Bristol… A Great Place to Live!
Bristol is located in the northeast corner of Tennessee and is the twin city of Bristol, Virginia, which lies directly across the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. The boundary between the two cities runs along State Street in their common downtown district.
One visit and you’ll understand why Bristol TN/VA is a “Good Place to Live.” You are likely to find adventure in the roar of racecars at Bristol Motor Speedway or the rapids of a nearby stream. Enjoy unbelievable scenic vistas that stretch for miles. Soak up the sunshine or steep yourself in the many historical lives, places and events of Tennessee’s legendary pioneers. And just sit back and relax with a happy heart and listen to tall tales being shared from the porch or from the stage from the Storytelling Capital of the World. All that and more is right here in Northeast Tennessee.
Our History and Heritage…
Dating back to pre-revoluntionary war times the history of Bristol TN/VA is a long and varied one. Stories rooted in humble beginnings that have grown into legends. Stories of yesterday and today are still being written in this region.
Bristol, Tennessee was incorporated in 1856. In 1881, both sides of Bristol designated the center of the city’s main thoroughfare, Main Street. Both cities renamed Main Street to State Street in 1901.
The Bristol Sign was erected in 1910 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original slogan “Push That’s Bristol” was changed to “A Good Place to Live” in 1921/22.
Bristol is probably best known for being the site of some of the first commercial recordings of country music, showcasing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, and later a favorite venue of the mountain musician Uncle Charlie Osborne.
Since 1994, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance has promoted the city as a destination to learn about country music and the city’s role in the creation of an entire music genre. Currently, the Alliance is organizing the building of a new Cultural Heritage Center to help educate the public about the history of country music in the region.
The U.S. Congress recognized Bristol as the “Birthplace of Country Music” in 1998. Bristol is also the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Every year, during the third weekend in September, a music festival called the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion takes place. The festival is held downtown, where Tennessee and Virginia meet, and it celebrates Bristol’s heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music.
Attractions Listed on the National Register of Historic Places…
The original Bristol Train Station/Depot was burned down during Stoneman’s raid on December 14, 1864. The current train station, built in 1902, is Bristol’s fourth. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Paramount Center for the Arts, on the Tennessee side of State Street, is an excellent example of art deco motion picture palaces built in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. The Parmount is now home to a wide variety of performing arts performances, musical concerts, private celebrations and is surrounded by restaurants, botiques, shops, studios, music and more.
Stone Castle, a local stadium constructed of limestone and completed in 1936 and is currently the home of Tennessee High School Athletics.
The landscape surrounding Bristol is a wonderful portrait of rolling hills, lakes and streams, trails and camping and breathtaking vistas. South Holston Lake, a 10,053 acre, man-made lake created by the Tennessee Valley Authority, is just minutes from downtown Bristol.
Bristol is home to Bristol Motor Speedway, a favorite NASCAR Sprint Cup track. Bristol is also home to Bristol Dragway, which hosts the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals, an NHRA national event.
Local Tourism, Commerce and Hospitality
Located at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, Northeast Tennessee is steeped in Culture and tradition. Our region offers lush mountains and rushing rivers, beautiful state parks and attractions Gray Fossil Site, Bristol Caverns, museums and more. Relax and enjoy a day of shopping and dining, or sleep under the stars and reconnect with the mountains, you’ll never run out of things to see and do.