20+ Best Things to Do in Johnson City, TN – Tourist Attractions and Places to Go Around Johnson City

If you’re looking for things to do in Johnson City, TN, you’ll find no shortage of activities to keep you busy! From waterfalls to museums and breweries, there’s something for everyone in this charming Tennessee town. Here are 25 attractions to visit.

things to do in johnson city tn

Why Is Johnson City Worth Visiting?

Johnson City is nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. This means there are plenty of things to do in Johnson City, TN for the outdoorsy types. The city was founded in 1856 by Henry Johnson as a railroad station called “Johnson’s Depot.” It became a major rail hub for the Southeast.

Today, Johnson City remains a vibrant community with many attractions for visitors from around the world. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for a college town that has a lot to offer. It’s home to East Tennessee State University, which is one of the top public universities in the state. The city has several museums and historical sites as well as art galleries and theaters.

Historic Sites in Johnson City You’ll Enjoy Touring

The city’s rich history can be explored at sites such as Carroll Reece Museum or the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site, which is a pre-Civil War era home. For those interested in the area’s railroad history, be sure to check out the George L. Carter Railroad Museum. Other places to admire as you explore the downtown are:

  • Johnson City Public Library – opened in 1999, after decades of work, by a small group of women who established its first collection of 95,000 books (now over 160,000);
  • Johnson City Community Theatre – a local theater that has been producing quality live performances since the early 1900s;
  • Founders Park – a beautiful park featuring walking trails, an amphitheater and a variety of sculptures.

On the outskirts of the city, you’ll find Boones Creek Historical Trust Museum and Opry. This is a great place to learn about the city’s music history and see some of the things that make Johnson City unique.

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If you’re interested in art, you’ll find plenty to see in Johnson City. The Tipton Gallery features rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, while the Warrior’s Canvas & Veterans Art Center is a place where veterans gather to create art. The Johnson City Symphony is also worth checking out if you’re a music lover.

Outdoor Things to Do in Johnson City, TN

The outdoors are calling your name. On top of the natural beauty that surrounds Johnson City – like Roan Mountain State Park and Grayson Highlands State Park — there are several hiking trails within city limits that lead you through forests and up mountainsides.

If you’re looking for an adventure that doesn’t involve getting wet, try out some rock climbing at nearby Rocktown or just zip line through downtown! Here are some outdoor things to do in Johnson City, TN.

  • Bike through Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park. This park features 40 acres of wooded terrain with trails of varying difficulty levels, making it perfect for both beginner and experienced mountain bikers.
  • Hike or bike the 10-mile Tweetsie Trail, which connects Johnson City to Elizabethton. The trail runs along an old railroad line and offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains.
  • Visit the Buffalo Mountain Park. With over 700 acres of forest, this is the perfect place to go for a hike or a picnic.

Have you filled up your itinerary yet? If not, don’t worry. There are plenty more things to do in Johnson City, TN. Keep reading to discover them all.

Family Fun in Johnson City

No matter what your family enjoys, you’ll find something to do in Johnson City that everyone will love. For the skaters, head to Johnson City Family Skate Center. The little ones will have a blast at Just Jump Trampoline Park or the Playground at Roan Street. And if you want to challenge your loved ones to some bowling, Holiday Lanes is the place to go.

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Shopping and Dining in Johnson City

There’s no shortage of things to do in Johnson City, TN when it comes to shopping and dining. The Mall at Johnson City is the perfect place to find that new outfit or pick up a souvenir. For a more unique shopping experience, check out one of the city’s many boutiques or antique stores.

As for dining, you’ll find lots of chain restaurants and local favorites on Mall Street. Be sure to try out the BBQ at Smokey Bones Johnson City or steaks at Texas Roadhouse. If you have a sweet tooth, Crumbl Cookies is a must-try with their mouth-watering and one-of-a-kind cookies.

Places to Visit Around Johnson City

While Johnson City is a great place to spend a vacation, there are also plenty of things to do in the surrounding area. Just a short drive away (20-35 minutes) you’ll find:

  • Bristol Motor Speedway, a racing track that hosts NASCAR events;
  • Bristol Caverns, a cave system with underground lakes;
  • The Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

Even closer, there’s Hands On Discovery Center, an interactive museum for kids. It’s located in the town of Gray, which is also home to Gray Fossil Site – a dig site that’s yielded the remains of ancient animals and plants.

For the hikers and history buffs, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is only 15 minutes away, in Elizabethton. The park is home to Fort Watauga, which was built in 1776. And for the water lovers out there, head to Watauga Lake. This beautiful lake is surrounded by mountains and is a great place to swim, fish, or just relax on the beach.

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Where to Stay in Johnson City?

Now that you know all the things to do in Johnson City, TN, it’s time to start planning your trip! The first step is finding somewhere to stay. Luckily, there are plenty of great hotels in Johnson City.

If you’re looking for a hotel near all the action, check out Quality Inn Downtown. For a more budget-friendly option, try Super 8 by Wyndham Johnson City. Finally, for a luxurious stay, book a room at Carnegie Hotel.

Enjoy Your Trip to Johnson City – However Long It Is!

Whether you’re spending a weekend in Johnson City or a week, you’ll find plenty of things to do to fill your days. And with so many places to go, you might just find yourself extending your trip!

Have you ever been to Johnson City? What are your favorite things to do there besides biking and hiking? Let us know in the comments below!

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