Best things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee

knoxville old city sunsphere

Knoxville’s best restaurants, shopping, and events

Knoxville’s one of the more progressive cities in Tennessee, with a diverse list of restaurants and breweries. While it’s no Charleston or Asheville, Knoxville is central to fun destinations like Nashville or the Smoky Mountains. Explore a few of the best places Knoxville has to offer visitors.

Downtown Knoxville

  • Pro tip: Parking in the Old City is cheap or free and is a short 10-minute walk from the downtown center.

knoxville farmers marketHead to downtown Knoxville for the best food and shopping. The Farmer’s Market is your first stop, where you can get seasonal produce and local goods while stopping for snacks and drinks at the many booths. Then check out the the other shops in Market Square, or stop in one of the bars for a drink. While you’re shopping, scope out your favorite restaurant for lunch, but set up a reservation if you’re visiting during a weekend during the summer or you risk not getting a seat.

Old City’s your next stop for drinks and dinner. On your way, stop in OP Jenkins Furniture for decorating ideas for any decor style, while you enjoy exploring this 3-story historic building. Other highlights include Rala for souvenirs and trinkets, or stop by the PetSafe dog park to watch the pups playing.

If shopping and eating your way through the Old City doesn’t sound like your thing, take your pick of outdoor activities near downtown. Spend the rest of your day looking at animals at the Zoo Knoxville, or walking the waterfront trails at Ijams Nature Center.

Best restaurants and beer in downtown Knoxville

  • downtown knoxville side viewPro tip: Visiting anytime except the summer? Bring your dog! Knoxville regularly wins awards for being a dog-friendly city. Plus most of these restaurants have dog-friendly patios, though the summer months will be too hot for you and your pup.
  • Tapas: Babalu
  • Soda float: Phoenix Soda Shop
  • Ramen and beer: Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern
  • Vegetarian: Tomato Head
  • Japanese: Anaba
  • Sushi: Nama
  • Pizza and beer: Barley’s
  • Burgers and bourbon: Stock & Barrel
  • Barbecue: Sweet P’s
  • Sandwiches and brunch: Balter Beerworks

Honorable brewery mentions

  • Merchants of Beer
  • Fanatic
  • Alliance Brewing

Best West Knoxville shopping

In nearby West Knoxville, Turkey Creek features a long list of national and local chains at its upscale outdoor shopping centers. At Home has the biggest selection of home goods, with a store the size of a warehouse. You’ll also find favorites like Hobby Lobby, World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond,

After you’re done with your shopping, head to Lakeside Tavern for a riverview dinner on the patio or from inside through the wall-to-wall windows. Or for a cheaper meal, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant or Connor’s Seafood are our top lunch picks.

Side trips

Blue Goose Vineyards in nearby Maryville offers dozens of wines for tasting made from its own grapes. After your tasting, hang out at the beautiful winery fields and meet the friendly farm animals.

Final thoughts on your Knoxville trip

Knoxville’s a fun city to visit for some shopping or beers or between other cities on your Southern road trip. It has a lot to offer for entertainment and foodies with a walkable downtown that’s perfect for a day of exploring.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *