Warm sunshine, blooming flowers, food festivals, unique restaurants and scenic eco-adventures are on tap this season. Here’s what’s new and happening this spring in Tennessee.
Memphis – Graceland‘s new exhibit, “The Making of ELVIS,” includes behind-the-scenes videos of the making of the film, handwritten notes, drafts of scripts, storyboards, props, set pieces and costumes.
Upper Cumberland – Scratch getting face-to-face with buffalo off your spring bucket list. The Bison, Brunch + Brews tour offers an adrenaline rush, great photo-ops and countless memories. Follow your ranch visit with a brunch experience and/or brewery stop.
Clarksville – Outdoors, history, public art, scenic beauty, shopping, food – explore it all along the Visit Clarksville App Challenge Trails with a chance to earn fun collectible pins.
Granville – See the nation’s largest whiskey decanter collection (May 6) at the Whiskey Decanter Museum featuring 5,000 decanters. Also experience the Cornbread & Moonshine Festival featuring a cornbread cook-off and Tennessee Whiskey Trail event with tastings, live music and more.
Chattanooga – ChattaScooter Art Tour uses electric scooters and bikes to let riders experience innovative artworks and public art displays across the city. Meanwhile, Tennessee Aquarium‘s newest gallery, Ridges to Rivers, offers a multi-sensory adventure through Southern Appalachian streams.
South Pittsburg – Lodge Museum of Cast Iron takes visitors on a journey of how cast iron is made, celebrates food, culture and stories – and features the World’s Largest Cast Iron Skillet. Don’t miss the newly-opened Big Bad Breakfast inside, serving up custom-created meals, fresh biscuits and preserves.
Pigeon Forge – Dollywood’s I Will Always Love You Celebration, a monthlong festival honoring the 50th anniversary of one of Dolly Parton’s biggest hits, runs through April 8.
Johnson City – Broadway comes to Johnson City! ETSU Martin Center welcomes Annie, Cats, Riverdance and Chicago, the first time a touring Broadway performance has ever been in Northeast Tennessee.
NEW RESTAURANTS & SHOPS
Crump – Set in a renovated garage, family-owned Earl’s Grille features car-themed décor and dishes such as the Big Block Burger, Boosted Bacon and Turbo Tater. Be sure to make a pit stop!
Clarksville – Shelby’s Trio is a three-story restaurant with a different theme on each floor, including a 50s burger joint, fine Italian dining and a rooftop bar with 360-degree views.
Nashville – Nestled in the heart of East Nashville, Noko is an Asian-inspired, wood-fired restaurant with spins on familiar proteins and indigenous vegetables through smoking, searing and roasting. Meanwhile, history meets a high-end experience with craft cocktails and curated small-bites at Pullman Standard, a cocktail bar in one of Nashville’s cherished landmarks, Cummins Station.
Ethridge – Family-owned Hinie’s BBQ cooks up backyard barbecue, brisket, pulled pork, brick oven pizza and a special family barbecue sauce guests can buy after dining at the onsite gourmet food store.
Sparta – The Farmers Storehouse is a farm-to-table restaurant where guests can also shop for fresh poultry, vegetables and beef from the farm at the entrance of Burgess Falls State Park.
Knoxville – Come inside and come off the trails to 71 South, located within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. The casual restaurant features new American cuisine, located inside the original, nearly 100-year-old sanctuary of Sevier Heights Baptist Church.
Pigeon Forge – Culinary travelers can explore Pizza Rio’s Brazilian style dining; Azul Cantina, home to the city’s first rooftop bar; West By God CoalFired Pizza, served alongside the Country Roads Axe Company; the Yard Milkshake Bar where custom milkshakes fill a pint jar and are stacked with treats.
Johnson City – Juniper is a chef-owned and operated upscale casual dining experience specializing in modern American cuisine with a focus on seasonal and regional ingredients.
NEW BREWERIES, DISTILLERIES, WINERIES & SPIRITS
Lebanon – Rooted in southern hospitality, the new Cedar City Brewing is located inside a historic building and is Wilson County’s first commercial brewery, located on the historic downtown square.
Henderson – Forty Cannons Winery opens in May 2023, located in an old grain silo on a family farm. Each wine is made from locally grown fruit and will recall an aspect of the golden age of pirates.
Copperhill – Expected the unexpected as Bar 21 honors speakeasy vibes with craft cocktails, bourbon, whiskey, wine, charcuterie boards and special events.
Statewide – Sample wonderful wine with a chance to win prizes along the new Tennessee Wine Trail featuring more than 40 wineries, meaderies and cideries.
NEW HOTELS & PLACES TO STAY
Memphis – Memphis Aloft Hotel, expected to open spring 2023, will be a perfect spot to stay downtown in a musically-designed boutique hotel by Marriott.
Knoxville – What’s old is new again at Hotel Cleo, a16-room boutique hotel on Gay Street downtown inside the storied 1898 Hope Brothers Building, once home to a shoe store, bank and jewelry business.
Rockwood – Rockwood Marina & RV Resort, opening spring 2023, features nearby trails for mountain biking, hiking and trail running, with walk or bike access to town to local restaurants and shops.
NEW ATTRACTIONS AND EXHIBITS
Memphis – Memphis Sports and Events Center located inside the heart of Liberty Park outside Memphis’ Liberty Bowl Stadium will include indoor basketball and volleyball courts, outdoor turf fields, entertainment, shops, café and concessions.
Memphis – Tom Lee Park‘s massive renovations include an open 20,000 square-foot canopy for events like Memphis in May, landscape improvements at Beale Street Landing, pavilions, a café overlooking the river, meditative paths, 1,000 new trees, pollinator plantings and endangered butterfly habitat.
Chattanooga – Immerse yourself in Chattanooga’s Black Soundtrack as you tour the new curated exhibit featuring local legends like Montego Glover, Usher, Kane Brown, The Impressions and more at Bessie Smith Cultural Center.
Pigeon Forge – Alcatraz East Crime Museum’s new temporary exhibit, Dear Inmate: Prison Pen Pals, features artifacts and information on prison pen pals, how it keeps recidivism rates down and the impact these programs have on inmate mental health.
Pigeon Forge – There were 135 children aboard RMS Titanic, each with a story to tell. Guests can help pay tribute to their young lives at TITANIC Museum Attraction’s new exhibit.
Bristol – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum‘s new exhibit “I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music,” honors the heroines, activists and stories of women from Maybelle Carter to Amythyst Kiah.
Memphis (May 5-7) – Beale Street Music Festival returns to the Memphis riverfront downtown in Tom Lee Park with performances by Earth, Wind & Fire, Yola, Glorilla, The Roots and more.
Columbia – The Mulehouse music venue presents its first-ever Mega Outdoor Music Party March 31 + April 1 with Grand Ole Opry member and multi-platinum headliner Chris Janson and rising star Shane Profitt. Festivities include live music, food trucks, a beer garden and cornhole.
Nashville (March 28-April 1) – Songwriters hit stage for Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival with ten venues, 100 shows and more than 400 performers like Caitlyn Smith, Chase Rice and Maddie & Tae.
Knoxville (May 20-21) – Grace Potter and St. Paul and the Broken Bones are among the performers at Southern Skies Music Festival, A Dogwood Arts Event curated by the Dirty Guv’nahs at World’s Fair Park.