Thanksgiving is a holiday for family, and Tennessee offers several destinations where you can spend meaningful time with your loved ones. The state's communities each have their own unique Thanksgiving traditions.
Explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park's numerous hiking trails and wildlife. Take the aerial tramway from downtown to Ober Gatlinburg, where ice skating, ski trails, and snow tubing await. Thanksgiving is also when Gatlinburg celebrates its annual Winter Magic Festival. Kids will love riding the festive Trolley Ride of Lights as it meanders through traditional Christmas scenes and depictions of foxes, bears, and deer.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach children how to appreciate the things they have in life by helping those less privileged. Join the annual Great Thanksgiving Banquet by Nashville Rescue Mission and help prepare and serve meals to thousands of homeless people. Afterward, head out for a Thanksgiving hike around the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
Listen to blues, chow down on barbecue, and spend time exploring the National Civil Rights Museum. Take your kids to visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home. Be sure to participate in the Winterfest Weekend at Graceland, which features a tree lighting ceremony, arts-and-craft stalls, and food vendors selling lip-smacking fare. Visit the Orpheum Theatre to revel in Thanksgiving performances.
Make use of Black Friday deals to complete your Christmas shopping while you enjoy your Tennessee Thanksgiving getaway. There are many shopping destinations in the Volunteer State offering Thanksgiving weekend retail therapy. Get unbelievable bargains on early festive season gifts for family and friends.
Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the quaint town of Pigeon Forge has a number of places where you can finish your shopping for the festive season. Head out to the Island, which has over 60 high-quality retail shops selling jewelry, souvenirs, artwork, handbags, accessories, and more.
Visit the Tanger Outlet while spending your Thanksgiving weekend in Gatlinburg, where you can shop till you drop and benefit from immense savings. Buy apparel, jewelry, footwear, makeup, candles, and perfume. The shopping mall is renowned for its numerous specialty stores.
Avail amazing Black Friday deals in Knoxville. East Towne Mall, formerly known as Knoxville Center Mall, has an array of brand stores where you can pick up amazing bargains on clothes, footwear, lingerie, jewelry, and more. There is also West Town Mall with over 150 stores, of which 40 are exclusive to Knoxville.
If you're looking to escape the humdrum of Thanksgiving, Tennessee has some unique destinations where you can let down your hair, relax and recharge your batteries, ready to take on the rigors of everyday life. Explore waterfalls, see the small-town side of this fascinating part of the country commune with nature.
Escape from the hustle and bustle to Chattanooga. Adults and kids will love the antique carousel ride at Coolidge Park. Stroll across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge and finish your weekend with a riverboat cruise. Be sure to visit Lookout Mountain or descend 1,120 feet in an elevator to check out spectacular Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall.
Bristol is popular for being the birthplace of country music. Tour the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and check out the equipment and memorabilia that were used in the 1920s to record music. Spend some time exploring the Appalachian and Bristol Caverns, or take relaxing walks through Steele Creek Park, where you can ride a train or picnic.
Visit the small town of Franklin, south of Nashville, to get close to nature. Explore the area's antebellum homes and plantations, some of which offer guided tours and explain daily life in the early 1800s. Also, a tour of the Carter House and a leisurely stroll around downtown Franklin's 16 blocks can be fascinating and enlightening.