The Sunsphere, built for the 1982 World's Fair, towering over downtown
The historic Tennessee Theatre anchoring South Gay Street downtown
Trying out the craft beers at The Casual Pint
Market day at historic Market Square in the heart of downtown
Floating down the French Broad River
Oarsman sculpture on West Church Avenue, two blocks from the Tennessee River
Bicyclists enjoying a ride during the Dogwood Arts Festival
Field of sunflowers in the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area
At the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains
When you arrive in town, start your visit at the Knoxville Visitors Center in the heart of downtown. It’s a great source for handcrafted Knoxville souvenirs. 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 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 the event is the Sunsphere. You can go up in the 61-plus-meter 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 historic Tennessee Theatre envelops you while you enjoy Broadway or your favorite concert.
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 4.8 kilometers from downtown. This 405-hectare urban playground has something for every type of outdoors enthusiast, features more than 64 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 elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees and other species as you travel through grasslands and forests. Ride a camel or feed a giraffe.
Knoxville is the crossroads of the USA. Experience Southern hospitality at its finest.
It's possible to travel by boat from downtown Knoxville to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Great Lakes.