Bristol is built on sound: engines revving, fiddles singing and the silence of the outdoors. The downtown buzzes with live music and the outdoors quietly await just beyond. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains and surrounded by scenic South Holston Lake and the Holston River, Bristol is the birthplace of country music and home of the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” — Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Groups won’t find a better experience than Bristol: easy bus parking downtown, a walkable urban center, area attractions minutes away and plenty of fun for all ages,” said Courtney Cacatian, executive director of Discover Bristol. “Bristol is laid-back but not quiet. Bristol Motor Speedway gets hearts racing and the museum gets feet tapping.”
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, opened in 2014 and honors Bristol’s musical roots, which began with the historic 1927 Bristol Sessions. The museum offers a state-of-the-art, interactive multimedia experience charged with making history come alive. Special guided tours are available for groups.
Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, on the Tennessee side,hosts NASCAR events in April and August. In-depth, behind-the-scenes track tours are available for groups. Visitors can climb the famous high banks of Bristol’s track and even sign it; experience the excitement of Victory Lane; and explore Thunder Valley, the speedway’s famous drag strip.
Historic downtown features unique gems including the Bristol Train Station; the Paramount Center for the Arts; and locally-owned restaurants, shops and art galleries. Any first-time journey to Bristol should start on State Street. Tennessee and Virginia are divided by brass markers and it’s the ultimate photo op.
Burger Bar, a favorite burger joint among locals, is forever linked to Hank Williams as it’s allegedly the last place the country music legend was known to be alive. A group dining room, Piedmont Station, owned and operated by Burger Bar, is located next door and is available for groups of up to 80.
Top photo credit: Discover Bristol