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Knoxville Travel Guide

Travel Knoxville like a local.
Last Updated
:
February 17, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA Aerial
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Listen up, all you road trippers and wanderlusters—it might be time to pull off at the next exit and make your way to Knoxville, Tennessee for some good ol’ fashioned fun! While Nashville gets all the attention as Tennessee’s music city, Knoxville keeps a low-key aura of charm about it that sings like your favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song.

So what if Knoxville doesn’t have a replica of the Greek Parthenon like Athens (oh wait, it actually does!)? And who cares if you can’t gawk at celebrity mansions in Knoxville like Hollywood (but the mountains are definitely more photogenic if you ask me). Knoxville offers a cross between your eccentric Aunt Beth’s flare and your beloved grandpa’s relaxed spirit.

From the Volunteer pride of Rocky Top to biscuits n’ gravy galore, you’re guaranteed to work up an Appalachian-sized appetite for adventure with a side of Southern comfort food in this East Tennessee thrill ride. Whether you want to whoop and holler with 100,000 of your newest friends at a UT football game or prefer a more peaceful paddle along the Tennessee River (no judgment either way!)

Knoxville extends its welcome. Its music will stir your soul, the mountain views will awe you speechless, and the people will make you feel right at home. Y’all come experience some real Southern hospitality now, ya hear?

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About Knoxville

Aerial View of Knoxville, Tennessee during Dusk
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Knoxville is a historic city located on the Tennessee River in eastern Tennessee. It is home to the Museum of East Tennessee History, an interactive exhibit that showcases local and regional art and Civil War artifacts. The city is also home to reconstructed log cabins and the site of a Revolutionary War captain’s fort.

Knoxville is centrally located between Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte. Its climate is moderate, with an average temperature of 58°F in January. The record high was 105°F in 2012 and the lowest temperature is -24°F in 1985. Knoxville has several museums and attractions worth visiting, including the historic Market Square district.

The city is also close to many lakes, rivers, greenways, and other attractions. There are many parks and public recreation areas, including the Knoxville Urban Wilderness, which boasts more than 1,000 acres of forest and lake access. In addition, Knoxville is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which encompasses 800 square miles of Southern Appalachian mountains. Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, and Abrams Falls are all in the vicinity of Knoxville.

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Why Go to Knoxville

The Sunsphere at World's Fair park in downtown Knoxville
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If you’re looking for an urban getaway, Knoxville is a great choice. This Mid-South city is home to several attractions, including the Market Square District, a lively cultural and entertainment hub. This district is home to eclectic stores, restaurants and bars, and a farmer’s market that is open to the public every Wednesday and Saturday. Visitors can also take in local entertainment, including the annual Shakespeare on the Square festival and a free gallery walk every first Friday.

If art is your thing, then the Knoxville Museum of Art is a must-see. Open to the public for free, this museum features world-class exhibitions by local and international artists. Its latest exhibit, Cycle of Life, is the largest glass installation in the world. There are also plenty of kid-friendly activities, such as artist demonstrations and an interactive play area.

The city is also surrounded by the Smoky Mountains, making it an ideal location for hiking and outdoor activities. Knoxville has a vibrant nightlife, though it’s not as exciting as other larger cities. You can also catch a game at Neyland Stadium, the 5th largest college football stadium in the country.

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Best Time to Go

Knaoxville, Tennessee
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The Best Time to go to Knoxville depends on the time of year you visit. July has the longest day of the year and August has the shortest day of the year. Summers are generally hot and humid. The hottest month is July, and daytime temperatures are typically in the high 80s. In addition, Knoxville experiences choppy winds in July. If you are planning to visit the area during the summer, consider visiting between November and March. This time is great for visiting the city’s downtown attractions and enjoying the weather while it is still relatively mild.

The Best Time to go to Knoxville depends on your personal preferences. If you enjoy outdoor activities, summer will be your best choice, while winter will be the best time for those who prefer chilly weather. Although the summer months are hot and humid, fall is mild and offers the most colorful foliage. You may also consider visiting the city during the winter, when temperatures are mild and you can find cheaper hotel rooms.

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How to Get Around

Knoxville, TN map
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Unless you plan to spend a large amount of time in a car, getting around Knoxville by foot is the best way to enjoy the city. The downtown area is walkable, and many of the most popular attractions can be reached on foot in under 15 minutes. If you prefer to be in your own vehicle, you can rent a car from the Knoxville airport, where you’ll find Hertz and Avis. You can also park for free at any of the city’s downtown parking meters. Parking at these meters is free after 6pm, and free all day on weekends.

Cycling is another great option in Knoxville. The city has paved bicycle paths and protected bike lanes. There are also more than 100 miles of greenway paths throughout the city. The city is also home to the University of Tennessee, which is part of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). During the football season, you can catch gameday action on pontoon boats and take in the scenery from a new perspective. Other fun activities in Knoxville include the Knoxville Ice Bears hockey team and the Tennessee Smokies baseball team.

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Best Restaurants

Restaurant view of Café 4
Café 4

If you’re looking for the best meals in Knoxville, you’ve come to the right place. There are some classic dining options, as well as some great new options. For example, if you’re looking for a great place to grab a quick bite, Cafe 4 is a great choice. It serves tasty meals in an informal atmosphere.

The culinary scene in Knoxville is renowned for locally sourced ingredients and Southern comfort food. You can also find fusion cuisines and classic Italian kitchens. There are also plenty of seafood options and a few award-winning brunch spots. Just be sure to call ahead to find out about the hours of operation, though.

While Knoxville may not be known to many visitors, the city has a long tradition of good food. Old City district restaurants include OliBea, which features a Mexican-Southern breakfast menu made with regional and local ingredients. Coffee lovers can find fresh brews at Brynn Coffee Co. The city is also home to Remedy Coffee, which roasts its beans in a 1970s Winnebago.

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Things to Do

Paddling the Tennessee river in Knoxville, TN
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If you’re looking for fun things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee, you’ve come to the right place. Located on the Tennessee River, Knoxville has a variety of things to do. During your stay, you can explore the Market Square district, which features 19th-century buildings. You can also visit the Museum of East Tennessee History, which offers interactive exhibits and regional art. The museum also showcases Civil War artifacts. There are also many historical sites to visit, including James White’s Fort, which was built by a Revolutionary War captain. The fort includes a reconstructed log cabin from 1786.

A trip to Blount Mansion is another great way to learn about the city’s history. The mansion was once a home and the territorial capital, but today it is a house museum that teaches visitors about the early history of Tennessee. Visitors can learn about the family’s history and William Blount, the founder of the state of Tennessee.

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Neighborhoods to Know

Red brick apartments in Knoxville Tennessee USA
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Explore Knoxville’s diverse neighborhoods and discover the city’s history by exploring Market Square district, the historic district featuring 19th-century buildings. You’ll also discover the Museum of East Tennessee History, which features interactive exhibits, regional art, Civil War artifacts and more. Visit James White’s Fort, built by a Revolutionary War captain and featuring a reconstructed log cabin from 1786.

Old City: With its historic roots and a thriving cultural scene, Knoxville’s Old City is home to some of the city’s most exciting new developments. Visitors can enjoy the Jackson Terminal, which transforms into a maker and artist marketplace twice a month. This outdoor market is open from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on the second and fourth Sundays of each month.

Belle Morris: Located near downtown Knoxville, Belle Morris has a quaint, historic vibe that draws many residents to this neighborhood. Home prices in Belle Morris are modest compared to other neighborhoods in Knoxville, but the median income is still above $20,000. Old City’s school system performs below average and is ideal for young couples who want to start a family.

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Weather

Knoxville, Tennessee
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When it comes to Knoxville weather, we are lucky enough to enjoy a moderate climate year-round. The warmest month is March, with temperatures hovering around 60°F, while the coolest month is April. The highest average hourly wind speed occurs in March, and the lowest is in September. The cloudiest month is January, with an average of 54% cloud cover.

A typical day in Knoxville is around 14.3°F. The earliest sunrise occurs on June 12 at 6:18 AM, while the latest sunrise occurs at 8:02 AM on November 5. Similarly, the day’s length varies from 14 hours, 36 minutes to 14 hours, 36 minutes. The following charts provide information on the temperature throughout the year.

The monthly averages for Knoxville are presented in the weather graphs. The graphs also include the average number of days with rain, snow, or hail. For example, July has an average high temperature of 87°F, while January’s average low temperature is 48°F.

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