Hipmunk Hotels: Hotels in An Undersung State - Places Worth Visiting in Memphis, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and More

We’ve all heard about Tennessee, but what do you possibly know about this southern U.S. state? Not much, I presume but this is one of the rather undersung states. It is named after an Indian reservoir at the little Tennessee River and said to be one of the safest states. Plus, costs of living are very affordable. Tennessee is also home to the famous Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival as well as a very friendly lot of people. Make up your mind; here are five cities to get you started.

Image via Flickr by Thomas Hawk

Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge is nestled in the renowned Smoky Mountains. It’s a great place for outdoor enthusiasts and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes for great hikes, horseback riding or whitewater rafting. It’s a great place to unwind and experience the natural beauty of Tennessee as well as the friendliness of the people. Pigeon Forge is also home to the Titanic Museum as well as Dollywood. Accommodation is cheap and rates start as low as $29 per night, for instance the Econo Lodge.


Being a mountain resort city, this place offers an abundance of places to stay. It’s not as cheap as Pigeon Forge, but still a place with affordable accommodation. The city hosts annual events such as the Gatlinburg Mountain Fest in August or the Smokey Mountains Harvest Festival taking place September through October. Certainly worth seeing, however, if you’re a penny saver, then avoid these months. Stay at the River Terrace Resort and Convention Center or The Lodge at Buckberry Creek.


Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee. In 2013, it was ranked the second happiest U.S. city to work in. Downtown Knoxville is a gem with its many bars and restaurants as well as hotels, such as the affordable Hilton Knoxville. Additionally, the city is close to the mountains as well as the many lakes. Iconic is the World’s Fair Park; don’t forget to stop by the Market Square District. Knoxville has many hotels to choose from starting at around $50 at the lowest.


Besides Knoxville, Memphis is one of the very few Tennessee cities we’ve all heard of. It is home to the world-famous Beale Street, which was also voted the most iconic U.S. street, being the heart of Memphis, music, and entertainment. This city offers southern cuisine at its finest and it’s easy to be spoiled by choice when it comes to food. Memphis is not an unknown travel destination, yet rather underestimated; you get decent accommodation, for example the Holiday Inn Express for $85 per night.


Chattanooga is an up-and-coming city attracting a greater number of visitors nowadays. Once considered a rather dirty place, it now prides itself with clean energy and the fact that it is a bicycle-friendly city. Only a few American cities can say that. Also, have you ever wanted to visit a religious city? There you go. Being surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga is a great starting point for hikes and general outdoor trips. Hotels are relatively inexpensive and rates start around $50; an example is La Quinta Inn Chattanooga.

This piece was written in collaboration with Hipmunk, in the course of the Hipmunk Boutique Hotels Campaign to bring you selected hotels for any budget, all around the U.S.