Bristol is a unique city that lies on the state line between Virginia and Tennessee. It is recognized as the birthplace of country music by the U.S. Congress, and that friendly, adventurous country spirit can be felt throughout the rolling green lawns and city streets that mix together to create one of the best destinations Tennessee has to offer.
You will find plenty to do in the many neighborhoods on both the Tennessee and Virginia sides of the city, and you will feel safe to venture off the beaten path as the area has four highly-rated veterinary clinics. There is something for everyone here: downtown offers a taste of the urbane, as well as a taste of delicious food at one of the many Fido-approved restaurants there. Many restaurants and cafes in town offer outdoor seating so you can just sit back and people-watch as you enjoy a tasty snack, like a cupcake from Blackbird Bakery on Piedmont Avenue. Vast parks and forests are also a short ride from the center of town, so the more adventurous will find plenty of outdoor activities and hiking opportunities to enjoy.
However you decide to experience it, Bristol is a fun and memorable city that you and your dog will love!
Downtown Bristol is a fantastic place to explore, especially if you are in the mood for some delicious food! Try some pub fare from Studio Brew; they have outdoor seating to accommodate canine companions. For a spicier selection, head to Macado’s on State Street. This restaurant serves Mexican classics that will delight your palate. Also on State Street is The Southern Churn, a dessert lover's dream come true. They serve homemade ice cream, fudge and more! After you’ve indulged yourself, if you can still walk, you might want to stop by Morning Rotary Centennial Park or Anderson Park to burn off some of those calories!
The south side of Bristol is more laid-back than downtown, but there is still plenty to do. Stop by Defriece Park on Stine Street to enjoy more than nine acres of open green space. The northeast end of the park even has a spring-fed pond, and Cedar Creek flows through the center of the park, making for a scenic afternoon you won’t forget. The smaller Haynesfield Park is also a furrific spot for a relaxing walk with your dog — you will have over five acres to explore, and the park is one of the oldest in Bristol, making it a local favorite.
Bristol’s West Ridge neighborhood is home to Steele Creek Park. You can’t miss it; it encompasses more than 2,200 acres and features a disc golf course, paddle boats for its 52-acre lake, numerous trails and more! As you enter the park gate, be sure to pick up a map — it shows everything there is to see at the park, and the park is so big that you’ll definitely need it. The park allows pawesome pals as long as they have a leash. Also, be sure to bring $2 if you are driving, as that is the (very reasonable) cost for parking.
East Bristol lies between Pennsylvania Avenue and East State Street, and it is definitely the hip side of town — it is home to King University as well as some beautiful parks and residential areas. On the east side of the neighborhood, off of Spruce Street, you will find Fairmount Park. It is the go-to spot for local dog owners, so expect to make some friends there! At nearly three acres, the park gives you plenty of space to run around and play. You can also just sit at one of the benches (made from recycled material) and enjoy the comforting trees and grassy lawn.
Edgefield is the easternmost neighborhood of Bristol, and it is known for the many small creeks and streams that run through its grassy landscape. Take a walk outside and enjoy the fresh Tennessee air; you and your furry friend will have plenty of places to go! Middlebrook Lake is a must-see, and thirteen-acre Holston View Park is a great place for a leisurely promenade. Just south of the park, you will find Sinking Creek and Paperville Creek. They make for a great hike if you are nature-inclined. If you decide to hike the creek, start at Old Jonesboro Road and hike north—that way, you’ll end your hike at the park and you can rest your legs or play fetch!