In the city called the capital of Appalachia, Knoxville’s quirky blend of art and music, science and nature, sports and history creates a vibrant city with varied choices for entertainment.
Start at Volunteer Landing riverfront park where paddleboats, kayaks, the Star of Knoxville Riverboat and the Three Rivers Rambler railroad create a destination for families, sports enthusiasts, history buffs and festival goers. The Vol Navy, a massive flotilla of pleasure boats, can often be found waiting for the action at Neyland Stadium, home of the storied University of Tennessee Volunteer football team, and Thompson-Boling Arena, home of the basketball Vols.
In downtown Knoxville, farm-to-table restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops, music venues and outdoor concerts draw locals and visitors. Historic sites are put to good use for everyday fun. Enjoy music, food and shopping at Market Square, Krutch Park, Gay Street’s shops and bars, the historic Tennessee and Bijou theatres, the WDVX Blue Plate Special and the Old City Historic District. The World’s Fair Site is a frequent venue for concerts and special events.
Nearby attractions speak to Knoxville’s importance in the development of the American frontier as well as its ongoing spirit of fun. The East Tennessee History Center and Beck Cultural Exchange Center provide a look back at Knoxville’s history. Blount Mansion and James White Fort, former capitals of the frontier state, stand in the shadow of the contemporary Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Crescent Bend and Mabry Hazen House, part of the Knoxville Civil War Driving Tour, help to tell the story of Knoxville’s Civil War heritage. Other area historic buildings and museums tell the tales of some of Tennessee’s larger-than-life heroes such as David Farragut, our nation’s first admiral; David Crockett, John Sevier and Sam Houston.
Here in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the great outdoors are not just a beautiful setting but also a destination. Knoxville is surrounded by lakes and rivers great for boating, fishing, sailing, paddling and every kind of water sport from serene to extreme. Knoxville’s parks and marinas are great places to launch a boat, play disc golf, have a picnic or get in some skateboarding. Add a world-class zoo and beautiful gardens and nature centers, such as the UT Gardens, Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, and Ijams Nature Center, golf courses with spectacular water and mountain views and trail rides to capture your adventurous spirit.
Knoxville never overlooks the arts. Take in a play at the revered Clarence Brown Theatre, an exhibit at Knoxville Museum of Art or the McClung Museum. Take home a one-of-a-kind piece from the Emporium or the District of Bearden. Stroll the shop-lined avenues of the lifestyle centers in the Turkey Creek area of west Knoxville. Festivals throughout the year add to the fun and to the appreciation of regional music and arts, with Boomsday’s fireworks spectacular, the Dogwood Arts Festival, the Rossini Festival, Kuumba, Knoxville Film and Music Festival, the International Biscuit Festival, Shakespeare on the Square and Tennessee Fall Homecoming in nearby Norris, just to name a few.
Knoxville has a wonderfully diverse mix of natural beauty, big-city amenities and events, small-town charm and warm hospitality.