The Knoxville Museum of Art offers some works by contemporary artists. The museum hosts art camps during the summer months that attract local children. The camps are held next door in the Candy Factory. Admission to the museum is free, but there is a suggested donation of 5 dollars for adults.
The Knoxville Zoo is a wonderful facility for animal lovers and admirers. Much larger than my own hometown zoo, it offers a large array of animals from condors to hedgehogs. It is a great place to spend a couple hours with the kids.
In 1982, Knoxville was host to a very successful World's Fair. The theme of the fair was the Sun, and the Sunsphere (pictured), was the signature structure around which the fair was built. This is now the site of a permanent Knoxville World's Fair Park, and a gathering place for the city. It is a pleasant and beautiful spot with flowers and fountains, and the venue for many concerts and special events.
Adjacent to the park is a neighborhood of quaint, brightly hued Victorian houses from the 1920s. Today these contain shops, studios, and galleries for the visitor to explore. A favorite is the Candy Factory, in operation since 1917. Here one can see the Chocolatiers making The South's Finest Chocolate., along with 100 other types of candies.
From an outsider's perspective, the heart of Knoxville lies in its university, and even more, in its football program. I have been to several games over the years, as my dad and other family members are all huge Vols fans. I also have grown to love UT football and enjoy those Saturdays in the fall when I would get to go to a game in person. It is something no Tennesseean should miss. Even an outsider who is not a fan cannot help but get caught up in the excitement in UTland, assuming they are not a fan of an opposing team.
Neyland Stadium is the second largest stadium in the U.S., I believe, holding approximately 108,000 people. It is always at full capacity during every UT game. The crowd's enthusiasm adds to the experience. You can't help but to jump up and scream with everyone else to cheer the team on. The picture below is of my friend Jordan and me about to enter the stadium before our first UT game when we were 11.
No trip to Knoxville would be complete without a visit to the Riverfront. A beautifully landscaped walkway stretches for about a half mile along the river with fountains, porch swings, restaurants and a fabulous view.
Special attractions along the Knoxville Riverfront include the Knoxville Star Riverboat and the Three Rivers Rambler Steam Train, both of which offer excursions in season. Volunteer Landing is the venue for numerous special events, including concerts and one of the south's largest fireworks displays.
Karen and I have found the riverfront to be a very romantic spot to enjoy a cozy meal followed by a hand-in-hand stroll beside the beautiful Tennessee River.
Beautiful and scenic one mile paved riverwalk that offers beautiful view of Tennessee River, three restaurants, a full service marina, waterfalls and fountains. Also, the location of the Star of Knoxville riverboat and the Three Rivers Rambler Railroad.
Volunteer Landing was opened in 1999 with efforts of two brothers from Maryville, Tennessee, the owners of the restaurant and marina at Willow Point in South Knoxville, and another resident of Knoxville Dick Brown. Those guys had in their mind to create sports and social hub of downtown Knoxville. They were successfull with their idea: you must see numerous boats parked to Volunteer Landing during football games in Knoxville. This is a state, if not interstate, event.
The Star of Knoxville is an authentic paddlewheeler with a capacity 325 passengers. The main deck seats 144 passengers and is fully enclosed, air conditioned, and heated for year-round comfort. The vessel is equipped with two (2) bars, a dance floor, band stage, and is exquisitely decorated for the most elegant dinner and entertainment available.
Ijams Nature Center is a wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center encompassing more than 160 acres of protected woodlands and meadows, all open for exploration via seven miles of nature trails including a boardwalk on the Tennessee River. Ijams' Exhibit Hall houses a collection of animals that are native to East Tennessee in addition to educational interpretation about our environment and the natural world.
If you are not familiar with downtown of Knoxville, ecpesially with University of Tennessee area, go to the East Town Mall and in the center of the shopping center you will find the map of UT area.
You can observe it from the second floor pretty good.
This monument is located near city county building on S.Main Street.
On the sides of it you will find names of people who died on September 11 in New York.
When I read those names my breath stopped for awhile. You are far from the disaster as long as you are far from the names of victims. But only touch with your eyes to their names makes you back to that terrible day
Having visited zoos in San Diego CA, Central Park NY, Detroit MI, Cinncinnati OH, Atlanta GA, Basel Switzerland, I'd place the Knoxville Zoo in the top tier. Besides a good variety of animals it is well decorated with flora, clean, and well maintained. The animals appear well cared for and comfortable in their surroundings.
Plan a full day to enjoy all that is offered. The premises is very children friendly.
Wear good walking shoes and be prepared to traverse some hills.
Check the Zoo's website for more details.
Photo opportunities are everywhere...see examples which were made in March 2006, Springtime in Knoxville.
With a 10 ton, 30 foot high basketball that sits on top of the building, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is a must see musuem for the sports fan.
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10am-6pm; Fri.-Sat. 10am-8pm; Sun. Noon-6pm.
When company comes from out of town, I usually take people to Volunteer Landing. To get there go South on Gay St. until to you come to the river. Take a left just before the bridge. Then follow the signs. Parking can be tough, but usually in the early evening you can find a spot. A walkway with interesting native plants and birds gives great views of the Tennessee River. You can even sign up to take a ride on a riverboat.
Along a nicely landscaped path, plaques offer interesting tidbits concerning historical Knoxville facts and quotes about the city. One will make you chuckle. It says the Devil has surely taken up residence in Knoxville.
Eventually you'll come to Calhoun's Restaurant. I consider this a tourist trap and don't like the food, but the outside deck is fantastic. They have great music, a friendly staff, and good local beers at reasonable prices.
After seeing the riverfront, we usually walk up and down Gay St, stopping for a beer at the Downtown Grill's sidewalk cafe.
Market Square is right around the corner and is fast becoming a happening place. The Tomato Head's pizza can hold it's own with any I've ever tasted anywhere. Oodles of Noodles is also a good eatery.
Then we drive over to World's Fair Park and visit the Knoxville Museum of Art.
Nightlife in Knoxville abounds, but I like "Alive After Five" at the Art Museum on Friday nights best. It's only $8. It's smoke-free, intimate, and they present outstanding performers. You can also eat there. Each week it's catered by a different restaurant. The prices range from $3 to $8.00. The music starts at five o'clock and usually ends around 8:30, so even kids can come.
Sevier County, the county located just south of Knoxville, is home to some cool destinations. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are the two most interesting places, although I liked Townsend (a.k.a. the peaceful side of the Smokies) too. Pigeon Forge has a lot of shopping opportunities, and Dollywood is also located there. Gatlinburg is a nice little town situated in the mountains (near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park). Gatlinburg is very unique and beautiful. All these places are must-see's if you're coming to East Tennessee.
If you enjoy boating, you will love this activity.
Sightseeing cruises are offerred aboard the Star of Knoxville an authentic stern-wheeler. The tours cover many historic sites, as well as the Knoxville skyline, on cruises down the Tennessee river.