Bring the family to Knoxville for some holiday fun and Christmas-focused merriment. Knoxville’s charm extends past summer and spills into winter with ease. Gay Street has the sweetness of a Hallmark Christmas movie, with garland and bows and lights strewn about.
Explore the Elf on a Shelf Adventure as Knoxville is the only place in the world that has permission to host this popular Christmas event and discover more activities like ice skating and even a Peppermint Trail.
If you’re looking for holiday cheer this season, let Knoxville surprise you with these four wondrous Christmas activities:
Elf on a Shelf Adventure
Have you heard of the popular Elf on a Shelf story? The elf watches everyone during the day and flies to the North Pole at night to tell Santa who’s been naughty and nice. Each day he comes back and lands in a new spot! Sometimes, he can get into mischief, getting into the cookies or playing with glitter for example.
During the Elf on a Shelf Adventure in Knoxville, around 30 downtown businesses hide an elf in their stores and restaurants each day. You can step into each business, getting your North Pole passport stamped whenever you find a magical elf. It’s like a Christmas-style “Where’s Waldo.” Passports are available at participating businesses.
Business owners will share stories of their “mischievous” elf and introduce the elf by name. You can find “Biscuit” at Matt Robbs Biscuits and “Dewey” at the Knox County Public Library.
You may have done scavenger hunts before, but this one is truly unique because of the elf storyline; you’re able to explore Knoxville’s downtown businesses in a new way; and children will soon be mesmerized by the hunt, making it more memorable.
Don’t forget to turn in your stamped passports to Mast General Store at the end of your elf hunting for a prize.
Downtown Christmas Lights
Downtown Knoxville is bright and cheery, sparkling with lights and Christmas decorations. Between Gay Street and Market Square you can stroll through the stores and restaurants eyeing twinkling lights everywhere. The grand Christmas tree blinks an array of colors and is located across the street from the historic Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street. There are many places to stop downtown for some jolly Christmas photos.
Keep your eyes open for large peppermints dotting the sidewalks of downtown. They indicate a special stop on the Peppermint Trail, available now through Jan. 8, 2019. If you’re a peppermint fanatic, this trail will make you happy deep down in your bones. Have a piping hot peppermint latte at Coffee and Chocolate, homemade peppermint bark at Knoxville Chocolate Company, an old-fashioned peppermint milkshake at the Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain, and an eggnog latte with peppermint flakes at Matt Robb’s Biscuits. The menu offerings can change day-to-day depending on the business, so you will have a lot of opportunity to make your winter a minty one!
Holidays on Ice, Market Square
Take to the ice to work off the Peppermint Trail treats! If you need a break from eating and exploring, put on some ice skates and glide on the open-air ice rink in Market Square, known as Holidays On Ice. One of the best parts of the skating experience is there’s no time limit, so you won’t feel rushed at all and you can relax and enjoy the activity. You can purchase a one-time ticket or season passes for Holidays on Ice. There are a few ways to get discounts on the price of admission for special Holidays on Ice events. There’s even a night for hockey fans where you can skate with the Knoxville Ice Bears Mondays. You can get $2 off admission with an Ice Bears ticket stub.
Let Knoxville surprise you and your family this holiday season with its fabulous array of holiday-inspired activities from Elf on the Shelf to skating under the stars.