Understanding What Makes Knoxville Tick: A Made in Tennessee Journey
Photo Credit: Josh Ness

Understanding What Makes Knoxville Tick: A Made in Tennessee Journey

Culture, creativity, and a wealth of music options, Knoxville beckons with its laid back sophistication.

Add to TripRemove

In a state where the largest cities are known for country music and the blues, Knoxville, the third largest city in Tennessee, will show you how its making a name for itself. From craft beer to endless outdoor activities and music festivals celebrating the legends and tomorrow's artists. Follow the heartbeat of Knoxville to these places.

Look Rock Fire Tower

The pathway to Look Rock Fire Tower
Get a view of the Great Smoky Mountains on your way to Knoxville.
Photo Credit Josh Ness

Kick off your trip with a stop at the Look Rock Fire Tower to see and photograph the expansive views of the western side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Located on the Foothills Parkway and is a 0.9 hike that's good for all skill levels. 

Navitat Zipline Canopy Adventure

Get a good workout in at Navitat Zipline Canopy Adventure. Once you're equipped, spend an afternoon climbing, swinging and having a grand time through the 10 to 12 challenge elements per adventure trail. Once you complete a trail you can return to the main Treehouse and choose a different trail or conquer the same trail again. For a truly magical experience, maneuver Navitat at night under twinkling lights and the night sky. 

SoKno Taco Cantina

Chicken taco and shrimp taco with rice and tortilla chips at SoKno Taco Cantina.
Dig in to delicious tacos, burritos and nachos.

In the South Knoxville area, you'll find SoKno Taco Cantina, a restaurant that offers beers on tap, margaritas by the pitcher and delicious tacos, tamales, burritos, quesadillas and nachos. Choose the taco platter that comes with your choice of two tacos (try the Thai portobello, Carne Asada or chicken that's topped with guacamole sauce) Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are available. 

Pretentious Beer Glass Company

The creative spirit in Knoxville is alive and well. One of those art forms is glass blowing and beer from Pretentious Beer Glass Company. Hang out for a while and have some sips of their handcrafted beer from glasses handmade in their studio. You can watch the whole process from glass to pour.

Knox Brew Tours

Continue your tour of Knoxville's craft brew community with the help of Knox Brew Tours. Hop on the bus and be carted to four breweries within a three-hour period that will take you behind the scenes for the brewers to share their process, how they got started and, of course, samples of beer they produce. Snacks and water are provided on the bus. Walking tours are also available. 

Knox Whiskey Works

Head over to Knox Whiskey Works for a $10 tour and tasting as you learn about their hyper-local process. Bourbon, gin, coffee liqueur, whiskey, vodka and rum are all created here. Tours are available 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays. The tours are 45-60 minutes and are led by either the head distiller or an experienced manager. Tours are limited to 10 persons per tour so plan ahead and book yours online.

Big Ears Festival

Films, underground bands, dance, interactive workshops, installations and more are performed and presented during Big Ears Festival each March. Culture and creativity are celebrated in churches, museums, outdoor spaces, music venues and more throughout Knoxville's downtown. It's been hailed by The New Yorker as "the most open-minded music gathering in the country."

Suttree's High Gravity Tavern

For a nightcap, make your way to Suttree's High Gravity Tavern featuring 32 taps that are constantly rotated and more than 60 bottles and cans of crafted, national and imported beers. It's a place you can get rare, high gravity, small batch and good beer. Spend some time with friends tasting a few while eating ramen. 

Pearl on Union 

Matcha latte at Pearl on Union
Cozy up with a Matcha or iced latte from Pearl on Union.

For a slow morning or an afternoon pick-me-up, you'll want to hit up Pearl on Union for coffee, Matcha, tea and an assortment of pastries. Walk into this breezy, minimalist interior designed coffee shop, opened in 2018, for their take on coffee. No matter what you order be it pour over, drip, espresso, Americano, cappuccino, or latte you can be sure extra sugars won't be added (though they do carry chocolate, caramel and vanilla syrups if you prefer a little pizzazz). Take a seat at the bar looking out to the streets leading to Market Square.

Linden, Tennessee: If We Could Turn Back Time

There was a time when Linden was the town to stop in on the way out of Nashville while heading west.

Read More