Celebrate Black History All Year Long in Tennessee

Tennessee is home to a number of landmarks, museums, and educational destinations focused on African-American history and culture. While February is an opportune time to visit and celebrate Black History Month, the destinations below are worth planning a vacation to during any time of the year. Bessie Smith Cultural Center (Chattanooga, Tennessee) The Bessie Smith Cultural Center, founded by empowering visionary leaders from Chattanooga, pays homage to the late “Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith. The center preserves and celebrates African American history and culture through art, education, research and entertainment. Exhibits incorporate technology, interactive kiosks and a children's education corner. The new exhibit “Chattanooga's Black Soundtrack” highlights local artists, like Usher Kane Brown and The Impressions. Visit black-owned businesses and restaurants in Chattanooga. Beck Cultural Exchange Center (Knoxville, Tennessee) Beck Cultural Exchange Center - courtesy of TN Department of Tourist Development The Beck Cultural Exchange Center is a historic community treasure dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting artifacts and evidence of contributions relating to history and culture of African Americans in East Tennessee and America. The center creates immersive educational experiences to promote learning for present and future generations. From arts and culture to attractions, restaurants, breweries and businesses, here are additional ways to celebrate Black history in Knoxville. Green McAdoo Cultural Center (Clinton, Tennessee) Green McAdoo Cultural Center - courtesy of TN Department of Tourist Development Learn about the courageous stories of the Clinton 12, who bravely fought for equal access to education. Green McAdoo Cultural Center shares he legacy of what happened in 1956 and how it shaped the students and the community. Step inside a 1950s classroom and follow the chronological story of desegregation at Clinton High School, the first integration of a public high school in the South, with life-size photographs and narratives. Listen to stories from the students in episode three of the TN Civil Rights Trail podcast. Travel Tennessee's stops on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. Nearest Green Distillery and Humble Baron (Shelbyville, Tennessee) An unlikely friendship created maybe the greatest story you've never heard, told at Nearest Green Distillery. Tour the distillery and taste Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, which honors the world's first-known African American master distiller, Nearest Green, who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. Be sure to stay for local cuisine, Sunday Brunch or a cocktail at Humble Baron, the world's longest bar, where everyone has a seat at the table. Ruby's Happy Farm (Cross Plains, Tennessee) Ruby's Happy Farm - courtesy of TN Department of Tourist Development Ruby's Happy Farm was built on family legacy land and named after the family matriarch. Ashley Brooks is the third generation of her family to farm this land and opened the property to the community in the inaugural Juneteenth Festival. 2024's event, “Ruby's Happy Farm Feel Good Festival,” is slated for June 22, 2024 and will include vendors, entertainment and presentations on agriculture, history and wellness, including beekeeping, self-care, small farm operations and a history of Juneteenth. Mclemore House Museum (Franklin, Tennessee) The McLemore House, purchased by former enslaved man Harvey McLemore in 1880, was a model of community development in Hard Bargain, the first African American middle class neighborhood in Franklin consisting of carpenters, teachers, masons and farmers. The house is now a museum promoting cultural and historical preservation, celebrating the rich African American heritage of Franklin and Williamson County. National Museum of African American Music (Nashville, Tennessee) The National Museum of African American Music in Nashville - courtesy of TN Department of Tourist Development The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in the heart of Music City is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the music genres created, inspired or influenced by African Americans. Interactive exhibits allow guests to write a blues song, sing with a gospel choir, learn dances, do a rap battle and learn about jazz, blues, rap, pop and stories of renowned artists like Isaac Hayes, Beyonce, Rihanna, Prince and others. NMAAM is located in Fifth + Broadway, where travelers should also get a taste of Slim & Husky's, an artisan pizza shop with a love for hip hop R&B culture. Here are ways to explore Black history in Nashville. Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Museum of Science & Industry (Memphis, Tennessee) Experience the story of Stax Records, one of the most famous recording studios in the world, through interactive exhibits, artifacts and hall of records at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. The museum shares how creative individuals came together to write, record and produce some of the best soul music in Memphis. Separately, the Museum of Science & History (MoSH) has a new exhibit, Everyday People: Snapshots of the Black Experience, a photography journey showcasing Memphis artist Eric Echols' photo collection of twentieth century African Americans and Black culture. From attractions to restaurants to local businesses, here are additional trip ideas to celebrate Black history in Memphis. Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School (Brownsville, Tennessee) The Tina Turner Museum - courtesy of TN Department of Tourist Development The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner, was born in Nutbush, made famous with her hit song, “Nutbush City Limits.” Turner attended school in a one-room schoolhouse in Brownsville, one of the first schools built in the South for African Americans. Visitors to the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, located on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, explores the largest known collection of Tina memorabilia, costumes and stories. While visiting Brownsville, savor local favorite Black-owned business, Helen's Bar BQ, where Helen Turner works as one of the few female pitmasters in the country. Alex Haley Museum & Interpretive Center (Henning, Tennessee) The childhood home of author Alex Haley, who wrote the groundbreaking novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, is located in Henning. “Roots,” which was made into a landmark TV miniseries in 1977, was inspired by family stories young Alex heard on the porch of his home. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alex Haley Museum & Interpretive Center's exhibits feature Haley's work, childhood memorabilia and references to people who inspired the characters in “Roots.” Virtual Black History Month Tour Can't plan a trip? Launching in February 2024, The Virtual Black History Month Tour in Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee's oldest town, is an interactive, app-based tour starts at the Jonesborough Visitors Center and takes guests on a walk up East Main Street and down West Main Street. Along the way, guests stop at spots in town that are pivotal to the history of the Black community and to the history of Jonesborough.


Celebrate Black History Month at This Family-Friendly Destination

February is Black History Month, and if you're looking for an excellent destination to celebrate, head to the Sunshine State. Events in Orlando, Florida kick off in late January and continue throughout February with commemorations and celebrations of African American history and culture, available throughout 2024. With limited-time exhibitions and live performances – along with year-round cultural attractions, tours through historic towns and landmarks, and a robust collection of Black-owned businesses – the destination offers a range of opportunities for locals and visitors to experience the inspiring, rich culture of the African American community. Catch limited-time Black History Month events Amina Scott quartet - courtesy of Visit Orlando Central Florida locals and visitors can pay tribute to African American culture through exclusive musical performances, art exhibits and more. Some highlights include: The 35th Annual ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts, (Jan. 26-28) featuring live performances, an international marketplace, arts and craft booths, and more, takes place in the historic town of Eatonville, the first African American incorporated municipality in the United States. The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is the permanent home for the Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories of Winter Park, which will unveil new images and oral histories collected by historian Peter Schreyer to depict life in Winter Park's Hannibal Square in the mid-1990s. The new additions will be on view Jan. 15 – June 1. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts presents two performances by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Jan. 30-31). The beloved modern dance company is celebrating its 65th season with special performances lovingly created by Amy Hall Garner, granddaughter of Alvin Ailey. The African Americans and the Arts Exhibition (Feb. 2 – March 31) at the Terrace Gallery at Orlando City Hall presents an opportunity for local artists to showcase African American history and celebrate the many lasting contributions Black Americans have had on visual arts, performing arts, literature, film, music and cultural movements.The Orange County Regional History Center's Black History Month commemoration will include History Alive: Bessie Coleman Aviation Adventure (Feb. 3), a special tribute to America's first Black and Native American woman pilot and her impact on Central Florida's aviation history. The Sanford Jazz Ensemble's Black History Month Concert (Feb. 11) at the historic Ritz Theater at Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford will showcase musical genres like Motown and classic jazz, and celebrate acclaimed African American musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The 4 Tops, The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire and more. Timucua Amplifies Black Voices is a three-day event (Feb. 16 – 18) at the Timucua Arts Foundation in downtown Orlando's SoDo District that will offer performances by jazz musician Solomon Jaye, percussionist Britton Rene Collins, singer Jarred Amstrong Trio, The DeAndre Lettsome Quartet and singer Brandon Martin, and conclude with the Authentic Selves Poetry and Open Mic Night. Who's Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience (Feb. 16) comes to House of Blues Orlando. The musical act, performed by the longest-running Michael Jackson cover band, features songs from the expansive catalogue of the unrivaled King of Pop. Enjoy year-round African American cultural attractions Hannibal Square Heritage Center - courtesy of Visit Orlando Beyond Black History Month, Orlando offers opportunities to learn about African American culture and local history throughout the year. Just outside the tourism districts, the historic town of Eatonville – home to celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston – was one of the country's first self-governing African American communities. Today, it honors Hurston's memory with the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts (aka The Hurston) and the annual ZORA! Festival (Jan. 7 - Jan. 28) with other events throughout the year, including HATitude Cultural Flair (Oct. 19) and Gathering & Gabbing Zora Neale Hurston Book Club (Feb. 17, March 16 & May 18). The Hurston also displays work by legendary and emerging artists of African descent. The only Commercial National Registered Historic District in Orlando, Parramore is Orlando's oldest and largest African American neighborhood with a diverse collection of historic buildings like the Wells' Built Hotel, now the Wells' Built Museum of African American History and Culture, dedicated to preserving the memory of Orlando's African American heritage with Civil Rights artifacts and memorabilia. The Orange County Regional History Center features a permanent African American history exhibit highlighting the triumphs and tragedies of African Americans in Central Florida's past, along with luminous paintings of Florida's Highwaymen, a group of acclaimed African American landscape artists. A community founded for black families in 1881, Historic Hannibal Square is home to the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, which welcomes visitors to explore the district's origins and offers guided walking tours of the historic landmarks of “West Winter Park,” describing the hardships and the triumphs of the African American community from the 1900s to the present. Visitors can also experience small-business shopping, free yoga, food and music during the SOKO Marketplace every Saturday morning, where proceeds support the development of culturally relevant programming for the historic African American community of Hannibal Square.Visitors and locals can join Juneteenth (June 19) celebrations throughout Orlando, particularly in Eatonville and Hannibal Square. Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States. Dine and shop at Black-owned restaurants and businesses A mural in Eatonville - courtesy of Visit Orlando With an exploding food scene, Orlando is home to a multitude of Black-owned restaurants offering flavors across various cuisines – from traditional to contemporary and beyond, along with locally owned businesses with specialized services. BBQ and southern food fans can dine at Orlando Famous Pete's BBQ in Downtown Orlando on the weekends and Brick & Spoon in Maitland. For seafood or wings, visitors can support Big Lou's Single Wing Express in Downtown Orlando; Stonington's Fried Shrimp in Metro West and Altamonte Springs; and Mad Crab Seafood & Wings in Eatonville. Chicken Fire in Orlando specializes in Nashville-style hot chicken.For delicious Carribean-inspired eats, foodies can enjoy Mark's Jamaican Bar & Grill or Island Thyme Carribean Grille in East Orlando, or Oley's Kitchen & Smokehouse in Downtown Orlando.Those looking for soul food can visit Nikki's Place and P&D Soul Food Kitchen in Downtown Orlando, and Soul Food Fantasy in Eatonville. For a healthier kick, there's Vitality Bowls in the Dr. Phillips area. And for a sweeter option, head to downtown Orlando for custom flavors from the doughnut bar at Pattie Lou's Donuts or the award-winning Sister Honey's serving all kinds of sugary delights, including pies, cookies and pastries.Other Black-owned eateries include East Orlando's Streetwise Urban Food – serving urban favorites in a family-friendly, casual atmosphere – and Downtown Orlando's The District GastroBar – paying homage to old world American taste and cuisine – where legendary musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles and B.B. King performed at the South Street Casino that once stood nearby.The Pretty Peacock Paperie specializes in custom stationery and invitations in Winter Park, while the Naked Bar Soap Co. offers all-natural bath and body care products made from sustainable ingredients. Bloom in Glory is a full-service floral design company. —Additional information on Orlando's Black History Month and year-long events can be found at


How to Plan the Perfect Winter Trip to Denver, Colorado

With 300 days of sunshine, world-class dining, a thriving cultural scene and endless outdoor adventure, Denver, Colorado is the perfect destination to for an epic vacation. Take advantage of the beautiful winter season and use the tips below to plan your next trip to the Mile High City. Along with classic favorites, there are plenty of great new restaurants, hotels and attractions to check out this year. Dine at new and award-winning restaurants Colorado state flags decorate a street in Denver by Logan Bonjean - Unsplash MICHELIN recognized 26 Denver restaurants in their inaugural and highly anticipated Colorado-based Guide this past September. The famously anonymous MICHELIN Guide inspectors selected a diverse range of restaurants across the city that exude culinary excellence. Denver joins Boulder, Aspen and Snowmass Village, the Town of Vail and Beaver Creek Resort in the Colorado MICHELIN Guide, the eighth Guide destination in North America. In addition to being the home of many fine-dining restaurants, the Denver area has a number of new and soon-to-open establishments that are worth checking out. Alama Fonda is a new restaurant by chef Johnny Curiel in the Lower Highlands Neighborhood north of Downtown Denver. The intimate space offers Mexican dishes deriving from Curiel's upbringing.After winning season five of Top Chef, Hosea Rosenberg opened Blackbelly Market in Boulder, which received a MICHELIN Green Star. Rosenberg is opening a second Blackbelly Market location on Tennyson Street in Denver in late February 2024.Corsica is planning to heat up the Denver restaurant scene this season, serving coastal French- and Italian-inspired shareable plates. The space will also feature wine, cocktails and aperitifs in what was once a warehouse transformed into a central bar and dining room with private dining options.A new concept in Lower Downton Denver (LoDo) is opening February 2024. Wonderyard Garden + Table is inspired by The Secret Garden and The Great Gatsby and will feature indoor and outdoor spaces with birdcage booths, teacup tables and a repurposed turntable “carousel." Of course, long-time favorites such as downtown's Tavernetta, Cherry Creek's Barolo Grill and many more serve up delicious meals in cozy environments this season and are a staple on any Denver itinerary. For a complete list of Denver's best restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and more, head to the Visit Denver. Book a trendy hotel stay A colorful mural in Denver by Pieter Van de Sande - Unsplash Denver's Kimpton Hotel Born rebranded as the Limelight Hotel in spring 2023. The Limelight Denver is under the operation of Aspen Hospitality, the hospitality division of Aspen Skiing Company. Conveniently located adjacent to Denver's Union Station, the hotel is the first urban location for the Limelight brand and joins the existing Limelight portfolio in Aspen and Snowmass, CO., and Ketchum, Idaho making it the perfect complement for a Colorado winter vacation. The new Acoma House, Denver's premier boutique art hotel, is in the vibrant Golden Triangle district. Guests can immerse themselves in a one-of-a-kind experience as they step into 24 custom rooms, each thoughtfully designed by a unique artist. Head to the Halcyon in Cherry Creek for Denver's new rooftop skating experience complete with breathtaking views of the Mile High City. Guests can also gather for a dip in the rooftop hot tub, enjoy hot beverages and bites, warm blankets and more. Immerse yourself in the arts The Denver Art Museum by Acton Crawford - Unsplash The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) boasts an impressive calendar of performances and events this season including Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago, Cebollas and more. And do not miss DCPA's Off-Center's Space Explorers: THE INFINITE at the Hanger in Stanley Marketplace Feb. 3- May 5. The Denver Art Museum's (DAM) exhibit, Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks is on display through Feb. 19. This is the debut solo exhibition for Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, featuring more than 30 of Boafo's creations between 2016 and 2022 telling stories about the beauty and complexity of Black life. While you are at the DAM, check out the All Stars: American Artists from The Phillips Collection through March 3, which highlights some of the best American art from one of the most celebrated collections in the United States. See landmark works by more than 50 artists, including Jackson Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Childe Hassam and more. Meanwhile, the Museum of Contemporary Art's (MCA) exhibit Cowboy speaks to the museum's ambition to challenge, revise and reconceive how such a myth originated and might be probed in exciting, courageous and nuanced ways. It brings together loans and new commissions from 27 artists representing a wide range of perspectives, including Asian American, Latinx and Native American/Indigenous. The Museum of Illusions is new to downtown Denver. The space offers an intriguing visual, sensory and educational experience with illusions ranging from tried-and-true classics to the never-before seen. Guests will enjoy more than 80 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions and immersive rooms that are designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. The season brings many blockbuster concerts to Ball Arena including Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull and Ricky Martin on Feb. 13, Nicki Minaj on March 3, and Madonna on March 19. For more intimate concerts, check out Denver's Gothic, Bluebird or Ogden theater's line-up. There is something for every music taste. And don't miss Icelantic's Return to the Rocks on April 19, 2024 with IceCube, The Game, BoneThugsNHarmony, and Living Legends. Learn more here. Enjoy family-friendly activities Snow adorns the lawn around the State Capitol building by Shelby Ireland - Unsplash Alongside new things in Denver, there are many beloved winter activities, events and traditions perfect for the whole family. Feel the energy at Ball Area this season with the 2023 NBA Finals Champions, the Denver Nuggets, the 2022 Stanley Cup winners, the Colorado Avalanche or the Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team. Bring the whole family along for your Denver adventure with a wide array of kid-friendly activities. Head to the Denver Zoo to see more than 3,000 animals including elephants, orangutans, lions and more. Visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to explore fossils and dinosaurs, ponder the mysteries of space at Gates Planetarium, discover Egyptian mummies and watch larger-than-life films at the Phipps IMAX 3D Theater. The Downtown Aquarium is a perfect spot for kids to awe at astounding marine life, feed the stingrays, pan for gold, see a mermaid show or become a marine biologist for a day. Experience winter in the Rockies Snow across the mountains and red rock around Denver by Ravi Patel - Unsplash Denver is the perfect winter destination, with a backdrop of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Head northwest to the Boulder Flatirons or Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy iconic stretches of scenic trails and spots that offer spectacular views. Try out cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in nearby Idaho Springs, Estes Park or Golden. Or hop on the Winter Park Express Ski Train to enjoy mountain adventures without the hassle of renting a car and driving on mountain roads. Service for the seasonal train began January 12 and will run through the weekend of March 29 with departures each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The train leaves from downtown Denver at Denver Union Station at 7 am and arrives at the mountain at 9 am. The return trip departs Winter Park at 4:30 pm and arrives in Denver at 6:40 pm, so it is a great option for a weekend or day trip. Bring the whole family because kids ride for 50% off! After a full day of outdoor adventures, return to the city and have a feast at an award-winning restaurant, grab a craft beer along the Denver Beer Trail or explore the city's vibrant neighborhoods, teeming with arts, culture and urban flair. Browse adventure day trip ideas and more on the Visit Denver website.


Just Outside of Nashville, The Perfect Family Getaway Awaits

Founded in 1794, two years before Tennessee became the nation's 16th state, Clarksville, Tennessee is a city filled with authentic experiences, sites and inspiring people that unlock a rich history and culture. While nearby Nashville is popular for bachelor parties, college aged-tourists, and those looking to party the night away at concerts and honky tonks, Clarksville offers more family-friendly and daytime activities and is just an hour away. By venturing off the beaten path, visitors will absorb the culture and relish the experiences that make this city a unique and memorable place. Experience nature and history on a local tour Children make butter at Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement - courtesy of Visit Clarksville TNDunbar Cave State Park - Dunbar Cave State Park offers a multifaceted cultural experience that highlights the park's rich music history, cave art from the indigenous people who inhabited the area during the 14th Century, and Affricanna Town, a place of refuge for self-liberated enslaved African Americans following the Union Army's capture of Clarksville in 1862. Guided cave tours are offered from May to September, allowing visitors to view the infamous dark zone cave art for themselves. The park is open year-round for hiking, bird watching, picnics, and viewings of historic markers throughout the property.Fort Defiance - Located atop a 200' bluff at the confluence of the Cumberland and Red Rivers, Fort Defiance is one of the few intact earthen works forts left in the United States giving visitors a chance to step back in time and gain an understanding of the region's role in one of the most pivotal chapters in American history. The Interpretive Center houses artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays, providing an immersive journey through the Civil War era. One notable audio display allows visitors the chance to hear the stories of those affected by the War Between the States including troops from both armies, an enslaved person, a local business owner, and more. Visit during the holidays for a 19th-century Christmas celebration and make period-appropriate ornaments. Just outside the interpretive center, visitors will find a United States Colored Troops Monument. This statue honors the USCT, who were men of African descent, many of them formerly enslaved, who enlisted in the Union Army to fight for their freedom.Historic Cemetery Tours - Search for family names at Clarksville's historic cemeteries. Established on February 23, 1800, Riverview Cemetery is the oldest known public burial ground in the area. It is rich in history and has the remains of many early pioneers, settlers, civic leaders, and statesmen, as well as men and women of all the American wars. Greenwood Cemetery was founded in 1872. The cemetery is the final resting place of many of Clarksville's most notable citizens including Tennessee Governor Austin Peay, the founder of Austin Peay State University, and Frank Sutton who played Sgt. Carter on the sitcom Gomer Pyle, USMC. Guided tours of both cemeteries are offered during the fall months.Historic Collinsville - Step back in time at Historic Collinsville. The Pioneer Settlement provides an authentic glimpse into the daily lives of those living in the area throughout the 1800s, while the Weakley House Museum, opening in April 2024, takes visitors into the personal home and collections of Collinsville founders, Glen and JoAnn Weakley. Visitors can explore 16 restored log homes and outbuildings brimming with period-accurate furnishings and artifacts, as well as participate in activities like making butter. The immersive experience extends to monthly special events with lively demonstrations, hands-on activities, and costumed interpreters who bring history to life through storytelling and interactive exhibits. Historic Collinsville is open Thursday – Sunday, April – October.Historic Downtown Walking Tours - Embark on a self-guided walking tour of downtown and enjoy historic architecture from the mid-1800s. Dozens of structures are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the First Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal Church. As you explore, keep an eye out for Clarksville Then & Now Trail panels that tell the stories of our historic buildings. See photos of what used to be, read about former businesses, and scan a QR code to learn more about each building.Port Royal State Historic Park - Nestled on the Montgomery County border, this historic park not only showcases the vibrant history of a 19th-century trading town but is also an important point of reflection on the tragic events of the Trail of Tears. Visitors can explore the well-preserved structure that tells the story of Port Royal's past, offering insights into early commerce and daily life, before walking the same path taken by over 10,000 Cherokee on their last night in Tennessee. Guided Townsite Tours are offered Friday-Sunday. The park is open for hiking and picnics daily. Explore museums and trails A display at the Customs House - courtesy of Visit Clarksville TNAfrican American Legacy Trail - Discover the expansive and unique history of Clarksville's African-American community with the African-American Legacy Trail. From community gardens and historic churches to athletic, musical, and business trailblazers -- even an inspiring Olympic Champion -- this trail has many stories to tell.As The River Flows Museum At Mcgregor Park - Learn About The History Of The Cumberland River And Its Significance To Clarksville's Development Through Mcgregor Park's As the River Flows Museum. The museum's panels begin with pre-settlement times and the habitation of indigenous people, continuing through to the modern day.Customs House Museum And Cultural Center - Built in 1898 as a US Post Office and Customs House for the flourishing tobacco trade, this architecturally fascinating structure is now the state's second-largest general history museum featuring several exhibits detailing Clarksville's rich history. "Becoming Clarksville: Honoring Legacies of Leadership" uses interactive software, engaging videos, and local artifacts to showcase Clarksville's history and the individuals who impacted the community. Explorer's Landing features a hands-on educational exhibit for children, Exploring Our Town. This interactive exhibit highlights the different elements that impacted the establishment and growth of Clarksville, from farming, construction, and transportation to area wildlife and the Cumberland and Red Rivers. Be sure to download the Exploring Our Town Self-Guided Walking Tour for little ones to explore interesting and historic buildings around town.Wade Bourne Nature Center At Rotary Park - Learn about natural history with hands-on activities and live animals native to the area including a 500-gallon aquarium with native fish species. Wade Bourne Nature Center's exhibits are not limited to the inside of the building. Outside, visitors will find pollinator, butterfly, and rain gardens. The center hosts weekly programs that teach younger audiences about the natural world. The center is a tribute to Clarksville native Wade Bourne, one of the most recognized and respected journalists in the field of hunting, fishing, and resource conservation. Enjoy art, music, and theatre Downtown Artists Co-Op - Bring home a piece of local art from The Downtown Artists Co-op. This association includes over 30 talented local artists. Visitors to the gallery will find pottery, jewelry, paintings, drawings, and more available for purchase. The DAC hosts the First Thursday ArtWalk each month from 5:00 - 8:00 PM. This event not only showcases local art but allows attendees to meet the artists behind each piece at 20 locations. The First Thursday Art Walk displays pieces throughout downtown shops, galleries, and restaurants.Artsville Fest - Take part in Clarksville's annual downtown creative arts festival during the first week of October. Artsville Fest includes visual and performing arts, live large-scale art exhibits, intimate interactions with artists and makers, and much more.Artlink - Create something special during your time in Clarksville with this free creative arts program. ArtLink's mission is to ignite passion and build character through creativity.WIlma Rudolph & Pat Head Summitt - The legacies of these two hometown heroes, trailblazers and champions continue to inspire people from around the world. A three-time gold and one-time bronze Olympic medalist who overcame polio as a child, Wilma Rudolph stands in bronze in Clarksville's Liberty Park outside the entrance to her namesake building, the Wilma Rudolph Event Center. The stories of her athletic and social achievements are exhibited at the Customs House Museum. Gold and Silver Olympic Gold Medalist Pat Head Summitt had, at the time of her retirement in 2012, coached more winning NCAA games than any other men's or women's basketball coach. The Pat Head Summitt Memorial Statue and Legacy Park illustrate her story at the north end of Liberty Park.Live Musical Performances - Clarksville is fortunate to have many musical groups involved in the performing arts including the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, the Cumberland Winds, and Austin Peay State University's Department of Music.Roxy Regional Theatre Performances - Experience the cornerstone of Clarksville's entertainment by attending a live performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. The present Roxy Theatre opened its doors in 1947, showing movies until 1980 and opening for live theatre in 1980. The Roxy produces 10 main stage events annually along with several special events throughout the year.Tennessee Music Pathways - Gain a deeper understanding of the people, places, and genres that make Tennessee the 'Soundtrack of America' through the Tennessee Music Pathways. A statewide driving tour, the Pathways represents hundreds of landmarks across the state and spans seven genres of music: blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock 'n' roll. Clarksville is home to five official Pathways locations. Eat like a local Local food in Clarksville, Tennessee - courtesy of Visit Clarksville TNJohnny's Big Burger - Perhaps Clarksville's most iconic spot, Johnny's Big Burger is a community staple. Located in Downtown Clarksville directly across from Austin Peay State University, one might miss this hole-in-the-wall joint if they aren't looking for it. Johnny's still operates in the same place it was established in 1965, a small white building with counter seats that allow diners to chat with the cook while their food is being prepared. First-timers must have a burger. Made the good, old-fashioned way and served with everything on top, you truly cannot beat it. For dessert, their signature Bun and Cream is a also must. This grilled honey bun with ice cream is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Eating at Johnny's isn't just a meal; it's truly an experience that lets you savor the heart and soul of Clarksville. Local Tip: Johnny's is cash only, but they have an ATM located by the register.Blackhorse Pub & Brewery - Founded in 1992, Blackhorse Pub & Brewery has been a downtown anchor since 1992. With a menu offering everything from flatbreads to steaks, there are three things guests must try during their dining experience. To start off the meal, order Blackhorse's Beer Cheese Dip, made with their Barnstormer Red Ale and served with tortilla chips. It's the Number One seller on their menu. You can also choose to upgrade to their savory soft pretzels as your dipping option. When the server asks for entree orders, opt for one of Blackhorse's signature pizzas. Go the lighter route with the Whitehorse or go all out with the Heart Attack. Adding the garlic crust elevates the flavor, no matter the pizza choice. Don't forget to leave room for dessert because you will not want to miss out on The Big Cookie ­­– a warm chocolate chip cookie pizza finished with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Local Tip: Not ready to go home at closing? Venture upstairs to the Taproom, open until 3:00 AM, to enjoy a round of pool or shuffleboard and continue sipping on Blackhorse's brews.Pbody's - Tucked inside the Clarksville Country Club, Pbody's offers a large menu of comfort foods served in even larger portions. Diners will find everything from burgers and BBQ to catfish and tacos on the menu. With so many options for entrees, we will make the dessert choice easy for you - get the banana pudding. Now there are two ways you can approach this, order the traditional banana pudding or opt for the fried option! Either way, you can't go wrong. Local Tip: Pbody's serves complimentary parmesan garlic chips to each table when seated. The best part? They are bottomless, so eat as many as your heart desires!The Catfish House - A regional favorite since the late 1970s, The Catfish House serves hand-breaded catfish, hand-cut fries, handmade desserts plus all the other Southern sides you would expect like coleslaw (mayonnaise or vinegar-based), fried okra, white beans with relish and more. The standard order is a two- or three-piece fillet with lightly breaded catfish fillets. Local Tip: Before or after your visit, take a seat (or “rest a spell” as you might hear) in a rocker along the wide front porch.


Best Historic Homes for Holiday Tours

Step back into time with these enchanting tours of historic homes and properties across the United States. With elaborately decorated Christmas trees, expertly-themed rooms, illuminated courtyards, and stunning candle-lit architecture, you might even get inspired to revamp your own home decor this time of year! All of the homes below topped the list for this year's Best Historic Homes for Holiday Tours. Nominees for all categories were chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. #10. Biltmore (Asheville, North Carolina) Christmas at the Biltmore in North Carolina by Stephanie Klepacki - Unsplash On Christmas Eve of 1895, George Vanderbilt officially opened his 250-room French Renaissance chateau in Asheville, North Carolina, to family and friends. Today, it is the largest privately owned home in the country. Step back into America's Gilded Age at Christmastime for a daytime or evening tour. By day, the elegant rooms of Biltmore House shimmer, beautifully bedecked with Christmas trees, ribbons, garlands, and thousands of twinkling lights. In the evening, flickering candlelight, glowing fireplaces, and live music invite you to imagine yourself a guest at the first Vanderbilt family Christmas in 1895. Christmas tours are available through the day on January 7th. #9. Filoli Historic House and Garden (Woodside, California) Experience the magic of the season, both day and night, at Filoli through January 7th. Special "Santa Days," holiday teas, and firepit experiences are also held during the holiday season. Curators are available to guide tours inside the 1917 historic home, which was built for prominent San Franciscan William Bowers Bourn. The name "Filoli" was created by combining the first two letters from the keywords of Bourn's credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.” During Holidays at Filoli, visitors can stroll the illuminated grounds by night or see the decorated home by day in a Gilded Guide tour with the curator. #8. Trail End (Sheridan, Wyoming) The John Kendrick Mansion, better known as Trail End, is an early 1900s Flemish Revival-style home showing off the life of Western cattle barons. During the winter, visitors can enjoy figgy pudding and decorations at the Holiday Open House or take an intimate tour by electric candlelight — complete with live actors — during Christmas with the Kendricks. On January 1st, there is also a special "First Day Hike" program that begins at Trail End at 10am. While not inside the home itself, this annual tour takes participants through the northwest corner of town that includes the Trail End grounds, the buffalo and elk pasture, the fairgrounds, and new and historic neighborhoods. Several short talks are presented along the way, full of well-researched history. #7. Newport Mansions (Newport, Rhode Island) The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island by Gwendolyn Kwong - Unsplash Why tour one home, when you could see three? Holidays at the Newport Mansions includes the opportunity to see three, impeccably-decorated historic estates: The Breakers, Marble House, and The Elms. Nearly 30 Christmas trees are exquisitely decorated to complement the décor and theme of each room, like Mr. Vanderbilt’s tree in The Breakers, ornamented with trains and top hats! Hundreds of poinsettias, garlands, wreaths and fresh floral arrangements add color, warmth and life. As always, the 15-foot-tall poinsettia tree in the Great Hall of The Breakers – made up of 150 poinsettia plants – provides a perfect holiday photo opportunity. #6. Brucemore (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Learn about the Douglas Family and their home from 1906 to 1937, the Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, Iowa while taking in festive seasonal decor and beautiful mantle arrangements. Holiday tours allow visitors to explore the first, second, and third floors of the mansion at their own pace. Afterwards, guests can head outside and tour the the 26-acres of grounds and gardens at no additional cost. During the winter season, there are also "Holiday Nights" evening tours available in addition to the Christmas tours during the day. #5. Glensheen Mansion (Duluth, Minnesota) Duluth, Minnesota in the winter by ginger - Unsplash Glensheen is a 20,000-square-foot, Jacobean-style mansion set on the shores of Lake Superior. Experience the magic of Christmas and be taken back to the early 1900s when Glensheen was built with a candlelight tour at Christmas: 27 trees, hundreds of feet of garland, and thousands of Christmas lights adorn the rooms and halls throughout the house. For those looking for extra fun or a family-friendly activity, there are also 25 elves hidden throughout the mansion to find as you take your tour. #4 Meadow Brook Hall (Michigan) Meadow Brook at the holidays - courtesy of Visit Detroit A National Historic Landmark, Meadow Brook was built by Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of auto pioneer John Dodge. Constructed in Rochester, Michigan between 1926 and 1929, the 110-room Tudor mansion is especially renowned for its superb craftsmanship, architectural detailing and grand scale. The Holidays at Meadow Brook offer two dazzling ways to experience the estate. By day, the beloved annual Holiday Walk transports visitors through the historic mansion decked in shimmering splendor, with over 50 magnificent trees, trimmings and lights galore. In the evening, Winter Wonder Lights transforms the estate into a breathtaking light show featuring music, seasonal treats, bonfires, and holiday magic. Each event is its own self-guided experience. Tickets must be booked for a specific date and time and are available online only at #3. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, Ohio) Stan Hywet Hall is Akron, Ohio's first and largest National Historic Landmark and the nation's sixth-largest historic home open to the public. The Tudor mansion was built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber co-founder F.A. Seiberling between 1912 and 1915. During their Deck the Hall event, the estate is illuminated with 1.2 million holiday lights. In the Manor House, look for a sleigh ride date night for Santa and Mrs. Claus on the West Porch, the Reindeer Flight Academy in the Round Room and an underwater mermaid party in Irene's Room. Visits with Santa are available at Rudolph's Corral on select dates. Don't forget to enjoy cocoa and a *hot* gingerbread cookie or beer, wine and a pretzel from the new Molly's Courtyard Cafe. #2. The Christmas Mansion, formerly Stetson Mansion (DeLand, Florida) With a name like "The Christmas Mansion," it's no surprise this estate is near the top of the list! This grand, High Victorian property was built in 1886 for American hatmaker John B. Stetson as his winter retreat. Formerly known as Stetson Mansion, the home has festive holiday tours from early November until late January that take guests through its 10 rooms, each adorned with completely different decorations sourced from around the world. Both guided and self-guided tours are available. #1. Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee) Topping the rankings is Elvis Presley’s former estate in Memphis. Beginning in mid-November with a holiday lighting ceremony, visitors touring the home will encounter seasonal decor, traditional lights, a life-size nativity scene, Presley family Christmas artifacts on display, and Elvis' Santa. The mansion also puts on a Christmas holiday concert one weekend and guests can even take advantage of a special holiday package that includes hotel accommodations, a Christmas tour, and other fun holiday items.


Head to Minnesota for a Snowy, Outdoor Adventure

The wilds of Minnesota are a dream for nature lovers, but most especially for those who live for cold weather and snowy escapes. Using Minneapolis as a base, visitors can enjoy both the relaxation of the city and easy access to the thrills of several outdoor winter activities and cold-weather sports, such as ice fishing and skiing. This season, the Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis continues a five-month-long celebration of winter. It makes the perfect place to stay for relaxation after an adventurous day; enjoy dining and shopping in the Nordic Village or a guided sauna experience at The Spa. Additionally, to keep guests warm and cozy throughout their activities of choice, the Hotel will be offering a selection of winter wear on loan from Canada Goose—so if you were worried about fitting all those jackets and gear on your carry-on, don't be. So go ahead and plan a trip filled with some of the incredible outdoor experiences below—everything is within 45 minutes from the city—but don't forget to schedule in some relaxation after all that action-packed fun. Ice fish on Lake Minnetonka Few things are as Northern as standing in the cold, waiting for the fish to bite. But, RĒL Fishing provides the glamping version of an ice-fishing adventure. Located on Lake Minnetonka, this endearing village of ice houses is well-equipped with everything one needs to catch fish in comfort and style. Explore magical, wintry trails Nordic skiing in Minnesota - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis Offering a healthy workout and unique access to winter nature, cross-country skiing is a popular Minnesota sport for all ages. The trails at Theodore Wirth Park – headquarters of The Loppet Foundation – are world class; Olympic gold medalist and Minnesota native Jessie Diggins has skied here, and the park will host the COOP FIS Cross-Country World Cup in February. A snowshoe excursion along the trails of Fort Snelling State Park allows guests an opportunity to revel in the quiet beauty of winter, take in the tranquil scenery and access the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers – a sacred place that marks the origin of the Dakota tribe. Finally, visitors can explore the natural landscape just north of the Twin Cities while enjoying the great outdoors – and a bit of adventure. Snowmobiles can cover a large amount of varied terrain, from lakes to park reserves to unique Minnesota towns. Snowmobiling in Minnesota - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis Try curling at Frogtown Curling Club The Twin Cities are home to more curlers than anywhere else in the country, and they play this unique sport as much for the strategy and skill as the post-game socializing. Visitors will spot signatures from former US team skipper Debbie McCormick and John Landsteiner, member of the 2018 Olympic team, on the Frogtown Wall of Fame. Ice skate outdoors Ice skating in Minnesota - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis At 110,000 square feet, the Guidant John Rose MN OVAL is the largest refrigerated outdoor rink in North America. Whether figure skating, speed skating or playing pond hockey – a Minnesota tradition – the evergreen-lined loop welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities. Olympic speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansenhave skated the loop. Alternatively, head to Centennial Lakes Park. Nestled in the tiny suburb Edina, this charming 24-acre park features a large pond. Offering a warming house and skate rentals, popular restaurants sit just steps away for post-skate refreshments. Snow tube at Buck Hill Located just beyond the Twin Cities, Buck Hill has been the training ground for Olympic skiers like Lindsey Vonn, Tasha Nelson McCrank and Kristina Koznick. While visitors can take to the steep ski hills, tubing is a family-friendly way for the young and young at heart to satisfy a need for speed. Relax in luxury at the Four Seasons Nordic Village at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis - courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis Get the best of both worlds by returning to the Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis after a long day spent adventuring outdoors in the cold. A collection of cedar cabins on the hotel's fourth floor alfresco space, Nordic Village is open for dinners, private events and buyouts Wednesdays through Sundays through March 31, 2024, and local shopping on winter weekends through January 28, 2024. Minnesota's own MartinPatrick3, an internationally recognized boutique dedicated to building a one-of-a-kind experience, designed and decorated the cabins, while area curator Mich Berthiaume facilities the markets. Those who dine in Nordic Village unlock seasonal savings on an overnight stay – and suites include a bottle of Dom Pérignon. Reservations become available one month at a time on Tock. Just beyond Nordic Village, The Spa is offering a guided sauna experience as part of its commitment to nourishment through nature. This 75-minute service is curated for each guest with their unique wellness goals in mind. Appointments for one to eight people may be made online. Finally, if you're looking for a special dining experience, try the hotel's Mediterranean-inspired establishment, Mara. Seasonal events include two meals on Christmas Eve (December 24), all-day dining on Christmas Day (December 25), four courses on New Year's Eve (December 31), a new prix-fixe menu for New Year's Day (January 1) and a signature event – A Winter's Table (February 1) – during The Great Northern Festival. Reservations are available on Tock.


Enchanting Light Displays to Visit this Holiday Season

When the days get shorter, every small town and big city break out the lights for park trees and main streets. One of the best pastimes of the season is taking in the magical scenes of classic, neighborhood displays as well as special installations at local landmarks and businesses. Take a look at the list below for inspiration on where to go for some of the most enchanting sights of the season this year across the US. Head underground to this sparkling cavern Lights under Louisville - courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism When the temperature goes down, the cheer and warmth of Louisville, Kentucky welcomes visitors to experience the holiday spirit through captivating light displays and decorations. Downtown Louisville brightens up the state with millions of sparkling lights, but none more exciting than the annual Lights Under Louisville at the Louisville Mega Cavern, happening from November 10th to January 1st. Drive through the MEGA Cavern to witness the world's only underground holiday light show, featuring 40 themed displays, over 900 lit characters, and more than 6.5 million points of light. It's a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience! See New York City landmarks at their brightest Grand Central station in New York at Christmastime by Johnell Panell - Unsplash New York City's holiday season is a spectacle of lights, cheer, and joy, and Like A Local Tours invites visitors and locals alike to experience this wonder firsthand with their exclusive Private Fifth Avenue Lights & Sights Holiday Walking Tour. This 3-hour tour is an invitation to experience the holiday magic of Manhattan like never before. Starting at the iconic New York Public Library, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, guests will embark on a 1.5-mile walk, guided by an experienced, local guide. This tour is an intimate exploration of the city's festive heart, perfect for families starting new traditions, friends seeking adventure, or those welcoming out-of-town guests. Tour highlights Include: Iconic Landmarks: Marvel at the majestic Rockefeller Center, home to the famous Christmas tree and ice skating rink.Holiday Markets and Treats: Explore the Bryant Park Winter Village and Columbus Circle Holiday Market, featuring unique gifts and treat yourself to one of NYC's most Instagrammable doughnuts and warm up with mulled wine or hot cocoa.Spectacular Window Displays: Fifth Avenue's renowned store windows are a must-see, showcasing creative and awe-inspiring holiday designs.St. Patrick's Cathedral's Holiday Spirit: Visit the stunning St. Patrick's Cathedral, beautifully decorated for the holiday season, and take a moment for reflection.Educational and Entertaining Stories: Learn about the history and traditions of New York City's holiday season. The Private Fifth Avenue Lights & Sights Holiday Walking Tour is more than a sightseeing experience; it's a journey into the heart of New York City's holiday spirit. Create cherished memories and enjoy the essence of the holidays in one of the world's jolliest cities this time of the year. Reservations for the tour are now open. Experience the magic of New York City's holiday season and make this year's festivities unforgettable. Marvel at the spirited sights of horse country Southern Lights at Kentucky Horse Park - courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism In Lexington, Kentucky, visitors can enjoy a drive through light display in the heart of horse country. Celebrating its 30th year at the Kentucky Horse Park, Southern Lights Holiday Festival is one of the top light shows in the Southeast. From November 24th - December 31st, Lexington showcases the best of Kentucky’s famed horse country with a holiday influence in this elaborate three-mile seasonal display. At the end of the route, the Kentucky Horse park invites visitors to park and explore the Holiday Village (included in admission) where guests can enjoy a petting zoo, train ride and meet-and-greet with Santa. Explore Rock City's enchanted garden Venture through the Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennesee. Christmas spirit shines bright at Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights. From November 17th to January 6th, journey through magical realms of winter wonder as over one million LED lights illuminate Lookout Mountain's most iconic attraction. Grab a picture with Santa at the North Pole Village thru Dec. 23 and decorate Christmas cookies with Mrs. Claus. Hot chocolate and other delicious treats including fudge and fried cookie dough make the nights even sweeter. Pets are welcome. A portion of ticket proceeds benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga. Experience magic at Hogwarts Castle Hogwarts Castle lit up during the holiday season - courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort Head to Orlando, Florida to Universal Studios for truly fantastic lights and decor. Holiday magic fills The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as the streets of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade transform into a wizarding holiday wonderland overflowing with festively themed décor, lights, garland and more. The nighttime spectacle, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” returns to Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure bringing to life a stunning projection show highlighting Christmas moments and holiday spirit inspired by the beloved characters and stories of the “Harry Potter” films. The Frog Choir, comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant croaking frogs also returns to Hogsmeade with a special holiday-themed performance, plus guests can groove to the music of the wizarding world’s most popular singing sensation, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, in Diagon Alley. Take it slow through the Bristol Speedway The Speedway in Lights is a breathtaking holiday spectacle that illuminates the Bristol Motor Speedway near the Virginia and Tennessee border, transforming it into a mesmerizing winter wonderland. As visitors drive through the speedway's grounds, they are greeted by a dazzling array of more than two million twinkling lights, forming intricate displays and enchanting scenes that capture the spirit of the season. The meticulously crafted light displays range from vibrant holiday-themed exhibits to whimsical depictions of popular characters, creating a captivating journey that evokes wonder and joy. In addition to the enchanting light displays, Bristol's Speedway in Lights often features special themed nights, live entertainment and opportunities for visitors to engage in festive activities, making it a must-visit destination during the winter holiday season.Marvel at a coastal wonderlandLights in Gulfport, Mississippi - courtesy of Play Coastal Mississippi Experience the 9th Annual Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival, named the 'Most Magical Show in Mississippi,' on the coast of Mississippi through December 31st, from 5:30 – 10:30 pm. The celebration includes new light shows, rides, live entertainment, and more. Closed Christmas Eve, Open Christmas Day.