The beautiful thing about Tennessee is that there’s something for everyone here.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, culture or history, you’ll find it in this U.S. state. Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, along the banks of the Tennessee River, Knoxville has a rich culture and a vibrant arts and entertainment scene all of its own.
Market Square: A Place to Stroll, Shop and Eat
Market Square is a lively rendezvous point and the beating heart of Knoxville. This pedestrian square is a mix of small fashionable boutiques, vintage shops and home and interior decorating stores. It has a charming village-like atmosphere while remaining trendy and dynamic. Once a trading place for local farmers, today there are art and music festivals here year-round, as well as a nice weekly market with local produce. Visit the sister stores of Bliss, located across the street from each other, for fashion, furniture and home accessories. Check out the cool shirts and sweatshirts at Nothing Too Fancy, just around the corner.
When you come with your family, you’ll be surprised at the selection of restaurants. From burgers to organic fare, you’ll find a dish to suit every palate. Do not forget to taste local products and check out the outdoor Farmer's Market for a selection of fresh produce.
Market Square also has a splash park, open in the warmer summer months, open spaces and picnic tables to relax and play. Adjacent to Market Square is Krutch Park, where you and your children can enjoy pretty natural scenery and outdoor sculptures.
Downtown on Gay Street
After Market Square, stroll down Gay Street, visit boutiques and enjoy excellent dining. Gay Street is also known as Knoxville’s theater district, where you will find a number of beautiful historic venues like the magnificent Tennessee Theatre, the official State Theatre of Tennessee, and the Bijou Theatre, known for its intimate atmosphere and great acoustics. Dating to the 1790s, several buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Throughout the year, many artists perform along Gay Street and it’s always worth a look.
For lunch, stop by Nama Sushi Bar and try the “Ex-Girlfriend” roll, a delicious eel, crab, shrimp and scallops combination that is a Knoxville favorite. After lunch, pop into the Mast General Store and The Art Market. The Art Market gallery showcases work of over 60 area painters, glass artists, printmakers, photographers and sculptors and is a great place to pick up gifts for friends and family back home. At the end of the day, enjoy a beer in one of the bars around Market Square.
Day to Night Dining
Not surprisingly, Knoxville is home to an eclectic collection of restaurants and bars. Dining options range from Spanish paella and delicious sushi to upscale farm-to-table cuisine and original cafeterias. Start the day with a hot chocolate from Coffee and Chocolate in front of Krutch Park. They even have chocolate and bacon truffles on the menu. For lunch, try a delicious tomato and basil cream soup from the Trio Café. And for dinner, enjoy a succulent oven-baked pizza at The Tomato Head in Market Square. A draft beer from The Casual Pint Craft Beer Market – just off Market Square – is always an excellent choice to end the night.
For nightlife, there are options for all tastes, including going to the theater, listening to live music, having a drink at a bar or enjoying a quiet romantic dinner.
Festivals and Celebrations
Knoxville is also home to renowned events throughout the year. Time a visit to include the International Biscuit Festival, Rhythm n' Blooms, Dogwood Arts, Boomsday (the largest Labor Day weekend fireworks show in the nation) and other special events that make it an exciting city.
This is Knoxville: alive with activity, a perfect blend of Southern hospitality, culture, art and entertainment. All this and more makes the city a destination on your must-see list.