Tennessee

16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Johnson City, Tennessee

16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Johnson City,


Nestled among the many Appalachian Foothills in jap Tennessee sits the quaint city of Johnson City. Located practically 20 miles south of Tennessee’s Bluff City and 130 miles northeast of the Great Smoky Mountains, Johnson City, Tennessee, is residence to a number of fantastic public parks, gorgeous scenic views, mountain biking, climbing, and delightful climate all 12 months spherical.

If you’re planning a visit to Tennessee, or wanting into this nice state, we advocate including Johnson City to your itinerary. Kids will love the Hands On! Discovery Center and Carter Railroad Museum, whereas adults will love the city’s historical past, eating places, breweries, and plethora of parks that present climbing, biking, and different out of doors alternatives. Whitewater rafting is one other providing for thrill-seekers trying to discover the Nolichucky River.

The metropolis affords enjoyable and leisure for the entire household, and it’ll be a memorable journey for all. Here are the very best issues to do in Johnson City, Tennessee for households, solo vacationers, {couples}, and teams.

TLDR

  • Most important landmark – Founders Park
  • Best park – Winged Deer Park
  • Best free exercise – Boone Lake
  • Best exercise for youths – Hands On! Discovery Center
  • Best exercise for adults – Buffalo Mountain Park
  • Best meals – Label Restaurant
  • Best nightlife – Tipton Street Pub
  • Best all-around lodging – Carnegie Hotel & Spa

Best & Fun Things to Do in Johnson City, Tennessee

1. Founders Park

Fonders Park Johnson City
Image by Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock.com

Address: 225 Commerce St, Johnson City, TN 37604

Located within the coronary heart of historic downtown Johnson City, Founders Park is a must-see attraction when visiting Tennessee, it doesn’t matter what time of 12 months you’re on the town.

Founders Park is residence to an amphitheater for reside music and different occasions, strolling paths, a creek, public artwork, and loads of inexperienced house to unfold out and benefit from the sunshine. It’s residence to the annual Blue Plum Festival, a fun-filled weekend of music, artwork, and wellness that happens each summer season in Johnson City.

Founders Park options a simple strolling path with lovely sculptures, constructions, and stone paintings that invitations guests to discover the world and get a really feel for a few of the native artwork and tradition. You’ll see the Founders Park Arch, a big, colourful mosaic taking the type of a human sundial, a construction within the form of a human head made out of metal nails, and plenty of extra distinctive items of artwork.

On the weekends, you’ll discover reside music and meals vehicles serving scrumptious meals within the park. Locals and guests collect within the open house to socialize, hearken to reside music and luxuriate in time outdoors with household and mates.

Founders Park is a superb place to have a picnic, experience bikes, or stroll round downtown Johnson City and absorb all of the sights. While you’re within the space, seize a craft beer from Johnson City Brewing Company, discover a few of the vintage outlets close by, and luxuriate in the whole lot the downtown space has to supply.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee

2. Willow Springs Park

Address: 1201 Huffine Rd, Johnson City, TN 37604

Grab the canine, your companion, or the entire household, and head to Willow Springs Park for a day within the sunshine. Willow Springs Park is one among Johnson City’s most cherished public parks.

Featuring a canine park, strolling trails, and a superb playground for the little ones, Willow Springs Park has all of it — whether or not you’re trying to take the canine for a stroll, get some train, or let the youngsters run round and burn off some vitality, this park has the whole lot.

You’ll discover basketball and volleyball courts for pick-up video games and loads of timber for shade everytime you want it (the Tennessee summers are not any joke!). There is a small pond the place guests can see turtles and consider different wildlife within the space.

In the temper for a run or experience? Willow Springs Park options loads of strolling and biking paths that are perfect for all health ranges; whether or not you need to stroll, jog, run, or bike, there’s a path for you! The park and trails are dog-friendly, so your furry pal can be a part of you for some cardio.

Both locals and guests to Johnson City discover enjoyment at Willow Springs Park. This public park is a superb selection whether or not it is advisable to get out for a run or need to discover a neighborhood hangout.

See Related: Tips for Traveling with Pets to Make Your Trip Easier

3. Buffalo Mountain Park

buffalo mountain park johnson city

Address: 570 Highridge Rd, Johnson City, TN 37604

For a few of the most gorgeous views in Johnson City, head to Buffalo Mountain Park! This 725-acre park is positioned on the north slope of Buffalo Mountain and is residence to implausible climbing trails, picnic areas, and native nature applications.

If you’re within the temper for a hike, the 13-mile loop at Buffalo Mountain Park is comparatively intense, however two miles into the hike is among the metropolis’s finest views. The vistas present unimaginable views of the Tennessee Valley and Unicoi Valley.

If you’re keen on the nice open air and need to hike whereas on trip in Johnson City, the rugged mountain terrain at Buffalo Mountain Park will test each field. A well-liked hike throughout the park is White Rock Loop, a 5-mile journey with wonderful sights and sounds.

You’ll stroll on a tiny bridge over a babbling stream and luxuriate in a wonderful overlook at Huckleberry Knob about 3/4 of a mile into the hike. The climbing trails are perfect for adults and older children, as the paths are steep and might be difficult for youthful youngsters.

You’ll encounter varied birds, wildlife, and bugs within the park. It’s a terrific spot to spend a number of hours, get some train, and see a few of Johnson City’s lovely surroundings.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

4. Johnson City Public Library

Johnson City Public Library

Address: 100 W Millard St, Johnson City, TN 37604

Since its inception in 1895, the Johnson City Public Library has welcomed folks from all walks of life in search of information, info, or only a good guide. The present library opened in 1999 and is a two-story, 42,000-square-foot constructing in downtown Johnson City.

With humble beginnings, the Johnson City Public Library now serves practically all ages group, from preschoolers at story time to highschool college students and adults who come to the library trying to find a quiet place to review, learn a great guide, or use one of many many public computer systems.

If you occur to be in Johnson City and have a necessity for a library, you’re in luck! The entrance desk employees is accommodating and can be pleased to assist in any manner they will.

If you’re in Tennessee with children, the library affords story time practically each weekday morning, music time for households on the weekends, and plenty of different occasions geared towards households. There are a number of neighborhood occasions all through the week, together with entrance porch music live shows, artist displays, and workshops.

The Johnson City Public Library is open Monday by means of Sunday, with hours various weekly relying on the occasions and actions. Be certain to test their web site earlier than visiting. 

5. Hands On! Discovery Center at Gray Fossil Site

Hands On! Discovery Center at Gray Fossil Site
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 1212 Suncrest Drive, Gray, TN 37615

The Hands On! Discovery Center at Gray Fossil Site is an all-ages science center with enjoyable, interactive displays for youths and adults alike. It’s one of many coolest locations to go to in Johnson City for its schooling and pleasure multi functional.

With displays like constructing your personal automobile, creating colourful shadows, or suspending balls in mid-air on the Bernoulli Table, the Main Exhibit Hall on the Discovery Center is filled with thrilling issues to discover.

Create musical tones with the PVC Pipe Organ, immerse your self in augmented actuality in quantum house, change vibrations and frequencies on the Shake Table, and brush and floss a colossal set of tooth.

The Mezzanine part of the science heart comprises the Archaeology Hall, with a gallery wall of regional artifact excavations, and the Fossil Collections Viewing Windows, the place visitors can see the current findings from the Gray Fossil Site.

Head outdoors for much more journey; the Discovery Garden options timber, shrubs, grass, and plenty of crops that play a task within the ecosystem. Check out the Dig Site Viewing Deck to get a chicken’s eye view of the energetic paleontology dig web site.

The Hands On! Discovery Center at Gray Fossil Site is open Tuesday by means of Saturday from 10 am to five pm and Sunday from 1 pm to five pm. General admission is $11, and kids beneath 3 get in totally free.

For an inexpensive and handy keep close by, attempt the Fairfield Inn & Suites simply down the street.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

6. Johnson City Brewing Company

Entrance of Johnson city brewing company
Image by Nolichuckyjake Shutterstock.com

Address: 257 E Main St, Johnson City, TN 37601

Since 2014, Johnson City Brewing Company has been serving tasty beers for locals and guests in Johnson City. Locals keep for its homey environment and family-owned really feel, whereas these visiting Johnson City can’t get sufficient of its quaint small-town vibe.

Popular brews embody the Hopollo 13 IPA, Dill Pickle Blonde, and the Strawberry Smoothie further pale ale. They have inventive seasonal beers, together with the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Blonde and the Oktoberfest IPA.

In addition to wonderful craft beer, Johnson City Brewing Company is a kid-friendly place, making it a terrific spot for household enjoyable. They serve soda and snacks for hungry kiddos. Located in downtown Johnson City, you may simply spend a number of hours right here with family and friends.

For the craft beer lovers in your group, Johnson City Brewing Company has one thing for everybody, and it’ll undoubtedly be a memorable go to whereas in Johnson City.

7. Carter Railroad Museum

Carter Railroad Museum
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 113 Campus Center Building, Johnson City, TN 37614

Explore fascinating mannequin railroads and historic railroad memorabilia on the Carter Railroad Museum at East Tennessee State University. The Carter Railroad Museum is devoted to George L. Carter, who designed the Clinchfield Railroad by means of mountainous terrain to hold coal from Eastern Kentucky to western North Carolina.

Guests will discover the Alsop Gallery, the unique show on the museum, with displays showcasing varied railroads all through the United States and 6 show circumstances that include railroad artifacts and memorabilia, mannequin railroad shows, and different historic supplies.

Take the youngsters to the Little Engineers Room, the place they will get pleasure from a railroad-themed playroom and work together with prepare toys, together with a Thomas the Tank Engine sectional monitor and constructions, to allow them to construct their very own railroad empire. Your children will get pleasure from taking part in with trains and utilizing their creativeness as they study in regards to the historical past of railroads within the space.

The Railroad Museum can also be residence to month-to-month heritage days, the place explicit railroads all through the United States are commemorated by means of museum shows and working mannequin trains.

Make certain you head to Reece Museum after you go to the railroad museum, because it’s additionally positioned at East Tennessee State University. Two birds, one stone!

See Related: Fun & Best Things To Do in Nashville, Tennessee

8. Boone Lake

Location: Johnson City, TN

Are you craving a lake day in Tennessee? Look no additional than Boone Lake, Johnson City’s well-liked water reservoir that pulls locals and guests for its swimming, fishing, and boating.

If you’re desperate to forged a line, Boone Lake is residence to all kinds of sport fishing, together with largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, and catfish. Bring your fishing poles and see in the event you get fortunate!

To spend a day on the water with household and mates, guests can hire a ship from a close-by dock and cruise the lake all day. Pack a lunch and float the day away within the lovely Tennessee sunshine. Boone Lake is ready up for boaters, with a handy dock and courtesy pier for security.

Guests also can swim, kayak, and paddle board at Boone Lake. The well-liked Johnson City public park, Winged Deer Park, sits proper on the shores of Boone Lake and affords enjoyable for the entire household.

There are a number of alternatives for climbing alongside the shoreline on the lake, so convey your strolling sneakers in the event you’re feeling adventurous. Boone Lake actually affords all of it – water sports activities, fishing, boating, climbing, and loads of sunshine. What extra may you ask for?

9. Tweetsie Trail

entrance to the Tweetsie Trail
Donald R Slaughter / Shutterstock.com

Address: Tweetsie Trail Trailhead, Alabama St., Johnson City, TN 37601

Tweetsie Trail is a 9.6-mile path with strolling, climbing, and biking for locals and vacationers of all health ranges. The Tweetsie Trail extends from downtown Johnson City into downtown Elizabethton, one among Tennessee’s oldest cities.

Tweetsie Trail follows the outdated railroad line, making the floor flat and straightforward for folks of all ages. The trailhead affords paved parking spots, benches to relaxation, restrooms, and a motorbike restore station. Your children can be pleased strolling or strolling alongside, having fun with the nice open air and getting some contemporary air.

As you discover the strolling path, you’ll see over 20 instructional graphics that share the historical past of the world, the regional railroad, geology, tree biology, and birding. The views on this a part of the stroll embody horse farms, a quarry, cow farms, and scenic hills.

Tweetsie Trail is a superb place to spend a number of hours outdoors with the household. Get the youngsters settled within the stroller, load up on sunscreen, and begin exploring the historic Tweetsie Trail. There’s loads of shade and locations to relaxation as you stroll from Johnson City, whereas the components of the path in Elizabethton are a lot busier, with extra site visitors and fewer shaded areas.

If you end your hike and are in search of extra actions close by, try the TVA Credit Union Ballpark. The Johnson City Doughboys, the native novice baseball staff, play there each summer season, and it’s enjoyable for the entire household.

See Related: Best Cheap Places to Travel within the US

10. Reece Museum

Entrance of Reece Museum
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 363 Stout Dr, Johnson City, TN 37614

A cease at Reece Museum is a should for the historical past buffs in your group! Reece Museum opened within the Nineteen Twenties and homes over 22,000 artifacts that inform the story of Appalachia. With a deal with the modern artwork and tradition of the area, Reece Museum affords an enchanting look into the historical past of Tennessee and its areas.

Visitors can wander by means of the halls of the museum and acquire inspiration from the numerous displays. Reece Museum was one of many first in Tennessee to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and stays one among 18 museums in Tennessee to carry this honor.

Past collections at Reece Museum embody the Sammie L. Nicely assortment, Local Art within the Age of the Global Pandemic, and The Divine Comedy by Salvador Dali. There’s additionally a Twentieth-century Appalachian Art exhibit and a step again in time with the Harris Family Collection, consisting of clothes, sneakers, and different textiles courting again to the Eighties.

Once you’re carried out with the museum, wander round East Tennessee State University and expertise its lovely campus. The Reece Museum is open Monday by means of Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is free. 

If you’re in search of a pleasant place to remain close by, the Carnegie Hotel & Spa is luxurious and highly rated, providing snug rooms and a calming expertise on the on-site Austin Springs Spa.

11. Camp on the Nolichucky River

Address: 101 Jones Branch Rd, Erwin, TN 37650

The Nolichucky River is positioned in Erwin, Tennessee, about 15 miles south of Johnson City. The Nolichucky River is a deep, lovely gorge with pleasant options for everybody, from swimming holes to rapids and plenty of lush flora alongside the way in which.

Visitors can also see wildlife equivalent to deer, black bears, and blue kingfishers as they hike across the close by Appalachian Trail.

If you’d like to increase your keep and see extra of the Nolichucky River, there are close by campgrounds that may definitely make your go to memorable. The finest months to go to are June by means of October while you’ll have heat climate and water, however the camp is open all 12 months spherical.

Camping on the Nolichucky River campgrounds supplies the entire out of doors expertise in jap Tennessee: booking a whitewater rafting expertise, tubing down the river, swimming within the river, and tenting beneath the celebrities. You’ll overlook that there’s a metropolis close by as you stargaze and luxuriate in your time close to the rapids of the river.

Camping on the Nolichucky River is inexpensive and handy. Tent tenting is first come, first served. Rates are $20 per grownup per evening and $5 per evening for ages 13 to 18. Kids 12 and beneath keep totally free. 

See Related: What to Bring on a Camping Trip with Friends

12. Explore Downtown Johnson City

Address: 112 N Commerce St, Johnson City, TN 37604

In downtown Johnson City, you’ll discover an abundance of outlets, eating places, spas, and different issues to see and expertise.

Explore the sculpture stroll in downtown Johnson City, with places in and round Founders Park, King Commons Park, and different spots in downtown Johnson City. The sculpture stroll is sponsored by the Johnson City Public Art group, which goals to determine a public artwork program with excessive creative high quality and enduring worth in Johnson City.

Just a few of the sculptures embody the Quilted Owl close to King Commons and the “We’ll Always Be Together” mural close to Fountain Square Plaza. There are fairly a number of artwork items to see as you discover, so preserve your eyes open!

Getting thirsty? Pop into Brewrista and the Bean for a tasty chilly brew. If you’re prepared for lunch, seize some genuine Italian meals at Black Olive. Downtown Johnson City has many present outlets and boutiques to browse for souvenirs.

As you wander round downtown Johnson City, you’ll come across the general public library and the Children’s Nature Park. Let the kiddos climb and play when you chill out close by. Downtown Johnson City hosts varied occasions all year long, from Restaurant Week to the weekly Farmers Market, the Christmas parade, and reside music occasions within the summertime.  

13. Label Restaurant

label restaurant johnson city
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 112 Tipton St, Johnson City, TN 37604

For a few of the finest meals within the tri-cities, Label Restaurant packs a punch with scrumptious eats, Sunday brunch, cocktails, and a welcoming environment for households, {couples}, and solo vacationers.

Make certain to convey your urge for food — Label Restaurant serves up hearty parts and entrees, together with surf and turf, ribeye, buttermilk rooster, and the Chef’s Pasta. For salads, attempt the Boomtown Salad or the tasty strawberry spinach salad.

Label Restaurant has a full sushi menu, with well-liked gadgets together with California and Philadelphia rolls. They’ve obtained a full Chef’s Creation sushi menu, with distinctive choices just like the Volcano roll, Dynamite roll, and Junkyard roll. You’ve obtained to style them for your self!

They provide each day drinks, Happy Hour specials, and $3 mimosas at Sunday brunch. Kids are welcome anytime, and the Kid’s Menu will fulfill any choosy eater.

Label Restaurant is positioned in downtown Johnson City, inside strolling distance of lots of the metropolis’s oldest dwellings, quaint outlets, and historic buildings. Once you’ve completed your meal, ensure that to stroll round downtown for a bit and take within the sights. Your full tummy will recognize the motion! 

See Related: Best Islands to Visit Around the World

14. Winged Deer Park

Different views of the Winged Deer Park in Johnson City, TN
Image by LEVATEC / Shutterstock.com

Address: 4137 Bristol Hwy, Johnson City, TN 37601

As far as public parks go in Johnson City, it doesn’t get a lot better than Winged Deer Park.

This sprawling park options softball and soccer fields, batting cages, an 18-hole disc golf course, paved climbing trails, swimming, boating, and extra. Winged Deer Park sits on the shores of Boone Lake, making it a terrific place to spend the day on the water or dry land.

The lakefront space has sand volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms, and open house to benefit from the sunshine, play with mates, and luxuriate in time collectively. There’s additionally a playground for the youngsters and loads of open house to run round and burn off some vitality.

Winged Deer Park boasts a few of the finest mountain biking trails within the space, with varied trails providing one thing for each talent degree at Mountain Bike Park. If you’re in search of selection and nothing too troublesome, Mountain Bike Park supplies scenic and difficult trails and plenty of enjoyable alongside the way in which.

There are three historic areas in Winged Deer Park — one is the Robert Young Cabin, one among Johnson City’s oldest dwellings, the Massengill Monument, and the James H. Quillen Historical Tree Arboretum.

See Related: Best National Parks within the USA to Visit

15. Tipton Street Pub

Tipton Street Pub
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 110 Tipton St, Johnson City, TN 37604

Johnson City could not have essentially the most bustling nightlife, however the bar scene is one thing to expertise! Tuck the youngsters into mattress and head out for a enjoyable evening in Johnson City because the locals do.

Located in downtown Johnson City, Tipton Street Pub attracts in locals and vacationers alike for its craft beer, wings, Happy Hour specials, and small-town vibe.

The beer listing at Tipton Street Pub affords craft beer, together with Duck Rabbit Milk Stout and Tommy Knocker Maple Nut Brown, home bottles like PBR and Shiner Bock, and native favorites like Sweet Water IPA and Red Hook Long Hammer IPA.

If you want a late-night snack, this pub will fulfill any craving you could have. From cheese curds to mini corn canine, wings, and burgers, each style bud is happy at Tipton Street Pub.

The pub affords superior specials, together with Happy Hour offers Monday by means of Friday from 3 to 9 pm. Weekly Trivia Night is Tuesday, and Wednesday is Ladies Night with half-off wine bottles. There’s one thing for everybody at Tipton Street Pub.

16. Tipton-Haynes Historic Site

Tipton-Haynes Historic Site

Address: 2620 South Roan St., Johnson City, TN 37601

If you’re on the hunt for historic sights, a cease on the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site is an absolute should. The property was bought by Colonel John Tipton in 1784 and contains 45 acres, 11 historic buildings, the Tipton/Gifford/Simerly cemetery, a limestone cave, and a nature path.

The historic buildings date again to the 1700s, with a number of households dwelling there over time. You’ll acquire perception into the heritage of Northeast Tennessee and its humble beginnings as you discover this historic gem in Johnson City.

While in your historical past tour, attempt to go to Tennessee’s oldest city, Jonesborough, for an enchanting look again in time. Jonesborough, the storytelling capital of the world, is about quarter-hour from Johnson City, making it a simple drive.

Explore the well-preserved Main Street and study in regards to the numerous historical past and heritage of the oldest city in Tennessee.

See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks within the USA

FAQ

What is the very best factor to do with children in Johnson City, Tennessee?

Your children will love the downtown space of Johnson City for all its actions! Founders Park is all the time bustling on the weekends with reside music, meals vehicles, and nice alternatives for people-watching. Visit Hands On! Discovery Center for science, enjoyable, and leisure.

What are the very best vacationer sights in Johnson City, Tennessee?

Tweetsie Trail supplies a historic have a look at Johnson City whereas getting some train and Vitamin D. Feeling adventurous? Ride the rapids within the Nolichucky River or problem your self to a steep hike in Buffalo Mountain Park.

What are some enjoyable issues to do in Johnson City, Tennessee?

Willow Springs Park is a superb place to take the canine for a stroll, let the youngsters run round the playground, or chill out within the shade. Feeling aggressive? Play a spherical of disc golf at Winged Deer Park or seize your bike and head to Mountain Bike Park. Visit Boone Lake for swimming, fishing, and a day within the solar.

What are some issues to do in Johnson City, Tennessee when it’s raining?

Don’t let the rain get you down! Head to East Tennessee State University to go to the Reece Museum and the Carter Railroad Museum for a double-whammy of museum enjoyable. Grab lunch at Label Restaurant or drinks at Tipton Street Pub when you wait out the rain.

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