Beyond Music City: 10 Unique Outdoor Music Venues in Tennessee

By / BT Editor
September 1, 2023
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A concert at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee - courtesy of TN Department of Tourist Development

Nashville draws tourists from all over the country to experience the country music history, culture, and vibrant nightlife that makes up Music City—but it isn't the only town in the state with great venues. Tennessee, renowned for its rich musical heritage, is now stepping beyond traditional concert halls and indoor arenas to embrace the open air. Whether you're a country music lover, a blues aficionado or simply someone seeking an unparalleled musical experience, Tennessee's outdoor venues promise to captivate hearts and ears alike. Plan a trip to one of the venues below just in time to enjoy some of the best fall weather.

The Caverns

Located in Pelham in Grundy County, and nestled underground within a captivating cave system, The Caverns transform into an acoustic wonderland that hosts a diverse range of artists. Experience music amidst awe-inspiring rock formations that create a natural amphitheater, enhancing the sound experience. Upcoming performances include The Glitch Mob, 100 Gecs and Darrel Scott.

Arrington Vineyards

Arrington Vineyards offer concerts with its series Music in the Vines. Jazz, bluegrass and country rise into the air at Arrington Vineyards. This Middle Tennessee vineyard, started by Kix Brooks of the country duo Brooks & Dunn, hosts the music series every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from April through November. Guests can enjoy the vineyard grounds, award-winning wines and music from local, rising stars.

Brushy Mountain

Step into a unique blend of music, history and intrigue at the Brushy Mountain Concert Series, hosted within the confines of Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. Situated in Petros, this concert series offers an unparalleled experience that unites the power of live music with the mystique of a former prison setting. As the sun sets behind the rugged hills, the stage comes alive with performances that resonate through the cells and corridors, creating an atmosphere that's both captivating and hauntingly memorable.

Greenway Farms

The waterfront in Chattanooga by David Sager - Unsplash

Located in Chattanooga, Greenway Farms hosts Fireside, a free outdoor concert series that takes place every Thursday from 7-9 PM in October. Guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs, marshmallow roasting sticks and dancing shoes. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a picnic. Performances this year include Lou Wamp & the Bluetastics, The New Quintet, Randy Steele and the Stringer's Ridge Band.

Ascend Amphitheater

Ascend Amphitheater is an open-air venue located on the Cumberland River in Nashville. The venue provides a beautiful view of the city skyline. It seats 2,300 people in fixed seating and 4,500 on the lawn. Upcoming concerts include Jordan Davis, Arctic Monkeys, Odeza, Hozier, Darius Rucker and Hozier.

World's Fair Park

Aerial view of the Knoxville skyline by Stephen Ellis - Unsplash

Knoxville brings music and entertainment throughout the year to World's Fair Park. The iconic area is known for the Sunsphere, but also has an amphitheater open for concerts, special events and theatrical performances. It was constructed for the 1982 World's Fair and renovated in 2007. There's also a performance lawn and a festival lawn that hosts concerts and festivals.

FirstBank Amphitheater

This venue is located at the back of 150 acres in a reclaimed rock quarry rich in local history in Franklin. From all nearby roads you won't see an amphitheater. What you will see are abundant green spaces including ponds, trees, fields and wildlife – essentially all the natural beauty of outdoor Tennessee. Upcoming concerts include the Goo Goo Dolls, 5 Seconds of Summer and Smashing Pumpkins.

Overton Park Shell

Beginning every March, Overton Park Shell hosts more than 50 concerts, providing free music to their diverse audiences. From jazz to rock, soul and blues, the concerts emulate the "Soundtrack of America, Made in Tennessee." Located in the heart of Memphis, visitors are invited to bring a chair or blanket to enjoy the open-air facility. Dogs on a leash are welcome in the designated Puppy Bar, a brand-new dog-friendly social spot.

Century Farm Winery

The Century Farm Wineryy's outdoor venue provides an idyllic backdrop for music enthusiasts and wine connoisseurs alike in Jackson. From now through October, they host Voices in the Vineyards, a free outdoor concert series. The rolling vineyards, sprawling greenery and charming rustic architecture create an atmosphere that is both inviting and captivating. As the sun sets and the stars emerge, the winery's stage becomes a platform for artists to engage with their audience in a uniquely intimate setting.

Amphitheater at the Market

In the heart of Jackson, the Amphitheater at the Market is an outdoor facility that hosts a range of music events. The venue connects locals and travelers alike to Memphis' Beale Street and Nashville's Honky Tonk Highway by providing an amazing concert experience. The 2023 AMP Concert Series runs from April through September. Bring a picnic, blankets and lawn chairs for nights filled with music. Upcoming shows include Tyler Goodson and Bryan Moffitt.

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Hike Bucket-list Destinations on These Unique Women-Only Trips

Backroads recently announced the launch of Women's Adventures, a new offer exclusively for women travelers. Set in some of the world's most beautiful places, these new vacations feature some of the company's most popular Walking & Hiking itineraries in bucket-list destinations. While the all-women trips will naturally have a different dynamic than other Backroads' trips, they will offer the same commitment to excellence, flexible itineraries and exceptional Trip Leaders for which the company is known. "As part of the Hale family business, I've been lucky enough to take many Backroads trips, several of them with women only to destinations like Argentina, Vietnam/Cambodia and the California Wine Country," said Liz Hale, Backroads' Director of Community Partnerships. "There's nothing like traveling with a group of women. The shared experience on and off the trail, the sense of adventure, the deep connections and conversations, easy laughter and the joy of sisterhood that forms and strengthens as we create new lifelong memories.” Women seeking outdoor and cultural travel experiences in combination with stylish creature comforts—whether traveling solo or with female friends or family members—has been a growing trend over the years. Backroads has seen an increase in select travel dates becoming all-women trips, often as Private Trips. These Walking & Hiking tours are crafted to offer travelers an unfiltered and genuine connection to the culture, landscapes, people and natural beauty of the region they are exploring. With over 30 years of experience designing and leading Walking & Hiking trips across the globe, launching Women's Adventures that feature some of the company's top hiking itineraries is an exciting evolution of the Backroads trip collection. “There's a special magic and connection that often happens when women gather,” said Backroads Executive Vice President, Avery Hale Smith. “I've experienced this firsthand on the girls trips I've participated in over the years, and we've heard it repeatedly from guests who have traveled privately on all-women Backroads trips. We're excited to offer women the opportunity to connect, learn and be immersed in the local culture and community while discovering these amazing destinations together.” While the trips include locations from all over the world, there are several North American-based itineraries, including the selected trips below, that are more accessible and budget-friendly when adding in the costs of flights or other transportation. Banff to Yoho (Alberta, Canada) A 6-day getaway to the soaring peaks and emerald lakes of Banff, Lake Louise & Yoho National Park. Book here. Hike scenic trails in three Canadian national parks with dramatic vistas, beautiful lakes and lush landscapesWalk through evergreen forests and flowering meadows to sensational glaciers, magnificent waterfalls and towering peaksAdmire mountain reflections on Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, then hike to famous Plain of Six Glaciers TeahouseLook for mountain goats, pikas and marmots—perhaps come face-to-face with one of them! Palm Springs & Joshua Tree (California) Desert vegetation in Joshua Tree, California by Ben Karpinski - Unsplash A 4-day trip to this national park wonderland of rocks and desert oases. Book here. Hike Joshua Tree National Park's remarkable landscape strewn with gigantic boulders and shady palm oases Marvel at the desert's distinctive beauty—from Joshua trees to unique wildlife like roadrunners and desert bighorn sheep Admire the mid-century architecture and old Hollywood glamour of Palm Springs’ Las Palmas neighborhoodHike a section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail, taking in impressive views of San Gorgonio Mountain Yosemite (California) A waterfall in Yosemite National Park by Mick Haupt - Unsplash A 6-day excursion to explore this iconic national park's dramatic half dome and waterfalls. Book here. Experience spectacular hikes to alpine meadows, waterfalls and jaw-dropping panoramas Gaze skyward on a walk through a grove of giant sequoias, Yosemite's ancient trees Explore the endless trails of Tuolumne Meadows, a glacier-carved area over two miles long Discover the impressive rock formations for which Yosemite is known, including world-famous Half Dome Crate Lake & Cascades (Oregon) Crater Lake by Steven Coffey - Unsplash A 6-day adventure in the Pacific Northwest. Book here. Delight in Oregon's varied geology as you adventure on foot to the edge of the world-famous Crater LakeExplore the vibrant city of Bend, Oregon's lively and picturesque hub of outdoor adventure and craft brewingHike amid the grandeur of Oregon's Central Cascades, including a section of the famed Pacific Crest TrailAdmire Crater Lake's breathtakingly clear sapphire waters from some of the very best vantage points Sedona (Arizona) The red rocks of Sedona, Arizona by Edmundo Mendez, Jr - Unsplash A 4-day getaway to explore the red rocks and desert magic of Arizona. Book here. Hike among jagged peaks and vast canyons, and along trails blossoming with cacti, manzanita and agave plantsMarvel at the ever-changing colors of the landscape as the sun passes through the day, leaving behind a dazzling indigo sky full of starsWander in and out of art galleries and shops filled with jewelry and crafts made by local artists at Sedona’s Tlaquepaque villageRelish Southwestern cuisine and luxuriate in our quiet abode surrounded by red mesas and rugged cliffs Yellowstone & Tetons (Wyoming) Sunlight illuminates the peaks of the Teton mountain range by Toan Chu - Unsplash A 6-day trip to discover the geology, wildlife and peaks of these national parks. Book here. Observe the famous bubbling and churning geologic features of Yellowstone—including Old Faithful, of course Hike through gorgeous valley landscapes while gazing up to catch sight of the spectacular Teton peaks Photograph the wondrous Yellowstone wildlife you're bound to encounter—from elk to eagles and bison to bears Raft the Snake River with expert river runners, enjoying the views and abundant wildlife sightings —For more Women's Walking & Hiking trip itineraries, head to Backroads Women's Adventures.


Pair Unforgettable Experiences with Aurora Viewing in Alaska

As the nights grow longer and the temperatures begin to cool, the aurora borealis returns to the skies above Fairbanks, Alaska. While aurora activity occurs each day throughout the year, August ushers in the darkness needed for northern lights viewing. The onset of the Aurora Season, which spans August 21 through April 21, means eight months ahead of spectacular opportunities to see the northern lights. Aurora viewing on its own is a remarkable experience, but what if it could be elevated by combining it with a thrilling or rejuvenating activity? Explore some of the ways to make a northern lights excursion that much more unforgettable. Capture the curtains of lights Aurora borealis over Fairbanks, Alaska by Tommy Tang - Unsplash Many local businesses have skilled photographers and guides who are eager to assist you in setting up your camera to capture photographs of the northern lights. If you'd rather step in front of the camera, a variety of tour operators and aurora businesses will take your picture against the stunning backdrop of the aurora borealis giving you the chance to take home a once-in-a-lifetime keepsake. Find the best photo ops with: Alaska-Wildlife-Guide, Alaska Aurora Adventures, Aurora Bear - Aurora & Wildlife Photography, Steven Miley Photography Enjoy serenity and solitude while ice fishing Connect with a knowledgeable guide to help you drill through the ice that can reach up to four feet in thickness. As you patiently wait for the aurora to appear overhead, drop your line to catch chinook or coho salmon, Arctic char, or rainbow trout. Some outfitters will prepare your freshly caught fish in a warm and comfy hut right on the spot. Ice fish with: Rod's Alaskan Guide Service, Alaska Aurora Adventures, Alaska Fishing and Raft Adventures Have an adventure with furry companions The swirling aurora in the night sky serves as the perfect backdrop for taking a quick 30-minute ride in the basket of a dog sled. For the more adventurous, learn to mush your own team on a multi-day excursion into the Alaskan wilderness. Whether you opt for a quick jaunt or embark on an extended adventure, Alaska's high-energy and adorable sled dogs will steal your heart. Book dog sledding with: Firewalker Alaska Malamutes, Last Frontier Mushing Co-op, Rod's Alaskan Guide Service, Alaska Aurora Adventures, A+ Dog Sled Excursions and Tours Relax in the hot springs Aurora borealis over Chena Hot Springs by Jo San Diego - Unsplash Easily accessible from Fairbanks, take a dip in a natural hot spring pool while the northern lights dance above you. Imagine yourself floating in the warmth despite the crisp air around you. Enjoy the rejuvenating mineral-rich springs to relax your body and warm your soul at the end of an adventure-filled day. Relax with: 1st Alaska Tours, Alaska Aurora Adventures, Chena Hot Springs Resort Ride through snowy trails Experience the rush of snowmobiling under the northern lights. Snowmachines – as they are most often called in Alaska – are one of the easiest ways to get into the incredible snowy areas that surround Fairbanks. With the assistance of a knowledgeable guide, you'll receive the necessary equipment, expert guidance, and an invigorating journey through the backcountry, all while the aurora swirls above. Snowmobile with: Rod's Alaskan Guide Service, Alaska Aurora Adventures Seek out magical wildlife A full moon glows over the mountains in Alaska by Jonathan Wheeler - Unsplash Envision a truly enchanting evening combining the beauty of the northern lights and the fun, playful energy of reindeer. These whimsical, domesticated cousins of caribou make engaging and entertaining companions to stroll alongside and visit with. Let the magic of the reindeer and aurora borealis forever leave a mark on your heart. Find guides from: Alaska Aurora Adventures, Aurora Bear - Aurora & Wildlife Photography, Murphy Dome Yurt Journey to the Arctic Circle Travel north from Fairbanks to discover a landscape like no other. While it's not recommended to traverse the Dalton Highway yourself, especially in winter, it's easy to connect with a guide or tour company to fly or drive you to the Arctic Circle and beyond. Whether you opt for a single-day trip or an unforgettable overnight one, scanning the skies for the aurora above the Arctic Circle certainly is an opportunity not to be overlooked. Book with: 1st Alaska Tours, Alaska Aurora Adventures, Alaska Safari Sultan Tours

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Top Attractions in All 50 States

From north to south and from coast to coast, America is packed with diverse landscapes that are worth exploring for every type of traveler. Each state has its own culture and landmarks that make them unique. Courtesy of musement Outdoor enthusiasts have a plethora of places to choose from. National parks and outdoor attractions make up almost one third of the most popular attractions in the United States. From the greats like The Grand Canyon (Arizona) and the urban oasis Central Park (New York) to lesser-known gems like Blackwater Falls State Park (West Virginia) or the Gulf Islands National Seashore (Mississippi) and its beaches, you can get a taste of cultural activities while enjoying Mother Nature. Hersheypark: Hershey, Pennsylvania - Istock/ gsheldon Thrill seekers and families with young ones will be glad to see that ten states across the country have amusement/theme parks as their number one attraction. Snap pictures with Mickey and your favorite Disney characters at Walt Disney World (Florida) or Disneyland Park (California). Otherwise, you can escape to the east to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia). Got a craving for chocolate? Head to Hersheypark (Pennsylvania) and see what the hype is all about. The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas History buffs will be able to turn the clocks back at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (Michigan) where they can witness some of America’s most historical items, discover what life was like in the 1830s at The Alamo (Texas), or jump on board the World War II battleship turned museum at the USS Alabama (Alabama). Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium: Atlanta,Georgia - Istock/Gau Souza Animal lovers across the states have the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best zoos and aquariums. From Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Nebraska) and its one-of-a-kind exhibits to the world-renowned Georgia Aquarium (Georgia), one of the largest in the world, to the west coast’s Oregon Zoo, the United States offers plenty to admire. Research done by Musement, the digital discovery and booking platform for travel activities and experiences around the world. To see the full list of all 50 attractions click here.


Beyond the Fall Foliage, Explore Peak Color in Asheville's Arts Scene

From captivating hikes to immersive art experiences, the Blue Ridge Mountains offer unique opportunities to experience colorways this season. North Carolina is a popular spot for autumn vacations, thanks to its incredible mountain foliage—but did you know that there's a vibrant arts scene, too? Create a fall vacation dedicated to both natural and man-made beauty with a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. In addition to nature's symphony of crimson and gold hues, this season offers art experiences that invite visitors into painted landscapes and imagined worlds. Below are some of the events and activities coming up this year that showcase local art and entertainment. And, when the day's adventures are over, guests can rest their heads at an artfully designed boutique hotel that will transform an overnight stay into a dreamscape. Experience local artwork and visual installations A mural in West Asheville by Wes Mcfee - UnsplashKrafthouse: Forest of the New Trees is a first-of-its kind immersive art installation at the Center for Craft. The self-guided experience created by local visual artists, filmmakers, poets, performers and costume designers invites visitors into an imaginary realm, inspired by Appalachian craft traditions, indigenous wisdom, and the ancient wildness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the world's oldest mountains. Return visits will reward guests with new perspectives. The exhibition runs Sepember 23-October 13.Asheville, nicknamed “Foodtopia” for its distinguished culinary and farming scene, now has an appetizing art exhibit dedicated to food as a focal point in culture and life. The Art of Food is a collection of works by some of the most preeminent postwar and contemporary artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Enrique Chagoya. On view at the Asheville Art Museum through October 22.The Second Saturday gallery hop just got a new set of wheels. The ArtsAVL Connect Trolley offers free rides to artist galleries and studios downtown and in the River Arts District. Riders can hop off or on at any stop along the route. The trolley runs every second Saturday from 12-8 p.m.Every first Friday of the month, more than a dozen artists at The Refinery AVL Creator Space and Gallery open their studio doors to visitors. El Mercadito, a new addition to the gallery space, is a collection of drawings, sculptures and mixed-media artwork by Luis Alvaro Sahagun centered on Latinx narratives. As the grandson of a curandera, or healer, Sahagun calls his artmaking “a mystical instrument” that forges a spiritual connection to heal wounds of conquest, colonization and capitalism. A bright purple mural celebrating Latinx heritage now stretches across a wall along Coxe Ave., near downtown. The artwork, titled “Eres Un Orgullo Latino” (which means “You Are Latin Pride”), was designed and painted by Leslie Reynalte-Llanco as part of Buncombe County's Creative Equity Mural Project. Visitors can discover more of Asheville's murals, graffiti and public sculptures with Mountain Mural Tours. In addition to checking out the area's street art, tours include information about the artists, their inspiration and local history. Enjoy fall weather at these outdoor events A couple and their dog enjoy the outdoors in Asheville by Alyssa Graham - UnsplashYa'll means all in Asheville. This year's Blue Ridge Pride festival kicks off the morning of September 30 with a procession through downtown, culminating in a day-long celebration in Pack Square Park. The annual free event features musical acts, food trucks and dozens of vendors.Burial Beer Co. hosts its premiere event, Burnpile, at its Forestry Camp Facility on October 14. The annual beer and music festival includes a full-day concert alongside a tasting experience from a diverse lineup of more than 50 of the country's best breweries. This year's lineup features Deer Tick, G. Goodman, and MJ Lenderman.This year's LEAF Festival (October 19-22) pays homage to first nations, indigenous and Latinx communities, centered around the theme of “Legends of the Americas.” The three-day music festival at Lake Eden in Black Mountain features a lineup of renowned musicians and performers, including Halluci Nation, Martha Redbone and Son Rompe Pera.Unroll a picnic blanket and head to the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre for Shakespeare under the stars. The Montford Park Players wrap up their 20th season of Shakespeare in the Park with The Tempest, running September 1-30. Another show at the amphitheater, Wonderland Legacies: Alice's Adventures in Murderland, makes its world premiere October 6-28. Written by local playwright Will Storrs. Stay in a colorful new hotel A bold, daring new boutique hotel is set to join the River Arts District this fall. The Radical is a 70-room contemporary hotel and living art installation that breathes new life into a once abandoned building while preserving beautiful evidence of its past lives. With rebel luxe interiors by Suomi Design Works, the hotel's richly layered design features original street art, including work from decades past as well as modern additions. Now accepting reservations for stays beginning Oct. 8, 2023.On the heels of The Radical opening, Lark Hotels and Hatteras Sky will also introduce an artful love letter to Asheville with the opening of Zelda Dearest, a 20-room boutique hotel inspired by the passion, style, vibrancy and intoxicating personality of Zelda Fitzgerald. — For more information on travel to the Asheville area this season, including weekly color reports, a fall foliage tracking map, and autumn adventure ideas, visit