About the City

Click Here for Photos of Bristol Tennessee

Bristol residents respect the traditions of the past, but the sincere interest in progress keeps our sights forward. Through the cooperation of two distinct city governments which work well together, there is a blend of economic growth. A preservation of the quality of life.

Growth is easy for Bristol due to the central location in the middle of the nation's distribution chain. A well-trained and dedicated work force that produces quality products and services reflects the community support for business and industry growth.

This dedication to work carries over into recreation and enjoyment of the city's beautiful surroundings. The area is nestled within national forests that bloom gloriously in the spring, with plenty of wide open spaces for hiking, picnics, golf and camping. Hundreds of acres of the most beautiful lakes imaginable are found here.

The uniqueness of this area can especially be seen in the autumn, too, when the turning colors of the foliage become a photographer's paradise.

Bristol is an area to enjoy with four distinct seasons all in moderation. The average spring/summer temperature is a warm and sunny 78° F and in the fall and winter a mild 38° F, with a few snowflakes to cover the breathtaking mountain scenery. But scenery is not all there is to keep Bristol as one of the most livable cities in the United States as rated by American Demographic Magazine. Bristol, as part of the Tri-Cities region, was awarded the All America City recognition by the National Civic League in 1999.

Ballet, theatre, concerts, along with a world of great foods from gourmet dining to fast food restaurants, are found in Bristol. Race fans can enjoy the world-famous Bristol Motor Speedway - home of many exciting NASCAR events.

With many of the big city amenities, Bristol is still small when it comes to a low crime rate - tenth lowest in the country. Strong neighborhood ties and a sense of genuine southern hospitality make this possible. Housing choices in Bristol vary with above average quality and below average cost - 30 percent lower than the national average. And Bristol's unique location offers a variety of country or city settings for homes. Only a 10 - minute drive to the city, Bristol's homes are close to work and school.

Highly rated and well-funded, the Bristol school system
offers an outstanding educational opportunity. The quality of education is very important. Only quality teachers who are totally committed to providing the best in educational services are selected. A community of neighbors within the Tri-Cities metro area of approximately 450,000, Bristol is an easy place to call home.

Bristol's central location and excellent transportation connections make it the center of the five-state area. State Street joins Tennessee and Virginia and puts the states of West Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina within easy driving distance of Bristol.

Interstate 81 ties Bristol to important population centers such as Knoxville, TN. (118 miles west) and Roanoke, VA. (143 miles east). Interstate highways 77 and 40 connect with 1-81 within 73 miles of Bristol.

The Greater Bristol Area Chamber of Commerce serves both Bristols and is located at the corner of Volunteer Parkway and State Street. With more than 50 volunteer committees, a professional staff and various councils, the Chamber offers information and assistance to commercial and leisure travelers to the area. The Bristol Conventions & Visitors Bureau offers tourist information from this location, also.

Strategically situated in the Southeastern United States, Bristol Tennessee-Virginia is a twin city located directly on the Tennessee-Virginia state line. Bristol is part of the metropolitan statistical area of Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport, commonly called the Tri-Cities.

Demographic and business information, brochures, and city/county maps are also available from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 423-968-4399 for directions.


The governing body for the city of Bristol Tennessee and Bristol Virginia are independent cities. Each has a council-manager form of government. Both cities have planning commissions, zoning ordinances and industrial development authorities.

The governing body for the city is delineated as the City Council. The City Council consists of five (5) members, with three members elected from districts and two members elected at-large. The boundaries for the three districts are established based on population and may be changed from time to time after first submitting any proposed change to the Planning Commission for their recommendation.

No person is eligible to serve on City Council unless he/she has been a resident for at least one year and is at least 21 years old. Elections are held on the third Tuesday in May in each odd-numbered year. Council members from the three districts are elected at the same time, and the two at-large members are elected at the same time. The term of office for City Council is four (4) years. City Council elects one of its members as Mayor and one as Vice Mayor on an annual basis. City Council appoints members to 26 Boards and Commissions that operate throughout the City. City Council meetings are generally held the first Tuesday of each month, with additional called meetings for special workshops or hearings.

Bristol is a full-service city providing a wide range of municipal programs and facilities. City services include the following: police, fire, transit, planning, community development, public facilities maintenance, water supply, wastewater collection/treatment and leisure services. As of the current fiscal year, permanent, full-time associates total 313.


Normal High Temperature,

January - 44.5°F
Normal Low Temperature,
January - 25.5°F
Normal High Temperature - July 85.5°F
Normal Low Temperature - July 64.3°F
Annual Precipitation - 41.4"
Annual Average Snowfall - 16.2"
Elevation - 1,615 '


Bristol, Tennessee - 30.6 square miles
Bristol, Virginia - 11.53 square miles Population
Bristol, Tennessee - 25,500
Bristol, Virginia - 17,367 (2000 Census)
***Total population in MSA
436,047*** (1999 Data)

Economic Development

Bristol combines the beauty of revered southern traditions with the fresh vigor of a growing community. The local economy enjoys a well-balanced industrial, agricultural and manufacturing base. Bristol's industrial base includes batteries, electronics, pharmaceuticals, mining machinery, aluminum products, compressors, apparel, textiles, copper wire, vacuum cleaner and food products. Bristol is constantly seeking potential new industries for the host of well-equipped industrial sites.

The Bristol Area has a labor force of 80,000 and an unemployment rate of only 4.4 percent. Major employers in the area are the school systems, Bristol Regional Medical Center, Exide Corporation, Marley Mouldings and Universal Fiber.

One of the greatest facilitators to Bristol's economic growth through the years has been its accessibility and well-organized transportation connections. Located within a day's drive of more than 70 percent of the U.S. population, the Twin City is served by more than 50 motor freight carriers and two railroads. Outstanding air service is available through the Tri-Cities Regional Airport,TN/VA, which offers jet and air carrier service. The facility offers service to more than 100 cities.

Tax Structure

Bristol Tennessee Property Tax:
$2.19 per $100 of assessed value
State Sales Tax:
7% state plus 2.25% local (excludes food, which is taxed at 6%)
Industrial Machinery:
Reduced tax on utilities
Tennessee Income Tax:
6% on Dividends & Certain Bond Interest
Corporate (Excise):
6% of Net Earnings


Daily Newspapers: 1
Radio Stations: 7
Television Stations: 6
Networks: NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS (2), Fox
Cable Television: 12 basic channels, extended services
Post Office: First Class Regional Office

Recreational Opportunities

With more than 30 parks and recreational venues and the overwhelming natural beauty of the area, Bristol offers many opportunities for both nature and sports enthusiasts. Bristol residents have the luxury of experiencing all four seasons while enjoying the national forests, clean lakes, beautiful parks and mountains surrounding the twin city. Bristol also offers many community events and attractions.

Residents and visitors enjoy many recreational activities such as swimming, water skiing, boating and fishing in the sparkling waters of South Holston, Boone, Patrick Henry and Watauga lakes. Others enjoy exploring the natural wonders of the area such as Bristol Caverns, Appalachian Caverns and the Appalachian Trail. The Country Club of Bristol, Steele Creek Golf Course, Tri-Cities Golf Club, The Virginian, City of Bristol, Virginia's Clear Creek Golf Course and residential development offer a variety of course designs for the golf lover.

The Virginian Golf Course's residential development has been ranked as one of the 18 best places in America to live by the Robb Report Magazine.
In the winter, the recreational focus moves to the ski slopes. Several major ski resorts are located within an hour's drive of Bristol.

Twice a year 160,000 - plus race fans flock to Bristol to enjoy the spring and summer Busch Grand National and Winston Cup races. The Bristol Dragway hosts championship drag racing and is sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association.

The racetrack also hosts a "Fantasy in Lights" during Christmas.

Bristol is recognized by the Country Music Association as the birthplace of country music. The first commercially and nationally successful country music stars, Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, made their first recordings in Bristol. Many organizations in the Bristol area host concerts and showcase exhibits to highlight this noteworthy aspect of the community.

Dining and Lodging

A variety of foods is represented by the more than 100 local restaurants in Bristol. Quaint restaurants and cafes portion out steamed seafood, fresh bagels and homemade pastries and soups. Bristol's culinary facilities provide something for every member of the family. Bristol has more than 1,100 rooms and accommodations for overnight stays.

Whether visitors prefer a beautiful restored inn, a quiet bed and breakfast or a familiar hotel, comfortable accommodations are available at reasonable rates. Inviting rates are also offered for groups, corporate travelers and senior citizens.

Meeting facilities to accommodate small gatherings or large assemblies are available for travelers. The Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a full range of services to take the work out of planning your meeting.

Health Care

The center of health care activity in Bristol is the impressive, constantly growing Bristol Regional Medical Center, a part of the regional Wellmont Health System.

A new, state-of-the-art, 377-bed regional referral center was opened in 1994 to offer improved accommodations to better serve the community. The Medical Center has brought a wide range of medical innovations to the region. Many individual health care professionals also serve the region. One hundred thirty practitioners in such specialties as cardiology, dermatology, neurology, obstetrics, orthopedics and pediatrics are available to ensure convenient, efficient service. Thirty-five dentists serve Bristol patients. Many of them specialize in oral surgery, orthodontics, maxillofacial surgery and children's dentistry.

Bristol also has three long-term adult care facilities
to cater to the needs of the elderly community.


The City School System
operates schools covering grades kindergarten through 12, with an approximate enrollment of 3,900 students and professional teaching staff of 250. The system is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It boasts test scores in the top 10% in the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program.

The school system is a recipient of the Governor's A+ Award for Excellence in Education. Adult education programs are offered for GED preparation, career enhancement, enrichment and parent-training programs. Parent and community involvement are key factors in educational excellence in the community.

King College has been recognized as one of the nation's best liberal arts colleges for eleven years in a row by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1867, King College is a private, four-year, co-educational liberal arts college in the Presbyterian tradition.

For 134 years, King College has been integrating faith and learning to produce graduates of superior quality. More than 90% of King students recommended for graduate school are accepted into their first choice of programs. Virginia Intermont College, a private, four-year co-educational liberal arts school, is located in Bristol, Virginia.

Bristol also is home to a branch of East Tennessee State University, which offers more convenient access to higher education for the community. ETSU at Bristol offers courses leading to majors in Bachelor of General Studies, Business, Elementary Education, Nursing, Criminal Justice and selected graduate majors. Also provided is a variety of student services including academic advisement, financial aid, career and personal counseling and student activities. This campus features a computer lab, bookstore annex, library services, student and faculty lounges, distance learning capabilities through interactive television facilities and regular classrooms. They serve local groups, organizations and students in a training/educational setting.