The Best Souvenirs from Tennessee
When visiting Tennessee, you’ll come across iconic music, sights, and tastes, and you’ll definitely want to take some souvenirs home to remind you of everything you experienced in the volunteer state. Here, we share what we think are the best souvenirs from Tennessee.
We looked for items that are made in Tennessee or represent a Tennessee site or tourist attraction really, really well.
The Moon Pie was born in 1917, which makes this tasty little treat over one hundred years old! We visited the Moon Pie General Store in Chattanooga, the place where Moon Pies began, during our trip to see the total eclipse in August of 2017.
Originally, the Moon Pie was made up of two graham crackers with marshmallow between them, and the whole thing dipped in chocolate. Today, you can still find this original, but it also comes in vanilla, banana, and salted caramel flavors. You can also look for double-decker Moon Pies if you’re super hungry or Moon Pie Minis if you need a small treat (both also available in multiple flavors).
Elvis may not be synonymous with Tennessee, but he is definitely synonymous with Memphis. If you’re traveling to Memphis, most likely you will visit Elvis’ home of Graceland. And you’ll need a souvenir. Boy, oh boy, do they have souvenirs!
On the campus of Graceland, you’ll find multiple gift shops specializing in various Elvis-themed items. Everything from toys to Hawaiian shirts to actual rhinestone-bedazzled jumpsuits.
I definitely recommend looking for something more unique rather than just a t-shirt or magnet, which is why I own an Elvis Mr. Potato Head figure and a replica peacock stained glass window (which are replicas of the peacock windows in Elvis’ living room in Graceland).
See Rock City Birdhouse
If you’ve read our post about Rock City, you know all about the famous “See Rock City” barns that have dotted the landscape of the South. Of COURSE they have capitalized on these iconic barns with various items in the Rock City gift shops. And why wouldn’t they? It’s adorable! Perfect souvenir.
My absolute favorite item from Rock City is the See Rock City Birdhouse, with its red exterior and black roof. We found that they have birdhouses in various sizes and price points, some usable and some for decorative purposes only. (Just so you know, our birdhouse was taken outside for this photo only. It sits on a bookshelf in our house.)
See Related: What to See at Rock City
Tennessee Spirits: Morris Vineyard Wine/Jack Daniels/Moonshine
With winery, brewery, and distillery tours all over the state, you’re sure to find a taste that you want to bring home. The most famous, of course, being the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We urge you to visit the local wineries, breweries, and even moonshine stills across the state.
We loved our visit to the picturesque Morris Vineyard/Tennessee Mountainview Winery. It was actually our location for watching the 2017 total eclipse, and we couldn’t have asked for a prettier spot. With mountains in the distance, we sat on a hillside, looking over lush green vines and watching the show of the year.
Gatlinburg is a popular tourist area in Tennessee and just happens to be the home of quite a few moonshine stills. Is that why it’s so popular? Hmm….haha! Check out one of the distillery tours to learn all about the process of making moonshine, taste some samples, and grab a jar to take home.
Sun Studio Shirt
Sun Studio is one of our favorite historic spots in Memphis. The studio is fairly small, but the history is BIG. This building is the original studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and many others once recorded. We were even allowed to touch the microphone that Elvis once used. Of course, such a significant tourist location needs fantastic souvenirs, and the one item I’ve seen the most from Sun Studio is its logo t-shirt.
See Related: Touring Legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee
I have seen people wearing Sun Studio shirts all over the world. This is one popular shirt, for sure. Join the crowd and pick up a Sun Studios shirt in black with the yellow logo on the front.
Barbecue Sauces and Seasonings
The one food you’ve gotta try in Tennessee is Memphis-style barbecue. We’re from North Mississippi, so we grew up on this type of barbecue. We’re probably a bit biased, but we definitely think it’s the best type in existence.
Take home some of that Memphis flavor with a bottle of barbecue sauce or seasoning. Our recommendations would be seasoning from Rendezvous and sauce from Central Barbecue.
Goo Goo Clusters
Goo Goo Clusters hit the scene in 1912, manufactured in Nashville, Tennessee. Made with yummy milk chocolate, chewy caramel, marshmallow, and crunchy peanuts, the taste is so good that the Goo Goo is still in production and found all over the USA today.
Visit the Goo Goo Shop in Nashville to learn the history, watch some Goo Goos being made, order a sweet at the dessert bar, or even take a chocolate class. Of course, there are also tons of Goo Goos for sale!
Coop’s Hot Chicken Paste
Get that taste of Nashville Hot Chicken at home! This dish has spread all around the country in various restaurants and has even become a popular menu item at nationwide KFC’s.
Hot chicken is made by marinating chicken in a hot sauce concoction (which, you know every person’s recipe is different in Nashville), dipping the chicken in flour, and frying it up. Sometimes, the chicken goes back and forth between the marinade and the flour quite a few times. Once the chicken is fried, the hot chicken paste is smeared on both sides. Served up on white bread with some dill pickles! Mmmhmm!
You’ll surely give this dish a try when you’re in Nashville, so grab a jar of Coop’s Hot Chicken Paste so you can prepare and share this dish with friends and family.
Bush’s Baked Beans
Baked beans are enjoyed all over the world, and one of the most well-known makers of baked beans is located right in Tennessee: Bush’s Baked Beans.
The Bush’s visitor center is located in Chestnut Hill, near Knoxville, Tennessee, where you can find a museum telling the story of the company (but you still won’t learn that secret recipe!), a cafe where you can sample some of their home cookin’, and a gift shop where you can grab some souvenirs like cans of beans or a stuffed Duke toy.
We’ll be adding more items to this list as we come across them on our adventures in Tennessee!
What do you think of these souvenirs? Did anything surprise you? Is there an awesome souvenir that we missed? What are you excited to bring home from Tennessee? We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a message in the comments below!
Pin it! Share this post on Pinterest!
Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and three fur babies. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.
You can follow Jenni on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.