Things to Do in Knoxville, Tennessee During Your Visit

Knoxville, Tennessee, is known for its location near the Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee River. Knoxville provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, and boating.

Knoxville is also home to the University of Tennessee, which contributes to its lively atmosphere and cultural vibrancy. The city’s downtown area features historic architecture, museums, and theaters alongside a variety of dining and shopping options. Additionally, the city hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year.

Knoxville’s blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and urban amenities makes it an appealing vacation destination.

Knoxville Ale Trail

Knoxville has some of the best craft breweries in the country. To showcase this rich cultural landscape, the city has created the Knoxville Ale Trail, an official self-guided tour of the city’s local breweries. Each stop along the trail offers something unique, from artisanal brews and creative pub fare to live entertainment.

Sunsphere Observation Deck

The Sunsphere in Knoxville, TN, is a gleaming monument over 250 feet high. This magnificent structure became an instant landmark in 1982 when it was completed as part of the World’s Fair. The observation deck offers magnificent views of the city, the Tennessee River, the University of Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains!

Happy Holler Historic District

Happy Holler Historic District has unique boutiques, restaurants, and bars. Happy Holler is worth checking out if you want vintage clothing, artisanal crafts, or the perfect cocktail to unwind after a long day.

Happy Holler’s charming brick buildings and colorful storefronts give the neighborhood an old-world feel. Its prime location near downtown Knoxville and easy access via public transportation make it incredibly convenient.

Tennessee Riverboat Cruise

If you’re looking for a unique way to experience Knoxville’s natural beauty, consider taking a riverboat cruise along the Tennessee River. Whether you opt for a daytime or nighttime tour, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the city’s skyline and shoreline.

Popular riverboat cruise options include The Tennesee Riverboat Company, The Star of Knoxville, and the Volunteer Princess.

Ijams Nature Center

Ijams Nature Center is an expansive park located in Knoxville, TN. This popular destination comprises over 300 acres of forests, rivers, and wetlands, providing lots of recreational opportunities! Whether you are interested in hiking, kayaking, or simply exploring the beauty of the local landscape, Ijams Nature Center is an excellent place to get outdoors!

World’s Fair Park

World’s Fair Park is a beloved park in Knoxville. It plays an essential role in Knoxville’s history: it was initially constructed to host several World’s Fairs during the mid-1900s, thus earning its name.

Today, it serves as a gathering place for locals to enjoy activities, including picnicking, relaxing by the lake, walking their dogs, or exploring beautiful gardens and sculptures. The park hosts many events, including an annual concert series.

Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum

The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum is a beautiful refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life just minutes from downtown. With over 44 acres of gardens and natural areas, this urban oasis offers trails, beautiful flower beds, and majestic wooded areas.

Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville is one of the best zoos in the state of Tennessee. With over 1200 animals, Zoo Knoxville offers a unique and exciting opportunity to see some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife. Whether interested in large predators like lions, tigers, and bears or small creatures like penguins, otters, and lemurs, Zoo Knoxville offers animal lovers an excellent experience. 

Knoxville Museum of Art

The Knoxville Museum of Art offers free admission and celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee. Established in 1961, the museum showcases a collection of works ranging from contemporary pieces to traditional Appalachian art. Notably, the museum is known for its impressive Thorne Rooms, miniature interiors from different historical periods, and the large-scale glass and steel installation by artist Richard Jolley, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame has become a hub for women’s basketball enthusiasts. This prestigious institution recognizes female athletes’ contributions to the sport and highlights their successes on and off the court. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains from Knoxville, Tennessee, is a scenic and easily accessible excursion. The national park’s main entrance is just a short drive, approximately an hour south of the city. Activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, and exploring historical sites make it a perfect day trip for Knoxville residents.

Visiting Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville is an exciting city to visit. Knoxville has everything, whether you’re looking for fun outdoor activities, engaging cultural experiences, or delectable restaurants. Knoxville is a great place to explore and enjoy, with sprawling green parks, picturesque waterways, beautiful mountain scenery, and unique local attractions. 

Photo Credit: [@sepavone/DepositPhotos]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Things to Do in Knoxville, Tennessee During Your Visit

Alexandrea Sumuel Groves is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.