You’ve heard it said many times before: “Bristol is a good place to live.” And it’s true! It’s so true that it hangs over the train tracks, serving as a gentle reminder to every Bristolian as they travel home from work that the place they live truly is good. Throw in Kingsport and Johnson City and together the Tri-Cities are a great place to be.
Travel lovers love living in the Tri-Cities! Popular daytrip locations such as Asheville, NC, Knoxville, TN, and Blowing Rock, NC are all less than two hours away. The opportunities for adventuring outdoors seem endless, with the surrounding lakes and rivers and the Appalachian Trail close by. Hiking options such as Grayson Highlands, Bays Mountain, Roan Mountain, and Buffalo Mountain can be found in and close by each city. For longer trips, the Tri-Cities Regional Airport sits almost directly in the center of the Tri-Cities.
The first point in the triangle of cities, Kingsport, home to Eastman Chemical Company and Funfest, is a good place to buy a home. Kingsport is made up of many smaller communities, such as Indian Springs, Colonial Heights, and Lynn Garden to name a few. The Kingsport City school system feeds into Dobyns Bennett High School and is a selling point for families in and moving to the Tri-Cities. Home values in Kingsport vary from street to street, and neighborhood to neighborhood. Kingsport is a great place for all demographics, from young single professionals, to empty-nesters.
Big manufacturing companies such as Eastman and Domtar help to give Kingsport its value. While it has no actual college of its own, Kingsport houses The Academic Village, where many satellite campuses such as King University, East Tennessee State University, and the University of Tennessee provide classes to Kingsport residents. Kingsport is home to many popular chain restaurants and retail stores, but if you’re looking for that “shop local” feel, we would suggest the Mercantile on Broad in downtown Kingsport, and for dinner, Pratt’s Barbeque or the Purple Cow.
Johnson City, TN
Johnson City, the second city in the Tri-Cities, is home to East Tennessee State University, a popular college choice for young adults all over the East Tennessee region. Johnson City was also named one of the best places to retire in Tennessee, shortly followed by Bristol and Kingsport. Johnson City brings that perfect college town feel with popular college hot spots such as a few Starbucks locations, a First Watch Daytime Café, and a massive Forever 21, which is located in the Johnson City Mall. Johnson City has a huge shop local feel, and plenty of locally-owned restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops.
Housing in Johnson City is a slightly different feel with the college in town so it is mostly populated with apartment complexes, and bigger old homes in the neighborhoods surrounding ETSUr are also mostly converted into apartments and duplexes. However, some bigger residential neighborhoods are scattered throughout the city, a well-known one being the “Tree Streets” neighborhood. This neighborhood is one for families who want to invest in good property value and be close to everything in Johnson City.
Last but not least, Bristol, home to the Rhythm and Roots festival every year in September, is packed full of the southern small-town character and charm. Shopping with small businesses and supporting local restaurants is important to all Bristolians. Downtown Bristol is flourishing with small boutiques, local breweries, and live music. Bristol is also home to the world’s fastest half-mile (Can we get a “Dale Yeah”?)! For two weeks in the year, one in the spring and one in fall, Bristol hosts Nascar fans from all over with exceptional Bristol-style southern hospitality.
The Fairmount neighborhood streets, just off of downtown, is lined with historic homes of all shapes and sizes, all surrounding King University. Some of these homes have been transformed into apartments and duplexes housing college students and young families, while other houses make great family homes. This neighborhood sits in the Bristol City school zone, which is a big appeal to most Bristol residents with children. We love the character of these old homes, and whenever we get a chance, we love to move into the neighborhood! We bring our modern touches to the homes while keeping the architectural elements true to the home – all these old homes need is a little TLC to be made New Again! (And maybe an updated heat pump.)
For anyone wanting to experience the perfect small town weekend getaway, we would recommend stopping in for an iced latte at Bloom Café and Listening Room, browsing the local shops such as Virginia Vintage Interiors, and Studio 6 Apparel, and painting your own pottery piece at Kiln’ Time. For dinner, be sure to visit 620 State Restaurant for some amazing Asian or classic American dishes, or Quaker Steak and Lube just across the street to try wings of all temperatures. Wind down at one of Bristol’s many local breweries on either side of the state line or visit Bristol Virginia’s famous Blackbird Bakery for a donut or a slice of cake and some live music by local performers, and then gaze at the stars from the Lumac Rooftop Bar at the Bristol Hotel and spend the night in one of the 65 boutique rooms. Enjoy breakfast in bed the next morning made by Vivian’s Table, and then stroll next door to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for some souvenirs to take home.
The New York Times has named Chattanooga one of the “Top 45 Places to go” in the world. And we believe that it is so true! Chattanooga, internationally known for the song “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glen Miller and his orchestra, is a perfect mix of outdoors, artsy, and college-town feel. There are plenty of local attractions and restaurants that could easily make up a weekend trip.
The City of Chattanooga is full of wonder-filled and awe-inspiring attractions, living up to its nickname “Scenic City.” See Rock City atop Lookout Mountain. View all seven states and don’t forget your birdhouse while you’re there! Visit Ruby Falls and marvel at the massive underground wonder. Ride the Incline Railway and experience the thrill of riding “America’s Most Amazing Mile.” You can also hike through many trails, such as Sunset Rock, on Lookout Mountain and explore historic Point Park. Take an early morning hike up to Signal Point on Signal Mountain and experience the beauty of Tennessee (and maybe even some fog!).
Head on down to downtown ‘Nooga where there are just as many outdoor attractions and activities as indoor, making it a perfect spot to visit in any type of weather. On a nice sunny day, take a nice stroll over Walnut Street Bridge and treat your inner child to a ride on the Coolidge Park Antique Carousel. Walk the paths along the Tennessee River and explore the neighborhoods as well as the small shop atmosphere. On a rainy day, visit the Tennessee Aquarium and marvel at some jellyfish. Take your little ones to the Creative Discovery Museum for a day full of indoor exploration.
Chattanooga is also home to many sports teams, including the Pro Soccer Team, the Chattanooga Redwolves, and the Minor League baseball team, the Chattanooga Lookouts. The University of Tennessee Chattanooga also adds the Mocs to the mixture. Any of these games are sure to be an exciting time!
While Chatt is full of adventures, it is also filled with amazing restaurants. Some must-visits from us would include Champy’s Chicken, which can only be found in a handful of locations across the Southeast, Tremont Tavern for burgers and beers, Tony’s Pasta Shop and Trattoria for some of the best Italian cuisine around, and of course, the college favorite: The Yellow Deli. Coffee lovers, make a stop at Rembrandt’s Coffee House for a cup of joe and a sweet treat, and then take a quick stroll through the surrounding shops. And last but not least, be sure to save some room for The Ice Cream Show for dessert!
Why Should You Move to Chattanooga?
Not only is Chattanooga a popular spot for a weekend trip, but it is also a great city to call home. The median home value in the city is $152,000, making it an affordable place to live. In 2009, Chattanooga was ranked 8th out of America’s 100 largest metro areas for the best “Bang For Your Buck” city, according to Forbes magazine. Notable employers include Volkswagen, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and TVA, all which bring significant worth to the economy. Tourism and hospitality also play a huge part in the growth of the economy of the city.
There is something for everyone in Knox County! Whether you are into sports, outdoor activities, arts, music or food, Knoxville has you covered. It is home to the University of Tennessee and there is a reason they are the Volunteers. The people of Knoxville are very giving and there is always a way to get active in the community. The Marble City is home to great school districts with the number one school district in the state being in its backyard. There are several large headquarters located in Knoxville, but also a lot of locally owned businesses. It has a big city feel mixed with a small-town vibe. The median home value in Knox County is $176,500, making the city affordable, with a population of 461,860.
Knoxville is divided up into four districts, the first being South Knoxville, which is affectionately nicknamed SoKno. South Knoxville hosts the Big Ears Music Festival in March (you can catch it March 21-24thin 2019). Several neighborhoods make up SoKno, including Island Home Park and Colonial Village, which has a lot of unique and charming homes. It is an area that draws in a lot of first time home buyers, young families and business professionals. Construction is still in place for new development along the South Knoxville waterfront which will hold flats, apartment buildings, riverwalks, parks, and more. South Knoxville employers include the University of Tennessee, Regal Entertainment Group, and the UT Medical Center. SoKno is home to Downtown Knoxville, which makes it the perfect spot for a day trip. Wander through Ijams Nature Center and the Historic Ramsey House, and then stop in for lunch at SoKno Taco Cantina. Spend the afternoon shopping in Downtown Knoxville and stop in for a coffee break at Honeybee Coffee Co. For dinner, we recommend Ye Olde Steak House or Sweet P’s Barbeque for something a little more casual.
North Knoxville is positioned directly above downtown Knoxville and is home to many neighborhoods such as Fourth & Gill, Old North Knox, North Hills, Whittle Springs which houses the beautiful Whittle Springs Golf Course, and Fountain City, home of the popular Fountain City Duck Pond. There are several historic neighborhoods in this area. There are a lot of craft breweries and coffee shops popping up in the area. It has a relaxed vibe, is convenient to downtown, and is close to the Zoo, making it a great area for all ages. Knoxville is all about shopping local, and you can find some great local spots such as the Hot Southern Mess Boutique, Chandler’s Deli, and Litton’s. One of the things we find to be particularly cool about this area is the Open Streets Events. These events are held twice each year and give residents a chance to explore their neighborhood and local businesses in a safe and fun way that caters to the whole family.
West Knoxville is situated west of downtown and is particularly large due to the way the city is laid out. This area houses bigger shops, restaurants, and venues for all ages. Among these venues include Main Event, Carl Cowan Park, and Gettysvue Polo, Golf & Country Club. You can easily spend a weekend shopping at both the West Town Mall and Turkey Creek, stopping for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory or Altruda’s Italian. While this area of Knoxville caters to more chain stores and restaurants, it also has plenty of local places! Stop in at the Farmacy for brunch, catch a movie at the Cinnebarre, grab dinner at Cazzy’s Corner Grill, and spend the evening with craft beer and pinball at Token Game Tavern. West Knoxville houses Bearden, Rocky Hill, Hardin Valley, and Farragut, making this portion of Knoxville a very family-oriented area due to the classic neighborhoods and great schools. The dining and shopping is fantastic!
The last district, Northwest Knoxville, is made up of neighborhoods such as Karns, Brentwood, Pleasant Ridge, and Amherst, and is located in the Knox County Public Schools District. It is home to the Dogwood Arts Festival, and plenty of outdoor places including Victor Ashe Park and Knoxville Municipal Golf Course. You can find plenty of small-town restaurants in this district. Enjoy The Front Porch for lunch, Lulu’s Tea Room for a girls’ afternoon, and Ichiban Japanese Grill for dinner. This is a more laid-back area with lots of Southern Charm. It is great for families both old and new, as well as retirees.
Last but not least, Knoxville also encompasses Maryville and Alcoa. This area has a median home value of $179,500. Notable employers here include Denso Manufacturing, Clayton Homes, Blount Memorial Hospital, and McGhee Tyson Airport. This is a very scenic area home to Maryville College. A day trip to Maryville might look like an escape from the bustle of Knoxville, and there are plenty of places to relax! Wander through the Cade’s Cove Museum, with a stop at Full-Service BBQ for lunch. Spend the afternoon relaxing at Blue Goose Vineyard or shopping at the Foothills Mall. Enjoy dinner at The Walnut Kitchen, and wrap-up your day (in the summer!) with a movie at Parkway Drive-In. The Maryville/Alcoa area is a great area because there are charming homes close to the small city, or you can live in a more rural area surrounded by nature! Neighborhoods here include College Hill, West Maryville, Westfields, Asbury Estates, and West Springbrook. It is a great area for all ages young and old. There are great schools in Maryville and it is close to Downtown Knoxville or the Smoky Mountains National Park!