Knoxville is Tennessee's third biggest city with more than 183,000 people living in it. It is also the seat of Knox County and the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area. Get on a bus rental in Knoxville, Tennessee and explore this wonderful city in style and comfort.
Knoxville is right at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, with the Tennessee River running along it. All the beauty is complemented by trademark southern hospitality, plus the bonus of growth and development, culture, and one-of-a-kind experiences. You can find it all here.
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The first place to go to for some fun time in Knoxville is Putt-Putt Fun Center. The facility has three 18-hole championship miniature golf courses, softball and baseball batting cages, a game room, and great pizzas and ice cream. Then you have the Zuma Fun Center, where you have miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, more than 100 video games, rock climbing wall, a mini roller coaster, and rides for the younger kids.
Then you have Sir Goony's Family Fun Center where you can ride the go-karts, play paintball, have fun on the miniature golf course or on the SG Speedway, or check the Splash Zone for its water attractions. You can also race your remote controlled cars at the SG Speedway.
Other fun facilities you can go to includes Laser Quest - Knoxville, Players Club Paintball, and Battlefield Knoxville.
Check out the Emporium Center, the city's arts center that was initially built in the 1890s and was re-opened only after the renovations in 2004. It has a pair of art galleries that regular host the artworks of local and regional artists. It is also home to artists' studios and nine arts and culture institutions, including the Circle Modern Dance, African American Appalachian Arts, Foothills Craft Guild, HoLa Hora Latina, Arts & Culture Alliance, and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
Then you have the Knoxville Museum of Art, which highlights the artists and art of East Tennessee. The contemporary art space has a collection of artworks from 20th and 21st century, including those of famous artists such as Gordon Cheung, Anne Wilson, William Morris, Hiraki Sawa, Charles Burchfield, Robert Longo, Ori Gersht, and Kenneth Snelson.
If you are going to visit the University of Tennessee campus, be sure to check out the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. The museum has a varied focus on natural history, anthropology, local history, and archaeology, as well as decorative arts.
Another venue you could go to is the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, where you could learn more about the women who excelled in the sport. Further, you have the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum, where you could view antique trains and rolling stock, as well as other railway related exhibits.
Apart from these sites, you can also check out the many art galleries in the city such as the Art Market Gallery, Bennett Galleries & Co, Fluorescent Gallery, the District Gallery & Framery, Liz-Beth & Co, and Gallery 1010, Ewing Gallery of Art & Architecture.
Performance arts. You can check out the Knoxville Opera Company, which has been performing outstanding opera productions since the 1970s. The group performs at Tennessee Theatre, a building constructed in 1907 and is also the current home of Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and the Appalachian Ballet.
Speaking of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the professional group is the oldest continuing orchestra in the area, having been established in the 1930s.
You can also go to Bijou Theatre. The historic theater was built in 1909 and has Georgian and Federal architecture. It is currently used as a performance venue.
Every July through August, you can watch Shakespeare on the Square. Go to Market Square and see two of the Bard's best works. Watch the histories, to comedies, to tragedies put together by the Tennessee Stage Company, and be sure to bring a blanket or a comfy lawn chair. The Tennessee Stage Company also performs at different venues in the city.
You could also check out the Square Room Dinner Theatre, a performance venue where you could catch musical acts on an intimate stage.
Events and festivals. One of the best annual events you can attend in Knoxville Big Ears Festival. The music festival showcases the best musicians from a wide range of genres, including indie rock, metal, classical, jazz and minimalist music, among others. Another music festival in Knoxville is the Ska Weekend, which is the biggest ska festival in the United States.
Then there is Boomsday, the city's yearly fireworks celebration that is held on every Labor Day weekend. Meanwhile, the Dogwood Arts Festival is held every April, in time for the blossoming of the dogwood trees. Apart from several Appalachian arts demonstrations and exhibits, crafts, bluegrass music, the festival also features a house and garden exhibit, a parade and other events.
And it may sound a bit odd, but the city is also host to the International Biscuit Festival. It has several activities related to biscuits and includes giving out samples of biscuits as well as cooking demos. The event attracts at least 15,000 people every year.
Then you might want to attend the Rossini Festival, which celebrate the Italian culture and heritage as well as the opera. The Kuumba is a festival that celebrates the African American culture and heritage and has several art exhibits, games, dance, musical performances and theater events among other activities.
Or you can check out Autumn on the Square, which highlights both national and local artist. See their works at the Market Square.
Other festivals here include Asian Festival, Festival on the Fourth, GreekFest, Hola Festival, IndiaFest, Knoxville Brewers' Jam, Knoxville Pride Festival, Tennessee Valley Fair, and Volapalooza.
Bring your appetite and Knoxville's wide range of excellent restaurants will surely satisfy your every craving.
If you want to start your tours on a full stomach, you can go to Pete's Coffee Shop where you can get a hearty and inexpensive breakfast. Pete's Coffee Shop is an institution that has been open for three decades now and is still the best place to get pancakes, bacon, oatmeal, cereal and everything you want on your breakfast plate. Other great breakfast places here include the Plaid Apron Gourmet's Market Cosmo's Cafe, and First Watch.
The city's dining landscape is ever changing and there is always a new restaurant opening to delight both locals and visitors. Check out the newly opened Stock & Barrel, where you can get the best hamburgers and French fries in the city. Other restaurants that have recently opened their doors include Holly's Corner, Blackhorse Pub & Brewery, and Shuck Raw Bar & Grill. You can also get more delicious burgers at Copper Cellar, Litton's, and Cru Bistro & Wine Bar. Or head to Boyd's Jig & Reel, and Downtown Grill & Brewery for delicious fries.
If you wake up a little later, you might want to have brunch at the Bistro at the Bijou. Their weekend brunch menu includes grits and shrimp, chicken fried steak, ham, red flannel hash and crab cakes. The Bistro at the Bijou is the oldest restaurant in downtown Knoxville, having been open for the past 35 years. Other good brunch spots include the Sunspot, and Tomato Head.
Businessmen favor Aubrey's and Cafe 4.
Old City Java is the best place to get coffee in Knoxville, but you can get good cups of joe at K-Brew, Coffee & Chocolate, and Remedy Coffee. Then you might want to check out Magpie Bakery, home of the best cupcakes in the city. Other places for bread, pastries and baked goodies are:
Craving for more desserts? Go to Coolato Gelato, Cruze Farm Dairy, Bruster's Ice Cream, and Rita's Italian Ice for some frozen delights. Further, you can go to Nixon's Deli, Chandler's Deli, Steamboat Sandwiches, and Holy Land Market & Deli for some of the best deli fare in Knoxville.
And because you are in Tennessee, you could never pass up the meat. Ye Olde Steakhouse is the city's best steakhouse, serving big portions of the juiciest and tastiest steaks that you could find here. then check out Calhoun's, Sweet P's BBQ & Soul House or Dead End BBQ, for some of the best ribs in Knoxville.
Dead End BBQ also serves the best barbecues in town, while Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria can help you have a great pizza and beer experience, with innovative pies that are made out of the freshest ingredients. You could also go to Hard Knox Pizza and Brixx for more delicious pizzas.
Now for some great seafood. Do check out Chesapeake's, a restaurant that has a nautical theme and serves you fresh seafood cooked to perfection. Then you could go to Bayou Bay, Nama Sushi Bar, Shuck Raw Bar & Ale for more seafood. Speaking of Nama Sushi Bar, it is the best place in the city the get your sushi fix, but Tomo, Shono's in the City, and Wasabi are fierce contenders to that throne.
Comfort food is the specialty at Big Fatty's, while Naples is the best Italian place here. You could also go to Oodles Uncorked, Altruda's Italian Restaurant, and Savelli's Italian Restaurant for great Italian fare. And if you are looking for French food, then go to the Northshore Brasserie, French Market, Echo Bistro, and the Orangery.
Meanwhile, looking for the best Asian restaurant in Knoxville would take you to Taste of Thai, Asia Cafe, and Stir Fry Cafe. Then you have soccer taco, which has the best nachos and the best Mexican food. Or you could go to Chez Guevara, Cancun, or Senor Taco for great Mexican food.
Also, for those looking for Middle Eastern flavors, nothing could satisfy them more than King Tut's, Cairo Cafe, Niro's Gyros, and Holy Land Market & Deli. You also have Sitar Indian Cuisine, Woodlands Indian Restaurant, Three Rivers Market, and Bombay Palace for some taste Indian food.
Then you have Copper Cellar for its delicious $5 burger. And if you really want to save, check out the food trucks as well such as Savory & Sweet Truck, Cruze Farm, Hoof, and Good Golly Tamales.
Other restaurants you should not miss:
Shopping. Shopping in Knoxville is a delight. Go to Turkey Creek, which is a one of a kind shopping complex in the city that is composed of:
The Colonial Pinnacle has more than five dozen restaurants and shops in its 535,000 sq. ft. of retail space, while Colonial Promenade has less than two dozen stores in its close to 281,000 sq. ft. of space.
You also have the West Town Mall, which is a high-end shopping mall that features 150 shops and restaurants anchored by Dillard's, two Belk stores, Sears, Roebuck and Company, and JC Penney, in its 1.3 million sq. ft. of retail space. This is the biggest shopping mall in the state.
A super regional shopping mall, the West Town Mall, has more than 120 restaurants and retailers and anchored by Belk, Sears, JCPenney and the Rush Fitness Complex.
You should also go to the city's main retail corridor, which is situated in West Knoxville. You can check out more than two dozen shopping centers in this area. Of course downtown Knoxville is also a shopping destination with its specialty shops and boutiques. There are also shopping choices along Cumberland Avenue, Broadway and Chapman Highway.
Be sure to shop at these markets and stores, you would regret passing them up!
Golf is a favorite past time here in Knoxville, and if you love the greens, pick out any one of these courses to play in:
Sports venues. Sports in the city are kept alive by the University of Tennessee Volunteers. Their teams are supported by the local community as well as those living in the surrounding areas. The Volunteers play their football games at Neyland Stadium, which is one of the biggest stadiums in the entire world. Their basketball teams is among the country's biggest indoor basketball venue.
Other sports teams that are based in the city and where they play include:
Other sports venues you could go to include the Lindsey Nelson Stadium, the Sherri Parker Lee Stadium and the Thompson–Boling Arena.
Knoxville has more than 100 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. In fact, except for a handful of sites in different cities, Knoxville pretty much has all of the historic sites in Knox County.
First check out the Bleak House, which is currently being used as a museum. The house has a classical revival architecture and was once the headquarters of the Confederate Army in the 1860s. Other historic houses that are currently used as a museum are the Joseph Alexander Mabry, Jr. House, Ramsey House, and the Ivan Racheff House. The Alexander McMillan House was built by Alexander McMillan, one of the pioneers in Knox County, around the 1780s.
Then you have the Alexander Bishop House, which is thought to have been built before the 1800s. Meanwhile, the Camp House is also called Greystone. This was the home of Eldad Cicero Camp, an oil tycoon in the 19th century. The house is now used by WATE-TV.
You can also visit the Benjamin Morton House, which was built in the 1920s for the former city mayor with Baumann & Baumann doing the designs. Then you have the Col. John Williams House, where the former diplomat and senator lived.
While the Savage House and Garden features a Japanese garden and was built in the 1910s.
Other historic houses you can see here include:
The East Tennessee History Center is where you would find the Museum of East Tennessee History, which has exhibits that touches on the culture and history of the region. It tells you about Davy Crockett, John Sevier and other notable Tennesseans. They also have memorabilia from important events that happened in the area as well as works created by Joseph Knaffl, Lloyd Branson, Catherine Wiley, and Adelia Armstrong Lutz.
If you do not have much time to go around Knoxville, then you can see more historic sites by visiting the historic districts here. For example, the Adair Gardens Historic District and the North Hills Historic District feature a number of houses that were constructed between the 1920s and the 1930s, while the Fort Sanders Historic District have structures built between the 1880s and the 1920s.
Island Home Park Historic District has more contributing structures that total close to 120 houses all built earlier than 1940, and the Park City Historic District has hundreds of 19th and 20th century houses. While the Old North Knoxville Historic District has close to 500 contributing properties.
Other areas with a high collection of houses are Forest Hills Boulevard Historic District and the Riverdale Historic District.
Some historic districts include structures other than homes. For instance, the Emory Place Historic District features a fire station, First Christian Church, and Knoxville High School. Gay Street Commercial Historic District, on the other hand, reminds you of the city's commercial boom years and has close to three dozen buildings that were built as early as the 1880s. Mechanicsville Historic District has dozens of buildings and houses that were constructed in the 1800s to the 1900s.
Then you have the South Market Historic District, which has several historic buildings such as the Ely Building, the Cunningham Building, the Cate Building and the Cherokee Building, among others. These buildings were built at the turn of the 20th century.
Other historic districts you can go to include:
Then you have the churches such as the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, Church Street Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, the gothic revival New Salem United Methodist Church and Central United Methodist Church, Seven Islands Methodist Church, and the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church.
You can also visit the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery, the city's oldest cemetery. Other cemeteries you can visit are the Knoxville National Cemetery, Lebanon in the Forks Cemetery, and the Old Gray Cemetery.
Then you have the government buildings such as the Knox County Courthouse, Knoxville Post Office, Old Knoxville City Hall, and Old Post Office Building. You also have the schools: Park City Junior High School, Riverdale School, Knoxville Business College, Tennessee School for the Deaf Historic District, and Tyson Junior High School. And the historic hotels: Andrew Johnson Hotel and Lamar House Hotel.
Knoxville has more than 80 parks under its care totalling to 1,854 acres of green space that you could enjoy. Is it any wonder why more and more people are loving the outdoors in the city? You can play, have a picnic, or get fit at the city's many parks. Go for some tennis, hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, golf and swimming, among other things.
Six of these parks have at least 100 acres of space, including Ijams Nature Center, Sharp's Ridge Memorial Park, Victor Ashe Park, Knoxville Municipal Golf Course, Lakeshore Park, and Forks of the River wilderness Management Area.
One of the first parks you should go to is the World's Fair Park, where you can find an amphitheater and water fountains. But the main feature of the park is the Sunsphere, which stands more than 81 meters high. Or you can go to Big Ridge State Park or the Cherokee National Forest for a short break without going far.
Some of the top parks in Knoxville include:
You should also check out Knoxville's Urban Wilderness, which spans 1,000 acres of space that is just ideal for hikers, dog walkers, biking enthusiasts, or people who just want to get some peace and quiet.
Aside from these notable parks, you could head out east and go to Holston River Park which has two big picnic shelters that can be reserved, picnic tables, paved trails, playground, canoe launch, fishing piers, soccer fields, and a dog park in more than 44 acres of land.
In the northern part of the city, you have Adair Park, with 39 acres of space that features a shelter, a gazebo, Adair Creek, a pond, butterfly gardens, and playground. Other parks nearby include Fountain City Park, First Creek Park, Alice Bell Park, and Fountain City Ballfields. In the northwest portion, you can choose from another handful of parks, including S & J Colquitt Memorial Park, Inskip Pool & Park, Malcolm-Martin Park, and the Badgett Fields.
You then have the Fort Dickerson Park in the south side of the city. This park has 85 acres of space, picnic shelters, open spaces, scenic views, Harold Lambert Overlook, unpaved trails and the Fort Dickerson Earthen Fort. You could also find three authentic replica cannons on these grounds. You could also get more than four miles of unpaved trails and around 75 acres of open spaces at William Hastie Natural Area.
The biggest developed park in the southern area, however, is the Charter E. Doyle Park, with 26 acres of space. It features a picnic shelter, open spaces, a playground, trails, a backstop for softball and baseball, and tennis courts.
Knoxville Zoo occupies a space of 53 acres and houses around 800 animals belonging to dozens of species. Knoxville Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
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