Great Places in Tennessee

State Street in Bristol

State Street in Bristol was added to APA's Great Streets in 2018

Great Places in Tennessee

Since 2007, the American Planning Association has recognized great neighborhoods, great public spaces, and great streets across America. This includes seven locations in Tennessee. Below is a list of the great places in Tennessee. Scroll down to read more about them.

  • Downtown Franklin Historic District
  • Cooper Young, Memphis
  • Walnut Street Bridge, Chattanooga
  • Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park, Nashville
  • Market Square, Knoxville
  • Gay Street, Knoxville
  • State Street, Bristol


Great Neighborhoods

  • Downtown Franklin Historic District

Downtown-Franklin

An APA Great Neighborhood 2009

Award-winning and emulated, downtown Franklin balances its rich historic character with a revitalized and prosperous mixed-use commercial district. Rapid change and development prompted by Interstate 65 construction in the 1960s threatened to destroy the neighborhood and town's heritage. Citizens responded by forming the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. The entire 16-block neighborhood was eventually placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and creation of the Downtown Franklin Association helped revitalize the neighborhood's commercial area.

Photo courtesy of Steve Valley via APA

More info



  • Cooper Young, Memphis

Cooper-Young

An APA Great Neighborhood 2012

Eclectic, free-wheeling, and bohemian is how some residents describe their Midtown community, which got its start in 1890 as a working-class neighborhood and today finds itself one of Memphis's most popular areas that is both keeping long-time residents and attracting new ones wanting a close-in urban address. Built out by the 1930s, Cooper-Young remained stable until the end of World War II when an exodus began to the eastern suburbs, leaving blocks of historic buildings bought on the cheap by out-of-town investors who rented the properties but made few repairs, furthering the neighborhood's decline.

Photo courtesy Josh Whitehead via APA

More info




Great Public Spaces


  • Walnut Street Bridge, Chattanooga

Walnut-Street-Bridge

An APA Great Public Space 2013

Chattanooga's "pedestrian jewel" is not a trail, park, or plaza but the city's historic Walnut Street Bridge, the oldest and largest surviving truss bridge in the South and the first non-military highway bridge to span the Tennessee River. Today, the bridge is open on to pedestrians.

Photo courtesy David Homber via APA

More info


  • Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park, Nashville

Nashville-Bicentennial-Mall

An APA Great Public Space 2011

Created to commemorate Tennessee's 200th anniversary, the 19-acre Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park was planned, designed, and built as a concise reflection of the state's geography, history, people, and musical legacy. Tuck-Hinton Architects in Nashville designed the park, modeling the former landfill site after the National Mall in Washington, D.C. They incorporated classic Greek principles as well as Baroque and Beaux-Arts influences into the park, creating a unique civic space that is able to grow, change, and evolve over time.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee State Parks via APA

More info



  • Market Square, Knoxville

Shakespeare on the Square in Knoxville

An APA Great Public Space 2017

Market Square is great example of how planning and an engaged business community can truly transform a public space. Located in the heart of Downtown Knoxville, Market Square is a testament to the effectiveness of community-driven planning and how a diversity of uses and historic preservation can work together to revitalize an area.

Photo Courtesy by David Silverthorn via APA

More info




Great Streets


  • Gay Street, Knoxville

Knoxville-Gay-Street

An APA Great Street 2012

Since its development in the 1790s, Gay Street has been the center stage of downtown Knoxville's progression from a commercial wholesaling capital following the Industrial Revolution to today's vibrant entertainment and residential corridor. Through the hard work of countless individuals, organizations, and local governments, and more than $50 million spent on redevelopment projects since 2000, Gay Street has experienced a complete transformation from its ghost town atmosphere of the 1970s.

Photo courtesy Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission via APA

More info



  • State Street, Bristol
Bristol-TN-VA

An APA Great Street 2018

State Street is a 5-block downtown commercial historic district, and the main street shared by two different rural cities in two different states. State Street revitalization was initially inspired by a citizen-led two-year, two-state collaborative planning process in the late 1990s, and has led to the rebirth of this historic state line street.

Photo courtesy of the Bristol VA/TN Chamber of Commerce via APA

More info