21 Most Fun Things To Do In Johnson City, Tennessee

Johnson City, Tennessee, has a fascinating history and unique specialties making it a remarkable destination. Established in 1856, the city was named after early settler Henry Johnson.

Johnson City was pivotal in the region’s development as a railway hub during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

One of the city’s notable historical events is the 1916 “Battle of Johnson City,” The incident, involving federal agents and residents, left an indelible mark on the city’s history.

Johnson City is also renowned for its association with country music. In the 1920s, the famous musical session “Bristol Sessions” also took place here. Artists like the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers recorded some of the earliest country music records.

Do you want to walk through some beautiful hiking trails, sparkling waterfalls, and the awe-inspiring Appalachian Trail with other exciting things to do in Johnson City, TN?

With its captivating history, musical legacy, and academic presence, Johnson City is a captivating destination for history buffs. It is also a good spot for music lovers, outdoor adventurers, and curious travelers.

Johnson City is also famous as the home of East Tennessee State University. It is a renowned educational institution contributing to the city’s vibrant atmosphere and cultural offerings.

However, if you ever plan your voyage here, the best months to visit are April, May, and October. These months offer pleasant weather and beautiful scenery. 

Now, let’s discuss some awesome places and things to do to make your journey unforgettable. 

1) Winged Deer Park

Winged Deer Park in Johnson City was once a bustling farm; it transformed into a training ground during World War II.

Winged Deer Park
Image By Vrbo Via Pinterest

Later, it served as a site for a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and eventually became a beloved community park. Now it offers many recreational activities and things to do in Johnson City TNs serene natural beauty.

At Winged Deer Park, you can explore the picturesque lake by renting a paddle boat or kayak. Stroll or bike along the scenic trails that wind through the park. 

For a better outdoor day, you can play disc golf on the challenging course or enjoy a picnic with family and friends.

Moreover, the park also features playgrounds, a dog park, and ample space for sports and outdoor events. So if you ever look out for an outdoor venue, spend your day at Winged Deer Park undisturbed. 


4137 Bristol Hwy, Johnson City, TN 37601, United States

2) Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park

Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park, established in 2010 in Johnson City, evolved from an abandoned landfill into a mountain biking destination.

Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park
Image By Mpora Via Pinterest

With over 40 miles of crafted trails, it offers diverse terrain, breathtaking views, and adrenaline-pumping descents. It also attracts riders of all skill levels nationwide with various adventurous things to do in Johnson City, TN. 

Challenge your skills and nerves on the legendary trail known as “The Dragon’s Backbone.” This thrilling singletrack features narrow ridges, steep drops, and exhilarating switchbacks. 

Spend your evening witnessing the beautiful sunset view. Ride to the Sunset Overlook and witness nature’s beauty unfold as the sun sets over the landscape. 

Experience pumping and flowing through Tannery Knobs’ well-designed pump track. This compact circuit features a series of rollers and berms, allowing riders to maintain momentum and build their skills in a controlled environment. 

With panoramic views of rolling mountains and lush forests, this spot offers an awe-inspiring setting to relax, reflect, and capture stunning photographs.


18 Tannery Knob, Johnson City, TN 37601, United States

3) George L. Carter Railroad Museum

The George L. Carter Railroad Museum was established in 1984. It is named after George L. Carter, a prominent entrepreneur in the region’s railroad history.

George L. Carter Railroad Museum
Image By California Through My Lens Via Pinterest

The museum showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, and photographs, preserving the rich heritage of the region’s railroads and their impact on local communities.

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of railroading as you explore George L. Carter Railroad Museum’s curated exhibits with many historical things to do in Johnson City, TN.

Marvel at the restored locomotives, passenger cars, and model train displays that showcase the evolution of rail transportation. Gain insight into the technological advancements and historical significance of railroads.

You can also learn about their vital role in the region’s growth and development.

Experience the joy of riding a miniature train on the museum’s outdoor track. Feel the wind in your hair as you chug along the tracks, taking in the scenery and relishing a unique perspective on railroading.


176 Ross Dr, Johnson City, TN 37614, United States

4) Austin Springs Spa & Salon

Austin Springs Spa & Salon traces its roots back to the 19th century. Originally a humble natural spring, it gained popularity as a wellness retreat during the Victorian era.

Austin Springs Spa & Salon
Image Via Pinterest

Over time, it transformed into a luxurious destination, captivating visitors with its soothing therapies and enchanting ambiance.

Austin Springs Spa & Salon offers an indulgent experience to pamper your senses with some relaxing things to do in Johnson City, TN. 

Unwind with a rejuvenating massage, indulge in a revitalizing facial, or luxuriate in soothing hot stone therapy.

Discover their signature treatments like the “Crystal Rain” exfoliation or the “Aromatherapy Bliss” ritual. 

Delight in a manicure and pedicure session, complete with nourishing botanical extracts. Escape to the tranquility of their outdoor pool or unwind in the steam room for a blissful day of relaxation and self-care.


State of Franklin Road 1216 W, Johnson City, TN 37604, United States

5) Gray Fossil Site

The Gray Fossil Site was discovered in 2000 during a highway construction project. This exceptional site in Tennessee unveiled an ancient sinkhole filled with diverse fossils.

Gray Fossil Site
Image By Monty Fields Via Pinterest

The fossils provide valuable insights into the ecosystems and climate of the region during the Miocene Epoch. It is a treasure for paleontologists. 

At the Gray Fossil Site, there are countless captivating activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN, for visitors to enjoy. Embark on a guided tour to explore the ancient excavation site and learn about prehistoric creatures that once roamed the area.

Engage in hands-on paleontological experiences, such as fossil identification. Visit the museum to view stunning displays and interactive exhibits that bring the past to life. 

Take part in educational programs, workshops, and fossil digs, making it a truly immersive and unforgettable adventure for you and your companions. 


1212 Suncrest Dr, Gray, TN 37615, United States

6) Perplexodus Escapes – Perplexodus Mystery Manor

Perplexodus Mystery Manor is a captivating escape room experience with a mysterious history. The manor was once home to an isolated, dark silk stocking whose sudden disappearance left behind an unsolved puzzle.

Perplexodus Escapes - Perplexodus Mystery Manor
Image By Artstation Via Pinterest

Perplexodus Mystery Manor offers an array of thrilling activities and things to do in Johnson for adventure seekers.

Gather a team of friends and get busy in the escape room challenge, solving intricate puzzles, deciphering codes, and uncovering hidden passages.

Explore the designed rooms, each with its unique theme and secrets waiting to be discovered. Engage in interactive storytelling experiences, where your decisions shape the outcome of the narrative.

Prepare for an unforgettable adventure as you test your wit, teamwork, and problem-solving skills within the captivating world of Perplexodus Mystery Manor.


132 Chapel St, Johnson City, TN 37615, United States

7) Founders Park

Founders Park was once a bustling industrial site in the 19th century; it served as a hub for manufacturing and commerce.

Founders Park
Image Via Pinterest

Over time, it transformed into a beloved community park, offering a welcoming space for recreation and community gatherings.

Founders Park is a vibrant destination offering a bucket full of activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN, for visitors of all ages.

Stroll through the picturesque gardens, showcasing beautiful blooms and serene landscapes. Engage in recreational pursuits such as cycling, jogging, or having a picnic in the open green spaces.

Take advantage of the children’s playgrounds, with slides, swings, and climbing structures.

Attend outdoor concerts or community events in the park, fostering community and togetherness in this charming urban oasis.


225 Commerce St, Johnson City, TN 37604, United States

8) Johnson City Family Skate Center

The Johnson City, Family Skate Center, has a fascinating history rooted in the 1970s roller skating craze. It became a popular hangout for local teens and a beloved destination for families and roller skating enthusiasts.

Johnson City Family Skate Center
Image By WIRED Via Pinterest

The Johnson City, Family Skate Center, offers exciting activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN, for skaters of all skill levels.

Lace-up your roller or inline skates and glide across the smooth rink, showcasing your best moves.

Join in on lively theme nights with music, lights, and fun contests. Take skating lessons to improve your skills, or host a birthday party with friends and family. 

Enjoy a snack at the snack bar and browse the pro shop for skating accessories. 

With its retro charm and timeless appeal, the center continues to provide joy, laughter, and unforgettable memories for generations of skaters.


930 W Watauga Ave, Johnson City, TN 37604, United States

9) Just Jump Trampoline Park

Just Jump Trampoline Park emerged as a dynamic response to the growing popularity of trampoline-based activities in recent years. 

Just Jump Trampoline Park
Image Via Pinterest

The park was inspired by the desire to create a safe and exhilarating space for individuals. It transforms the simple joy of jumping into a vibrant entertainment experience, captivating thrill-seeker lovers. 

Just Jump Trampoline Park provides a thrilling and energetic experience with many fun things to do in Johnson City, TN, for visitors. Bounce on a vast expanse of interconnected trampolines, perfecting flips, tricks, and jumps. 

You can engage in adrenaline-pumping activities like dodgeball and compete with friends in a gravity-defying game.

Test your skills on the ninja warrior course, tackling challenging obstacles. Dive into foam pits, conquer the climbing walls, or challenge your balance on the slackline.

With endless fun and excitement, Just Jump Trampoline Park guarantees a memorable and active adventure for all its visitors. 


2304 Silverdale Dr #600, Johnson City, TN 37601, United States

10) Down Home

Down Home was originally known as Blue Plum; it hosted the first railway depot in the region and witnessed the historic “Blue Plum Festival” in the 1970s.

Down Home
Image By ImageLeicesershire Via Pinterest

The town also played a pivotal role in the Underground Railroad, aiding escaped enslaved people on their journey to freedom. Today, it celebrates its vibrant past while embracing the spirit of progress.

In the charming town of Down Home, there are plenty of delightful activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN. Start your day by strolling through the captivating Tipton-Haynes Historic Site, an 18th-century plantation showcasing preserved buildings and beautiful gardens. 

Then, immerse yourself in art and culture at the Reece Museum, where exhibits celebrate the region’s heritage.

For outdoor lovers, a hike along the scenic Tweetsie Trail or a picnic in Winged Deer Park offers a rejuvenating escape.

Finally, end your day by enjoying live music at the Down Home venue, where talented musicians from various genres take the stage. 


300 W Main St, Johnson City, TN 37604, United States

11) Tiebreakers

Tiebreakers is a legendary establishment in Johnson City, a popular bowling alley. It has also evolved into a beloved sports bar that witnessed countless memorable moments. 

Image By HATZEL DESIGN Via Pinterest

Notably, it hosted the iconic “Rocky Top Bowl” in 1988, a high-stakes college football rivalry matchup that captivated fans and forever etched Tiebreakers into local sports lore.

Tiebreakers offer exciting activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN. Challenge your friends to a round of bowling on their state-of-the-art lanes, or test your skills at their indoor golf simulator.

Catch live sports action on their big screens while enjoying delicious pub food and craft beers.

Join in on trivia nights, karaoke sessions, or live music events for a memorable evening of entertainment. Tiebreakers are the perfect place to unwind and blast with friends and family.


1805 N Roan St, Johnson City, TN 37601, United States

12) Johnson City Farmers’ Market

The Johnson City Farmers’ Market has a fascinating history from 1976. It began as a small gathering of local farmers selling fresh produce in a parking lot. 

Johnson City Farmers' Market
Image Via Pinterest

Over the years, it grew into a thriving community hub, connecting farmers with customers and promoting agriculture while becoming an integral part of the city’s culture.

At the Johnson City Farmers’ Market, you can divert yourself in a vibrant and bountiful community experience.

Discover a wide array of fresh, locally grown produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts. Engage with friendly vendors, learn about farming practices, and indulge in delicious food samples.

Enjoy live music performances, cooking demonstrations, and workshops on gardening to wellness.

Whether you’re seeking farm-fresh ingredients, unique gifts, or a delightful outing, you’ll find many delightful things to do at the Johnson City, TN, Farmers’ Market. 


105 W Main St, Johnson City, TN 37604, United States

13) Boone Lake

Boone Lake was formed in the 1950s by the construction of Boone Dam. It serves as a reservoir for flood control, recreation, and water supply.

Boone Lake
Image By Only In Your State Via Pinterest

The lake is named after Daniel Boone, the renowned American frontiersman, adding a touch of historical significance to its tranquil beauty.

Boone Lake offers visitors many recreational activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN. You can explore its scenic shoreline by kayaking, paddle boarding, or boating, enjoying the calm waters and breathtaking views.

Anglers can cast their lines and try their luck at catching bass, catfish, and crappie. Picnic areas and hiking trails provide opportunities for leisurely walks and family outings. 

The lake’s proximity to beautiful parks and campgrounds makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. 


Sullivan / Washington counties, Tennessee, United States

14) Elizabethton

Elizabethton boasts a rich and unique history; it was the first permanent settlement in the state, established in 1769.

Image Via Pinterest

During the American Revolution, it played a crucial role as the site of the “Overmountain Men” gathering, leading to the pivotal Battle of Kings Mountain.

Elizabethton, nestled in the blooming landscapes of Tennessee, offers a variety of activities for visitors. Sightsee the historic downtown area with its charming shops, cafes, and boutiques.

Visit the iconic Covered Bridge, built in 1882, and stroll along the Watauga River. Nature lovers can enjoy hiking and camping in nearby Roan Mountain State Park. You can also go on a scenic drive along the famous Appalachian Trail.

Sports enthusiasts can catch a thrilling baseball game at the Elizabethton Twins’ stadium. Elizabethton proudly preserves its heritage, showcasing historic homes, landmarks, and a deep connection to its colonial roots.


Carter County, Tennessee, United States.

15) Rocky Mount State Historic Site 

Rocky Mount State Historic Site was built in 1770; it served as the first territorial capital of the Southwest Territory.

Rocky Mount State Historic Site
Image Via Pinterest

The site was a hub of early frontier life, housing the home of William Cobb, a prominent political figure. It also offers insight into early American settlement, trade, and governance.

Visiting the Rocky Mount State Historic Site offers a glimpse into the past, engaging activities, and some interesting things to do in Johnson City, TN. 

Explore the reconstructed 18th-century buildings, including the Cobb family home and a fort replica.

You can also learn about living history demonstrations, such as blacksmithing and hearth cooking.

Take guided tours to learn about the area’s significance during the frontier era. Enjoy the beautiful gardens and scenic views, and attend special events like the Harvest Celebration and Candlelight Christmas.


Hyder Hill Road 200, Piney Flats, TN 37686, United States

16) Hands-On Discovery Center

The Hands-On Discovery Center in Johnson was founded in 1985 as the “Gray Fossil Site and Natural History Museum,” it focused on paleontological research.

Hands-On Discovery Center
Image By Brisbane Kids Via Pinterest

2010 it transformed into the Hands On Discovery Center, expanding its scope to interactive science exhibits and educational programs. However, it is a premier destination for STEM learning in the region.

The Hands-On Discovery Center offers interactive learning, exploration, educational activities, and things to do in Johnson City, TN. 

Engage in hands-on exhibits and experiments that cover various scientific disciplines, from physics and chemistry to biology and astronomy.

Discover the wonders of the human body, create your inventions, and delve into the world of robotics.

Participate in workshops, science shows, and educational programs designed to inspire curiosity and ignite a passion for learning. When you visit this place, there will be no reason to get bored. So you can plan your day here unhesitantly. 


1212 Suncrest Dr, Gray, TN 37615, United States

17) Watauga River

The Watauga River flows through Tennessee and North Carolina. It was the site of the Watauga Association, an early American democratic government formed in 1772.

Watauga River
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Today, the Watauga River remains cherished for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, with a list of fun outdoor things to do in Johnson City, TN.

The Watauga River offers to cast your fishing line and try your luck catching trout, bass, and musky in its clear waters.

Embark on a thrilling whitewater rafting or kayaking adventure, the river’s rapids. Take a leisurely float trip or paddleboarding excursion to savor the serene beauty of the surroundings.

Hiking along the riverbanks provides opportunities for nature exploration and birdwatching. Camping and picnicking along its scenic shores complete the perfect outdoor experience. So pack your bags and hop on the land of adventure to fill your day with friendly laughter. 


Watauga County, Grandfather Mountain, Peak Mountain

18) Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower

The Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower is famous as a lookout point for detecting forest fires. Built in the 1930s, it was a critical observation post to protect the surrounding forests.

Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower
Image By The Outbound Collective Via Pinterest

Though no longer in active use, the tower is a historical landmark, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and breathtaking landscape views.

The Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower offers a high range of exciting activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN, for outdoor admirers. Go on a hike through paved trails to the fire tower at the top of the mountain.

Climb the tower to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Immerse yourself in nature by camping in the nearby Pinnacle Mountain State Natural Area. 

Remember to capture stunning photographs, observe wildlife, and relish the tranquility of this remarkable destination.


Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower, Unicoi, TN 37692, United States

19) Backyard Terrors and Dinosaur Park

Backyard Terrors and Dinosaur Park’s history is rooted in the creative vision of artist Mark Cline. The park originated as a private collection of sculptures in Cline’s backyard before expanding into a public attraction. 

Backyard Terrors and Dinosaur Park
Image By Only In Your State Via Pinterest

Known for his imaginative creations, Cline’s unique artistic style brings dinosaurs and mythical creatures to life, delighting visitors.

At Backyard Terrors and Dinosaur Park, a world of excitement awaits visitors with various outdoor things to do in Johnson City, TN. Explore the imaginative displays of life-size dinosaur replicas and mythical creatures.

Embark on a guided tour to learn fascinating facts about prehistoric creatures. Get hands-on with fossil digs and gem mining.

Let your creativity flow by painting dinosaur statues. This unique park offers dinosaur explorers and seekers a thrilling and educational experience. 


1065 Walnut Grove Rd, Bluff City, TN 37618, United States

20) Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland was founded by Shadrack Waters in 2007; it started as a small display in his backyard.

Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland
Image Via Pinterest

With time it grew into a spectacular drive-through extravaganza featuring millions of synchronized lights, immersive displays, and festive music.

At Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, the holiday magic comes alive with enchanting activities and things to do in Johnson City, TN. Drive through the dazzling light display connected to joyful music, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

Hop on the Santa’s Village train ride for a delightful journey through a winter wonderland. Visit Santa Claus himself and share your Christmas wishes.

Enjoy hot cocoa and festive treats at the concession stands. Capture memorable photos and create cherished holiday memories with your loved ones at this immersive Christmas experience.


Fair St, Gray, TN 37615, United States

21) Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad is famous as a Wild West-themed amusement park. It was a part of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, known as the “Tweetsie,” which operated from 1881 to 1950.

Tweetsie Railroad
Image By The Constant Rambler Via Pinterest

In 1957, the park was transformed into a family-friendly attraction, preserving the railroad’s heritage while providing entertainment and adventure.

At Tweetsie Railroad, there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy and things to do in Johnson City, TN. Hop aboard the historic scenic train ride through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Explore the Wild West-themed park with live shows, carnival rides, and gem mining. Visit the Deer Park Zoo to get up close with native wildlife.

Join in on the fun at the country fair with games, crafts, and delicious food. Tweetsie Railroad guarantees a memorable adventure for the whole family, so bring them here and see unlimited smiles on their faces.


300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Johnson City, TN

When recommending hotels in a specific location, it’s important to note that rankings and availability can change over time.

However, based on general positive reviews and reputation, here are six popular hotels in Johnson City, Tennessee, you can book for yourself.

  • Carnegie Hotel
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Johnson City
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Johnson City
  • Holiday Inn Johnson City
  • Courtyard by Marriott Johnson City
  • Baymont by Wyndham Johnson City

Remember to check each hotel’s availability, rates, and customer reviews before making a reservation, as these factors can vary over time.