Home to rich Southern histories, old-fashioned country music, and scrumptious, often-fried cuisine, Knoxville is a famed Tennessee city to the north of Pigeon Forge. Locals speak with classic Southern twangs, banjos are a common instrument, and there are historic sites galore. This is Knoxville in a nutshell. Of course, the inner city offers more in terms of a modern arts scene, science and arts museums, a beautiful zoo, and big nightlife with pub and nightclub crawls.
Towards the outskirts of Knoxville, you can find Southern homes that served as rest stops and headquarters for Confederate armies during the Civil War. These homes are historic and open to the public for tours. In other words, history buffs would be big fans of all the culture and historic insights that Knoxville has to offer.
There's plenty of fun things to do in Knoxville!
In 1854, farmers from around Tennessee would gather in Knoxville to sell their wares and check out the harvest of fellow farmers. This ritual established Market Square in Knoxville, which is now home to sidewalks lined with shops, boutiques, coffee bars, and restaurants. Located in downtown Knoxville, Market Square is where all the shopping and dining action happens for lovers of the inner city.
Some locals would even argue that The Square has become the heart of Knoxville. The marketplace covers a square mile with shops in every direction.
And a Farmers Market meets here every Wednesday and Friday from May to November. Market Square is also the hub of Knoxville’s annual festivals, such as Halloween in the City, where guests can sign up for ghost tours, trick-or-treat the shops and other establishments, and learn tons of spooky facts about Knoxville.
Families flock to the city because there are hundreds of kid-friendly attractions and fun things to do in Knoxville. For instance, the Knoxville Zoo is, for many families, a highlight on a Knoxville vacation.
The zoo covers over 53 spacious acres, with over 800 animals that attract well-over 350,000 visitors every year. Pack a picnic lunch and drinks, or stop at one of the on-site vending machines or cafes for a bite to eat. The zoo offers healthy, nutritious snacks that keep you and your family energized for the rest of your walk from one exhibit to another.
Other features include educational and informative presentations about a variety of animals, camel and carousel rides, and annual events, like Halloween and Christmas festivals within the zoo.
Senior citizens and military personnel receive a discount, while children under 2 are in for free. Additionally, the Knoxville Zoo is the perfect venue for small celebrations, such as weddings or children’s birthday parties.
Knoxville is situated in the foothills of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains, and is adjacent to the Tennessee River Valley. If time allows, take a drive 30 minutes outside of Knoxville and enjoy the rolling hills, picturesque views, and lush terrain.
Knoxville, Tennessee is what many would call a true Southern city in a classic Southern state. And that fact really comes through in Knoxville cuisine. There is something comforting and delicious about a homemade Southern meal, cooked made-to-order just for you. Sometimes fried, sometimes drenched in butters and gravies, but always yummy.
There are plenty of dining options— over 900 restaurants!
Nick & J’s Café, for instance, has been top-ranked by past guests as the best place to eat in Knoxville. The atmosphere is all diner, complete with checkerboard plates and red bar stools. Menu-wise, everything is homemade, including big stacks of buttermilk pancakes, home fries, club sandwiches, banana puddings and brownies, ham biscuits, and sun-brewed sweet tea.
Connor's Steak and Seafood also ranks high on the 'must try' list. Though Connor's is a small chain in the Southeast with a handful of locations, you'd never know it. The food is scrumptious and careful preparation goes into making each dish special. While the steaks are spectacular, if you enjoy seafood, opt for the Isle of Shellfish as your appetizer. Enjoy the blue point oysters, jumbo crab meat, jumbo shrimp, lobster tail, king crab leg, and all the appropriate accompaniments.
Other top dining suggestions include:
- Stock & Barrel - American, Bar,Vegetarian Friendly, GF
- The French Market - French, Cafe, European, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, GF
- Chesapeake's - American, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, GF
- Tomato Head - Italian, Pizza, Deli, American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan
- Cafe 4 - American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, GF
There is no doubt that Knoxville is a fantastic city to visit, with rich history, lots of culture, and southern charms. Want to stay for a weekend or longer?
Book your stay with one of the following top-ranked Knoxville hotels!
Sleep Inn North Knoxville
Located on Central Avenue Pike, the Sleep Inn North Knoxville comes from one of the nicest and most reliable hotel chains anywhere in the world. This one, specifically, is decked out with 53 well-furnished, all-modern rooms, each equipped with a custom AC system, an in-room fridge and microwave, a desk with an office chair, free high-speed internet and basic cable, and two super-comfortable queen-sized beds.
Other accommodations include an outdoor swimming pool, free parking for guests, and free daily breakfasts with favorites like bagels, herb cream cheese, fresh fruits, muffins, and an assortment of heat-up breakfast sandwiches. Check out Old City, a historic Knoxville neighborhood, for sidewalks lined with boutiques, family-owned shops, and fun, artsy cafes.
The Holiday Inn
The Holiday Inn on Henley Street is one of the best hotels in Knoxville favorite with rankings in the top ten from past guests via TripAdvisor reviews. Awarded the Certificate of Excellence, the hotel features cozy, homey accommodations for a plethora of guests from all walks of life.
Notable amenities include free shuttle services, an on-site restaurant, lounge, and bar, free high-speed internet, and a fitness room. Take a trip to the ground floor to dip in the heated indoor swimming pool or play a round of tennis on the backyard courts.
For lodging in Knoxville, this property is close to downtown Knoxville and Market Square, which offers great options for entertainment, shopping and dining. Find over ten restaurants on the square and double the amount just a block or so beyond.
You might also visit the campus of the University of Tennessee while exploring Knoxville. Founded two year before Tennessee became our 16th state in 1796, the historic campus is home to some 28,000 students.
La Quinta Inn & Suites
La Quinta Inn & Suites on Kirby Road is a big hit with pet owners, as the entire hotel is dog-friendly for as long as you can clean up after your pet and ensure they do not disturb other guests. Accommodations-wise, expect the comfortable basics, such as free daily breakfasts, custom in-room AC systems, an outdoor swimming pool, and self-serve laundry facilities.
If you are a bookworm through and through, walk over to McKay Used Books. Bring home some reduced-price paperbacks, sit and read for hours, or simply peruse the shelves for literary treasures for your collection.
The Crowne Plaza Knoxville
The Crowne Plaza Knoxville on West Summit Hill Drive is a cozy, accommodating place to book a stay for your weekend away from home. With all of the comforts that you would expect from 3.5-star hotel, the Crowne Plaza brings you peace of mind, body, and soul in the form of super-comfy beds, amazing shower pressure, courteous staff, and an all-around cordial and reliable experience.
For fun, exercise, and beautiful views, take on the nature paths and hiking trails of Victor Ashe Park on Bradshaw Road. Kick a ball around the soccer fields, play a game of Frisbee or disk golf, walk your pups, or let your kids play on the huge, all-seasons playground. Find a 2-acre lake for fishing, horseshoe pits, a paved loop, restrooms and a concession stand on this 115 acre property.
Ready to explore the magnificent Southern city and countryside of Knoxville? Book now. Save now. TravNow!