Knoxville is often described as a hidden treasure. First-time visitors are surprised at what this city has to offer. The fact that some of the most important attractions are within walking distance of the center is a big plus. There are few other places with the opportunity to experience live music, culture, nature adventures and unique cuisine. In addition, there is also excellent shopping in the many shopping centers and streets in the city. It’s no wonder that Knoxville was touted by Tripadvisor as a top 10 emerging destination in 2015. In this unique city, mountains meet music, art meets adventure and culture meets cuisine.
Downtown at the corner of Summit and Gay is the Visitor Center, the place to go for information about all there is to see and do in Knoxville. From maps to information about tours and entertainment to locally made art and souvenirs, this is a great place for visitors and residents alike to get information. If you visit the visitors center Monday through Saturday around noon, you will be treated to a real free live concert; a live radio show with bluegrass and Americana music.
There is always something fun for children to do in the Kid’s Corner in the visitor center. If you’re downtown on the third Friday of the month, you can be sure that Kid’s Corner has something special planned, perhaps a craft workshop, a visitor from the Knoxville Zoo or a meeting with an athlete from one of the local sports teams. The friendly people behind the counter are helpful in planning your visit. You can ask for information about local highlights, walking routes, the trolley schedule, child-friendly places, festivals and much more.
Knoxville has free trolley service downtown and around the nearby University of Tennessee Campus. The trolley stops at hotels, the Knoxville Convention Center and tourist attractions, among others. The vans run until 6:00 PM during the week and on weekends they run until late in the evening. A map of the trolley routes can be downloaded at www.visitknoxville.com. There are also options in Knoxville if you need private transportation. Group transportation such as taxis, transportation to and from another city and shuttle services are available through various providers. Parking in Knoxville is good, visitors can park for free at Market Square, State Street and Locust Street. There are also paid parking spaces with parking meters on every corner and there are several paid parking garages.
Knoxville has four seasons. The area is famous for the beautiful colors in the fall and compared to the Smoky Mountains you can enjoy the fall colors here without crowds. Spring is also special, especially in the weeks when everything is in bloom. Winter is mild and mild, summer can be very hot, but the city has plenty of activities and attractions to offer where you can cool down at the same time.
Tours and attractions
The Sunsphere is located in World’s Fair Park and was built in 1982, the tower is a signature part of the Knoxville skyline and it is a unique building in design. The building has 26 floors and at the top you can see a beautiful gold-colored ball of glass panels. Events take place there and companies are located there. On the fourth floor there is a lookout point with a gallery of photos of the city, information about the city’s history and a breathtaking 360 degree view of Knoxville. The viewpoint is open to the public every day.
Cozy and beautiful on the outside, serious within the company. The zoo is committed to participating in measures to save species from extinction, both locally and globally. It is one of the largest zoos in the southeast of America. Visitors have the opportunity to see wildlife up close, with more than 800 species of the world’s most fascinating animals on display. Walk through the grasslands and forests of Africa and see the giraffes, elephants, gorillas and monkeys. You can ride a camel and feed giraffes.
The mighty Tennessee Theater opened on October 1, 1928 and was called the most beautiful theater in the South. The former film theater was completely renovated in 2003 and reopened in mid-January 2015 as a world-class theater. The theater is the official theater of the state of Tennessee and is home to the Knoxville Opera Company and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Visitors can enjoy a performance on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ and there are concerts, films, musicals and more.
Since 1860, Market Square has been the most popular place to shop, work, exercise, eat, drink and live. There are open-air concerts, films, Shakespeare performances and much more. There are plenty of restaurants serving everything you can imagine, from Southern cuisine to steak to sushi. There are also some bars and the best thing is that all of this is within walking distance of several hotels. There are two fountains on the Square that you can walk through and these are pet and child friendly.
You can do a tour on your own, but you can also go with a guide. Doing it yourself is easy, it is not difficult to find your way in the city, this is easy to do both on foot and in the car. There are many examples of educational or active tours that you can book with a guide; from fly fishing to a dinner tour or ghost tour, from hiking to visiting breweries.
The Knoxville area has a varied landscape and is the perfect place to retreat to nature. You can sail on the rivers, walk in the woods or choose a hiking trail where you have a good chance of seeing the animals. From challenging mountain trails to tranquil hiking trails along blue lakes, fast-flowing rivers or impressive rocks, it is a perfect place if you are a nature lover. Adventurers of all ages can enjoy the authenticity of Knoxville’s accessible Urban Wilderness. This recreational attraction is located just 6 kilometers from the city center and has more than 50 nature trails to offer, including some of the most beautiful mountain biking trails in the south. Bicycles, canoes and surfboards can be rented at various places in the park.
Museums and galleries
There are several museums in the city, something for everyone. Together they tell the unique story of the region’s culture and history. Examples of the most important museums in the center:
- Knoxville Museum of Art. It showcases the works of eastern Tennessee artists and features one of the largest stained glass panels in the world.
- McClung Museum. This museum has an impressive collection on anthropology, archaeology, art and the history of the region and nature.
- Knoxville Police Department Museum. Old photos, uniforms, badges, weapons and books show the history of the Knoxville Police Department.
Music and entertainment
When it comes to music, Knoxville is a vibrant city. Several well-known country stars have started performing in front of audiences in this city, such as Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers and Roy Acuff. The many different options that the city has to offer are also reflected in the dizzying number of performances and acts on offer. Any day of the week and all over the city, visitors and residents can find top-notch performances to see.
Whether you are a nature lover, a music lover, want to try the local cuisine or enjoy shopping, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.