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Tennessee

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Activities  

Introduction

Tennessee ©Wdwic Pictures

This relatively small landlocked state is bounded on the west by the Mississippi River and on the east by the Appalachian Mountains, and bordered in total by eight other states. It may have been the combined cultural and historical mix infused from its many southern neighbours that assisted Tennessee in becoming the central melting pot of musical styles, eventually coalescing into modern country, blues and rock 'n roll music, for which the state is now world-renowned.


Since the mid-1950s, Tennessee's main tourist attraction has been the legendary King of Rock 'n Roll, Elvis Presley: he may have died close to 30 years ago, but his soul goes marching on, drawing thousands of fans to his former home in Memphis, the state's largest city.


The State capital, Nashville, has a musical heritage second-to-none as well, being home to the Grand Ole Opry, the worldwide Mecca of country music.


Outside the main cities, long and lean Tennessee, which is only 480 miles (772km) long and 115 miles (185km) wide in total, offers a surprising number of wilderness areas and natural attractions, where the only music is the bubbling of mountain streams or the call of birdsong. In the eastern part of the state, a series of beautiful ridges and valleys rise up to the highest point of Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which Tennessee shares with North Carolina. The state is blessed throughout with a vast system of reservoirs, which offer 29 appealing lakes, filled with fish and offering water sports opportunities.


The state also boasts some historic heritage trails, the main one being the scenic 'Trail of Tears', starting just east of Chattanooga in the south and stretching for 260 miles (418km) through Tennessee before heading into Kentucky. Along this route 13,000 displaced Cherokee Indians were marched to Oklahoma. Tennessee, which was the centre of the western theatre of the Civil War and witnessed more battles than any other state except Virginia, also preserves and maintains numerous war sites, like Shiloh and Lookout Mountain.


Climate Info

The Tennessee climate can vary greatly due to the state's diverse topography, but generally the climate is moderate, with warm summers and mild winters. Spring and fall tend to be the best time of year (early fall is the driest time of year), and therefore this is usually the best time to travel to Tennessee, as the summers can get hot, with high humidity, and the winters, though mild, tend to be wet. The Sequatchie Valley, the Central Basin and the Gulf Coastal Plain are usually the warmest areas, and Memphis (in the southwest) experiences an average temperature of 83°F (28°C) in the height of summer (July). The mountainous region in the east tends to experience the heaviest snowfall in winter, with the lowest temperatures in the state. Snow does fall in the rest of Tennessee, but tends to melt very quickly. The Smoky Mountains receive the highest annual precipitation levels in the state. The highest rainfall occurs in winter and early spring, with March being the wettest month and severe storms can occur, though usually infrequently.


Getting Around

Buses and trolleys operate in the streets of Nashville, with the Metropolitan Transit Authority running several dozen bus routes seven days a week. Bus 34 is the Opry Mills Route that links the downtown district with Opryland. This service operates every 40 minutes daily between around 6.40am and 10.30pm. For sightseers, the free Music City Circuit bus leaves the Riverfront Station every 15 to 30 minutes between 6.30am and 11pm on weekdays, and from 11am to 11pm on Saturdays, stopping at many popular downtown attractions. There are several taxi companies operating in Nashville, and the major car rental companies offer services. Driving in Nashville's small downtown area can be frustrating, but a hire car is useful for excursions out of town. Visitors staying downtown will find that most attractions are within easy walking distance.


Memphis International Airport (MEM)

LocationThe airport is situated seven miles (11km) from Memphis.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 901 922 8000.

Transfer terminals

The terminals are connected by walkways and are within easy walking distance of one another.

Getting to city

Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) public buses leave regularly for the city centre from a bus station near Terminal C, and there are also services to many out-of-town destinations. Taxis are available outside the terminal buildings. Some hotels provide shuttle services and some shuttle companies serve the wider area. Car rental companies are represented at the airport.

Car Rental

Car rental companies represented at the airport include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Enterprise and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available outside the Terminal B baggage claim area on the ground level between 6am and one hour after the last flight of the day. A taxi from the airport will typically charge a minimum of $10 with a $3 airport surcharge and $0.50 per excessive item of luggage.

Airport Facilities

There are numerous restaurants, bars and cafes and a variety of shops, including an Elvis gift shop. 24-hour ATMs are located in ticketing levels of Terminal B. Disabled facilities at the airport are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.

Car Parking

Parking at Memphis International Airport is free for the first 30 minutes. Short-term parking is $2 for the first hour, and $1 every 30 minutes thereafter up to $24 per day. Long-term parking has a similar pricing structure, with a $15 daily rate. Economy parking is $1 for the first 90 minutes, and $6 per day.

Websitewww.flymemphis.com


Nashville International Airport (BNA)

LocationThe airport is situated six miles (10km) southeast of downtown Nashville.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 615 275 1675.

Getting to city

The Nashville Transit Authority has bus service from the airport to the downtown transit station via Route 18; it operates roughly once an hour from around 7am to 10.40pm on weekdays, and from 6am to just before 10pm on weekends and holidays.

Car Rental

Car rental companies represented at Nashville International Airport include Advantage, Alamo, Enterprise, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available from the airport, however it is advisable to book a taxi in advance. There is a flat rate of $25 to downtown Nashville and the Opryland Hotel area.

Airport Facilities

There are extensive facilities at the airport including a bank, ATMs and postal services. There are numerous restaurants, from fast food outlets to fine dining eateries, as well as several shops. The airport also has art exhibitions and live music performances on the ticketing level, children's play areas, meditation rooms and a massage bar, where professional massage therapists offer seated chair massages. Smoking is permitted in designated lounges. A business centre offers fax, photocopy and internet services. There are good facilities for the disabled; those with special requirements should contact their airline in advance.

Car Parking

Short-term parking is free for the first 20 minutes, and $3 per hour up to a daily rate of $21. Long-term Lot A is $3 per hour with a daily rate of $16, and Lot B charges $9 per day. The short-term lot is within walking distance of the terminal, while the other lots offer free shuttle services, beginning at 3.30am daily and ending 45 minutes after the last flight of the day.

Websitewww.flynashville.com


Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum


If you are a visitor to Nashville, chances are you are there because you are a country music fan. That being the case the best place to begin your visit is the not-to-be-missed Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the Downtown entertainment district.


The main permanent ex
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The Country Music Hall of Fame ©Sean Russell



Ryman Auditorium


This National Historic Landmark in downtown Nashville, nicknamed the Mother Church of Country Music, is regarded as the founding home of country music, having been the performance venue for the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974.


The theatre was originally built in 1892 by Thom
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Ryman Auditorium ©Daniel Schwen



Grand Ole Opry


The home of the world-famous country music show, the Grand Ole Opry, is now in Opryland Drive in a vast 4,400 seat auditorium which is part of the Opryland resort complex north of Nashville's city centre. From here the world's longest running radio show is still broadcast on the Nashvill
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Grand Ole Opry House ©Adam Mcmaster



Belle Meade Plantation


One popular Nashville attraction that is not music-related is the Belle Meade Plantation, known as 'the queen of Tennessee plantations', boasting an 1853 Greek Revival mansion that has been carefully restored to show its original elegance.


The plantation was founded in 1807 b
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Belle Meade Plantation ©Colin1769



Parthenon


The centrepiece of Nashville's Centennial Park is the world's only full-scale replica of the Parthenon temple in Athens, Greece, complete with a re-creation of the 42ft (13m) high statue of Athena that stood outside the temple in ancient Greece. Like the original, the Partenon in Nashvil
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The Parthenon ©Mayur Phadtare



Tennessee State Museum


The interesting Tennessee State Museum is one of the largest of its kind in the nation with a huge array of permanent exhibits telling the story of Tennessee, starting out 15,000 years ago in prehistoric times and culminating in the early 20th century. The museum was originally founded i
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American Civil War cannon ©Charles Edward



Great Smoky Mountains National Park


East of Nashville on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina lies the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, covering more than one and a half million acres; the largest national park in the eastern United States, and the country's most visited park. The park is a designated Intern
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Chattanooga


The fourth largest city in Tennessee, Chattanooga is near the south-east border with Georgia, lies at the junction of four interstate highways, is easily accessible and well worth a visit. The city has brought about a renaissance in recent years, redeveloping its riverfront and downtown
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Chattanooga Choo-Choo sign



Graceland


Memphis' biggest attraction is the second-most visited house in the United States after the White House. The Graceland Mansion and its attendant buildings and attractions were home to the 'King of Rock 'n Roll', Elvis Presley, who died in 1977.


Thousands of fans of all ages s
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Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley ©Joseph Novak



Sun Studio


Visitors who come to Memphis to pay homage to Elvis Presley inevitably are also keen to visit the legendary recording studio in Union Avenue where the King of rock 'n roll's career, and that of numerous other stars, began. The story is that Elvis first walked into the Sun Studio in the e
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Sun Studios ©David Jones



Memphis Rock n Soul Museum


A collection of rare recordings, vintage films and musician interviews along with photographs, and interactive exhibits makes up the 'Social Crossroads' exhibition put together by the Smithsonian Institution. The museum is located on the corner of the legendary Highway 61, otherwise know
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Rock N' Soul Museum ©Thomas R Machnitzki



Pink Palace Museum


The Pink Palace, a soubriquet bestowed on this elaborate pink marble Memphis mansion by the locals, was intended to be a luxury home for the founder of the Piggy Wiggly chain of supermarkets, Clarence Saunders, when he began building it back in the 1920s. Before the ostentatious mansion
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Pink Palace Museum ©Thomas R Machnitzki



Mud Island River Park


Mud Island in the Mississippi River offers a fascinating insight into the famous river with a series of fun and informative attractions. The island emerged in the river in 1900 and was turned into a 52-acre park. Main attractions on the island are the Mississippi River Museum, an amphith
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Mud Island River Park ©Thomas R Machnitzki



Memphis Botanic Garden


The Memphis Botanic Gardens are a sensory delight through which to stroll at any time of year. The 96-acre site at Audubon Park, in the east of the city comprises 26 formal gardens each focusing on a theme or species, ranging from a tranquil Japanese garden to the magnificent Municipal R
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Botanic Garden ©Daderot



Stax Museum of American Soul Music


Stax Records was not only the most successful soul music studio in history - recording the likes of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, and The Staple Singers - but also a cultural phenomenon, that furthered the ends of social integration at a time when segregation was still a grim reality in the
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Stax Museum of American Soul Music ©Victor Chapa



Knoxville


The third-largest city in Tennessee, Knoxville - although not as illustrious as Memphis or Nashville - is well worth a visit. Serving as Tennessee's capital from its admission into the Union in 1796 until 1817, early reports of Knoxville described it as an "alternately quiet and rowdy ri
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