “wet” or “dry.” Whether you choose ribs or a pulled pork sandwich, or you try some of the famous barbecue pizza or BBQ nachos, you’re sure to fall in love with Memphis-style.
You may not think it’s possible to actually want to sing “Rocky Top,” but it will happen if you become a UT fan. University of Tennessee fans might be the only people in the world that love this song, but boy, do they. If you move to Tennessee, you can’t escape it.
You may find yourself saying things like Titan Up – or using the hashtag #titanup, or painting your face blue or screaming “Titan True.” It’s okay, go for it. Be a real Tennessean.
You might as well know before you get there: RC (Royal Crown Cola) and MoonPies go together in Tennessee like peanut butter and jelly. It’s not officially known how the combo became so popular together, but they are a hot couple. Songs have been written about the famous combo, and the RC and Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle celebrates the scrumptious pairing.
You should know before you get to Tennessee that although Nashville is known as the Capital of Country Music, it’s actually not the birthplace. Country music was born in the city of Bristol, Tennessee. Visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum or go to one of their awesome music festivals, like Rhythm and Roots.
People drive from states away to see the gorgeous colors of the The Smokies. It’s a spectacular sight of burnt orange, bright red, golden yellow and various greens. When the fog hangs low it’s like the mountain is wearing a white feather boa as if to say, “I am fabulous.” And it’s so true.
Waterfalls are a dime a dozen, but Tennessee is home to Ruby Falls, a 145 ft. underground waterfall within Lookout Mountain. The falls are natural and fed both by rainwater and natural springs. It’s a must-see when you’re anywhere near Chattanooga.
Get in a glass bottom boat and tour The Lost Sea in Sweetwater. There’s just one thing to know: It’s not actually a sea, but actually an underground lake. It’s the United States’ largest (and the world’s second largest) non-subglacial underground lake, and is truly an adventure.
At last count, there were 100 Krystal’s in the state of Tennessee. Why does Tennessee love Krystal so much? Well, besides the obvious (their most popular menu item, the Krystal: a delicious little hamburger slider with a steamed bun, diced onions, pickle and mustard), the fast food chain was born in Chattanooga in 1932 and headquartered there until 2013. The juicy, steamy little sliders are the perfect meal, especially after a night of Jack or moonshine.
Tennessee has a lot of farmland and a lot of fresh, local food. There are plenty of opportunities to stop along the way and pick your own fruits and vegetables. Don’t miss out, because it’s the freshest and best deal around.
If you want to soar over Tennessee, head to Lookout Mountain for America’s largest hang gliding resort and school, Lookout Mountain Flight Park and Resort. You don’t need any experience, and a tandem flight to 2,000 feet will only run you $129. It’s the most thrilling way to see the stunning beauty of Tennessee. Speaking of which…
You will be awed by the majestic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. They stretch from the Pigeon River to the Little Tennessee River and are part of Blount, Sevier and Cocke counties in Tennessee. It’s the perfect place to hike, camp, go white water rafting or simply take in the breath-taking views.
Where else can you order the perfect drink with just one word? Just say Jack. It’s the cure to what ails you in Tennessee, and flows like a river.
If you get tired of whiskey (as if) and are longing for some good moonshine, you’re still covered. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is a local favorite. Go with the original, or get a little adventurous and try blackberry, peach, sweet tea or apple pie shine. And it’s totally acceptable to drink it straight from the mason jar.
The fertile soil in Tennessee is perfect for growing the perfect grapes for the perfect wine. There are a wide variety of vineyards all over the state for tasting and touring. Beachaven Vineyards in Clarksville, Century Farm Winery in Jackson, Monteagle Winery in Monteagle, Blue Slip Winery in Knoxville… you get the idea. There’s a lot of wine flowing in Tennessee.
You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival. It’s an awesome time on a 700-acre farm for four entire days. This year had the usual stellar line-up of musical acts, from Elton John and Kanye West to Skrillex, The Flaming Lips, and Jack White.
No matter where you live in Tennessee, you can’t ever miss Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, country’s most famous stage. Every show is a treat, featuring eight or more artists. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. You’ll see country music legends and a mix of contemporary chart toppers for a world-famous, one-of-a-kind experience.
Tennessee is home to over 9,000 caves, and in case you didn’t know, bears sleep during the day in caves. Don’t try to pet them, they’re pretty unpredictable. And they’re not always in caves. It’s estimated that nearly 1,500 bears live in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Have fun hiking!
If you are an Elvis fan (or even if you’re not), Graceland is a must on your list of places to see in Tennessee. It’s home to Elvis’s mansion, gold records, Grammy’s, costumes, the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, Rockabilly’s Diner, Graceland Crossing, and the Heartbreak Hotel. And you can still explore how Elvis completely changed the face of rock ‘n’ roll and popular music culture.
You may or may not like Dolly Parton, but it doesn’t matter. Dollywood is way more cool than you think. It’s a world-class theme park with a mind-blowing water park, theaters, constant shows and entertainment, great dining, and don’t forget the Mystery Mine.
Beale Street in downtown Memphis is jam-packed with delicious restaurants and incredible blues history and music. The famous street has been hosting blues musicians since 1899, and is the heart of Memphis’s music scene. It’s not only the blues, you can see live jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, gospel, delta blues, and alternative acts. Every year the Beale Street Music Festival brings major acts to the area and is the kickoff to a month-long of festivities called Memphis in May.
Head to the Speedway if you love life in the fast lane. This NASCAR short-track has steep banking with two pits, and is one of the most popular tracks in the NASCAR schedule. It’s also been named one of the loudest, so don’t forget your earplugs.
OK, so not everyone in Tennessee will greet you atop a horse, but everyone does greet you with a smile. The fine people of Tennessee are genuinely friendly folks. If you’re from New York or Florida, you might find it off-putting, but don’t worry—they’re not going to try to sell you anything or pick your pocket. They really are just that friendly.