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Live It UP - The 15 Top Things to Do in Knoxville, TN!

Live It UP – The 15 Top Things to Do in Knoxville, TN!

Knoxville, TN, isn’t just some city nestled in the Southeastern U.S. This teeming melting pot of culture and history is also an incredible place to get out and have some fun!

Whether you’re trekking through the gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains or Cumberland Mountains, soaking up the urban vibe of downtown’s Gay Street, or just chillin at the lush greens of the World’s Fair Park along the Tennessee River, you won’t be disappointed in one-of-a-kind Knoxville, Tennessee.

As a proud Knoxville native, former teacher (and pro wrestler), and now real estate guru, I’ve cherished this amazing community for years. In fact, I’m always thrilled to help newcomers, potential movers, and sure buyers and sellers navigate my favorite city and state.

Why Knoxville, Tennessee, Is The Place To Be

When you hear “Haley Jones Homes,” it’s more than mere houses in Knoxville, TN. Think lifestyle. This place is overflowing with things to do, places to be, and eclectic people to see!

Wondering about the top Knoxville attractions? From downtown Knoxville to those quiet nooks and crannies that only locals know?

Let’s explore all the fun things the Knoxville area and its famous old city can offer. Whether a show at the Tennessee Theater, convention center extravaganzas, weekends at the University of Tennessee, or high-octane fun in downtown Knoxville, I’ve got you covered!

Here are the top 15 things to do throughout Knoxville, TN, you absolutely cannot miss.

(1) Explore The East Tennessee History Center

A staple in East Knoxville, the East Tennessee History Center is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and has numerous engaging exhibits. From the early days of settlement and formation of the Southwest Territory to the impact of the Civil War and the region’s role in shaping Tennessee’s development, there is something for everyone.

One of the center’s standout exhibits is the “Voices of the Land,” which explores the cultural heritage and traditions of the Cherokee people, who have a deep historical connection to the region. The exhibit showcases artifacts, interactive displays, and multimedia presentations that offer insights into the lives, customs, and challenges of the Cherokee Nation.

A Mind-Bending Trip Back in Time and Place

This Knoxville museum is home to compelling exhibits and artifacts that showcase the region’s rich history. The main exhibit hall of the East Tennessee Historical Society is a treasure trove of artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring history to life.

I recommend checking out the popular History Happy Hour, Genealogy Workshops, and History Hootenanny. You’ll find a new appreciation for all things Knoxville, Tennessee!

A visit to the East Tennessee Historical Society is more than just a trip to a museum—it’s a chance to step back in time, immerse yourself in the stories of the past, and gain a deeper appreciation for the people, events, and culture that have shaped the region. Whether you’re a history buff, a resident, or a curious traveler, the East Tennessee Historical Society offers an experience that will leave you with a renewed sense of connection to the area’s history.

With numerous interactive and immersive exhibits, the history center has plenty of fun things to do for adults and kids alike.

(2) Discover Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee

Step into the bustling streets of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, and feel the pulse of an energized southern gem. This bustling urban center is a delightful blend of historic charm, modern sophistication, and Southern hospitality.

In the downtown area, you’ll enjoy a skyline adorned with a mix of architectural styles, ranging from grand historic buildings to sleek contemporary structures. The streets are lined with bustling sidewalks, trendy boutiques, inviting cafés, and eclectic art galleries. The atmosphere is electric as locals and visitors go about their day, creating a vibrant tapestry of activity.

One of my personal favorites is to stroll along Gay Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, and soak up the vibe of this lively urban hub. Be sure to check out the historic Tennessee Theatre, a beautifully restored cineplex that hosts a variety of live performances. The Tennessee Theatre is always jumping!

Need tips on what to explore? I know all the hotspots.

(3) Unleash Your Creative Spark At The Knoxville Museum of Art!

Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, the Knoxville Museum of Art is the perfect spot to admire the works of local artists and explore rotating exhibits and showcases. The spacious, light-filled galleries of this Knoxville, TN, treasure have all kinds of goodies!

From classical to contemporary, from paintings to sculptures, the diverse array of artwork inspires and captivates visitors of all tastes.

The Knoxville Museum of Art is not just a place for viewing art; it’s also a space for interactive engagement and personal reflection. Take a moment to sit on a bench and contemplate the meaning behind a captivating artwork, or participate in one of the hands-on workshops and art classes. The Knoxville Museum of Art is a wonderful place to be in Knoxville, Tennessee!

(4) Relax at World’s Fair Park in Knoxville, Tennessee

Nestled along the scenic Tennessee River, World’s Fair Park is a picturesque oasis in downtown Knoxville. Walk through the park, enjoy a picnic on the lush green lawns, or ride the iconic Sunsphere’s observation deck for panoramic views of the city. This gleaming golden sphere was built for the 1982 World’s Fair and offers breathtaking views of the city and the picturesque Smoky Mountains.

Also, visit the Tennessee Amphitheater, an impressive outdoor performance venue within the park’s stunning landscape. The World’s Fair Amphitheater hosts various events, from live concerts and Knoxville theater performances to cultural festivals and community gatherings.

If you love the outdoors, Knoxville theater performances, and relaxing, the World’s Fair Park in Knoxville, Tennessee, will not disappoint. It’s one of the top unique things to do in Knoxville, TN.

And don’t miss out on a magical forest theater show marked by vibrant costumes and natural acoustics!

(5) Embrace Wilderness at Ijams Nature Center Escape

Ijams Nature Center rests just a few miles south of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Explore the many fun things to do in this Knoxville, TN, favorite, from exploring the extensive network of hiking trails to renting a kayak or paddleboard and embarking on a guided nature tour through the local flora and fauna.

If you want to bring the whole family, I recommend the treetop adventure course, where you can navigate through rope bridges, ziplines, and other obstacles.

Ijams Nature Center also has specially designed spaces for children to connect with nature, build, climb, and use their imaginations.

Ijams Nature Center is the perfect escape in South Knoxville, Tennessee, near the downtown area.

Keeping It Local: Community Gatherings and Neighborhood Hotspots

(6) Get Wild and Primal at Zoo Knoxville

Located just east of downtown, Zoo Knoxville (or the Knoxville Zoo) offers an exciting adventure for visitors of all ages. Encounter fascinating wildlife, including red pandas, African elephants, and Malayan tigers. Don’t miss the daily animal presentations and the opportunity to feed the giraffes!

Speaking of giraffes, I recommend the African Savannah exhibit. You can marvel at the graceful animals as they roam the vast savannah. Nothing beats watching those towering necks reach for the leaves of acacia trees!

The Zoo Knoxville with kids is the place to be.

Enjoying the various sights and sounds of Zoo Knoxville is almost like being in a Tennessee theater! The younger ones will have fun things to do, cool sights to see, and all kinds of natural history lessons to learn (and your adults will love it too).

Be sure to check with the Knoxville Zoo frequently. Special events occur at the Knoxville Zoo when you least expect it, so always be on the lookout!

(7) Shop, Eat and Drink to Your Heart’s Content At The Vibrant Market Square

Head to Market Square, the heart of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, and immerse yourself in its lively ambiance. This vibrant gathering spot contains artisan shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, browse local boutiques, or enjoy live music and special events.

But if you’re anything like me and love to eat (sometimes a little too much), the Market Square in downtown Knoxville, TN, has it all!

This culinary haven boasts an impressive selection of restaurants, cafés, and food stalls. Indulge in mouthwatering dishes that span the culinary spectrum, from farm-to-table delicacies to international flavors that will transport your palate around the globe.

Whether you crave Southern comfort food, gourmet burgers, artisanal pizzas, or exotic dishes, Market Square will fill your tummy in no time.

(8) Uncover Constitutional History at Blount Mansion

Part of the national register, this historic landmark is the city’s oldest operating museum. The 1792 mansion was once home to Constitution signer William Blount and was getting rather decrepit. Good thing the Blount Mansion Association saved it!

During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the beautifully restored mansion, complete with period furnishings, original architectural features, and informative exhibits.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a student studying American history, or simply curious about the roots of Tennessee, a visit to Blount Mansion is a must. It’s an opportunity to step back in time, immerse yourself in regional history, and gain a deeper appreciation for the individuals and events that shaped our nation.

And if you really crave historical relics and landmarks, check out the James White Fort as well. The reconstructed home of James White, a Knoxville founding father, consists of log structures and features a central courtyard. James White’s Fort is a sight to behold, especially the Christmas open house.

(9) Delight in Kid-Friendly Culture at Muse Knoxville

Another must-visit in Knoxville, TN, Muse Knoxville is a hub of creativity and exploration for young minds. Situated in the Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center of East Knoxville, this ample space is perfect for indoor and outdoor exhibits, ensuring an engaging environment your young learners will love.

Muse Knoxville, Tennessee, will truly inspire.

The Muse Knoxville Museum has all kinds of exhibits and special events. Head over for a free family night, buy a premium party package, hit the book nook, or wow your kids at the Planetarium. It’s a top place to visit in Knoxville with kids.

Children can engage in imaginative play, experiment with various scientific concepts, and explore different areas dedicated to art, engineering, and innovation. From building structures with blocks to experimenting with water flow and gravity, there’s no shortage of activities to captivate young minds.

For fun that the whole family can relish, visit Muse Knoxville for some of the best things to do in Knoxville, TN, with kids.

Delight in Kid-Friendly Culture at Muse Knoxville

(10) Celebrate Women’s Basketball at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Do you like to hoop? Want a place to go in Knoxville with kids?

Pay homage to the pioneers and legends of women’s basketball at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Engage in interactive exhibits, explore sports history, and even test your basketball skills on the indoor courts.

There are many special happenings year-round, including guest speaker series, panel discussions, and exhibition games. Check their schedule to see upcoming events during your visit. Attending these events can provide an extra layer of excitement and offer the opportunity to engage with fellow fans and industry professionals.

Score big and meet your favorite basketball player!

(11) Seep Into Nature at the Knoxville Botanical Garden

When you move to or visit Knoxville, you can’t miss this East Knoxville escape. Retreat to the Knoxville Botanical Garden and relish an oasis of beautiful foliage, flowers, walking trails, and a wide variety of wildlife.

Explore the aromatic blooms of water lilies and aquatic plants, browse the roses, or stroll through the bamboo forest. You’ll be enraptured by the variety of butterflies, insects, and magical critters that flourish amid the fauna and flora.

If you want to try to replicate this beauty yourself, check out the programs covering plant propagation, gardening techniques, and sustainable practices.

The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum will both enchant and educate anyone who visits.

(12) Taste Knoxville, TN, on a Filling Food Tour!

Have an appetite? Well, you’re in luck! Your East Tennessee adventure begins with the famous Knoxville food tours that take you through East Knoxville, South Knoxville, North Knoxville, and everywhere good meals and drinks are served! 

Market Square and the Old City are particular hotspots, with multiple tastings, signature pairings, and the best of Southern & Appalachian cuisine!

Whether you’re a barbecue aficionado, a fan of ethnic dishes, or eager to explore the city’s decadent desserts, there’s a Knoxville, Tennessee, tour for you. Chocolate tours, whiskey works tours, and farm-to-table explorations make Knoxville food tours one-of-a-kind.

Want to loosen up while you chow down? Enjoy a little wine, whiskey, beer, or even moonshine! East Tennessee’s food has never tasted so good.

Taste Knoxville, TN, on a Filling Food Tour!

(13) Show up for GAMETIME at Neyland Stadium

Neyland Stadium is an iconic sports venue located on the campus of the University of Tennessee in South Knoxville. It is the home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team and is considered one of the most prestigious college football stadiums in the United States.

With a seating capacity of over 100,000, Neyland Stadium always provides an unforgettable experience. The sounds of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, the team’s fight song, and the University of Tennessee crowd create an electric atmosphere that embodies the spirit of college football.

Not a football fanatic? Neyland Stadium has also hosted events like concerts, soccer matches, and special ceremonies. The versatility and grandeur of the University of Tennessee stadium make it a cherished venue that can accommodate a variety of events and performances.

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(14) Relive Humble Beginnings at the Historic Ramsey House

The Ramsey House, also known as the Historic Ramsey House, is a historic landmark and museum located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It’s named after its original owner, Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey, who played a significant role in the early history of Knoxville and East Tennessee.

The Ramsey House is an excellent example of Federal architecture, showcasing the elegance and craftsmanship of the late 18th century. Constructed in 1797, it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Knox County and holds a special place in the history of Knoxville, TN.

Today, the Ramsey House is a museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The museum features guided tours that provide insights into the daily lives of East Tennessee’s early settlers.

Surrounded by beautiful grounds, the Ramsey House also boasts a charming garden that reflects the style and horticulture of the time. The garden provides a serene setting and offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature while experiencing a piece of Knoxville, Tennessee, history.

(15) Reanimate Ancient Civilizations at the McClung Museum

Don’t let the rather funky name fool you. The McClung Museum is a renowned museum located on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville. It is named after Calvin McClung, a prominent Knoxville, Tennessee, businessman and historian.

The McClung Museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, study, and interpret artifacts and specimens that represent the natural and cultural history of the region and beyond.

The museum’s collections are extensive and cover countless topics, including archaeology, anthropology, natural history, and decorative arts. Visitors can explore exhibits that showcase the rich cultural heritage of East Tennessee, as well as artifacts from ancient civilizations around the world.

One of the highlights of the McClung Museum is its archaeology gallery, which displays artifacts from prehistoric Native American cultures that once thrived in the region. The gallery features pottery, tools, and other objects that provide insights into the daily lives and traditions of these ancient peoples.

The museum also houses exhibits on the Civil War, East Tennessee history, and the region’s natural environment. From interactive displays to multimedia presentations, the exhibits at the McClung Museum offer an engaging and informative experience for visitors of all ages.

Want to Visit or Move? Discover The Best Knoxville, Tennessee, Has to Offer!

Want to Visit or Move? Discover The Best Knoxville, Tennessee, Has to Offer!

Whether you’re looking for things to do in Knoxville, TN, this weekend, or any day of the week, this storied city does not disappoint. 

From revamped and renovated modern conveniences to the historic places of the Old City, nature’s bounty on the Tennessee River, and the pulse and pop of Market Square, you can’t go wrong in Knoxville, TN.

There’s so much to do and see that your car will need to visit a Knoxville service center due to all the traveling!

And to think, I barely even scratched the surface… 

Many other places didn’t make the list but deserve notable mentions. These include everything from the Girl Scout Museum to the introductory Visitor Center, the Maple Hall bowling alley, the Knoxville Opera, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and the movie palace Tennessee Theatre in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Relocating to Knoxville, TN, Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult!

There’s so much to do in Knoxville with kids, friends, adults, or on your lovely lonesome. And the good news is you don’t have to live vicariously from afar! If you’re planning a move to Knoxville, savor the journey and experience all this city and surrounding area have to offer. If you’re looking at markets and economic conditions, and feeling unsure, don’t be! I can help make your home-buying process smooth and simple so that you don’t have to stress about anything.

Ready to explore your options? I’m here for you. Let’s schedule a chat.

Book a call with Haley Jones

and find your dream home at a dream price.