Serving as the first capital of Tennessee, Knoxville is a historic city that’s undergone a rapid transformation. Old factories and warehouses have been converted into trendy loft apartments and sidewalk cafes sitting on the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Things to do in Knoxville
Spend a day wandering the historic streets of Knoxville, passing the Greek Revival Old City Hall, Victorian-era Sullivan’s Saloon and Art Deco Knoxville Post Office. Stop in at the Museum of East Tennessee History to see Civil War artefacts, Native American handicrafts and regional artworks, then admire the Moorish architecture of the Tennessee Theatre.
Visit the lively 19th-century district of Market Square where farmers once flocked from the surrounding rural areas to sell their wares. Today it’s packed with one-of-a-kind boutiques and alfresco dining and also displays the historic Market House bell.
Want to see a replica of Knoxville’s first permanent building? Head to the reconstructed log cabin of James White, which was originally built by the Revolutionary War captain in 1786.
Learn about the region’s First Nations people at the University of Tennessee’s Frank H. McClung Museum, which also has permanent exhibits on Ancient Egypt. Wander along the shady walking trails of the UT Gardens and find an outstanding collection of herbaceous plants and ornamental grasses.
Getting around Knoxville
McGhee Tyson Airport is around 20 minutes’ drive south of downtown Knoxville and the city is connected to destinations across Tennessee by regular buses. A free trolley service accesses most of Knoxville’s sights, with extensive cycling and walking trails for getting around the downtown area.