Visit These 7 Artsy Towns In Tennessee For A Whimsical Day Trip
Tennessee is most commonly known for its music, not mixed-media art displays or museums. We tend to be a quieter folk, leaving our watercolors on our walls and paintbrushes in the shaky hands of our grandbabies. Though stereotypes and boxes exist for a reason, these seven artsy towns in Tennessee give us the heart and hope for a newfound renaissance of sorts in the future. Each one has their own unique personality and heart, perfect for a day trip or a weekend spent immersed in the arts.
Sewanee is home to the University of the South, one of the nation's premier colleges and home to one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States. The liberal arts school is a breeding ground for cutting edge artists, writers and communicators, and the quirky "downtown" boasts colorful eateries and specialty shops for browsing.
Watertown is only forty-five minutes from Nashville, and its annual Jazz Festival earns it a spot on this list. The community is homey and sweet, a perfect reprieve from the rush of the nearby city. Their festival calendar is always hopping with the town square serving as a nostalgic backdrop. Come and enjoy the community and wind your way through one of the towns many antique shops before settling for pizza and drinks on the Nonna Lisa Pizzeria patio.
Sure, Knoxville is a bigger city - a small metropolis, some might say. We're consistently in awe of the artistry that's fostered from the heart of this east Tennessee college town. Head downt to the Arts District if you're looking to wander through a few galleries, or make your way down the downtown mural walking tour. The art and history of Knoxville is expansive, it only takes a second glance.
4. Johnson City
Johnson City may be known as an east Tennessee granola town, but we're in love with its upper brow art scene as well. Don't get us wrong - there's no snootiness in this city, just a whole lot of attainable art sculptures around town and multiple galleries for perusing. Rife with small town personality and charm, Johnson City is the kind of place you return to, again and again.
5. Bell Buckle
Bell Buckle is the poster child for an attainable art scene in the south. You'll be looking more for homemade arts and crafts or antiques on your walk down the quaint downtown streets, but this little town is nothing if not open and honest about its artsy bones. The experience of the town is refreshing and well-worth a family visit - yep, the kids will have a blast, too!
Can we mention "art" in Tennessee without including Chattanooga? She's like Nashville's creative younger sister, a blossoming city that's naturally beautiful with a whole lot of surprises still in store. The Bluff View Art District is where you'll want to wander, a historic neighborhood that boasts art galleries, Rembrandt's Coffee House and beautifully manicured gardens.
Jonesborough, as the oldest city in the state of Tennessee, is the poster child for encouraging the arts in young folks. You'll find all sorts of arts and crafts classes scattered throughout the city, and the annual city festivals exude pride in Tennessee through visual production and fanfare. Antiques are the name of the game here, so come with your walking shoes to make your way through downtown and enjoy the sweet scent of hospitality wafting from every eatery along the way.
If you’re looking for a bit more of a natural experience,
check out this stunning cave trail through the heart of Tennessee. It’s beautiful, and you’ll want to hike it more than once!