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Knoxville, Tennessee

Local Details

Learn more about Knoxville, Tennessee using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Knoxville, Tennessee so great!

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City Guide

Knoxville is located in Knox County, Tennessee, United States. It is the third-largest city in the state. It is the home of the University of Tennessee's primary campus (UTK) and site of the 1982 World's Fair.

Get in

By plane

McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) is serviced by:

  • American Eagle, +1 800 433-7300.
  • Comair, +1 800 354-9822.
  • Continental Express, +1 800 525-0280.
  • Delta Airlines, +1 800 221-1212.
  • Northwest Airlines, +1 800 225-2525.
  • United Express, +1 800 241-6522.
  • US Airways Express, +1 800 428-4322.

The following cities are serviced non-stop from Knoxville by air: Atlanta (ATL), Charlotte (CLT), Cincinnati (CVG), Cleveland (CLE), Dallas (DFW), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Houston (IAH), Memphis (MEM), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (LGA), Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), Washington (DCA), Washington (IAD).

By car

Southbound Interstate 75 and westbound Interstate 40 converge in the middle of Knoxville via Interstate 275 and run concurrently through western Knoxville. I-75 and I-40 split at the western edge of Knox County.

By bus

  • Greyhound, 100 East Magnolia Avenue, +1 800 231-2222. National bus service.

By boat

The Tennessee Rivers run through Knoxville and is accessible by personal watercraft. Many boaters routinely navigate the Tennessee River for both pleasure and travel.

Get around

Although parking is usually easy to come by in most of the city, it may be difficult to locate adequate parking in the Downtown area and around the University of Tennessee. One can traverse downtown itself by walking, but most major roads are not amenable to pedestrians or bicyclists. The outer parts of the city are most amenable to private automobiles, as bus service is necessarily thin in the outer sprawl. Many of these neighborhood lack sidewalks, rendering travel by car a real necessity.

Public Transportation

  • Knoxville Area Transit, or KAT, KAT runs a bus service throughout the City of Knoxville and parts of Knox County. Unfortunately, most KAT bus stops are served on an hourly interval, so exploring Knoxville via KAT bus is somewhat difficult. All KAT buses are equipped with flip down bicycle racks and many are powered by biodiesel or other alternative fuels. KAT operates special routes for some events, a downtown trolley service, and bus services for the University of Tennessee.
  • Knoxville Trolley Lines, The trolley runs several free downtown and University routes during business hours and one "Late Line" route on Friday and Saturday nights during the University of Tennessee fall and spring semesters. Most daytime stops are served on ten to twenty minute intervals.

Biking and Walking

Knoxville is slowly building out a viable paved greenway system that allows cyclists and pedestrians to travel into downtown from close by suburbs such as Sequoyah Hills and Island Home.

  • Bearden Village / Third Creek Greenway : Beginning at Bearden Elementary School on Kingston Pike, the Third Creek Trail parallels Sutherland Avenue as it follows Third Creek's wooded path. When the trail ends at Neyland Drive, pedestrians and cyclists can continue on the Neyland Greenway to access Volunteer Landing, the stadium, and parts of the University of Tennessee campus. Unfortunately, a spur of the Neyland Greenway connecting to the World's Fair Park via a parking lot has been recently demolished in a construction project.
  • Sequoyah Greenway Technically, the Sequoyah Greenway is a gravel walking/running path located in the median of Cherokee Boulevard, the main road of one of Knoxville's nicest and wealthiest neighborhoods. However, cycling the broad boulevard roadway is a pleasant and reasonably safe ride for a casual or serious cyclist. Keep right and most automobiles will have more than enough room to pass you safely. Sequoyah Hills Park and the Tennessee River parallel much of the boulevard's southern side, and the park is a wonderful place to stop for a picnic. The northern side of the street is lined with stately homes. Much of the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood is pedestrian friendly, so be sure to explore a few of the leafy side streets. The trail is accessible at several parking areas along the boulevard, and at the Laurel Church of Christ parking lot (use the crosswalk at the intersection of Cherokee Boulevard and Kingston Pike.) A spur of the Third Creek Greenway leads to the Laurel Church parking lot. Be advised that this spur is extremely steep and not in the best repair. Bicyclists may need to dismount and small children will need lots of help.
  • Jean Teague Greenway : Beginning at West Hills Elementary School and terminating at West End Church of Christ, the Jean Teague Greenway is an ideal trail for walkers and families with young children. As the trail passes through West Hills/John Bynon park, it divides to form a loop and winds around numerous athletic fields and playgrounds. Near its midpoint, the trail crosses Winston Road near the YMCA. Parking is available at the elementary school when school is not in session, at the park entrance on Winston Road, and at West End Church of Christ on East Walker Springs Lane. Those wishing to continue on to the Cavet Station Greenway may do so by exiting the church parking lot and traveling westbound on East Walker Springs Lane.
  • Cavet Station Greenway : The Cavet Station Greenway follows the heavily traveled Gallaher View Road from the intersection of East Walker Springs Road to Middlebrook Pike. Although this may someday be a useful link between greenways, it is a less than idyllic experience for a recreational biker. Nearby residents do seem to make use of it as a convenient exercise path for jogging. A sidewalk is located on the opposite side of Gallaher View, and there is a cross walk at the intersection of Walker Springs Road. A Wal-Mart and Sam's Club are located just off of the western side of Gallaher View Road.


  • Candy Factory. Currently undergoing conversion to condominiums.
  • Fort Sanders neighborhood. A multitude of Victorian-era houses.
  • Market Square. A small, historic downtown square, home to dining, retail, a twice weekly farmer's market, and special events. Market Square takes its name from the Market House that once stood at its center. Farmers from surrounding areas would bring their wagons into Knoxville's Market House to sell their wares. Entering the the southern end of the square from Union Avenue, one may pass the bell from the old Market House as well as a statue commemorating Tennessee's role in the fight for women's suffrage. Dotted with benches and tables, Market Square is a lovely place to spend a few hours browsing the shops, dinning with friends, or watching children play in the small fountain. A lucky square patron may happen upon anything from a pair of cellists playing Beatles songs to an ice cream give away. Market Square is home to the Sundown in the City concert festival, so someone looking for a leisurely evening would be wise to avoid the square on Thursday evenings in the summer. Unless an event is taking place in the downtown area, parking at the Market Street garage (on Walnut) is free on weeknights after six pm and all day on weekends. Event parking is usually five dollars.
  • Old City. A lot of interesting architecture and a chief nightlife spot.
  • Tennessee Theatre, on Gay Street in downtown. The state theater of Tennessee and is an interesting example of Moorish architecture.
  • Volunteer Landing. Knoxville's riverwalk along the Tennessee River.
  • World's Fair Park.
  • Sunsphere. A modernistic monument built for the 1982 World's Fair.



  • College football. See a University of Tennessee game at Neyland Stadium, one of the largest stadiums in college football.

Theatre and Music

  • The Clarence Brown Theatre, CBT is a professional LORT theatre affiliated with the University of Tennessee. Shows produced at the CBT feature undergraduate theatre students, MFA theatre candidates, and professional actors and directors.
  • The Black Box Theatre, 5213 Homberg Drive, +1-865-584-0990. The Black Box is the performance space of the Actor's Co-Op, a community theatre company, and it often features the work of MFA candidates from UT's graduate theatre program. Shows at the Black Box range from children's plays produced by the apprentice company to provocative productions intended for mature audiences only.
  • The Tennessee Theatre, The beautiful Tennessee Theatre is located downtown. Originally constructed in 1927, it was fully renovated and reopened in January of 2005. Past performances include the Knoxville Symphony, John Legend, Alison Krauss and Union Station, David Sedaris, Savion Glover, Lily Tomlin. They also screen classic movies.
  • Sundown in the City, During the summer months, head to Market Square every Thursday night to see fabulous live music.

Festivals & Events

  • Dogwood Arts Festival
  • Rossini Festival
  • Honda Hoot
  • Kumba Festival
  • Boomsday
  • Knoxville Lindy Exchange
  • Christmas in the City


  • University of Tennessee. A public land-grant doctoral-degree granting university. The campus is near downtown.
  • Knoxville College. A small, historically African-American college.


Knoxville is the location of the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest movie theatre chain in the world. Other large employers are the Continental Airlines maintenance facility, the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, located in Oak Ridge, about 30 miles away from Knoxville.


Major Shopping Complexes

  • West Town Mall, 7600 Kingston Pike. Located a few miles west of downtown Knoxville at the West Hills interchange (Exit 380 off I-40/75,) West Town is the more upscale of Knoxville's two malls and is anchored by Belk, Dillards, Sears, Parisian, and JCPenny. West Town contains a food court and most traditional "mall" stores. The Centre at Deane Hill (located across Morrell Road, east of the mall) contains a Borders, PetSmart, Kohls, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Food City, and numerous smaller stores and restaurants.
  • Knoxville Center, 3001 Knoxville Center Drive. Most locals still refer to Knoxville Center by its former name, East Towne Mall, if not from habit, then for geographical clarity. It is indeed located in the eastern, or northeastern part of the city off of I-640 (Exit 8.) Knoxville Center contains a food court, movie theater, numerous small to midsize stores, and is anchored by Sears, JCPenny, Belk, and Dillards. Surrounding shopping centers include Sams Club, Walmart, Carmike Cinema 10, Lowes, Home Depot, Kohls and Super Target.
  • Turkey Creek, Parkside Drive. A "Lifestyle Center" containing many different restaurants, clothing stores, a very large movie theater (Regal Cinemas Pinnacle Theater 18.) Large retailers include Wal-Mart, Super Target, Old Navy, Borders, and Belk.

Downtown Shopping

  • Market Square, The shops lining Market Square include several locally owned clothing and home accessories boutiques. In addition, the square is often home to vendors during events such as the Dogwood Arts Festival.
    • Market Square Farmer's Market, +1 865 405-3135. Harking back to the square's original function, the Market Square District Association hosts a farmer's market each Wednesday (11 am-2 pm) and Saturday (9 am-1 pm.).
    • Indigo, 327 Union Avenue, +1 865 525-8788.
    • Reruns, 2 Market Square, +1 865 525-9525 .
    • Earth to Old City, 22 Market Square, +1 865 522-8270.
    • Bliss, 24 Market Square, +1 865 329-8868.
    • Village Market Place, 32 Market Square, +1 865 541-5050.
    • Vagabondia, 27 Market Square, +1 865 525-4842.
    • Bliss Home, 29 Market Square, +1 865 673-6711.
  • Gay Street. Once the center of life in Knoxville, Gay Street is slowly becoming a destination for shopping and socializing. Mast General Store and Yee-Haw industries make up the limited but hopefully growing retail. At the north end of Gay Street, The Emporium Center for the Arts contains studios of local artists and gallery space. The visitors' center (located on the corner of Gay and Summit Hill,) The East Tennessee History Center, and Blount Mansion also have gift shops with souvenirs and local products.
  • The Old City


  • McKay Used Books & CDs, 230 Papermill Place Way. A warehouse sized extravaganza of cheap, used books, CDs, DVDs, videos, audiobooks, CD-ROMs, and video games. As well as shopping, you can sell your used items for cash or store credit.
  • Carpe Librum, 5113 Kingston Pike # A, +1 865 588-8080.


Knoxville has plenty of restaurants, although the diversity and quality of them can be disappointing. Be perseverent, however, and you will find some diamonds in the rough. Vegetarians and vegans are generally not well catered to. There are exceptions, however, and the vigilant vegetarian or vegan will not starve.


Knoxville has many fast food places. Most typical fast-food chains have one or more locations in Knoxville.

  • Petro's, various locations. Petro's was founded in Knoxville during the energy themed 1982 World's Fair. The petro consists of layers of corn chips, chili, cheese, green onions, tomatoes, and sour cream and comes in beef, chicken, and vegetarian varieties. Wash it down with Petro's Hint-of-OrangeĀ® Iced Tea.
  • M&M Catering, 7409 Middlebrook Pike, 865-692-1003, Fax 865-531-3048. For melt in your mouth bar-b-que, go to M&M Bar-b-que. It is just a little cement block setup open only during the spring and summer months, but it is amazing.


  • Aubrey's,Fresh seafood, steaks, and salads. Voted "Best of Knoxville" in the Knoxville-News Sentinel.
  • Calhoun's, 6515 Kingston Pike, 400 Neyland Drive, and 10020 Kingston Pike. Voted as serving the best ribs in all of America, Calhoun's offers what they call a "taste of Tennessee". Calhoun's also operates a microbrewery at each of their locations.
  • The Chop House, A Knoxville favorite for great steaks and chops in a warm, friendly environment. Many locations throughout the city.
  • Connors Steak & Seafood, Fresh seafood and dry-aged steaks.
  • Downtown Grill and Brewery, 424 S Gay St. 11AM-midnight every day. Big, stylish microbrewery on two floors with huge copper brewers' tanks in the center. Upscale pub fare -- steaks, seafood, sandwiches and fry ups, as well as the tasty house-brand beers. Free WiFi. $15-25 (with a pint).
  • El Charro, which has three locations in Knoxville, claims to have the "best salsa in Knoxville."
  • Gourmet Market, 5107 Kingston Pike, +1 865 584-8739.
  • Trio, 13 Market Square, +1 865 246-2270. Trio's menu takes a multiple choice approach to salads with an order card of ingredients and a pen to tick of the items you'd like tossed with your greens. Tasty sandwiches and a handful of entrees round out the lunch and dinner options. Breakfast is decidedly eggy with a choice of several types of omelets and Eggs Benedict. Coffee and pastries are available all day. Free WiFi. $6-9.
  • Tomato Head, 12 Market Square, +1 865 637-4067. The Tomato Head is a favorite restaurant of many locals. They have fabulous (and veggie friendly) salads,sandwiches, pizza, and calzones. Open Monday - Sunday for lunch and Tuesday - Sunday for dinner.


  • The Orangery is a French food restaurant.
  • Baker Peters is typically known as a jazz club but locals also know that it is a very good restaurant.
  • Restaurant Linderhof, Excellent German fare.


  • Patrick Sullivan's Steakhouse and Saloon in the Old City.
  • Preservation Pub, on Market Square []. Good beer selection, live music
  • Union Jacks, 124 Northshore Drive, 865-584-5161 Low key pub scene
  • Sapphire, Trendy, upscale, located downtown on Gay Street


  • Knoxville Hostel, 404 East Fourth Avenue, +1 865 546-8090. Dorm beds at $17 per night.

Stay safe

In general, Knoxville is a safe town. But some low-income areas downtown can be intimidating at night. West Knoxville is considered the safest area. Just practice basic common sense and you will be fine. Also, homeless people may reside on Interstate exits, notably Campbell Station exit and Lovell Road Exit asking for money. They are not very aggressive, though. And just pretending they are not there is the easiest way to keep your money. If you feel obligated to give, however, no more than $5-$20 is necessary.


In general, it is necessary to speak English in Knoxville as the majority of the population is monolingual. The culture is generally conservative, though less radically so than in the surrounding rural areas.

In general, gay and lesbian travelers will not find the environment particularly inviting. Most same-sex couples will not feel comfortable holding hands in public in Knoxville, as this will almost inevitably lead to rude comments and, in some cases, threats. However, there is a very small but active gay scene.

Also, Knoxvillians are quite proud of their city and rude comments about "rednecks" or "hillbillies", even in jest, will not be taken warmly.

Get out

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg. About an hour's drive.
  • Chattanooga. About two hours' drive to the home of the Tennessee Aquarium.
  • Southeastern Conference Tour
  • The Museum of Appalachia in Norris. About 30 minutes north of Knoxville up I75. See how settlers in Southern Appalachia lived. This area was once "the Wild West". The museum features pioneer artifacts and authentic buildings. There are special events in the spring, the Christmas season, and the Fourth of July (anvil shoot!).

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