In East Tennessee, Knoxville is surrounded by beautiful scenery, while its central streets show a long and legendary history. Knoxville has become a modern and diverse city. Travelers can experience delicious Southern cuisine as easily as they can venture into the surrounding mountains or visit the many local museums. Knoxville, Tennessee is for all types of travellers, from couples to families and foodies. Find a wide variety of things to do in Knoxville that are inexpensive and great for kids.
The Old Town
Knoxville’s historic district, Old Town, is one of the most interesting parts of the city to explore on foot. During the day, you can stroll through the beautiful architecture, especially at the intersection of Central Street and Jackson Avenue, to get a glimpse into the city’s legendary past and diverse culture.
House Mountain State Nature Area
Just ten minutes from downtown Knoxville, with the highest peak in Knox County, the natural area has many trails, some of which lead to beautiful views that will make you feel like a world away from civilization. The three main paths connect at different points, allowing you to easily explore the park.
Known as the Sphere of the Sun, the golden ball is placed in a tower and sits 266 feet above the ground. You can venture into the area for a 360-degree view of World’s Fair Park, the Knoxville skyline, the University of Tennessee, and the vast Smoky Mountains. Sun sphere is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is free to visit, making it a great attraction for those on a budget.
Fort James White
Thanks to his efforts in the Revolutionary War, James White received 1,000 acres of land. He then embarked on an expedition to find the place that would eventually become the capital of the then Southwest Territories and later of Knoxville. Today you can explore the historic building and discover what life was like on the border through cooking, spinning and blacksmithing.
Home to over 900 different animals from around the world, the Knoxville Zoo is a great family day out. More than 100 red pandas were born at the zoo, more than any other facility in the world. Since then, the zoo has received awards for its work in the conservation of pandas and other exotic species, including local Komodo dragons.
Knoxville Museum of Art
Celebrating East Tennessee art and the artists behind the work, the Knoxville Museum of Art focuses on great local talent. The selection of permanent and temporary exhibitions features artists who have named Knoxville and East Tennessee home. The museum complex has an exterior laden with Tennessee marble, a sight that will draw you in long before you enter the hallways.
Tennessee’s historic theatre was immediately loved by residents when it opened in 1928. A beautiful piece of Hispano-Moorish architecture features a beautiful façade and an intricate interior of richly decorated Czech chandeliers, classic terracotta floors, and detailed curtains. Today, you can experience Tennessee theatre just as it was in the enthusiastic 1920s.