A local’s recommendations for a stay of any length
Have you ever wished you knew someone in a town you were going to be visiting? Someone who could give you recommendations for what to do and where to stay? Well, we’d love to share some of our local expertise with you to make sure you have an authentic experience in Johnson City, TN—a city we’re pretty darn proud to call home!
Whether you’ll just be staying the night on your way through the area or Johnson City, TN is the destination of your adventure, we want to give you some great information to make sure you enjoy the spirit and hospitality of our city as if you were a local. We’ve broken the article down into overnight stays, weekend visits, and a week’s excursion to the area. This will give you a great selection of options no matter how much time we get to spend with you.
If you’re just going to be with us for one night and you are looking for some options to get a flavor for the area, you still have a lot of choices! As far as accommodations, the area has several top hotel chains to choose from including; Holiday Inn, Farifield Inn & Suites, Best Western, Courtyard by Marriott, and Double Tree by Hilton. All of these hotels are excellent choices and convenient to many of the amenities in the area.
Are you more interested in experiencing first-class accommodations that are unique to Johnson City? Then you should try Carnegie Hotel. Located just outside the downtown area, across from the ETSU (East Tennessee State University) campus, Carnegie Hotel is a beautiful sample of southern charm and rich tradition. It is a AAA Four Diamond property with a wealth of amenities, including a spa, restaurant, bar, and much more. The baroque-style décor is the perfect complement to the hotel’s grand style—giving guests the feeling of the old south, with a touch of railroad baron class.
You’ll find most of your favorite chain restaurants are available in Johnson City as well. Most dining options are just a few minutes drive from the hotels mentioned above. However, we also have several local cuisine options that you can’t get anywhere else. Below is a short list of just some of the great options available that our residents highly recommend;
Of course, if you just want some easy fast food, we also have one of the most unique fast food experiences available only in our area—Pal’s Sudden Service. You owe it to yourself and your family to experience this one-of-a-kind award winning drive through restaurant sometime during your stay!
If you’re planning a visit that will have you here over the weekend (or just a few days at any time of the week), then we’d love to share some of local culture with you as well! Whether you enjoy adventures in the outdoors or want to enjoy some local art and culture, Johnson City is a great place to stay and have a memorable experience.
To escape into nature and enjoy stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains, Johnson City is a great place to set your base camp. After all, enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t mean you have to rough it! One of the great benefits of our location is just how convenient the city is to some of the most popular, and breath-taking natural resources in the country. You can be on the Appalachian Trail in less than 30 minutes from downtown Johnson City!
Another option is to stay closer to town, where you can still find great outdoor options there as well. Be sure to take a stroll along the Tweetsie Trail, which runs from Johnson City to Elizabethton. The trail is a great way to experience the sites in Johnson City at your own pace. The Tweetsie is primarily a walking and biking trail, so you can decide your own pace and have a great time. Another biking option is the all-new Tannery Knobs Park! Tannery Knobs is a great new mountain biking and running trail that has been designed in partnership with the IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) to provide a challenging and enjoyable experience for riders of all ages and experience level. Other great outdoor options would also include; Winged Deer Park, Willow Springs Park, Buffalo Mountain Park, and Founders Park. Whatever you’re looking for, Johnson City will have a beautiful backdrop to take your breath away.
For visitors looking for more something a little more civilized during their visit, there are a lot of options available in Johnson City as well. There are several local breweries in the area that give tours and tastings of their local libations. This area has a long a proud history of making some great beers, and we’d love to share that heritage with you! Whether it’s Yee Haw Brewing, Johnson City Brewing Company, or JRH Brewing, you’ll have lots of options to find the perfect beers to take home as souvenirs.
There is also a lot of shopping options available in Johnson City. The downtown area hosts many different independent boutique shops with lot of unique products to peruse. Great shops like Reclaimed Inspired Goods, Backdoor Records, Boomtown & Co., Trek, Fleet Feet, and Mahoney’s Outfitters have tons of great items and friendly service. If you want the big-name stores, you can come to the Johnson City Mall, Johnson City Crossing, or Johnson City Plaza for all the big department stores you’re looking for and a beautiful vibrant atmosphere!
Planning a longer stay in Johnson City? Your options open up dramatically. No matter what kind of visit you are planning, there are a variety of activities to enjoy! You can spend days just exploring the mountains on leisurely drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway or hiking any of the trails to mountain tops, waterfalls, or flowing rivers.
If you are visiting in the warmer months and want to enjoy some watersports, there are several lakes in the Johnson City area to quench your thirst. Within a few minutes you have Watauga Lake, Holston River, and South Holston Lake. There is also Boone Lake, which has lowered lake levels for upgrades to the dam but will be returning in the future, that runs through Johnson City. If you want to try some world-class rafting and kayaking, you can book a guided tour of the famous Nolichucky River. As always, staying in Johnson City gives you all the amenities to come home to after a wilderness adventure.
Golf enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Johnson City hosts many beautiful options as well. There are courses for golfers of any handicap—all with picturesque views of the mountains as a backdrop. Some options within minutes of downtown include; Pine Oaks Golf Course, Elizabethton Golf Course, Johnson City Country Club, and Blackthorn Club. You could spend an entire week going to different courses in the area and have a great time.
Take a break from the great outdoors and enjoy the many historical museums, art galleries, and musical venues available in the area as well. This area is rich with history and culture that are sure to provide a new appreciation for Johnson City. As mentioned above, there is the Gray Fossil Site and Hands On! Discovery Center in Gray, TN—which has something to enjoy for the whole family. You can also visit historic sites like Tipton-Haynes, Sycamore Shoals, Robert Young Cabin, and much more.
For art, there are several local galleries to enjoy local and regional works of art. Downtown Johnson City has several great art galleries to choose from including; The Tipton Gallery, Greenstone Studio and Gallery, KLayne Gallery, Warrior’s Canvas & Veterans Art Center, and Nelson Fine Art and Frames.
Then there’s the music. Our area has a long, and very respected, heritage of great music. We have small local stages and bars that are regularly hosting local bands and regional artists, as well as larger venues for full concert experiences. The best thing to do is visit our calendar of events and see what options align with your visit—and be prepared to enjoy some amazing music!
Whatever you choose to do during your stay, we’re confident you’ll meet some great people and learn something new about Johnson City and yourself. Everyone’s experience is special, and everyone has their own reason to love our area. As locals ourselves, we’re so proud to share our culture and region with visitors. We hope this article has given you some great ideas when planning your next visit. If you ever need more information, or want help planning your particular trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be glad to help you make the most of your Johnson City adventure!