Top 10 Most Famous Tennessee Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Tennessee is known for good food, good people and good music. The state is found in the central southeastern portion of the country and boasts a landscape that is brimming with natural wondrous features paired with a mild and enjoyable climate. As a result, many of the most famous Tennessee landmarks are naturally occurring places or phenomenon, however a heaping helping of musical history also awaits guests to the Volunteer State.
1. Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame: Nashville is known for country music, and there is no place better to celebrate the history of the genre and the artists behind it than at the museum dedicated to it. Various galleries displaying greats like Kenny Rogers and Glen Campbell take visitors back to the early years of popular country, while modern greats like Alan Jackson are honored with exhibits. Perhaps one of the most entertaining of all Tennessee landmarks, the museum also hosts demonstrations, intimate musical sessions and film screenings to honor the people, the past and the present of country music.
2. Graceland Memphis: Whether or not Elvis is what has brought a visitor to Tennessee, a stop by his well known residence is a trip through both American and musical history. Two decades spanned the period of time that The King called the colonial mansion home, during which it remained a tremendous source of pride for him. One of the most endearing of all Tennessee landmarks, Graceland was the embodiment of a promise that a young Elvis made to his parents long before he became famous, when he vowed to make lots of money and buy the nicest house in town.
3. Memphis Riverwalk: What precisely is the Riverwalk that is found along the Mississippi? The answer may be surprising as this replica might be one of the most unusual Tennessee landmarks of them all. It’s a scale model that is precisely accurate of the entire lower portion of the river it’s found along, documenting the route exactly all the way from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico. From above, it looks like a twisting, winding mud puddle. However, from up close, over twenty cities are mapped along its scaled down banks along with historical events and interesting geographical occurrences.
4. Parthenon Nashville: It looks just like the famous Greek structure, yet it’s situated a mere six miles from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Built in 1897 to serve as a showpiece during the Centennial Exposition, the building comes complete with 42 foot high Athena statue, which adds to its authenticity. While the historical relevance of the Parthenon is undeniable, it’s place amongst Tennessee landmarks is furthered by its secondary use as an art museum, which permanently houses over 60 paintings.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Situated in the eastern part of the state just east of Knoxville can be found the most visited National Park in the United States. Renowned for an incredible diversity of both plant life and wildlife set amidst a backdrop of cloud covered peaks, guests can tour the natural environment and enjoy waterfalls, coves, streams and more. An occasional bear sighting here is not uncommon, and visitors delight in the opportunities to spot these massive mammals in the wild. Aside from enjoying these mountainous Tennessee landmarks that the area is known for, visitors also find the Appalachian mountain culture here almost as enchanting.
6. Lost Sea Cave: Just west of Smokies visitors can find this watery labyrinth of water filled caverns. Giant rock formations and room upon room welcome visitors to the cave system’s stunning geological past and unique history. The real highlight of these Tennessee landmarks however is surely the glass bottom boat ride that takes visitors out on the largest underground lake in the country, The Lost Sea.
7. Fall Creek Falls: This state park is the largest in Tennessee and draws an impressive number of visitors each year, mostly thanks to its pair of cascading waterfalls. These Tennessee landmarks are found atop the Cumberland Plateau and situated among over 26,000 acres of natural parkland. At an impressive 256 feet tall, the falls are some of the tallest in the country, drawing hikers, campers and more from around the United States. For those uninterested in backcountry camping, the park does feature an inn with an impressive room count and an area for meetings space as well as restaurants.
8. Ruby Falls: Down near the Georgia state line, one of Chattanooga’s biggest attractions is found inside a mountain, not on top of it. The 145 foot waterfall, named for discoverer Leo Lambert’s wife Ruby, is said to have been formed over 200 million years ago when Lookout Mountain itself formed, including the caverns it holds within. These caverns are made of limestone and there are many interesting geologic features found inside including stalagmites and stalactites. The big draw, however, and one of the most well known of all Tennessee landmarks over the last hundred years, is the illuminated, cascading mountain water feature.
9. Cummins Falls: Anyone headed towards Nashville from the eastern portion of the state should not miss out on an opportunity to stop at these 75 foot high cascading falls, known not only as one of the most beautiful of all Tennessee landmarks, but also as an excellent swimming hole. In fact, the pool at the base of these falls is cold and clear and listed as one of the best natural places to swim in the country. With new access paths making accessibility much more reasonable, guests are flocking to the falls to check out one of the state’s natural gems.
10. Jack Daniel’s Distillery: In the southern outskirts of Nashville guests will find the Lynchburg home of Tennessee’s most well known whiskey. Daily tours are available to guests between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. where knowledgeable guides explain the company’s history as well as how the iconic alcoholic beverage is made. What’s perhaps most interesting about the distillery is that even though it’s perhaps one of the most well known of all Tennessee landmarks, it’s Moore county location means that it’s smack in the middle of a county that’s been “dry” since prohibition.