What is the time zone of Tennessee?

The state of Tennessee is divided into two time zones. The majority, including the cities of Nashville, Memphis and Clarksville are in the Central Time zone and observing daylight savings so there are two different clocks depending on the time of year. 

  • Central Standard Time (CST): – 6:00 UTC/GMT (behind)
  • Central Daylight Time (CDT): – 5:00 UTC/GMT (behind)

The eastern counties of Tennessee covering about 29% of the state are in the Eastern Time zone and also observing daylight savings so there are two different clocks depending on the time of year. This includes cities as Knoxville and Chattanooga.

  • Eastern Standard Time (MST): – 5:00 UTC/GMT (behind)
  • Eastern Daylight Time (MDT): – 4:00 UTC/GMT (behind)
Central Time
Eastern Time
us state Tennessee counties time zone map
Tennessee time zone
USA time zone map 1
Click to enlarge

When crossing the eastern borders of Tennessee with Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, you will still be in the same zone. The states bordering the western part of Tennessee (Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri) observe the Central Time (CT) zone. The northern border with Kentucky is also split as the western part has CT and the east part ET. In general, you can apply that if you cross a border in a straight line you remain in the same time zone.

Zone boundary

The Tennessee boundary line follows the eastern borders of the counties Picket, Fentress, Cumberland, Bledsoe, Sequatchie and Marion.

Tennessee time zone border
Tennessee time zone border

The official border is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §71.5. (d):

Daylight savings time (DST)

Tennessee is using daylight savings as also documented in the Uniform Time Act of 1966. During daylight savings the time changes from Standard time to Daylight time, so CST becomes CDT and EST becomes EDT depending on the location.

It starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. In March the clock is moved forward from 02.00 am to 03.00 am (so you will lose an hour of sleep during the night). While in November it’s reversed as the clock is moved backward from 03.00 am to 02.00 am and you will gain an extra hour of sleep. One way of remembering the movement sequence is that clocks “spring forward and fall back”.

The total period of daylight savings lasts for 34 weeks which is about 65% of the year.

Tennessee time news, bills and legislation

There is a continuous debate about which time should be applied. Several bills have been introduced to legalize daylight saving time as the year-round clock, whereas others try to align the time with bordering counties or states. The table below gives an overview of the latest bills in the state of Tennessee.

Date Bill Status/Action Title/summary
No bills known

Other US states

You can check out information and maps of other US states by clicking on the below links.