Knoxville is 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.


Knoxville sits nestled on the Tennessee River about an hour from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once called the 'scruffy little city', the downtown is undergoing a rapid renaissance as young people move into the lofts and apartments created from the factories and warehouses of another era. On any evening of the week, throngs of residents and visitors can be seen at the sidewalk cafes, theaters, restaurants and night clubs along Gay Street and Market Square. The University of Tennessee, with its 27,000 students, is within walking distance of the downtown, separated only by the World's Fair Park.

One can still see remnants of the 1982 World's Fair in the Sunsphere, a rising structure topped with a gold sphere which dots Knoxville's skyline. Most of the other structures from the Fair were removed to create a large city park, which attracts families, students, and artists on weekends and sunny days. The World's Fair brought a lot of attention and development to the city, including high-rise office structures, and the four-star Hilton, Crowne Plaza and Marriott hotels.

Knoxville is home to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The city seems dominated by the University of Tennessee Volunteers and Lady Volunteers (women's basketball only) athletics. The basketball teams play in the 21,000+ seat Thompson–Boling Arena, and the nationally recognized football team plays in Neyland Stadium, one of the largest on-campus stadiums in the world at 103,000 seating capacity. During the fall you will find plenty of orange in the foliage, but you will see Big Orange (another nickname for the UTK athletic programs) year-round with the people of Knoxville.

The city is also the home or birthplace of a number of cultural figures, such as authors Cormac McCarthy, James Agee, and Alex Haley, and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who mentions the city in all of his films (remember the watch in Pulp Fiction?) The Everly Brothers attended high school here and began performing on radio in Knoxville. Dolly Parton began her career in Knoxville. Senator Howard Baker, actor David Keith, film director Clarence Brown and opera singer Mary Costa are all from the Knoxville area. Actor and daredevil Johnny Knoxville is from the city.

Get in

By plane

McGhee Tyson Airport (IATA: TYS) is serviced by:

The following cities are serviced non-stop from Knoxville by air: Atlanta (ATL), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD),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

By boat

The Tennessee River runs through Knoxville and is accessible by personal watercraft. Many boaters routinely navigate the Tennessee River for both pleasure and travel. Some arrive at Neyland Stadium by boat, avoiding Knoxville's worst traffic and parking problems. The Wolf and the French Broad Rivers join just upstream of Knoxville to form the Tennessee, which is navigable, courtesy of the TVA dams, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Get around

Although parking is usually easy to come by in most of the city, it may be mildly difficult at times to locate adequate parking downtown and around the University of Tennessee. Walking is convenient downtown, but in other areas, most major roads are not amenable to pedestrians or bicyclists. In the outer areas of the city, because bus service is infrequent and some places don't have sidewalks, traveling by car is the way to go.

Public transportation

Biking and walking

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


World's Fair Park and Sunsphere




Theatre and music

Festivals & events



Major Shopping Complexes

Downtown shopping



Knoxville has plenty of restaurants, although the diversity and quality of them can be disappointing if you're not willing to look beyond the major chain locations. Be perseverent, however, and you will find some diamonds in the rough. Vegetarians and vegans are generally not well catered to, there are exceptions and the vigilant vegetarian or vegan will not starve.


Knoxville has most typical fast-food chains in one or more places around town.




Market Square and the Old City house a number of bars, probably too many to list here. Below are a few popular locations in those areas and elsewhere.





There are two Hiltons (One at the airport, one downtown), The Crowne Plaza and The Radison downtown.

Stay safe

In general, Knoxville is a safe town. Practice the same precautions you would in any other mid-sized American town -- for example, lock your car and don't leave valuables sitting in plain view in your car. Low-income areas downtown should be traversed carefully. Avoid the area around University and Fifth. You don't even want to go there after dark. This is not at the University of Tennessee. Be careful where you park in the "Old City" area. It's right next to the mission district.


The University of Tennessee Chancellor's Commission for LGBT People is an advisory group which is active in civic and public discourse regarding LGBT issues in the Community, particularly at the University of Tennessee itself, but is accessible by all members of the LGBT community in one capacity or another .

Go next

Routes through Knoxville

Nashville Farragut  W  E  Jct N Newport Asheville
Lexington Pioneer  N  S  Farragut Chattanooga
Splits into and  N  S  Farragut Chattanooga
Bristol Kingsport  N  S  Merges with
Johnson City Greeneville  N  S  Merges with
Corbin Jellico  N  S  Newport Asheville
Nashville Farragut  W  E  Newport Asheville
END  N  S  Maryville Gainesville
END ← Rocky Top Jct  N  S  Sevierville Athens

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.