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EXPLORE BRISTOL, HOME TO BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY & THE BIRTHPLACE OF COUNTRY MUSIC

Explore Bristol, an energetic destination with outdoor adventures, racing action at Bristol Motor Speedway, and home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.   

The Last Great Colosseum. The World’s Fastest Half-Mile. The Bristol Bullring. The Colosseum of Crash. Thunder Valley. Those Bristol Motor Speedway nicknames couldn’t be more appropriate. When you first see the iconic race track, which sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it’s impossible not to think of Rome’s legendary Colosseum where gladiators did battle – just as they do today but only with race cars. The .533-mile oval’s tight confines feature an abundance of speed, noise, and wrecks, which can often lead to hot tempers and scuffles among the drives - all of which have helped make BMS one of NASCAR’s most popular race tracks. And each November, the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway is transformed into Speedway in Lights, a 4 million holiday light drive-through display with Santa's Village. 

Bristol is known as the "Big Bang of Country Music" and is home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, which tells the story of Bristol’s musical roots and the 1927 Bristol Sessions, opened in 2014. The 24,000-square foot facility, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is located in Downtown Bristol. Live music is abundant year-round in Bristol. Now one of the most popular music festivals in the Southeast, the annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion began in 2001 and has been a part of BCM since 2012. The festival, held every September, celebrates Bristol’s music heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music. The three-day festival showcases the best in roots music across various genres, including Americana, country, old-time, bluegrass, rock, Piedmont blues, Celtic, and more, with more than 100 live music acts on more than 20 outdoor stages and indoor venues.

Bristol is also known to visitors for its many outdoor assets. For some of the most gorgeous scenery in Tennessee and Virginia, an excursion to South Holston Lake and Dam is a must for visitors to the area. The South Fork Holston River is also home to an annual spring migration of white bass, while the Spring Creek embayment on South Holston Reservoir is one of the best-known waterfowl birding sites in East Tennessee. Steele Creek Park, which encompasses more than 2,200 acres, is the third largest municipal park in Tennessee and one of the region’s most popular outdoor attractions. Among the parks, many attributes are a 52-acre lake, 24 miles of walking, biking, and hiking trails, a golf course, and a Nature Center. Anglers generally fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass at Steele Creek, where carp are also abundant.

Not only does Downtown Bristol offer the best of two states, but it also provides visitors with a slew of experiences that are unique to beautiful Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Stroll through the vibrant heart of Bristol, and you will find the downtown district teeming with friendly locals who welcome visitors with open arms. The aptly named State Street, which runs directly through downtown, and the famous Bristol Sign, are two of the most popular stops for newcomers. One side of State Street is in Tennessee, while the other is in Virginia, making for one of the most sought-after photos on any visitor’s camera roll: them standing with one foot in Tennessee and the other in Virginia.

There’s plenty to do in Bristol – especially if you like to shop, eat, and play. And there’s no other place in the Northeast Tennessee region where you can get so much of all three of those things than The Pinnacle. The multi-use outdoor complex opened in 2014 and encompasses more than 1.3 million square feet of retail, restaurant, and office space, as well as recreational areas. Located just off I-81 at Exit 74B, The Pinnacle is anchored by Bass Pro Shops, Best Buy, and the largest Belk in the region.

Once you visit Bristol Dragway for a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) race, you'll understand how it got its nickname – Thunder Valley.Sitting amongst the mountains and carved between two hills is the legendary quarter-mile dragstrip where cars explode off the starting line and hit speeds of more than 330 mph., resulting in a thundering sound unique to Bristol. The picturesque setting, the speeds, and the legends of drag racing make Bristol one of the most sought-after tickets on the NHRA circuit.

Begin your next adventure at ExploreBristol.com.

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