Imagine a place, just off a major interstate highway, where you will have access to peaceful mountains, rolling hills and tranquil lakes. Imagine a place where all your needs are met with relaxing soft strains of old time music or to the hard driving sounds of one of the country's most elite NASCAR venues leaving you wanting more. Imagine a cavern where you can see where Indians once lived, or where the first sounds of country music were heard and where its history lives today, shopping in a historic downtown district with its unique boutiques and antique shops lining the main street.
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The first country music recordings earned Bristol the title of Birthplace of Country Music. The tradition continues with great live performances throughout the year including Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and music venues in our historic downtown. A complete list of live music events in Bristol can be found on PickBristol.com. Other musical heritage attractions nearby include the Carter Family Fold and the Crooked Road.
3Need for Speed
The "World's Fastest Half Mile Track" Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway are fan favorites for high-powered stock car and drag racing.
Don’t miss the track tour of the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway complex. You’ll get to take a lap around the track, with its famous high-banked turns, and ride down to pit road. You’ll also cruise down the Bristol Dragway, also known as “Thunder Valley.”
To find out what racing really feels like, head to the fan zone for the Bristol Experience. It has race car and track simulators, multimedia demonstrations, and surround-sound theater to put you in the middle of the action.
Families can play, fish, boat, bike, hike and picnic at Steele Creek Park, Sugar Hollow Park, and South Holston Lake. Special nearby attractions include the 35-mile long Virginia Creeper Trail and the challenging Appalachian Trail. If you love to venture underground, don't miss Bristol Caverns and Appalachian Caverns.
There are more than 40 square miles of inland lakes and freshwater streams nearby including the South Holston Lake. The 7,580 acre reservoir is known for its small-mouth bass fishing. With sixty percent of its shoreline bordering the Cherokee National Forest, you are sure to find numerous fishing holes. Camp sites and boat ramps for South Holston are available at Observation Knob Park.
The 640,000 acre Cherokee National Forest provides one of the world's most natural diverse areas, while the famed Appalachian Trail lies minutes east of the city. Additional outdoor opportunities include whitewater rafting on the nearby Nolichucky River or golf at one of our six public golf courses.
5Theater and the Arts
Bristol is home to the Paramount Center for the Arts, site of many wonderful dramatic productions including some preformed by Theatre Bristol. In historic downtown you will also find fine art galleries and studios of local artists. Not far away is the Barter Theatre, the State Theater of Virginia.
The festival often includes performances by many award-winning artists. Over a hundred different artists perform in over a dozen indoor and outdoors venues. The festival also features a chili cook-off, five-kilometer road race, children’s events, and more.
Don’t miss this celebration of the roots and rhythms of American music. Read about the festival lineup and events at www.bristolrhythm.com.
Historic downtown Bristol and the area is rich with history dating back to pre-revoluntionary war times and attractions like Tales and Trails and Rocky Mount to help bring that history to life.
Get an up-close look at this historic town by taking a self-guided walking tour of the sites that tell its story. You'll see the Bristol Sign, one of the South's unique landmarks; music heritage sites such as the Country Music Mural and the Burger Bar where Hank Williams allegedly stopped on the night he died; the NASCAR mural honoring such legends as Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty; and other sites that bring the history of this storied town to life.