Against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee’s third-largest city honors its World’s Fair past and buzzes with a cool café culture and lively nightlife.
Stroll through Knoxville’s bustling shopping districts of Market Square and Gay Street or follow University of Tennessee students to the best place for a coffee or beer. Relax in a city park or enjoy some time in nature visiting the nearby Smoky Mountains. Cruise along the Tennessee River, which starts in east Knoxville where the Holston and French Broad rivers meet.
Knoxville has successfully shaken off its “scruffy little city” image to become an area of urban chic and student cool. The transformation began in 1982 when the city hosted the World’s Fair. The Sunsphere, a tall building topped with a golden orb, was one of the original attractions from the fair. Find it in World’s Fair Park, which is now a popular place for families, joggers and artists year-round.
Make a point to visit the Old City, where some of the area’s best restaurants and nightspots are nestled inside fine old architecture. Look for rows of Victorian-style houses in Fort Sanders, another attractive neighborhood.
In the East Tennessee History Center discover the role Knoxville played in producing the first atomic bomb. This facility covers a comprehensive history of the area, from Native American times to the present.
Shop for local produce in the twice-weekly farmers markets in Market Square or hunt for bargains along Gay Street.
The Dogwood Arts Festival has numerous art and outdoor activities throughout April. Several city locations have free weekly summer concerts.
Explore over 800 miles of trails in one of America’s largest protected areas. The Smoky Mountains are just a 30-minute drive away.
Driving is the easiest way to get around the city and parking is rarely hard to find. Buses run at hourly intervals. The KAT transportation service operates free trolleys during business hours in the downtown areas.
The mild winters of Knoxville’s subtropical climate mean it is a great place to visit throughout the year. Enjoy an al fresco coffee or breakfast in a café each morning and plan which of Knoxville’s attractions you want to visit.