Top Things to Do

Explore the beauty and wonder of Johnson City! From family-friendly activities to captivating historical sites and nature—Johnson City offers something for everyone. Plan your adventure today and experience the heart of the Mountain South like never before!

Brights Zoo

Home to the USA’s only spotless Giraffe Calf, Brights Zoo is a private, family-owned facility dedicated to the long-term conservation of exotic animals. Other species on display include rare and endangered animals such as addax, bongo, and scimitar-horned oryx, as well as more common exotics including giraffes, red kangaroos, spider monkeys, Bactrian camels, and pygmy goats. Visitors can enjoy interactive experiences by feeding some of the animals under the supervision of a zookeeper.

Downtown Johnson City

Johnson City offers numerous places and activities to help you create the vacation of a lifetime. Blaze your own trail in Johnson City. There’s so much to explore, experience and invent. Leave no sight unseen, no path untravelled. Explore the Trip Planner to discover activities and festivals hand-picked for you, or keep scrolling to learn more about the city’s best seasonal, guide-oriented, and history-based activities. How will you Go. All. Out.?

ETSU Martin Center for the Arts

The ETSU Martin Center is a performing arts venue located in Johnson City that hosts a range of internationally recognized musical acts, comedians, Broadway and more! The uniquely flexible arts center is designed to serve a wide range of programs and needs for East Tennessee State University and the Appalachian Highlands region. With new events announced monthly, be sure to stay up-to-date by going to their website.

Historic Jonesborough Tennessee

Just a short drive from Johnson City is Tennessee’s oldest town; Jonesborough! Rich in regional cultural and historical heritage, a walk along Main Street alludes to the days of classic historic icons such as Daniel Boone and David Crockett, the founding of the State of Franklin, and the publication of the Emancipator in the fight to abolish slavery. After partaking of the city’s historical attractions, visitors can enjoy a variety of local and specialty retailers, including Broyles Florist, The Crafty Peddler, Jonesborough Antique Mart, Jonesborough General Store & Eatery, The Lollipop Shop, Sewing Bee, Tennessee Quilts, and more.

Buffalo Mountain Park

Buffalo Mountain Park is a 725-acre natural resource area obtained in 1994 through a land swap with the U.S. Forest Service. The park is located on the north slope of Buffalo Mountain and consists of steep topography and densely forested land. The park functions as a nature preserve primarily for hiking, picnicking, and nature programs. Park Hours (weather permitting): 7 a.m. – sunset (summer) 9 a.m. – sunset (winter)

Southern Dozen

There’s no better place to leave the daily grind in the dust than roaring around the curves of the Southern Dozen! Surrounded by some of the most breathtaking natural beauty in the country, you’ll find the freedom of exhilaration as you wind through the foothills and mountains of Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina.

Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park

Tannery Knobs covers over 40 acres of heavily wooded terrain and is a short ride from downtown Johnson City. The park features off road biking trails for all ages and experience levels and paved pump track as well as stunning vistas for hiking and trail running. Ride. All. Out. at this world class park.

Tweetsie Trail

The Tweetsie Trail is the longest rails-to-trails project in Tennessee, traversing the former ET&WNC (“Tweetsie”) railroad between Johnson City and Elizabethton. This newly completed 9.5-mile trail features a compacted stone surface that crosses seven bridges and provides a flat grade for walking, hiking, running, and biking.

Johnson City Public Art

Johnson City Public Art aims to enhance the livability and creative identity of the community through arts-based engagement with the public. They are responsible for many of the murals, sculptures, traffic wraps, banners, art infrastructure, and other projects in the downtown district and beyond. During your visit, make sure to experience art from local, national, and internationally known artists right here in Johnson City! Take a stroll in Founders Park to view the Phil Pindzola Biennial Sculpture Exhibition or answer clues to find all the bronze sculptures in the Wildabout Walkabout Scavenger Hunt. You may even run into the Annual Art Struck Festival or 5×5 Art Exhibit & Fundraiser. No matter the season, these pieces of art or always viewable and growing! It is very likely the next time you come and visit there will be more to view and appreciate.

Hands On! Discovery Center

Hands On! Discovery Center is an all-ages science center that offers fun, interactive programs and exhibits, ranging from a musical Tesla coil and giant building blocks to maker studios that allow guests to engineer their own rockets. The Discovery Center is located at the Gray Fossil Site, an active fossil dig site dating back 5 million years. Admission to Hands On! includes Gray Fossil Site exhibits.

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