Things to do

10 Fun Things to Do in Knoxville TN

What are the best fun things to do in Knoxville TN? Well, Knoxville is a City situated on the Tennessee River in Eastern Tennessee. It is located east of the Great Smoky Mountains and is the third most populous city in Tennessee (after Memphis and Nashville). Along the Tennessee River, it provides a variety of activities, including boat trips through wildlife habitats and live plays in a lavish theatre.

Market Square is an area of downtown with a collection of stores and restaurants housed in 19th-century structures. In addition to interactive exhibitions, the Knoxville Museum of East Tennessee History houses textiles, local art, and Civil War items. James White’s Fort, which the Revolutionary Army captain established, features a restored log home that dates back to 1786 and serves as Knoxville’s first-ever permanent structure. The University of Tennessee is headquartered in Knoxville.

Knoxville is a well-liked stopping point for tourists visiting Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, or even Johnson City because it is the starting point for the Great Smoky Mountains. Knoxville, Tennessee, is a thriving metropolis rich in heritage, culture, and leisure opportunities. This vibrant community offers something for everyone and is situated in the Appalachian Mountains’ foothills. Numerous outdoor pursuits include bicycling, hiking at the adjacent Ijams Nature Center, and boating on the lovely Tennessee River.

1. What is Knoxville Best Known For?

Knoxville is well-known for the University of Tennessee, located there, and its football team, the Vols. In addition, tourists may immerse themselves in the area’s culture by visiting the city’s numerous art galleries or strolling down Gay Street, known for its excellent food and shopping options. Knoxville is the perfect city since it has everything, including museums, live music, incredible restaurants, and much history.

This quaint city offers more than just intellectual wonders and comfortable pit stops. The town will occupy you for weeks with its enticing cuisines and historical sights. To make your visit here unforgettable, check out our list of the top things to do in Knoxville TN.

2. Best Things to Do in Knoxville TN

If you’re considering a trip to Tennessee, you should see some of the top things to do in Knoxville TN. Such a diversified metropolis exists in the south.

2.1. Women’s Basketball Hall Of Fame

One of the enjoyable things to do in Knoxville TN is to check out the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. It is at 700 S Hall of Fame Dr, Knoxville, Tennessee 37915, USA. The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is a fantastic location to visit if you want to learn more about the game’s history and the significant players who have played it. The Hall of Fame recognizes those who have significantly impacted women’s basketball.

By Women’s Basketball Hall Of Fame

2.1.1 When Does it Open?

It has been open since 1999 and is the only facility in the United States dedicated to women’s basketball at all levels. Knoxville, Tennessee, is the location of the Hall of Fame. Knoxville is renowned for its strong women’s basketball fan base and for being the home of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols basketball team, formerly coached by Pat Summitt, a member of the inaugural class inducted.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame celebrated its 19th anniversary with the 2017 Induction. At that time, it also added six new members to its hall, bringing the total number of inductees to 157. The renowned monument is the first item you see as you enter the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Pat Summitt Rotunda. The purpose of this 17-foot bronze statue is to “respect the past, celebrate the present, and encourage the future” of women’s basketball. After being inducted into the Hall of Fame, each honoree is given a copy of this statue as a memento of the occasion.

The Hall of Honors, which is 35,000 square feet and lists notable athletes admitted into the Hall of Fame, is a building feature. There have been 139 athletes elected into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Each has a section of the website that provides information about their distinctive histories and accomplishments in basketball. The giant basketball in the world is located on a rooftop, where it can be seen from a great distance. It’s a fantastic location for inspiration and a place in the city that sports enthusiasts shouldn’t miss. You can try out your skills on an interactive basketball court, and additional entertaining exhibits feature hands-on activities.

If you enjoy basketball, visit the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and pay tribute to some of the game’s greatest players. You can read about the 139 people who have been inducted into the sport’s hall of fame and see their artifacts here. In this area, there are interactive displays, including basketball courts, where you can practice your abilities.

2.2. Knoxville’s Market Square

Going to Knoxville’s Market Square is one of the most incredible things to do in Knoxville TN. Market Square is a pedestrian mall and historical area in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the United States. This square opened its doors in 1854 as a marketplace for the local farmers in the vicinity.

In the 1860s, a section of Knoxville that would later become the town’s primary center for cultural activity and expression opened its doors to the public.

2.2.1 What Does This Market Square Use For?

Knoxville’s Market Square has evolved into a multi-use area that can host events like concerts and festivals. The historic Market Square is an open-air center surrounded by various eateries, cafes, boutique shops, and pubs. Both locals and tourists are drawn to the square, which also exudes a festive atmosphere. Market Square is home to a wide range of activities, from concerts and movies to live performances of Shakespeare.

The Market Square Farmers Market is a popular destination on the plaza and the centerpiece of the Nourish Knoxville initiative. A relationship between farmers, artists, and the community of Knoxville that is beneficial to all parties involved can be helped along with the market. Here, you can peruse the several booths providing seasonal vegetables, baked goods, and handcrafted items, all directly related to the vendors.

Market Square has been the hub of Knoxville City since the 1860s, attracting residents and tourists to its numerous stores, eateries, cafes, and bars. There are many places to eat and hang out, and recent visitors described it as a vibrant and enjoyable location to walk about. The area is generally busy, from outdoor concerts and movies to Shakespeare on the Square and other live entertainment.

Moreover, there are two water play fountains, which are popular with kids in the summer. The outdoor Market Square Farmers Market is open from May through November on Wednesday and Saturday and sells goods produced or handcrafted by vendors in the East Tennessee history center region. Eggs, honey, herbs, pasture-raised beef, baked goods, coffee, crafts, and a wide range of other commodities are among the seasonal products.

2.3. Ijams Nature Center

One of the best things to do in Knoxville TN, for nature enthusiasts is to tour Ijams Nature Center, which is free. It is situated at 2915 Island Home Ave, Knoxville, TN 37920, in the United States. Harry Ijams, who dreamed of a bird sanctuary, founded the institution.

2.3.1. What Does This Ijams Nature Center Consist Of?

Ijams Nature Center has over 300 acres of beautiful, leisurely, gently sloping woodlands. Also, it is home to miles of nature trails, a museum store, and various exhibits and habitats, all located within the park. In this park, you can go bicycling, trail running, and birdwatching in great numbers. Unwind and enjoy the energizing surroundings if you don’t feel like doing anything.

By Ijams Nature Center

This nature park, which spans more than 300 acres in Tennessee’s Knox County, features more than 10 miles of walking and hiking paths and several chances for rock climbing. Several non-releasable species, including owls and snakes, are also housed in the center’s exhibit hall.

Ijams, a famous sanctuary away from the city for inhabitants and visitors, has ten miles of trails, rock formations, lakes, and breathtaking vistas. It has evolved into a comprehensive reserve with an environmental learning center. You can explore the sizable Ijams Nature Center via a network of paths and boardwalks exhibiting the stunning surroundings about three miles outside downtown Knoxville.

Mead’s Quarry Lake is another lake close to Ijams and a fantastic location for recreation and water-based sports. Visiting this Lake is another best thing to do in Knoxville TN. You can use paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and even inner tubes to get about. Ijams is a great place to escape the city and retreat into nature’s backyard because it is only a 10-minute drive from downtown Knoxville. Only 3 miles from Knoxville, the center might seem like another planet as you explore the creeks, groves, and hiking paths.

Recent visitors praised the nature center as a beautiful destination for families with young children, though anybody may appreciate the area’s natural splendor. The River Boardwalk was a particular customer favorite, extending over the Tennessee River. The nature center contains information about some of the creatures inhabiting the local ecosystems and tips on spotting them.

2.4. Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville is, without a doubt, one of the most recommended things to do in Knoxville TN, with young children. It is at 3500 Knoxville Zoo Dr, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37914, United States. Here, you’ll find various endearing animals that children and adults will adore, including the exceedingly scarce red pandas and giraffes. Around 400,000 people visit the Zoo Knoxville each year, making it a well-liked activity in Knoxville.

By Zoo Knoxville

You’ll find more than 800 creatures here, representing various species, such as lions, rhinos, elephants, and many more. The Zoo Knoxville helps wild animals and rents spaces for special occasions like weddings, birthday parties, photo shoots, and charity events.

You may see exotic animals like Komodo dragons and Khaleesi at this location, where species worldwide are arranged according to their habitats. There are also animal encounter sessions where you can get close to the animals and other attractions, such as a splash pad, a theater, and a carousel. You can additionally get very close to living creatures.

The fact that the Zoo Knoxville is actively involved in conservation initiatives and has earned accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums makes our passion for it grows even more vital. If you are an animal enthusiast, then exploring Zoo Knoxville is one of the best things to do in Knoxville TN.

2.4.1. Why This Place Is a Must Visit?

This 53-acre zoo, home to more than 700 animals, is a beautiful place to bring kids and animal enthusiasts alike. One of the most popular attractions at the zoo is its collection of red pandas. The zoo is the only place in the world where more than 100 red pandas have been born than any other location.

Feeding giraffes, riding the Zoo Choo Train, and going on camel rides are a few of the other popular things to do at the zoo; however, each activity requires an additional price. Recent visitors to the zoo have praised the facility’s cleanliness and the employees, remarking that the animals appear to be well cared for and content.

2.5. Knoxville Museum of Art

Are you searching for some fun things to do in Knoxville TN, even though it’s chilly and rainy outside? The Knoxville Museum of Art, known simply as the KMA, is in Knoxville, Tennessee. It focuses on works of East Tennessee-produced modern and historical art. The Knoxville Museum of Art features ongoing and one-time exhibits that highlight the works of art and artists from East Tennessee.

By Knoxville Museum of Art

2.5.1. What Does This Knoxville Museum Of Art Best Known For?

The Knoxville Museum of Art is known for its extensive collection of modern addition to older works of art. Most of the items in the museum’s collection are from East Tennessee. So, you will get the chance to view specific works of art that you may have never heard of before. Learning about local artists who have worked in the past and present is a fun opportunity.

The museum always features a diverse selection of collections for visitors to peruse. Every time you come, you will be able to view the permanent exhibits that are housed there. Yet, they also feature changing exhibitions. The rotating exhibits will generally be limited to a few months. Therefore be sure to visit the art museum if there is a changing exhibit you want to see. If you are an art enthusiast, then visiting this place is another best things to do in Knoxville TN.

The museum is one of the top free things to do in Knoxville TN, and admission is entirely free. The Knoxville Museum of Art is devoted to showcasing magnificent native talent while honoring East Tennessee art and the artists who created it. The choice of ongoing and passing exhibitions highlights the creatives who have made Knoxville and eastern Tennessee their home. The exterior of the museum complex is covered in Tennessee marble, a sight that will attract your attention long before you enter the hallways of the building.

In addition to displaying works from the 20th century and more recent times, the permanent exhibits at the museum have recently added a new installation titled the Cycle of Life. It is the world’s largest exhibit, a massive piece of glass. Thanks to the temporary exhibitions loaned from private collections, you’ll experience something new each time you visit. Attend Alive After Five to tour the museum, enjoy live entertainment, and sample regional cuisine.

The museum’s perpetual display is “Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee.” It includes items from the museum’s collection together with pieces lent from public and private collections, highlighting artists who spent most of their careers in the eastern Tennessee region. The “Thorne Rooms,” a collection of intricate miniature dioramas made by Narcissa Niblack Thorne, is a further well-liked permanent display. Pictures show a late 18th-century English dining room and a 19th-century Victorian parlor.

2.6. Tennessee Theater

The Tennessee Theater was once known as a “movie palace” and opened its doors in 1928. It is at 604 S Gay St, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, 37902. Theater Tennessee is the best place to spend the evening because it is in the middle of Knoxville’s downtown.

Enjoy the nightlife of the downtown area by grabbing dinner at one of the many exciting restaurants before seeing a concert. Visiting this Theater is the other best things to do in Knoxville TN.

2.6.1. What is the Specialty Of This Theatre?

You may find historical antiques here, like the original crystal chandeliers, in addition to marble flooring and Asian textiles in the theater, which is still considered an icon in modern times because of the Spanish-Moorish style of architecture it was built in. This is one of the most incredible places in Knoxville to discover some culture, as you can expect to find classic films, musical concerts, and Broadway performances here.

If you are searching for some culture in Knoxville, this is one of the best things to do in Knoxville TN. Tennessee Theater was hailed as “the South’s most magnificent theater” when it opened its doors in 1928. The theater, now included on the National Register of Historic Sites and recognized as the Official State Theatre of Tennessee, plays host to dance performances, screenings of vintage films, concerts of classical music, and touring productions of musicals from Broadway. Thus, visiting this theater is another best things to do in Knoxville TN.

Also, the theater is frequently utilized for performances by regional organizations such as the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Knoxville Opera. In addition, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performs in their theater on Gay Street a few times per week for audience members to enjoy. Previous visitors to the theater gushed about the venue’s beautiful architecture and rich history, describing it as if they had entered a past era.

The architectural company, Graven & Mayger from Chicago, designed the structure, incorporating motifs inspired worldwide. The lobby is decorated in a Spanish-Moorish design and features chandeliers fashioned in the French manner as well as terrazzo flooring imported from Italy. Furthermore, it was one of Knoxville’s first public spaces to have air conditioning.

2.7. Muse Knoxville

Another best things to do in Knoxville TN is to Explore Muse Knoxville. Muse Knoxville is an excellent destination for families with children since it offers a wide variety of fun and educational things to do. It is at 516 N Beaman St, Knoxville, TN 37914, USA. Muse Knoxville is a children’s museum that features a wide variety of exhibits centered on STEAM.

By Muse Knoxville

2.7.1. Why Go to This Place?

Muse Knoxville, the city’s children’s museum, features several displays centered on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). The museum has interactive exhibits and a planetarium, and teaches kids about gardening, the circulatory system of the body, and the physics of sound, among other things. Students will learn about various disciplines, including science, nutrition, and building.

Children can learn about gardening, the circulatory system of the body, and the science of sound at this museum through interactive exhibits. The planetarium at the museum offers your kids a delightful way to learn about the solar system. Spend a few hours at Muse Knoxville, a children’s museum in the area, if your young children need some inspiration or fun.

The exciting displays at Muse Knoxville include a reading room, a sandbox, a construction area with LEGOs and blocks, a lighting station, a STEM station, and a make-space where visitors may use essential tools to create works of art. Kids can work with seasonal flowers and produce in the scientific garden.

Every kid at Muse Knoxville is encouraged to use their imagination and develop new abilities through practical activities. It is spread over 4,000 square feet and offers a pleasant combination of scientific study and artistic expression while teaching visitors at every turn with exhibits and galleries. Interaction is the primary mode of instruction in education, which results in a hassle-free, experiential learning environment for all participants.

If you are taking younger visitors, The Muse Knoxville is a terrific spot because it is a local kid favorite. The 4,000-square-foot building contains both scientific and art exhibitions. Most displays are hands-on, and the building is divided into themed instructional areas like construction, nutrition, and science so that kids may learn by doing.

Previous visitors praised this location as excellent for kids, with many interactive displays and activities to keep them happy for hours. Furthermore, on the fourth Friday of each month, admission to the museum is free for everyone.

2.8. World’s Fair Park

This green park, located in the middle of downtown Knoxville, was previously the fairgrounds of the 1982 World’s Fair. It is in the United States at 525 Henley St, Knoxville, TN 37902. It is now a public park, and going there is one of the free things to do in Knoxville TN that you really should take advantage of. Since then, the site at issue has been referred to as World’s Fair Park, and it has remained an excellent location to spend the day with a loved one or one’s family ever since that fateful day.

By World’s Fair Park

The Sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphitheater are both landmarks preserved in the public park once part of the renowned fair. The Sunsphere, also constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair, is one of World’s Fair Park’s most notable attractions. The Observation Deck, located on the fourth floor of the Sunsphere, offers visitors a breathtaking view of the Tennessee River, downtown Knoxville, the University of Tennessee, and the Smoky Mountains.

2.8.1. Why This Park is a Must Visit?

World’s Fair Park hosts various community gatherings, including food truck festivals, concert series, and more. The park is a popular destination for tourists and locals for picnics, concerts, and strolls. In addition, the park features a sun sphere observation deck, from which visitors can take in views of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee River, as well as other landscapes in the surrounding area.

From there, you may stroll along the accessible paths that pass by the breathtaking artificial lakes and winding streams. Thus, visiting this park is another best things to do in Knoxville TN. In addition to the Tennessee Amphitheater, numerous other expansive lawns regularly host concerts and theater productions. This park is ideal for everyone who enjoys photography due to its breathtaking properties and winding paths through the scenery.

In addition, it is a tranquil haven where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and unwind. The two-acre Festival Lawn can host various events, including concerts and festivals. At the same time, the vast Performance Lawn, another open space, offers a setting akin to an arena ideal for concerts, festivals, parties, and other events. The Splash Pads are a fun water feature typically open from mid-April to early October, but availability might change depending on the weather.

2.9. Knoxville Food Tours

The Knoxville Food Tours have consistently been cited in press articles and customer evaluations as one of Knoxville’s top things to do. It is at 402 S Gay St, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, 37902. An award-winning tour founded in 2010 will take you through Knoxville’s downtown on a culinary adventure. Thus, it is another best things to do in Knoxville TN.

By Knoxville Food Tours

By reserving a spot on a Knoxville Food Tour, you can sample the cuisine served at some of the city’s most well-known and cutting-edge eateries and participate in an informative walking tour of the city’s historic districts. In addition to visiting famous eateries, you’ll see some undiscovered treasures and dive bars—experience pairings from regional wineries, craft beer breweries, and distilleries, as well as food tastings.

2.9.1. What Does This Tour Offer?

Knoxville Food Tours offers more than just exquisite treats. The tours offer various meal options, ranging from brunch to lunch to dinner, so you may choose precisely the meals you want. You will visit roughly six unique destinations during each tour, which lasts approximately three and a half hours. You’ll frequently go to different locations, meaning you’ll discover something new in the food world every time you go.

Participate in a variety of culinary sampling featuring dishes that have been hand-selected and that are the restaurant’s signature offerings. In addition, you can complement your tastes with artisanal cocktails, Tennessee whiskey, artisanal beer, or moonshine. The price of admission is $99 per person, and the trips run about three hours.

2.10. Blount Mansion

The Blount Mansion, often called the William Blount Mansion, is well-known for being the “Birthplace of Tennessee” and the home to the United States. It is at 200 W Hill Ave, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, 37902. The mansion was built between 1792 and 1830 for William Blount, a U.S. Senator and signer of the U.S. Constitution, and is now located in the heart of Knoxville overlooking the Tennessee River.

Thus, Visiting this Mansion is another best things to do in Knoxville TN. William Blount, who served as the first and only governor of the Southwest Territory, made his residence in the Blount Mansion, which was constructed in 1792 and is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. Also, the structure served as the territorial government’s administrative headquarters.

Blount was a signer of the U.S. Constitution and significantly impacted Tennessee becoming the 16th state in the union. Having opened its doors for the first time in 1926, Blount Mansion is now the only National Historic Site in Tennessee and Knoxville. This mansion, which can be found in the heart of Knoxville, was formerly the residence of William Bount, who served as the sole Governor of the Southwest Territory. Blount House in downtown Knoxville is tucked away in a charming neighborhood.

2.10.1. What Does This Blount Mansion Offer?

It offers several exploring rooms, including an upstairs loft, the family parlor, the sitting room, Blount’s office, and the outside area. The Blount Mansion is open to the public for tours, historical dinners, and other activities throughout the year, allowing visitors to learn about and have fun while experiencing the birthplace of Tennessee. Blount House is a must-see for the history buffs in your group since it offers a close-up perspective of Blount’s lasting influence on the historic district.

William Blount lived in this house, also Knoxville’s territory capital, when it opened in 1926. It is also the oldest continuously running museum in the city. Learn about the history of Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as William Blount, by visiting the Blount Mansion and the surrounding gardens. If you enjoy history, the Blount Mansion in Knoxville is worth visiting.

3. Conclusion

Thank you for reading this article. Hope you found this article helpful. It’s a sweet little town with many interesting top things to do in Knoxville TN.

In our list of the top 10 things to do in Knoxville TN, Knoxville combines the spirit of exploration with historical history through its museums, recreational areas, educational system, diversity of zoos, and antique stores.

Knoxville is a region in Tennessee, United States, that offers a variety of parks, tourist destinations, and scenic landscapes.

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Pooja Thakur

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