If you’re looking at relocating to the Tri-Cities, TN/VA, we’re here to help. Nestled within the Highland foothills and steps away from the Appalachian mountains, the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region is adored for it’s beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, employment opportunities, and amazing locally crafted beer and culinary delights. Don’t take our word for it though! The Tri-Cities was recently named one of the best places to retire.
Johnson City, TN
The largest of the three cities, Johnson City, is home to East Tennessee State University, which offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. In fact, the Quillen College of Medicine is ranked in the top 100 of medical schools in the nation. Aside from education, those in the medical field are drawn to the area with Ballad Health being one of the largest employers in the area. The Johnson City Medical Center is the region’s medical provider of choice with HealthGrades rating their emergency facilities within the top 5% nationally.
Libations & Creations
While we won’t go too in-depth with our recommendations on food and beverage – you can check that out here – we do have some suggestions. If you’re visiting for the first time, chances are you’re tired and just want something casual and easy. Meander downtown to find the best options all centrally located. Grab a beer (or tacos, or both) at Yee-Haw and unwind afterwards by walking around Founder’s Park.
Johnson City’s location (and that of the entire Tri-Cities!) makes it perfect for day trips and weekend getaways. Asheville and Blowing Rock, NC, as well as Knoxville, TN are all within a two hour drive. Go fishing or kayaking in one of the area’s many lakes. We recommend Watauga and South Holston Lake for their many inlets – perfect for a swim or shoreside snack. Those looking to stay dry can strap on your shoes and go for a hike. The Appalachian Trail has connectors near Johnson City and while you don’t have to go the entire 2,190 miles, the views are still spectacular. Did we mention the Smoky Mountains are also only a few hours away too?
Johnson City is the most spread out of the three markets in the Tri-Cities. Spanning from downtown to Washington County, Gray, and beyond, the options for finding the perfect home are practically endless. Those looking for charming and quaint will find the Tree Streets appealing. Located next to ETSU and just up the road from downtown, these early 1900’s Craftsman style homes have so much character. The Gump Addition (sadly, no relation to Forrest) is another desirable neighborhood within the city. If you’re looking to save some money on city taxes, take a look at homes just outside the city-limits in Washington County.
Known as the “Model City”, Kingsport is home to Eastman Chemical, a Fortune 500 company that employs almost 15,000 globally. Manufacturing company Domtar is also another large employer in the Tri-Cities. Similar to Johnson City, those in the medical field will find plenty of job opportunities here. Remote workers take solace: several fiber optic companies in Kingsport and the Tri-Cities makes working from home a breeze.
Libations & Creations
While not as big as Johnson City, Kingsport still has plenty of options for dining out. Downtown on Main and Broad Street feature locally owned businesses that are definitely worth checking out. Our recommendations for the best food and drink can be found here. However, you can’t go wrong with a pie and ice cold beer from Main Street Pizza Company or a cocktail and sushi from Stir Fry.
The Kingsport FunFest is one of the most popular annual attractions, featuring local artists, bands, and businesses for a summer celebration the entire family can enjoy. It’s also been established for 40 years and continues to grow each year. Looking for something more serene? The Greenbelt sprawls through the city for miles and is a popular destination for runners and cyclists alike. Also, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium is a quick 15-minute drive where you can easily spend an entire day hiking, biking, or taking in the local animal habitat that houses wolves, raptors, reptiles, and more!
Like Johnson City, there are multiple sub-divisions within the city. Colonial Heights, Bloomingdale, Lynn Garden, and Fairacres are great examples. Housing prices run the gamut depending on location, features, and size. Regardless, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, or looking for your dream home to retire in, there is a house with your name on it.
Unlike its larger counterparts, Bristol’s employment comes primarily from the service industry. You can find dozens of small shops, boutiques, and restaurants lined down State Street. Bristol’s largest educator, King University, has been named as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South for nearly 30 consecutive years.
Libations & Creations
State Street is your one stop shop for delicious fare. You can read our in-depth recommendations here, but to get you started, we recommend starting at one of the many craft breweries, then mosey over to the Burger Bar (trust us, you’ll want another beer). Finally, end the evening with a sweet treat from Blackbird Bakery – we won’t judge if you take a few pastries home.
Home to the world’s fastest half-mile, NASCAR fans will rejoice at one of the many races held at the Bristol Speedway. Looking for something a bit slower? Head to South Holston Lake where you can rent a boat and spend the day sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying life. Come September, be sure to get tickets to the Bristol Rhythm and Roots festival.
Since Bristol borders the state-line, it’s important to decide which side you’ll want to live in. Taxes can be higher on the Virginia side, so be sure to take that into consideration before moving. When it comes down to location, state-named streets are popular due to their uniqueness and charm but with a history dating back to 1856, there’s a home for everyone.
If you’re considering relocating to the Tri-Cities for work, family, or retirement, it’s important to understand which areas align with what you and your family want. Regardless of where you decide you live, working with an experienced Realtor® can make all the difference. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you buy your next home.