The 5 Best Cities to Retire in East Tennessee

East Tennessee is known for its mountains, beauty, and (mostly) amazing weather. The winters never get unbearably cold, and the summers are just hot enough. There are lakes and mountains, incredible restaurants all over, and best of all, the people are always warm and welcoming. If you’re looking to retire in East Tennessee, you’ve come to the right place. Taking the views, vibes, and entertainment scene into consideration, here are our top 5 choices:

  1. Crossville

If your retirement looks like an endless round of golf, Crossville may be the city for you! Better known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee,” Crossville is located in the beautiful Cumberland County. If golf isn’t your thing – don’t worry! The city of Crossville offers multiple wineries, museums, and theaters as well.

  1. McMinnville

With some of the most beautiful mountain views in Tennessee, McMinnville offers a more peaceful sense of retirement than some of the bigger cities on the list. Fall Creek Falls, Cumberland Caverns, and Rock Island are just some of the parks within close distance to the town. Although the town itself may be small, it’s only a short 1 – 2 hour drive to Nashville, Chattanooga, or Knoxville.

  1. Chattanooga

Chattanooga’s live music scene could give Nashville a run for its money. Besides the ample concert opportunities, Chattanooga has amazing restaurants, several golf courses, and an aquarium rated #1 in the country. The cost of living is relatively low, the city is clean, and there are plenty of great neighborhoods to choose from.

  1. Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg truly has it all. The mountains, the parks, the entertainment…you could never run out of things to do or places to relax! Famously known as Dolly Parton’s hometown, Gatlinburg has something for every member of the family. Next time you go, make sure Dolly Parton’s’ Dixie Stampede is at the top of your list of things to do. Although it is filled with fun places to go, Gatlinburg stills holds a small town Tennessee feel.

  1. Knoxville

We may be a little bias, but we are ranking Knoxville as the #1 place to retire in East Tennessee for many reasons. Knoxville provides city, suburban, and country-style living. It has a rich history, great restaurants, and a huge football team to cheer for. However, we have to say the people are the best part. The folks that live in Knoxville take “southern hospitality” to a whole new level. If not to retire, at least put Knoxville on your list of places to visit soon!


No matter which city you choose to retire in, there is no doubt that East Tennessee is the place to be. The Smoky Mountains, the Volunteers… it’s no wonder over 2 million people choose to live in the beautiful region of East Tennessee.

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