Memphis doesn't just attract tourists. It draws pilgrims. Music-lovers lose themselves to the throb of blues guitar on Beale St. Barbecue connoisseurs descend to stuff themselves silly on smoky pulled pork and dry-rubbed ribs. Elvis fanatics fly in to worship at the altar of the King at Graceland.
Named 'the dirtiest city in America' in the 1960s, today the city is recognized as being one of the country's greenest, with miles of well-used waterfront trails, electric buses and pedestrian bridges crossing the Tennessee River. With world-class rock-climbing, hiking, biking and water-sports opportunities, it's one of the South's best cities for outdoorsy types.
Once known as the 'underwear capital of the world' for its numerous textile mills, Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee. Downtown's Market Square is full of ornate 19th-century buildings and lovely outdoor cafés shaded by pear trees, while Old Town and Hundred Block are arty, renovated warehouse districts centered on Gay St, where the best nightlife blooms.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Cherokee called this territory Shaconage (shah-cone-ah-jey), meaning roughly 'land of the blue smoke,' for the heather-colored mist that hangs over the ancient peaks. The Southern Appalachians are the world's oldest mountain range, with mile upon mile of cool, humid deciduous forest.