In Bristol, there’s plenty of history, as well as legends. You’ll hear about a recording session that spawned a musical genre and an old-fashioned race track that grew into NASCAR’s most beloved venue. Racers and musicians have indeed become icons here…and legends have been born here.
State Street divides downtown Bristol, making it one of the most unique communities in the country. The state lines of Tennessee and Virginia are literally the center of historic downtown, yet it brings together an eclectic mix of antique shops, specialty stores, and an art and entertainment district.
Chances are most nights you’ll hear music in Bristol. In fact, in 1998 Bristol was declared by Congress as the official Birthplace of Country Music. In 1927, the first commercial country music recordings were made here. Many have described those famed recording sessions as the “Big Bang of Country Music” that launched the careers of music icons Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. Learn more at the new Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
|Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia | Rhythm and Roots|
Historic downtown hosts free concerts May – October and the annual outdoor music festival Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, held the third weekend in September. Visitors can also enjoy a performance at a 1931 art deco movie palace, the Paramount Center for the Arts, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The performing arts center hosts everything from bluegrass greats, symphony orchestras and rock concerts to beautiful ballets, Broadway plays and comedians.
For a faster-paced attraction Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway will satisfy the need for speed. Every year Bristol hosts two NASCAR race weekends and many drag races including the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. During the holidays enjoy Speedway in Lights, a holiday light show with over two million lights on a four mile driving route that takes visitors around the Speedway and Dragway. Track tours also are available throughout the year.
|Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway|
Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy miles of hiking, biking and walking trails through thousands of acres of Bristol city parks, Steele Creek and Sugar Hollow. Area lakes and waterways provide the perfect opportunity for fishing and boating sports.