25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (2024)

Ready to discover more about Knoxville?

Most people know it as home to the illustrious University of Tennessee and a stepping stone to the spectacular Smokies.

But there’s a lot more to this city than just that.

From its unique culinary delights to rich historical sites, Knoxville has a distinctive charm that can keep you engrossed for weeks.

Now, having personally experienced these wonders,

I’ve prepared an exclusive list of the best things to do in Knoxville.

This isn’t some typical guide you find online.

It’s an insider’s scoop into the heart of Knoxville, enriched with my own thrilling encounters.

So, are you ready to discover Knoxville beyond the usual?

Pack your things and get ready to explore the most exciting attractions below.

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Best Things To Do In Knoxville Compared

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Knoxville Zoo and soak in the breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Let the adventure begin.

Editor’s Choice

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (1)

World’s Fair Park

Set right in the heart of downtown Knoxville, this green space was once the fairgrounds of the 1982 World’s Fair.

  • Family-Friendliness: 5/5
  • Affordability: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 5/5
  • Fun Factor: 4/5
  • Educational Value: 3/5
  • criteria

#2nd Best Choice

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (2)

Zoo Knoxville

Over 700 animals call this 53-acre zoological park in Knoxville their home.

  • Family-Friendliness: 5/5
  • Affordability: 3/5
  • Accessibility: 4/5
  • Fun Factor: 5/5
  • Educational Value: 4/5

#3rd Best Choice

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (3)

Knoxville Museum of Art

Situated in World’s Fair Park, this museum is a beautiful tribute to East Tennessee art.

  • Family-Friendliness: 4/5
  • Affordability: 5/5
  • Accessibility: 4/5
  • Fun Factor: 3/5
  • Educational Value: 5/5

Here are the top 25 things to do in Knoxville.

1. World’s Fair Park (Editor’s Choice)

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (4)

963 World’s Fair Park Dr
Knoxville, TN 37916
(865) 215-8161
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Set right in the heart of downtown Knoxville, this green space was once the fairgrounds of the 1982 World’s Fair.

Today, it serves as a public park, and is one of the can’t-miss free things to do in Knoxville.

Ratings Criteria

  • Family-Friendliness: 5/5
  • Affordability: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 5/5
  • Fun Factor: 4/5
  • Educational Value: 3/5

Pros

  • Historical significance: World’s Fair Park is a significant landmark that hosted the 1982 World’s Fair, showcasing various cultural exhibits and technological advancements.
  • Scenic beauty: The park is known for its beautiful landscape, featuring lush greenery, manicured gardens, and a stunning Sunsphere observation deck offering panoramic views of the city.

Cons

  • Limited attractions: Visitors looking for a wide variety of activities or entertainment options may find the offerings at World’s Fair Park to be somewhat limited.
  • Weather dependence: Inclement weather, such as rain or extreme heat, may limit the enjoyment of certain outdoor activities or make them temporarily unavailable.

Why You Should Go

With gorgeous lawns and scenic walkways, this park is perfect for anyone who loves photography.

What’s more, it’s a laid-back oasis where you can relax and escape your bustling daily grind.

And, did we mention that it hosts a slew of events every year?

What To Do

Enjoy a leisurely stroll on the well-paved pathways of the park.

You can also watch a concert or join a festival at the sprawling Performance Lawn.

The Splash Pads, a kid-friendly water feature, are open from April to October.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel

2. Zoo Knoxville

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (5)

3500 Knoxville Zoo Dr
Knoxville, TN 37914
(865) 637-5331
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Over 700 animals call this 53-acre zoological park in Knoxville their home.

Ratings Criteria

  • Family-Friendliness: 5/5
  • Affordability: 3/5
  • Accessibility: 4/5
  • Fun Factor: 5/5
  • Educational Value: 4/5

Pros

  • Diverse wildlife: From elephants to tigers to red pandas, visitors can get up close and personal with these fascinating animals and gain a deeper appreciation for wildlife conservation.
  • Family-friendly experience: The zoo is a popular destination for families, as it offers engaging exhibits, educational programs, and interactive experiences suitable for visitors of all ages.

Cons

  • Crowded during peak times: The large number of visitors may result in longer lines, difficulty finding parking, and a more hectic atmosphere.
  • Limited indoor attractions: This means that during unfavorable weather conditions, such as heavy rain or extreme heat, the options for indoor activities may be limited, potentially affecting the overall visit experience.

Why You Should Go

Zoo Knoxville is, no doubt, one of the top things to do in Knoxville with kids.

From the extremely elusive red pandas to giraffes, you’ll find a plethora of charming creatures that kids and adults will love here.

What To Do

Feed giraffes and let your kiddos ride the Zoo Choo Train.

For something a little wild and unforgettable, go on a camel ride at this zoo.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Crowne Plaza Hotel Knoxville

3. Knoxville Museum of Art

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (6)

1050 World’s Fair Park Dr
Knoxville, TN 37916
(865) 525-6101
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Situated in World’s Fair Park, this museum is a beautiful tribute to East Tennessee art.

Ratings Criteria

  • Family-Friendliness: 4/5
  • Affordability: 5/5
  • Accessibility: 4/5
  • Fun Factor: 3/5
  • Educational Value: 5/5

Pros

  • Artistic diversity: The Knoxville Museum of Art showcases a diverse collection of artwork, including contemporary pieces, regional artists, and historical exhibits.
  • Cultural enrichment: It hosts various exhibitions, events, and workshops that engage the community and contribute to the cultural enrichment of Knoxville.

Cons

  • Limited size: Visitors who are accustomed to extensive collections or seeking a comprehensive art experience may find the museum’s size and exhibit offerings relatively limited.
  • Subjective appeal: Art appreciation can be subjective, and not all visitors may connect with or appreciate every artwork on display.

Why You Should Go

Looking for fun things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee when it’s raining or cold?

Do yourself a favor, and include this museum to your list of places to visit in Knoxville.

Through a series of exhibits, the museum beautifully showcases the skilled artists and art in art in Tennessee.

What To Do

See the awe-inspiring “Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity” by Richard Jolley.

You’ll also love the “Thorne Rooms”, an exhibit set of elaborate miniature dioramas.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Graduate Knoxville

Also See:
Best Things to Do in Murfreesboro, TN
Fun Things to Do in Jackson, TN

4. McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (7)

1327 Circle Park
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-2144
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Established in 1963, this museum offers an educational experience with its special exhibits and programs.

Why You Should Go

From dinosaur fossils to Civil War artifacts, the museum boasts a collection of exhibits detailing Tennessee’s history.

Even better, it has a variety of educational programs and events related to archaeology and history.

What To Do

Be mesmerized by “Mony”, a 24-foot-long, 2,400-pound bronze duck-billed dinosaur skeleton.

Afterward, appreciate the interesting 2,000-year-old exhibits at “Ancient Egypt: The Eternal Voice”.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Embassy Suites By Hilton Knoxville Downtown

5. Ijams Nature Center

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2915 Island Home Ave
Knoxville, TN 37920
(865) 577-4717
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Although it’s just minutes away from downtown, this 315-acre park feels like a world away.

Why You Should Go

Ijams Nature Center boasts over 300 acres of recreational and stunning gentle sloping woodlands.

Plus, it’s home to miles of nature trails, a museum store as well as an array of exhibits and habitats.

What To Do

Spot wildlife, admire wildflowers or take a hike at this nature center.

There’s also plenty of opportunities for birding, biking and trail running in this park.

If you’re not in the mood to do anything, just relax and take in the refreshing scenery.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: La Quinta by Wyndham Knoxville Central Papermill

6. Tennessee Theater

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (9)

604 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 684-1200
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When it opened its doors in 1928, it was deemed as the most beautiful theater in the South.

Why You Should Go

The Tennessee Theater is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Moreover, it’s declared as the Official State Theatre of Tennessee.

Of course, the theater hosts a bevy of stellar cultural performances.

What To Do

Admire the elegant architecture of this historic theater.

Then, head indoors, and be enthralled by its Italian terrazzo floor, French chandeliers and Spanish-Moorish interior.

You may also catch a Broadway tour, dance performance, vintage film screening and classical music.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Knoxville Suites – Downtown

7. James White Fort

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (10)

205 E Hill Ave #2514
Knoxville, TN 37915
(865) 525-6514
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James White Fort is a historical wonder known as the original 1786 home of the founder of Knoxville.

Why You Should Go

James White Fort is one of the most visited historical attractions in Knoxville.

For years, it has been luring visitors who want to see the home of James White, the man who founded Knoxville.

To me, this house gives an authentic and fascinating glimpse into the city’s past.

What To Do

Take a tour of White’s original home, and see a bunch of historically important items.

Some of our favorites include the map of Knoxville’s original layout and White’s desk.

While there, you’ll also see White’s weaving house, blacksmith shop and outhouse.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt Place Knoxville/Downtown

Also See:
Things to Do in Gatlinburg, TN
Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, TN

8. Muse Knoxville

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516 N Beaman St
Knoxville, TN 37914
(865) 594-1494
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Spanning 4,000 square feet, this kid-approved facility is a perfect mixture of science and art galleries.

Why You Should Go

Muse Knoxville is a kiddie museum, offering a range of displays focusing on STEAM.

At this museum, kids will encounter hands-on exhibits that teach children about gardening, the body’s circulatory system and the science of sound.

What To Do

Let your kiddos explore the solar system in a rather fun way at the museum’s planetarium.

And, by the way, the museum is free to the public on the 4th Friday of the month.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Knoxville

Related: Best Day Trips From Knoxville

9. Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (12)

700 S Hall of Fame Dr
Knoxville, TN 37915
(865) 633-9000
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At 35,000 square feet, this facility provides a plethora of women’s basketball exhibits and memorabilia.

Why You Should Go

The Women’s Basketball Hall Of Fame is the only facility dedicated solely to honoring the ladies who have contributed to the sport.

Besides its outstanding memorabilia, this facility also offers interactive experiences to its visitors.

What To Do

See memorabilia from all all the hall of fame inductees.

Discover their background, and find out about their contributions to women’s basketball.

Once done, head to the basketball court, and shoot some hoops.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites Knoxville-Downtown

10. Mabry-Hazen House Museum

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (13)

1711 Dandridge Ave
Knoxville, TN 37915
(865) 522-8661
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Perched on Mabry’s Hill, this stately historic home is an absolute must-see for history buffs.

Why You Should Go

Built in 1858, this historic site was once home to one of the city’s most prominent families.

In 1989, the museum was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places.

What To Do

Take an educational and fabulous tour of the museum, to learn more about the family and the city’s history.

Also, spend time admiring the Greek Revival and Italianate elements of the home.

You can check out its impressively family and furniture collections, including crystal and china.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Comfort Suites North Knoxville

Related: Best Beaches Near Knoxville, TN

11. Old City

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301 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 523-7263
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Located in northeast downtown, this historic district exudes an alternative, edgy and lively vibe.

Why You Should Go

Established in the 1800s, this downtown district features some of the most exciting things to see in Knoxville.

Even better, Old City has a dynamic music scene, an artisan glass shop as well as upscale restaurants and bars.

What To Do

Searching for cool things to do in Knoxville tonight?

Drop by PostModern Spirits, one of the trendiest co*cktail bars in the city.

For some cheap fun in the Old City, explore the city on foot and catch its colorful and artistic graffiti.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Comfort Inn & Suites Knoxville West

Also See:
Things to Do in Sevierville, TN
Things to Do in Alcoa, TN

12. Knoxville Children’s Theater

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (15)

109 E Churchwell Ave
Knoxville, TN 37917
(865) 208-3677
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The Knoxville Children’s Theater at East Churchwell offers a one-of-a-kind experience with its kid-approved productions.

Why You Should Go

A visit to this theater is a can’t-miss stuff to do in Knoxville for families with kids.

After all, this theater celebrates arts and culture through performances by kids, for kids.

What To Do

You and your little ones can enjoy a slew of plays, from musicals to serious pieces.

We really love their “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and clever mashups of plays and movies.

You can also enroll your children to a workshop or class at this theater.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Knoxville N – Merchant Drive

13. Blount Mansion

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (16)

200 W Hill Ave
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 525-2375
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Founded in 1792, this wood-frame mansion is a designated National Historic Landmark.

Why You Should Go

Journey back in time, and get a glimpse of Knoxville’s past by visiting Blount Mansion.

Set in downtown Knoxville, this mansion was once the home of the Southwest Territory’s one and only governor, William Bount.

What To Do

See exhibits that detail the history of the house as well as the background of Knoxville.

Listen carefully to your friendly and knowledgeable guides who’ll share interesting and fun tidbits about their displays.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Courtyard by Marriott Knoxville Downtown

14. East Tennessee History Center

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (17)

601 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 215-8830
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Set right in the heart of downtown, this facility is open 7 days a week, and features Knoxville’s fascinating past.

Why You Should Go

The center houses award-winning displays that tell the story of the events and people that shaped East Tennessee.

Also, most of the exhibits here are designed for children, making it an educational family-friendly experience.

What To Do

See the center’s signature exhibit, “Voice of the Land: The People of East Tennessee”.

Also, learn more about the Tennessee Valley Authority, atomic energy facility and other crucial events through its 13,000 artifacts.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Embassy Suites By Hilton Knoxville Downtown

Related: Things to Do Near Knoxville

15. UT Gardens

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (18)

2518 Jacob Dr
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-7324
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In 2013, the UT Gardens were recognized as Tennessee’s official botanical gardens.

Why You Should Go

If you’re on the lookout for romantic things to do in Knoxville for couples, look no further than UT Gardens.

With its refreshing and verdant scenery, it’s a terrific place to enjoy a romantic, leisurely stroll.

What To Do

Hit the walking trails weaving throughout the various greenhouses and gardens.

Learn more about the 4,000 annuals, ornamental grass, shrubs, tropical plants and herbs on your stroll.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt Place Knoxville/Downtown

16. Market Square

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (19)

Market Square
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 215-4248
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Founded in 1854, this square started as a marketplace for the area’s farmers.

Over the years, Market Square has transformed into a multi-purpose spot accommodating events, like concerts and festivals.

Why You Should Go

The square is listed on the US National Register of Historical and is a US Historic district.

Not to mention, it provides numerous options for food and entertainment.

What To Do

Experience the square’s water play fountain, seasonable ice rink and bi-weekly farmer’s market.

You also might want to check out the public festivals hosted by the square.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn Knoxville-East

Related: Best Restaurants in Knoxville

17. Lakeshore Park

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (20)

6410 S Northshore Dr
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 215-1722
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With 185 acres of recreational activities to offer, it’s no wonder tons of visitors come to Lakeshore Park every year.

Why You Should Go

Situated along the Tennessee River, Lakeshore is, no doubt, the city’s most visited public park.

In fact, it draws about 1 million visitors annually, thanks to its incredible events and extensive greenways.

What To Do

Drink in the spectacular vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee River.

You may also hit the park’s event spaces, playgrounds and athletic fields.

For a memorable visit, hike the 4-mile riverwalk through the woodlands and natural marsh.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites – Knoxville Papermill Drive, TN

18. Cherokee Caverns

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (21)

8524 Oak Ridge Hwy
Knoxville, TN 37931
(865) 275-5196
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Cherokee Caverns, formed 5 million years ago, were originally discovered by Early Native Americans.

In 1854, it was rediscovered by a farmer named Robert Crudgington.

Why You Should Go

Cherokee Caverns are Knoxville’s best-kept secret.

With its airy feeling, unique smell and eye-catching lights, it’s a surreal attraction that will give you an extraordinary Knoxville experience.

What To Do

There are several events held per year on this natural wonder, such as Halloween and Christmas in the Cave.

From movies to light shows, these events blend perfectly with the natural formations of the cave.

The cave, however, isn’t open daily, so be sure to see their website, before your visit.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Red Roof Inn PLUS+ & Suites Knoxville West – Cedar Bluff

19. Charles Krutch Park

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (22)

504 Market St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 215-4248
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Serene and beautiful, this small park offers a relaxing respite in downtown Knoxville.

Why You Should Go

Don’t let its size deceive you.

Sure, it’s a little small compared to other urban parks.

But, it has scores of visually appealing features that will give you Instagram-worthy snaps.

And, it’s a serene spot to unwind when you need a break from hours of non-stop sightseeing in Knoxville.

What To Do

Follow the winding and surprisingly scenic walking trail of the park.

Along the way, you’ll see elaborate sculptures, gardens, a gentle stream and a small waterfall.

There are also benches where you can unwind and soak up the easy-going feel.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Knoxville Airport / Alcoa, TN

Related: Tennessee: Places to Visit

20. Knoxville Food Tours

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (23)

402 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 201-7270
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Founded in 2010, this award-winning tour takes you on a culinary journey across downtown Knoxville.

Why You Should Go

There’s more to Knoxville Food Tours than delectable treats.

With a knowledgeable guide, you’ll discover the history of the revitalized neighborhoods, like the Old City and Market Square.

What To Do

Listen to your guide as they share special and priceless insights on the city’s architecture, art and culture.

Enjoy a multitude of food tastings of specially picked and signature dishes at the city’s famed restaurants.

You can also pair your tastings with craft co*cktails, Tennessee whiskey, craft beer or moonshine.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Tru By Hilton Knoxville North I 75

21. Maple Hall

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (24)

414 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 249-8454
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Housed inside JC Penney building, this boutique bowling alley is perfect for any rainy or cold day in Knoxville.

Why You Should Go

Maple Hall is a sleek and shiny old-school, 11-lane bowling alley.

Additionally, it offers cushy lounge areas and a full-service bar.

What To Do

Cap off a day of sightseeing in Knoxville on a high note with a visit to the Maple Hall.

Even if you’re not in the mood for knocking pins, you’ll still love their signature co*cktails.

Not to mention, it offers a smorgasbord of mouth-watering food, especially their mac and cheese.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Crowne Plaza Hotel Knoxville

22. Stock & Barrel

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (25)

35 Market Square
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 766-2075
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Nestled in Market Square, this all-American restaurant is the place to go in Knoxville for delicious burgers.

Why You Should Go

When it comes to burgers, nothing in Knoxville can top Stock & Barrel.

Aside from its delicious flavors, their beef is all locally-sourced, hormone-free and all-natural.

As a bonus, the restaurant offers a diverse and tantalizing menu.

What To Do

Make sure to indulge in their massive waffle burgers.

Likewise, you might want to try their Bernie Burger.

Also, the Duck Confit fries are worth the extra couple of bucks.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites Knoxville-Downtown

23. Knoxville Mural Walking Tour

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (26)

301 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 523-7263
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Downtown Knoxville has a bevy of colorful murals that give you a costless yet memorable experience.

Why You Should Go

Looking for an inexpensive activity in Knoxville this weekend?

A word of advice, tour the colorful murals of downtown Knoxville.

From stairwells to walls and alleys, tons of talented artists have used a mishmash of canvases to boost the aesthetic appeal of the city’s urban landscape.

What To Do

Stop by the downtown Visitors Center, and grab a map for this walking tour.

Usually, the self-guided tours start at the well-known Postcard From Knoxville mural.

Then, it makes pit stops to other Instagram-worthy murals, like the Strong Allet, Molly Knox and Miller’s Building Mural.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt Place Knoxville/Downtown

Related: Best Hotels in Knoxville

24. Phoenix Pharmacy

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (27)

418 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 692-1603
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Situated in downtown, the Phoenix Pharmacy will satisfy your taste buds with its sweet goodies.

Why You Should Go

Ever dreamed of drinking a classic American soda at a pharmacy counter?

Why not make your dream a reality by heading to this unique ice-cream shop?

With a mirrored counter and chrome stools, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the 1950s at Phoenix Pharmacy.

What To Do

Treat your sweet tooth with their peanut butter cup shakes and Smokey Mountain sundae.

And, don’t forget to snap a selfie, and pretend that you’ve traveled back in time.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Embassy Suites By Hilton Knoxville Downtown

Related: Things to Do in Kodak, TN

25. Sunsphere

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (28)

810 W Clinch Ave
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 922-8787
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Built for the World’s Fair in 1982, this 266-foot-high observation deck rewards visitors with spectacular city views.

Why You Should Go

No list of the best things to do in Knoxville, TN is complete without Sunsphere.

For years, visitors come to this no-cost attraction to take in stellar panoramas of Knoxville.

Moreover, it’s one of the last remaining pieces of the 1982 World’s Fair.

What To Do

Climb to the observation deck, and savor views of the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee River, the UT and downtown Knoxville.

Once done, check out the images and displays highlighting the historic 1982 event.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel

Related: Best Things to Do in Tennessee

Activity Guide

Comparing Attractions: Which One Is Right For You?

When my kids and I visited World’s Fair Park in Knoxville, we went on a magical journey filled with laughter and wonder.

Sailing under the iconic Sunsphere, we couldn’t help but feel the weight of history surrounding us.

Another memorable stop on our Knoxville adventure was Zoo Knoxville.

As we wandered through the lush exhibits, our eyes widened in awe when we spotted the red pandas.

One of them caught our attention by playfully munching on bamboo, and my children immediately dubbed him “Bamboo the Muncher.”

We couldn’t contain our giggles as we watched his adorable antics.

The Knoxville Museum of Art was a captivating destination that transported us into a world of vibrant colors and boundless creativity.

My youngest child, in particular, discovered a newfound love for abstract expressionism.

Seeing their enthusiasm and artistic curiosity blossom was a joy to behold.

Personally, I found myself deeply inspired by Richard Jolley’s mesmerizing sculpture, “Cycle of Life.” It left an indelible impression on me and sparked my own creative spirit.

Each Knoxville adventure ignited unique sparks within our family, leaving us with a treasure trove of stories to cherish.

Our travel diary overflowed with tales of discovery, laughter, and artistic inspiration.

How I Picked The Activities

I took into consideration the appeal and suitability for families, ensuring that each activity catered to a wide range of ages and interests.

I then delved into extensive research, exploring online reviews, visitor feedback, and firsthand accounts from fellow parents.

This meticulous approach allowed me to gain valuable insights into the quality, safety, and overall enjoyment offered by each attraction.

By combining my knowledge, expertise, and careful review process, I handpicked the activities in Knoxville that I believe will create lasting memories for families, just as they have for mine.

Our Rating Method

I rate these attractions based on the following criteria:

  • Family-Friendliness: I use this criterion to assess the family-friendly appeal of every activity. Is it suitable for families with kids? Is it safe, engaging, and fun for children? I ask myself these questions in order to rate family-friendliness.
  • Affordability: This is used to evaluate the attraction’s affordability. Will visitors get a lot of bang for their buck? Is it free or cheaper compared to the other options? Does it offer discounted rates, special promotions, or free entry? I consider these factors when rating affordability.
  • Accessibility: This evaluates the activity’s accessibility. Is it easily accessible by public transportation? Are there plenty of parking spaces available? Is it wheelchair accessible? I ask myself these questions when assessing the attraction’s accessibility.
  • Fun Factor: I use this to evaluate how enjoyable the attraction is for visitors. Will it create positive and memorable experiences? Is it engaging, fun, and exciting? I use these questions to evaluate this criterion.
  • Educational Value: This assesses the educational benefits of the activity. Does it provide learning opportunities to kids? Will it teach visitors lessons in science and history? I ask myself these important questions when rating educational value.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Notable Landmarks To Visit In Knoxville?

Knoxville boasts several notable landmarks, such as the Sunsphere, an iconic symbol of the 1982 World’s Fair, offering panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. The Old City, with its historic buildings and vibrant nightlife, is also worth exploring. Additionally, the James White Fort, the Marble Springs Historic Site, and the Ramsey House provide insights into Knoxville’s rich history.

What Events And Festivals Take Place In Knoxville?

Knoxville hosts a range of events and festivals throughout the year. The Dogwood Arts Festival celebrates the arrival of spring with art exhibits, music, and garden tours. The Knoxville Film Festival showcases independent films and hosts workshops for aspiring filmmakers.

Where Can I Shop For Unique Items In Knoxville?

For a unique shopping experience, visit the Knoxville Farmers Market, held on Saturdays, where you can find locally grown produce, handmade crafts, and artisanal products. The Three Rivers Market is a cooperative grocery store offering organic and locally sourced goods. The Old City is also a popular destination for a wide range of retail stores and restaurants.

Conclusion

Out of all the best things to do in Knoxville, the iconic World’s Fair Park is definitely the top pick.

From my various excursions around town, it’s a clear standout – offering a delightful mix of education, exploration, and entertainment in one spot.

It truly outshines other activities in the area, serving up not just an outing but an unforgettable experience that the whole family can relish.

With its striking blend of history, culture, and amusem*nt, it’s that special ingredient that elevates your Knoxville journey from good to great.

25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (29)

Editor’s Choice

World’s Fair Park

Set right in the heart of downtown Knoxville, this green space was once the fairgrounds of the 1982 World’s Fair.

  • Family-Friendliness: 5/5
  • Affordability: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 5/5
  • Fun Factor: 4/5
  • Educational Value: 3/5
25 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN (for 2024) (2024)

FAQs

What is Knoxville most known for? ›

Knoxville's known as the Cradle of Country Music, due to its role in nurturing the early careers of Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Flatt & Scruggs, Dolly Parton, and several other major figures. However, Knoxville is also home to the oldest symphony orchestra in the South.

Is Knoxville, TN worth visiting? ›

Explore Knoxville

Today you can visit the house and other historic homes in this eastern Tennessee city. Among Knoxville's other attractions are museums, a zoo and World's Fair Park, site of the 1982 World's Fair. University of Tennessee sports draw lots of fans, as does the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

What food is Knoxville known for? ›

A: Knoxville is best known for a variety of southern classic dishes, including fried chicken, barbecue, ribs, fried green tomatoes, okra, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese.

Are people still moving to Knoxville TN? ›

Knoxville among top U.S. spots attracting more and more people from large cities, study says. It's no secret that the secret is out − Knoxville is a great place to live and has been attracting thousands of new residents in the last few years.

What is the famous street in Knoxville Tennessee? ›

Since the 1790s, Gay Street has played a primary role in Knoxville's historical and cultural development. Gay Street is home to art galleries, historic theaters, the East Tennessee History Center and more – with many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Why do people visit Knoxville? ›

Situated at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville provides abundant opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts with activities like hiking, biking, and exploring the nearby national parks.

What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Tennessee? ›

1. Graceland Building. Even if you aren't an Elvis fan, Graceland is a must-visit. It's the second most visited home in America, and when you check it out, you'll understand why.

Is it safe to walk downtown Knoxville at night? ›

I've walked all over downtown at night for the last fifteen years (and quite a bit for the twenty-five before that) and I've always felt safe.

Is Knoxville a white city? ›

Race and Ethnicity

In 2022, there were 4.52 times more White (Non-Hispanic) residents (138k people) in Knoxville, TN than any other race or ethnicity. There were 30.6k Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) and 8.07k Two+ (Non-Hispanic) residents, the second and third most common ethnic groups.

What fruit is Tennessee known for? ›

Tomato. The Tomato, scientifically known as the Lycopersicon lycopersicum, was designated as Tennessee's official state fruit in 2003.

Is Knoxville a friendly city? ›

Here, life moves at an easier pace, the people are extra-friendly and there's a sense of community that bigger cities lack. If you're looking to plant roots in an affordable, outdoorsy city with heart, Knoxville could be your perfect match. Considering a move to Knoxville?

What are the cons of living in Knoxville Tennessee? ›

A few possible disadvantages of living in Knoxville are:
  • Southern heat: The hot summers and humidity in Knoxville can be brutal.
  • Public transportation: There are very minimal options for public transportation in Knoxville. If you need to go somewhere far, your main options are your own vehicle or a rideshare app.

Is it expensive to live in Knoxville TN? ›

Knoxville, TN housing is 25% cheaper than the U.S average, while utilities are about 7% less pricey. When it comes to basic necessities such as food and clothing, groceries are around 11% less in Knoxville, TN than in the rest of the country, while clothing costs around 11% less .

Why is Knoxville called scruffy little city? ›

It's a tongue-in-cheek response to a slight from a Wall Street Journal reporter writing about Knoxville's ultimately successful bid to host the 1982 World's Fair. When he referred to this locale as “a scruffy little city,” residents decided to wear the insult as a badge of honor – and still do.

What industry is Knoxville known for? ›

Knoxville is a vibrant city located in the eastern part of Tennessee. The city is known for its diverse range of industries, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and tourism.

What major is UT Knoxville known for? ›

UT Knoxville is a major research institution that attracts more than $130 million in research awards annually. Nationally ranked programs include supply chain management/logistics, nuclear engineering, printmaking, accounting, the master of business administration, law, and social work.

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