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Recreation and Tourism

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Recreational opportunities are abundant in the area, particularly with regard to outdoor activities. The nearby Holston and Doe rivers are nationally recognized trout streams and provide many opportunities for fishing. Hunters in the area also enjoy great access to public lands where deer, bear, turkeys, squirrels, and rabbits can be found. The Cherokee National Forest is partially contained in Washington County, which connects people to the largest continuous expanse of public forests in the eastern United States.

The Tweetsie Trail, a rails-to-trails project, is a 10 mile biking, walking, and running trail that goes from Johnson City to Elizabethton, following the former ET & WNC railroad line. Plenty of other hiking and biking opportunities are also present in the area. Many popular hikes, overlooks, waterfalls, and drives are mapped and described on the Appalachian Treks website.

Johnson City Parks & Recreation manages around 20 different parks and facilities, providing recreation opportunities for people of all ages and interests. Some of the most popular of these parks and facilities include:

  • Buffalo Mountain Park, which serves as a 725 acre nature preserve primarily for hiking, picnics, and nature programs
  • Cardinal Park, which hosts the Johnson City Cardinals, a rookie league baseball team that is a part of the Appalachian League
  • Legion Street Pool, which is open Memorial Day to Labor Day and offers free access for Johnson City Residents, and pool party rentals
  • Liberty Bell Tennis Center, which contains 14 lighted tennis courts and offers lessons throughout the year
  • Memorial Park Community Center, which is a 67,000 square-foot rec center that includes 75-foot lap pool, a splash pool, and a teaching pool, 3 tennis courts, an amphitheater, basketball courts, and a veterans honorary plaza. A variety of fitness activities are available including line dancing, yoga, Zumba, hot hula, total body conditioning, and others.
  • Rotary Park, which is one of the most popular parks with an annual attendance of over 40,000 and includes 6 covered picnic shelters, restrooms, picnic tables, a multi-use playing field, and a playground area
  • Winged Deer Park, which is a 200-acre district park with lakefront access to Boone Lake with public boating access, two sand volleyball courts, an amphitheater, a Festival Plaza multi-use area, batting cages, an 18-hole disc golf course, a playground area, a half-mile walking track, paved fitness trails that wind through the forested section of the park, 5 lighted softball fields, and 3 lighted soccer fields.

For more information about all of the facilities that Johnson City Parks & Recreation offers, visit their website.

Newly completed in Downtown Johnson City is Founder’s Park, a five acre park that was created through a stormwater retention project. This park offers a small amphitheater, a large lawn for concerts and events and a beautiful selection of art and sculptures.

Many other regional attractions also exist in Northeast Tennessee including:

  • Bristol Motor Speedway, located just 15 minutes from Johnson City, in Bristol, Tennessee, hosts two major races each year, the Speedway in Lights holiday event, and multiple charity events each year. The biggest college football game ever played is also set to happen at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 10, 2016, between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Tennessee Volunteers.
  • Niswonger Performing Arts Center,  located just 30 minutes from Johnson City, in Greeneville, Tennessee, hosts numerous events throughout the year including concerts, comedy, theatrical shows, dance, family/children shows, and educational programs such as weekly summer theatrical camps for kids.
  • Barter Theatre, located just 45 minutes from Johnson City, in Abingdon, Virginia, has been in business for over eight decades, drawing patrons from all over the world to see their entertainment that ranges from comedies to dramas to musicals.

For more information on attractions in and around Johnson City, visit the Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau's website.