The Sunsphere, built for the 1982 World's Fair, towers over downtown Knoxville
At the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains
When you arrive in town, kick off your visit at the Knoxville Visitors Center, located in the heart of downtown. It’s a great source for handcrafted Knoxville souvenirs. Come listen to a free concert Monday through Saturday at the WDVX Blue Plate Special. You can also see what attractions and events await you during your stay. Then head off on your own adventure.
If you’re a history buff, check out the city’s seven historic homes, which hold secrets of the past and tell stories of the Civil War. Battlefields and walking tours might also be of interest. Museums dot the cityscape. The Museums of Downtown Knoxville have changing exhibits that celebrate local artists and history. Richard Jolley boasts the largest permanent glass exhibit in the world at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Knoxville was home to the 1982 World’s Fair and one iconic symbol of that is the Sunsphere. You can go up in the 200-plus-foot structure and see the entire city from the observation deck or maybe you’d rather just relax with a drink in the Icon Ultra Lounge.
The good news about all of this is that Knoxville has a truly walkable downtown. Shopping, food and music are around every corner. Knoxville loves a party. The city is home to the Big Ears Festival, the Dogwood Arts Festival, the Rossini Festival, the Knoxville Film Festival, Outdoor Knoxfest and the International Biscuit Festival, just to name a few. Every Labor Day, Knoxville hosts Boomsday, one of the Southeast’s premier events and the largest Labor Day weekend fireworks show in the nation.
Stop by the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center at Volunteer Landing for stand-up paddleboard and canoe rentals or explore Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, located just three miles from downtown. This 1,000-acre urban playground features more than 40 miles of hiking and biking trails within city limits and connects parks, trails, Civil War sites and recreational amenities.Bike, canoe and stand-up paddleboard rentals are also available at the Ijams Nature Center.
Knoxville's outdoor adventures also extend to the Knoxville Zoo. Experience wildlife up-close at the city's largest attraction. Come face to face with more than 800 of the world’s most fascinating animals. See giraffes, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees and more as you travel through the grasslands and forests of Africa. Ride a camel or feed a giraffe!
Knoxville is the crossroads of America. Come experience Southern hospitality at its finest.