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State Bucket List: Tennessee

10. Eat Some Nashville Hot Chicken

10. Eat Some Nashville Hot Chicken

Fried chicken is a staple of Southern cooking, and it is hard to find somewhere that does it better than Nashville. Hot chicken is prepared with herbs and spices to give it an extra kick! If you are in town on July 4, be sure to check out the annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival. Warning: hot means hot!

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9. Central BBQ

9. Central BBQ

Memphis

In a town famous for its barbecue, one restaurant shines above the rest. With three Memphis locations, it couldn’t be easier to get a juicy pulled pork sandwich or a full rack of ribs. Central BBQ is best late in the day because you won’t want to move after this huge meal.

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8. Tennessee Aquarium

8. Tennessee Aquarium

Chattanooga

Home to more than 12,000 animals, the Tennessee Aquarium is perfect for anyone who has an appreciation for marine life. Since 1992, more than 20 million visitors have come to see nearly 800 different aquatic species. Be sure to check out a film on the aquarium’s IMAX screen for a unique digital immersion into some of the most beautiful things our planet has to offer.

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7. Dollywood

7. Dollywood

Pigeon Forge

A fitting tribute to country music star Dolly Parton’s larger-than-life persona, Dollywood is one of the most visited amusement parks in the nation. The park is home to many exciting rides, including Wild Eagle, America's first wing coaster. More than 3 million people enjoy a trip to Dollywood each year.

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6. Smoky Mountains National Park

6. Smoky Mountains National Park

Gatlinburg

A part of the Appalachian Trail, the Great Smoky Mountains run alongside Tennessee’s eastern border. From U.S. Highway 441, you can access the gorgeous Smoky Mountains National Park. Guests rave about the scenic views and forest wildlife, so don’t be surprised if you spot a black bear or a wild turkey.

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5. National Civil Rights Museum

5. National Civil Rights Museum

Memphis

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was tragically killed outside of his room at the Lorraine Motel. Today, the site pays tribute to the brave men and women who devoted their lives to the fight for equality. Since 1991, the National Civil Rights Museum has shined a light on the untold stories of American history, and this is one history lesson you don't want to miss.

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4. Ryman Auditorium

4. Ryman Auditorium

Nashville

This historic music venue has had many names since its construction in 1892, but none of them are as famous as its current moniker. Often referred to as the Carnegie Hall of the South, Ryman Auditorium has been home to countless iconic acts over the years. Most notably, from 1943 to 1974, the Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry.

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3. Lookout Mountain

3. Lookout Mountain

Chattanooga

The site of both the “Last Battle of the Cherokees” and the “Battle of Lookout Mountain,” this scenic location offers breathtaking views of large stretches of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. But, mountains aren’t just for climbing. Make sure you explore Ruby Falls, America’s largest underground waterfall. If going inside the mountain doesn't terrify you, try riding up the Incline Railway, the most luxurious way to take in the view. 

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2. Jack Daniel’s Distillery

2. Jack Daniel’s Distillery

Lynchburg

In 1875, Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel founded what would become the top-selling American distillery. Today, you can tour the facility and test many of the company’s famous products. Be sure to take home a bottle of Tennessee Honey or the famed Old No. 7.

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1. The Lost Sea

1. The Lost Sea

Sweetwater

Deep inside the cave systems of Craighead Caverns lies the Lost Sea, an extensive underwater lake. Since its discovery, cave divers have explored its depths, but there is much of the underwater passageway that has never been seen by human eyes. Visitors are able to take a boat tour of the Lost Sea and even climb through undeveloped caves!

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