What's New, Sizzling And Happening This Summer In Tennessee

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - by Jill Kilgore
Gibson Garage in Nashville
Gibson Garage in Nashville
- photo by Craig Thompson, Memphis Tourism

What’s New

Memphis  - Bring your lawn chairs and blankets during Get Loud, the 10-week free summer outdoor concert series in Handy Park on Beale Street 6 p.m.

every Thursday night through Aug. 12.

Nashville – Try an acoustic or electric guitar, shop for new accessories, take a lesson, learn about Gibson Guitar’s history, or see a live show at Gibson Garage in historic Cummins Station.

Knoxville – Bernadette’s Crystal Gardens is three levels of Crystal Barrooms downtown. Guests will be surrounded by the good energy of friends, fabulous crystals, semi-precious stones and flowering plants.

New Restaurants, Bars, Breweries and Distilleries

Humboldt – Relive childhood with a trip through The Kandy Bank, a must stop on Main Street featuring a rainbow assortment of sweet treats, every form of chocolate and a few British specialties.

Ocoee – The Four Eleven serves up Southern comfort food with a twist: including fried green tomatoes, hot honey pimento cheese fried chicken sandwich and strawberry corn cakes.

Nashville  Cross Eyed Critters at The Graduate Nashville is the first-ever animatronic karaoke bar with a backup band of robotic musicians. Bar offerings include nostalgic cocktails.

Springfield – Located on the historic Springfield Square, a mother-daughter duo bring decades of experience to the newly opened 6th & Main featuring American classics and build-your-own mac & cheese.

New Attractions and Exhibits

Union City  "40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World,” a temporary exhibit at Discovery Park of America, turns the lens on global hunger and poverty. The exhibit is included with park admission.

Hartsville – Download the Civil War Battle of Hartsville Driving Tour app to discover 17 stops through scenic Hartsville, including buildings, homes used as hospitals, river crossings, rendezvous points and a cemetery. 

Memphis – The new King of Karate exhibit at Graceland highlights Elvis Presley’s love of karate with rare artifacts like an original handwritten script for his 1974 Karate documentary, “New Gladiators.”

Nashville  Tennessee at 225: Highlights from the Collection at the Tennessee State Museum’s galleries and an online exhibition showcases 100 artifacts coinciding with the 225th anniversary of Tennessee’s statehood.

Nashville  Sean Keeney’s Nature POP! Made with Lego Bricks features 38 vibrant sculptures made from more than 800,000 LEGO Bricks, on display through Sept. 5 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden.

Granville - Whiskey Decanter Museum features more than 2,000 decanters symbolizing automobiles, famous characters, trains, space shuttles, cookie jars, salt & pepper shakers, farm scenes, famous places and more.

Columbia – Broadcaster Blair Garner opened the new live music venue, The Mulehouse, formerly a Baptist church located next door to the President James K. Polk Presidential Home and Museum.

Knoxville  Muse Knoxville’s new Muse Pop will feature exhibits, workshops, performances and more within a world of colorful tents outdoors. Your ticket includes Muse Pop and the indoor museum.

Pigeon Forge - Toy Box Mini Golf, the world’s first toy-themed mini golf course, is open and features an 18-hole course brought to life by 30-foot-tall recreations of popular toys from the past and present.

New Hotels & Places to Stay

Memphis – Stay on one of America’s most iconic streets within walking distance of the city’s hottest attractions at Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis, which has an outdoor pool, 24-hour room service, 24-hour fitness center and on-site dining at Beck & Call Rooftop Lounge and CIMAS Restaurant. 

Knoxville  Cumberland House Knoxville is in the heart of downtown and overlooks World’s Fair Park. Guestrooms are inspired by Knoxville’s heritage and history. Taste the flavors of Appalachia at Tussie Mussie.

Pigeon Forge  Camp Margaritaville RV Resort includes nearly 180 RV sites with gorgeous mountain views. A 79-room lodge with a restaurant, bar, camp store, putting green and pool will open early fall.

Sizzling/Trending Places this Summer

Jackson – Bring a picnic basket, chairs, visit the tasting room, food trucks and listen to live music during Voices in the Vineyard, 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday nights May-October at Century Farm Winery.

Upper Cumberland – Travel Tennessee’s backroads, enjoy spectacular views, visit historic towns and sample tastings along the Upper Cumberland Wine Trail. 

Ocoee River (Polk Co.)  Whitewater Rafting on the mighty Ocoee is a thrilling adventure. Contact one of 23 outfitters to reserve your bucket list trip down the nation’s number one whitewater destination.

Chattanooga  NoogaSplash at Chester Frost Park is an inflatable, on-the-water obstacle course with places to run, jump, slide, bounce and splash for all ages.

Sevierville – Beat the heat at Soaky Mountain Waterpark, a state-of-the art 50-acre park with thrill rides, unique family attractions, wave pool, two-person cabanas and adventure.

Jonesborough  Wetlands Water Park is packed with family-friendly fun including three flume water slides, otter slides, a lazy river, zero depth entry pull, full-service café and beach volleyball court.

Johnson City -  Adventure off road bike trails and an asphalt pump track with fun for all ages and skill levels at Tannery Knobs Bike Park. Don’t miss the beautiful view at the top.

Bristol – Take a self-guided Historic Downtown Walking Tour to see the Bristol Sign, Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the country music mural and Burger Bar where Hank Williams allegedly stopped the night he died, the NASCAR mural and sites that bring the history of the town to life.

Summer Festivals & Events

Nashville (June 17-Aug. 19) - Experience the Dog Days of Summer the third Thursday of the month at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage with live music, local wine and beer from Natchez Hills Winery and a special doggie park.

Cookeville (June 17-Aug. 19) – Enjoy live music during the free Third Thursday in the Park summer concert series at Dogwood Performance Pavilion. Concessions are also available.

Franklin (June 18-19) – Shop hand-curated gifts for dad during the Bourbon & Vinyl pop-up at Hester & Cook. Carpe Diem Records will spin tunes and host a special bourbon tasting for guests. 

Knoxville (June 18-Oct. 1)– Grab a blanket or lawn chair and join the festivities for Movies under the Stars at Ijams Nature Center, including Beetlejuice, Jurassic Park, Wizard of Oz and The Shining. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Nashville (June 19) The National Museum of African American Music’s Juneteenth Block Party 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. features live music, local vendors and food available at Fifth + Broadway’s Assembly Hall.

Bell Buckle (June 19) – The RC Cola and MoonPie Festival features a parade, cloggers, craft fair, food court, games, the World’s Largest MoonPie and live music by singer-songwriter, John Allan Miller. 

Hornbeak (June 19-20) – Blue Bank Resort’s Arts and Crafts Festival includes local farm products, soap, candle makers, local honey, gardening products, homemade quilts, handmade crafts and live music.

Collierville (June 19-20) – Bring family and friends to the Bluff City Balloon Jamboree to enjoy live entertainment, arts and crafts, balloon flights, glows and tethered rides (weather permitting).

Memphis (June 24-Aug. 26) – Whet Thursday at the Metal Museum features live music, a food truck, metalsmithing demonstrations and gallery talk. The free event is 6-8 p.m. the last Thursday each month.

Clarksville (June 25) – Grab a blanket for a Date Night Picnic, 5-7 p.m. at Beachaven Winery, hosted by Tutti Frutti Charcuterie with food ,wine and a picnic basket you get to keep.

Southside (June 25) – Taste locally made wines, beer and mead while strolling through a pioneer settlement featuring authentically restored log houses during Wine, Walk and Beer Browse at Historic Collinsville.

Franklin (June 27) – Rubiks Groove takes the stage at the Sunset Concert Series 4-8 p.m. at Carnton. Guests can bring chairs, blankets and picnics. Food trucks will be on hand.

Nashville (June 27-Sept. 12) – Batter Up! Tennessee Vintage Base Ball is back at The Hermitage. Games are free to watch, but tickets to The Hermitage are needed to tour the grounds, building and mansion.

Gatlinburg (June 28-July 31) – Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales features daily performances 6-11 p.m. by costumed musical performers, dancers, and storytellers portraying characters from time periods as far back as the 1800s.

Nashville (June-Oct.) –Thursday Night Out, 5-9 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanical Garden includes live music, art and nature programs and outdoor wellness classes. Grab a drink from the bar station and food from Café 29 for a sunset picnic after a long day.

Granville (July 3) – Granville Salutes the Red, White & Blue 8 p.m. in historic Granville features fireworks, food booths, entertainment, and a pyrotechnic program at sundown.

Nashville (July 4) – Celebrate Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th with Brad Paisley, Lilly Hiatt, Regi Wooten and Priscilla Block during downtown with the largest fireworks show in the city’s history.

Kingsport (July 16-25) – Kingsport Fun Fest celebrates 40 years of fun with its sunset concert series with performances by Old Crow Medicine Show, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and Darius Rucker.

Union City (Aug. 6-7) – See antique tractors from the early 1900s on display and hear the stories behind the tractors during the Antique Tractor Show on the grounds of Discovery Park of America.

Hendersonville (Aug. 7) – Bring lawn chairs and blankets to watch hot air balloons take off, take a tethered hot air balloon ride, play in the kid zone, and listen to live music during Sumner Fest, 4-9 p.m. at Sanders Ferry Park.

Memphis (Aug. 11-17) – Elvis Week at Graceland celebrates the legacy of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, including a 50th anniversary concert celebrating Elvis’ Nashville recording sessions, Blue Hawaii Luau, concerts and cocktail parties.

Clarksville (Sept. 9-11) – Clarksville Riverfest celebrates the end of summer along the Cumberland River. Festivities include an art show, music and family activities. Admission and entertainment are free.

Goodlettsville (Sept. 11) – The Salty Dog Festival, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Main Street, features local artisans, live music, food trucks, a petting zoo, train rides and more family fun.

For a complete list of what’s happening in Tennessee, visit tnvacation.com/calendar.  

Bernadette’s Crystal Gardens in Knoxville
Bernadette’s Crystal Gardens in Knoxville
- photo by Craig Thompson, Memphis Tourism

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