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City of Knoxville
—  City  —

Nickname(s): The Marble City
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee.
Coordinates: 35°58′22″N 83°56′32″W / 35.97278°N 83.94222°W / 35.97278; -83.94222Coordinates: 35°58′22″N 83°56′32″W / 35.97278°N 83.94222°W / 35.97278; -83.94222
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Knox
Settled 1786
Incorporated 1791
 - Type Mayor-council government
 - Mayor Bill Haslam
Area [1]
 - City 98.09 sq mi (254.0 km2)
 - Land 92.66 sq mi (240.0 km2)
 - Water 5.43 sq mi (14.1 km2)  5.5%
Elevation [2] 886 ft (270 m)
Population (2007)[3]
 - City 183,546
 Density 1,876.7/sq mi (724.6/km2)
 Metro 681,525
 - Combined Statistical Pop 1,029,155
 - Demonym Knoxvillian
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 865
FIPS code 47-40000[4]
GNIS feature ID 1648562[5]

Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, behind Memphis and Nashville, and is the county seat of Knox County.[6] It is also the largest city in East Tennessee. As of the 2000 United States Census, Knoxville had a total population of 173,890;[3] the July 2007 estimated population was 183,546.[7] Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area with a metro population of 655,400, which is in turn the central component of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette Combined Statistical Area with 1,029,155 residents.



Of Tennessee's four major cities, Knoxville is second oldest to Nashville, which was founded seven years earlier. After Tennessee's admission into the Union in 1796, Knoxville was the state's first capital, in which capacity it served until 1819, when the capital was moved to Murfreesboro, prior to Nashville receiving the designation. The city was named in honor of the first Secretary of War, Henry Knox.

One of Knoxville's nicknames is The Marble City.[8] In the early 20th century, a number of quarries were active in the city, supplying Tennessee pink marble (actually Ordovician limestone of the Holston Formation) to much of the country. Notable buildings such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington are constructed of Knoxville marble. The National Gallery's fountains were turned by Candoro Marble Company, which once ran the largest marble lathes in the United States.

Knoxville was once also known as the Underwear Capital of the World.[9] In the 1930s, no fewer than 20 textile and clothing mills operated in Knoxville, and the industry was the city's largest employer. In the 1950s, the mills began to close, causing an overall population loss of 10% by 1960.

Knoxville is also the home of the University of Tennessee's flagship campus. The university's sports teams, called the "Volunteers" or "Vols", are extremely popular in the surrounding area. In recognition of this popularity, the telephone area code for Knox County and eight adjacent counties is 865 (VOL). Knoxville is also the home of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, almost entirely thanks to the popularity of Pat Summitt and the University of Tennessee women's basketball team.

McGhee Tyson Airport serves Knoxville and the Tennessee Air National Guard.


Early history

The first humans to form substantial settlements in what is now Knoxville arrived during the Woodland period (c. 1000 B.C. – 1000 A.D).[10] One of the oldest man-made structures in Knoxville is a burial mound constructed during the early Mississippian period (c. 1000 A.D.). The mound is located on the University of Tennessee campus.[11] Other prehistoric sites include an Early Woodland habitation area at the confluence of the Tennessee River and Knob Creek (near the Knox-Blount county line),[10] and Dallas Phase Mississippian villages at Post Oak Island (also along the river near the Knox-Blount line),[12] and at Bussell Island (at the mouth of the Little Tennessee River near Lenoir City).[13]

By the 18th century, the Cherokee had become the dominant tribe in the East Tennessee region, although they were consistently at war with the Creeks and Shawnee.[14][15] The Cherokee people called the Knoxville area kuwanda'talun'yi, which means "Mulberry Place."[16] Most Cherokee habitation in the area was concentrated in the Overhill settlements along the Little Tennessee River, southwest of Knoxville.

The first Euro-American traders and explorers arrived in the Tennessee Valley in the late 1600s, although there is significant evidence that Hernando de Soto visited the Bussell Island site in 1540.[17] The first major recorded Euro-American presence in the Knoxville area was the Henry Timberlake expedition, which passed through the confluence of the Holston and French Broad into the Tennessee River in December 1761. Timberlake, who was en route to the Overhill settlements along the Little Tennessee River, recalled being pleasantly surprised by the deep waters of the Tennessee after having struggled down the relatively shallow Holston for several weeks.[18]


The home of James White in Downtown Knoxville

The end of the French and Indian War and confusion brought about by the American Revolution led to a drastic increase in Euro-American settlement west of the Appalachians.[19] By the 1780s, Euro-American settlers were already established in the Holston and French Broad valleys. Since the Cherokee had not ceded this land, however, most of these settlers were in the valley illegally. The U.S. Congress ordered all illegal settlers out of the valley in 1785, but with little success. As settlers continued to trickle into Cherokee lands, tensions between the settlers and the Cherokee rose steadily.[20]

In 1786, James White, a Revolutionary War officer, and his friend James Connor built White's Fort near the mouth of First Creek, on land White had purchased three years earlier.[21] In 1790, White's son-in-law, Charles McClung— who had arrived from Pennsylvania the previous year— surveyed White's holdings between First Creek and Second Creek for the establishment of a town. McClung drew up 64 0.5-acre (0.0020 km2) lots. The waterfront was set aside for a town common. Two lots were set aside for a church and graveyard (First Presbyterian Church, founded 1792). Four lots were set aside for a school. That school was eventually chartered as Blount College and it served as the starting point for the University of Tennessee, which uses Blount College's founding date of 1794, as its own. Also in 1790, President George Washington appointed North Carolina surveyor William Blount governor of the newly-created Territory South of the River Ohio.

Statue representing the signing of the Treaty of the Holston in Downtown Knoxville

One of Blount's first tasks was to meet with the Cherokee and establish territorial boundaries and resolve the issue of illegal settlers.[22] This he accomplished almost immediately with the Treaty of Holston, which was negotiated and signed at White's Fort in 1791. Blount originally wanted to place the territorial capital at the confluence of the Clinch River and Tennessee River (now Kingston), but when the Cherokee refused to cede this land, Blount chose White's Fort, which McClung had surveyed the previous year. Blount named the new capital Knoxville after Revolutionary War general and Secretary of War Henry Knox, who at the time was Blount's immediate superior.[23]

Problems immediately arose from the Holston Treaty. Blount believed that he had "purchased" much of what is now East Tennessee when the treaty was signed in 1791. However, the terms of the treaty came under dispute, culminating in continued violence on both sides. When the government invited the Cherokee's chief Hanging Maw for negotiations in 1793, Knoxville settlers attacked the Cherokee against orders, killing the chief's wife. Peace was renegotiated in 1794.[24]

Antebellum Knoxville

The Craighead-Jackson House in Knoxville, built in 1818

Knoxville served as capital of the Territory South of the River Ohio and as capital of Tennessee (admitted as a state in 1796) until 1817,[21] when the capital was moved to Murfreesboro. Early Knoxville has been described as an "alternately quiet and rowdy river town."[25] Early issues of the Knoxville Gazette— the first newspaper published in Tennessee— are filled with accounts of murder, theft, and hostile Cherokee attacks. Abishai Thomas, a friend of William Blount, visited Knoxville in 1794 and wrote that while he was impressed by the town's modern frame buildings, the town had "seven taverns" and no church.[26]

Knoxville initially thrived as a way station for travelers and migrants heading west. Its situation at the confluence of three major rivers in the Tennessee Valley brought flatboat and later steamboat traffic to its waterfront in the first half of the 19th-century, and Knoxville quickly developed into a regional merchandising center. Local agricultural products— especially tobacco, corn, and whiskey— were traded for cotton, which was grown in the Deep South.[21] The population of Knoxville more than doubled in the 1850s with the arrival of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad in 1855.[25]

Among the most prominent citizens of Knoxville during the Antebellum years was James White's son, Hugh Lawson White (1773–1840). White first served as a judge and state senator before being nominated by the state legislature to replace Andrew Jackson in the U.S. Senate in 1825. In 1836, White ran unsuccessfully for president, representing the Whig Party.[27]

The U.S. Civil War

Engraving showing Confederate troops firing at Union supporter Charles Douglas on Gay Street in Knoxville in late 1861

Anti-slavery and anti-secession sentiment ran high in East Tennessee in the years leading up to the U.S. Civil War. William "Parson" Brownlow, the radical publisher of the Knoxville Whig, was one of the region's leading anti-secessionists (although he defended the practice of slavery).[28] Blount County, just south of Knoxville, had developed into a center of abolitionist activity, due in part to its relatively large Quaker faction and the anti-slavery president of Maryville College, Isaac Anderson.[29] The Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church, Knoxville was reportedly a station on the underground railroad.[30] Business interests, however, guided largely by Knoxville's trade connections with cotton-growing centers to the south, contributed to the development of a strong pro-secession movement within the city. The city's pro-secessionists included among their ranks Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey, a prominent historian whose father had built the Ramsey House in 1797. Thus, while East Tennessee and greater Knox County voted decisively against secession in 1861, the city of Knoxville favored secession by a 2-1 margin. In late May 1861, just before the secession vote, delegates of the East Tennessee Convention met at Temperance Hall in Knoxville in hopes of keeping Tennessee in the Union. After Tennessee voted to secede the following month, the convention met in Greeneville and attempted to create a separate Union-aligned state in East Tennessee.[31][32]

Photograph showing the aftermath of the Siege of Knoxville, December 1863

In July 1861, after Tennessee had joined the Confederacy, General Felix Zollicoffer arrived in Knoxville as commander of the District of East Tennessee. While initially lenient toward the city's Union sympathizers, Zollicoffer instituted martial law in November of that year after Union guerillas destroyed seven of the city's bridges. The command of the district passed briefly to George Crittenden and then to Kirby Smith, the latter of whom launched a failed invasion of Kentucky in August 1862. In early 1863, General Simon Buckner took command of Confederate forces in Knoxville. Anticipating a Union invasion, Buckner fortified Fort Loudon (in West Knoxville, not to be confused with the colonial fort to the southwest) and began constructing earthworks throughout the city. The approach of Union forces under Ambrose Burnside in the Summer of 1863, however, forced Buckner to evacuate Knoxville before the earthworks were completed.[33]

Burnside arrived in Knoxville in early September 1863. Like the Confederates, he immediately began fortifying the city. The Union forces rebuilt Fort Loudon and erected 12 other forts and batteries flanked by entrenchments around the city. Burnside moved a pontoon bridge upstream from Loudon, allowing Union forces to cross the river and build a series of forts along the heights of South Knoxville, including Fort Stanley and Fort Dickerson.[34]

As Burnside was fortifying Knoxville, the Confederate army defeated Union forces at the Battle of Chickamauga (near the Tennessee-Georgia line) and subsequently laid siege to Chattanooga. On November 3, 1863, the Confederates dispatched General James Longstreet north to attack Burnside at Knoxville. Longstreet initially wanted to attack the city from the south, but lacking the means to carry the necessary pontoon bridges, he was forced to cross the river further downstream at Loudon (November 14) and march against the city's heavily-fortified western section. On November 15, General Joseph Wheeler unsuccessfully attempted to dislodge Union forces in the heights of South Knoxville, and the following day Longstreet failed to cut off retreating Union forces at Campbell's Station (now Farragut). On November 18, General William P. Sanders was mortally wounded while conducting delaying maneuvers west of Knoxville, and Fort Loudon was renamed Fort Sanders in his honor. On November 29, after a two-week siege, the Confederates attacked Fort Sanders, but retreated after a fierce 20-minute engagement. On December 4, after word of the Confederate setback at Chattanooga reached Longstreet, Longstreet abandoned his attempts to take Knoxville and retreated into winter quarters at Russellville. He rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia the following Spring.[35]

Reconstruction and the Industrial Age

Early-1900s photograph of the Republic Marble Quarry near Knoxville

After the war, northern investors such as the brothers Joesph and David Richards helped Knoxville recover relatively quickly. Joseph and David Richards convinced 104 Welsh immigrant families to migrate from the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania to work in a rolling mill then co-owned by John H. Jones. These Welsh families settled in an area now known as Mechanicsville.[citation needed] The Richards brothers also co-founded the Knoxville Iron Works beside the L&N Railroad, also employing Welsh workers. Later the site would be used as the grounds for the 1982 World's Fair.[citation needed]

Workers at the Knoxville Knitting Works, photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine in 1910

Other companies that sprang up during this period were Knoxville Woolen Mills, Dixie Cement, and Woodruff's Furniture. Between 1880 and 1887, 97 factories were established in Knoxville, most of them specializing in textiles, food products, and iron products.[36] By the 1890s, Knoxville was home to more than 50 wholesaling houses, making it the third largest wholesaling center by volume in the South.[36] The Candoro Marble Works, established in the community of Vestal in 1914, became the nation's foremost producer of pink marble and one of the nation's largest marble importers.[37]

In 1869, Thomas Hughes, a Union-sympathizer and president of East Tennessee University, secured federal wartime restitution funding and state-designated Morrill Act funding to expand the college, which had been occupied by both armies during the war.[38] In 1879, the school changed its name to the University of Tennessee, hoping to secure more funding from the Tennessee state legislature. Charles Dabney, who became president of the university in 1887, overhauled the faculty and established a law school in an attempt to modernize the scope of the university.[38]

The post-war manufacturing boom brought thousands of immigrants to the city. The population of Knoxville grew from around 5,000 in 1860 to 32,637 in 1900. West Knoxville was annexed in 1897, and over 5,000 new homes were built between 1895 and 1904.[39]

In 1901, train robber Kid Curry (whose real name was Harvey Logan), a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch was captured after shooting two deputies on Knoxville's Central Avenue. He escaped from the Knoxville Jail and rode away on a horse stolen from the sheriff.[citation needed]

The Progressive Era and the Great Depression

Kingston Pike, circa 1910.

The growing city of Knoxville hosted the Appalachian Exposition in 1910 and again in 1911, and the National Conservation Exposition in 1913. The latter is sometimes credited with giving rise to the movement to create a national park in the Great Smoky Mountains, some 20 miles (32 km) south of Knoxville.[40] Around this time, a number of affluent Knoxvillians began purchasing summer cottages in Elkmont, and began to pursue the park idea more vigorously. They were led by Knoxville businessman Colonel David C. Chapman, who as head of the Great Smoky Mountains Park Commission was largely responsible for raising the funds for the purchase of the property that became the core of the park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1933.[41]

Gay Street in the early 1900s

Knoxville's reliance on a manufacturing economy left it particularly vulnerable to the fallout from the Great Depression. The Tennessee Valley also suffered from constant flooding, and millions of acres of farmland had been ruined by soil erosion. To control flooding and improve the economy in the Tennessee Valley, the federal government created the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933. Beginning with Norris Dam, TVA constructed a series of hydroelectric and other power plants throughout the valley over the next few decades, bringing flood control, jobs, and electricity to the region.[42] The Federal Works Projects Administration, which also arrived in the 1930s, helped to build McGhee-Tyson Airport and expand Neyland Stadium.[43] TVA's headquarters, which consists of two twin high rises built in the 1970s, were among Knoxville's first modern high-rise buildings.

In 1948, the soft drink Mountain Dew was first marketed in Knoxville, originally designed as a mixer for whiskey.[2] Around the same time, John Gunther, author of Inside USA, dubbed Knoxville the "ugliest city" in America. Gunther's description jolted the city into enacting a series of beautification measures that helped improve the appearance of the Downtown area.[40]

Modern Knoxville

Research laboratory at U.T. in the early 1940s

Knoxville's textile and manufacturing industries largely fell victim to foreign competition in the 1950s and 1960s, and after the establishment of the Interstate Highway system in the 1960s, the railroad— which had been largely responsible for Knoxville's industrial growth— began to decline. The rise of suburban shopping malls in the 1970s drew retail revenues away from Knoxville's Downtown area. While government jobs and economic diversification prevented widespread unemployment in Knoxville, the city sought to recover the massive loss of revenue by attempting to annex neighboring communities in Knox County. These annexation attempts often turned combative, and several attempts to merge the Knoxville and Knox County governments failed.[43]

The Sterchi Lofts building, formerly Sterchi Brothers Furniture store, the most prominent building on Knoxville's "100 Block"

With annexation attempts stalling, Knoxville initiated several projects aimed at boosting revenue in the Downtown area. The 1982 World's Fair— the most successful of these projects— became one of the most popular world's fairs in U.S. history with 11 million visitors. The fair's energy theme was selected due to Knoxville being the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority and for the city's proximity to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Sunsphere, a 266-foot (81 m) steel truss structure topped with a gold-colored glass sphere, was built for the fair and remains one of Knoxville's most prominent buildings,[44] along with the adjacent amphitheater which underwent a renovation that was completed in 2008.

Ever since, Knoxville's downtown has been developing, with the opening of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Convention Center, redevelopment of Market Square, a new visitors center, a regional history museum, a Regal Cinemas theater, several restaurants and bars, and many new and redeveloped condominiums.[citation needed]


Southeastern view of Knoxville.

Knoxville is located at 35°58′22″N 83°56′32″W / 35.97278°N 83.94222°W / 35.97278; -83.94222 (35.972882, -83.942161)[45].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 98.1 square miles (254.0 km²), of which, 92.7 square miles (240.0 km²) of it is land and 5.4 square miles (14.1 km²) of it is water. The total area is 5.5% water.[1]

In the southeast part of the city, the French Broad River (flowing from Asheville, North Carolina) joins the Holston River (flowing from Kingsport) to form the Tennessee River. Knoxville is centered around a hilly area along the north bank of the river between its First Creek and Second Creek tributaries. This area now comprises Downtown Knoxville. South Knoxville refers to the industrial and residential areas along the south bank of the river (extending to the Blount County line), and West Knoxville typically refers to the area beyond Sequoyah Hills, much of which is situated along Kingston Pike and the merged I-40 and I-75. The Knox County section of the Tennessee River is technically part of Fort Loudoun Lake, an impoundment of the river created by the completion of Fort Loudoun Dam (near Lenoir City) in 1940.

The hills and ridges surrounding Knoxville are part of the Appalachian Ridge-and-Valley Province, which consists of a series of elongate and narrow ridges that traverse the upper Tennessee Valley. The most substantial Ridge-and-Valley structures in the Knoxville area are Bays Mountain, which runs along the Knox-Blount county line to the south, and Beaver Ridge, which passes through the northern section of the town. The Great Smoky Mountains— a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains— are located approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Knoxville.

Principal highways serving the city Interstate 40 to Asheville, North Carolina, and Nashville and Interstate 75 to Chattanooga and Lexington. Knoxville and the surrounding area is served by McGhee Tyson Airport. Public transportation is provided by KAT. Rail freight is offered by CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Knoxville is listed as one of eighteen 'Major Cities' in the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion.[46]


Knoxville falls in the humid subtropical climate zone (Koppen climate classification Cfa), although it is not quite as hot as areas to the south and west due to the higher elevations. Summers are hot and very humid, with July highs averaging 88 °F (31 °C) and lows averaging 69 °F (21 °C). Winters are generally cool, with occasional small amounts of snow. January averages a high of 47 °F (8 °C) and a low of 30 °F (−1 °C), although low temperaures in the teens are not uncommon. Single digits are fairly rare, happening only 2-3 times a year. The record high for Knoxville is 105 °F (41 °C), while the record low is −8 °F (−22.2 °C). Annual rainfall averages 47.1 inches (120 cm), and average winter snowfall is 11.5 inches (29 cm).[47]

Climate data for Knoxville, Tennessee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Average high °F (°C) 47
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) -8
Rainfall inches (mm) 4.2
Snowfall inches (mm) 3.9
% Humidity 60.0 72.0 69.5 68.0 69.5 73.0 74.5 76.5 76.0 74.5 70.5 71.0 75.0
Source: March 16, 2010

Nearby towns and cities


Krutch Park in Downtown Knoxville.
  • Arlington
  • Bearden
  • Bluegrass
  • Burlington
  • Cedar Bluff
  • Chilhowee Park
  • Colonial Village
  • Dante
  • Downtown
  • East Knoxville
  • Edgewood
  • Emory Place
  • Fairmont-Emoriland
  • Five Points
  • Forest Hills
  • Fort Sanders, also called "the Fort"
  • Fountain City
  • Fourth & Gill
  • Holston Hills
  • Island Home
  • Karns
  • Kimberlin Heights
  • Lake Forest
  • Lincoln Park
  • Lindbergh Forest
  • Lonsdale
  • Mechanicsville
  • Morningside
  • Moshina Heights
  • Mt. Vista
  • North Hills
  • Norwood/Inskip
  • Oakwood-Lincoln Park
  • Old City, formerly known as the Warehouse district
  • Old North Knoxville
  • Old Sevier
  • Parkridge (Park City)
  • Rocky Hill
  • Sequoyah Hills
  • South Haven
  • Vestal
  • Ward Town
  • Wedgewood Hills
  • West Hills
  • Westwood
  • Western Heights
  • Westmoreland
  • Wood Haven

Major streets


Old Knox County Courthouse in Downtown Knoxville

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 177,661 people, 76,650 households, and 40,164 families residing in the city, and the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 616,079. The population density was 1,876.7 people per square mile (724.6/km²). There were 84,981 housing units at an average density of 917.1/sq mi (354.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.7% White, 16.2% African American, 1.45% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.58% of the population.

St. John's Cathedral, built in the 1890s

There were 76,650 households out of which 22.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.6% were non-families. 38.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.7% under the age of 18, 16.8% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $27,492, and the median income for a family is $37,708. Males had a median income of $29,070 versus $22,593 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,171. About 14.4% of families and 20.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.1% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

In 2006, ERI published an analysis that identified Knoxville as the most affordable U.S. city for new college graduates, based on the ratio of typical salary to cost of living.[48]

Population and household growth are expected to follow employment growth, causing increased housing demand during the forecast period. Resident employment should continue to grow at a pace equal to that from 2000 to the Current date. As population continues to increase and the labor force grows, the unemployment rate is projected to increase slightly to 3.7 percent. The population growth is estimated to result in 12,900 new households in the HMA by the Forecast date. Demand for new housing for the period from April 1, 2005, to April 1, 2008, is estimated to total 13,100 units — 10,400 sales units and 2,700 rental units.


During the 1990s, growth in the number of households averaged 3,575 a year. The number of renter households grew by an average annual increase of 600 during the 1990s compared to an average annual increase of 900 from 2000 to the Current date. From 2000 to the Current date, the total average annual household growth was 3,925. Average annual household growth is expected to continue increasing by 4,300 through the forecast period and total 262,800 as of April 1, 2008. Since 1990, average household size in the HMA has been decreasing steadily. This decrease can be attributed to a growing number of students and retirees and to an overall demographic shift toward smaller families.


Knoxville is governed by a mayor and nine-member City Council. It uses the strong-mayor form of the mayor-council system.[49] There are three council members who are elected at-large and six council members that represent individual districts. The City Council meets every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building.[50] As of 2008, the current mayor is Bill Haslam, who defeated Madeline Rogero in the 2003 election. The previous mayor of sixteen years, Victor Ashe, was named United States Ambassador to Poland in June 2004. Ashe was term-limited and could not serve another term.


Knoxville's economy is largely fueled by the regional location of the main campus of the University of Tennessee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other Department of Energy facilities in nearby Oak Ridge, the National Transportation Research Center, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. These make Knoxville the heart of a high-tech Tennessee Valley Corridor, which extends from Blacksburg, Virginia to Huntsville, Alabama.[citation needed]

Because of its central location in the eastern half of the United States and proximity to two major Interstate highways, many warehousing and distribution companies operate in and around Knoxville.[citation needed] The Old City is home to most of Knoxville's historic warehouses and factories.[citation needed]

In April 2008, Forbes Magazine named Knoxville among the Top 10 Metropolitan Hotspots in the United States[51] and within Forbes' Top 5 for Business & Careers, just behind cities like New York and Los Angeles[52].

In March 2009, CNN ranked Knoxville as the 59th city in the top 100 US metro areas, in terms of real estate price depreciation.[53] The median price of a home in Knoxville is $184,900.[54]

Major companies headquartered in Knoxville

Colleges and universities

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville is the state's flagship public university.

Knoxville is home to the main campus of the University of Tennessee. It is also home to:

In addition, the following institutions have branch campuses in Knoxville:


Tennessee Theatre.

Knoxville is home to a rich arts community and has many festivals throughout the year. Its contributions to old-time, bluegrass and country music are numerous, from Flatt & Scruggs and Homer & Jethro to the Everly Brothers. For the past several years an award-winning listener-funded radio station, WDVX, has broadcast weekday lunchtime concerts of bluegrass music, old-time music and more from the Knoxville Visitor's Center on Gay Street, as well as streaming its music programming to the world over the Internet.

Knoxville also boasts an Opera Company which has been guided by Don Townsend for over two decades. The KOC performs a season of opera every year with a talented chorus as the backbone of each production.[citation needed]

In its May 2003 "20 Most Rock & Roll towns in the U.S." feature, Blender ranked Knoxville the 17th best music scene in the United States.[citation needed]In the ’90s, noted alternative-music critic Ann Powers, author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America, referred to the city as "Austin without the hype".[citation needed]

The city also hosts numerous art festivals, including the 17-day Dogwood Arts Festival in April, which features art shows, crafts fairs, food and live music. Also in April is the Rossini Festival, which celebrates opera and Italian culture. June's Kuumba (meaning creativity in Swahili) Festival commemorates the region's African American heritage and showcases visual arts, folk arts, dance, games, music, storytelling, theater, and food. Autumn on the Square showcases national and local artists in outdoor concert series at historic Market Square, which has been revitalized with specialty shops and residences. Every Labor Day brings Boomsday, the largest Labor Day fireworks display in the United States, to the banks of the Tennessee River between the University of Tennessee football stadium and downtown.[citation needed]

Literature and popular culture

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and playwright James Agee was born in Knoxville and spent his early years there.[55] His novel A Death in the Family centers around the Fort Sanders neighborhood where the Agees lived and chronicles the death of Agee's father.[56] Another Pulitzer recipient, Cormac McCarthy, spent most of his childhood in Knoxville. McCarthy graduated from Knoxville Catholic High School and later attended the University of Tennessee, and his novel Suttree revolves around life among the city's working class in the early 1950s.[57] Other notable natives include Patricia Neal[58], Quentin Tarantino[59], David Keith, Brad Renfro and Johnny Knoxville.[60] References to Knoxville, Tennessee, or Knoxville landmarks in literature and pop culture include:


  • Big Ears Festival
  • Boo At The Zoo
  • Boomsday
  • Corvette Expo
  • Dogwood Arts Festival
  • Destination ImagiNation Global Finals
  • Great Knoxville Rubber Duck Race
  • GreekFest
  • Honda Hoot
  • Knoxville Brewers' Jam
  • Knoxville Lindy Exchange
  • Feast With the Beasts @ Knoxville Zoo
  • Fantasy of Trees


Nearby attractions

  • Farragut Folklife Museum, Farragut
  • Little River Railroad & Lumber Company Museum, Townsend
  • Sequoyah Birthplace Museum
  • Norris Dam
  • Tuckaleechee Caverns
  • Forbidden Caverns
  • Knoxville Mountain Bike Trails
  • Obed Wild & Scenic River (National Park Service)
  • TVA Lakes
  • Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Greeneville
  • Loudon County Museum/Carmichael Inn, Loudon
  • House Mountain State Park
  • Big Ridge State Park
  • Roan Mountain State Park

Sites of interest

The Sunsphere, from the 1982 World's Fair, characterizes the Knoxville skyline


Notable Knoxvillians

Sister cities

Knoxville has seven sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International:


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  2. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: City of Knoxville". USGS. 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  3. ^ a b "Knoxville (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. United States Census Bureau. 2007-05-07. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
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  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ US Census Bureau Factfinder
  8. ^ Jack Neely, The Marble City: A Photographic Tour of Knoxville's Graveyards (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 1999), xxi.
  9. ^ Video: A Monument to underwear from Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
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  11. ^ Frank H. McClung Museum, "Woodland Period." Retrieved: 25 March 2008.
  12. ^ James Strange, "An Unusual Late Prehistoric Pipe from Post Oak Island (40KN23)", Tennessee Archaeologist 30, no. 1 (1974), 80.
  13. ^ Richard Polhemus, The Toqua Site — 40MR6, Vol. I (Norris, Tenn.: Tennessee Valley Authority, 1987), 1240-1246.
  14. ^ Cora Tula Watters, "Shawnee." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 278-279.
  15. ^ Ima Stephens, "Creek." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 252-253.
  16. ^ James Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee (Nashville: Charles Elder, 1972), 526.
  17. ^ Jefferson Chapman, Tellico Archaeology: 12,000 Years of Native American History (Norris, Tenn.: Tennessee Valley Authority, 1985), 97.
  18. ^ Henry Timberlake, Samuel Williams (ed.), Memoirs, 1756-1765 (Marietta, Georgia: Continental Book Co., 1948), 54.
  19. ^ William MacArthur, Knoxville, Crossroads of the New South (Tulsa, Okla.: Continental Heritage Press, 1982), 1-15.
  20. ^ Yong Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site: A Civil War Union Encampment on the Southern Heights of Knoxville, Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Transportation Center, 1993), 9.
  21. ^ a b c Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 9.
  22. ^ MacArthur, 17.
  23. ^ William MacArthur, Jr., Knoxville: Crossroads of the New South (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Continental Heritage Press, 1982), 17-22.
  24. ^ G. H. Stueckrath, "Incidents in the Early Settlement of East Tennessee and Knoxville." Originally published in De Bow's Review Vol. XXVII (October 1859), O.S. Enlarged Series. Vol. II, No. 4, N.S. Pages 407-419. Transcribed for web content by Billie McNamara, 1999-2002. Retrieved: 25 February 2008.
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  26. ^ MacArthur, Knoxville: Crossroads of the New South, 23.
  27. ^ Jonathan Atkins, "Hugh Lawson White." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 26 February 2008.
  28. ^ Forrest Conklin, "William Gannaway "Parson" Brownlow." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 27 February 2008.
  29. ^ Durwood Dunn, Cades Cove: The Life and Death of An Appalachian Community (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1988), 125.
  30. ^ Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission, "Designated Properties: Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission." Retrieved: 27 February 2008.
  31. ^ MacArthur, Knoxville: Crossroads of the New South, 42-44.
  32. ^ Eric Lacy, Vanquished Volunteers: East Tennessee Sectionalism from Statehood to Secession (Johnson City, Tenn.: East Tennessee State University Press, 1965), pp. 217-233.
  33. ^ Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 10.
  34. ^ Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 10-12.
  35. ^ Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 15-17.
  36. ^ a b William Bruce Wheeler, "Knoxville, Tennessee." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 375.
  37. ^ Linda Snodgrass, "The Candoro Marble Works." 2000. Retrieved: 28 February 2008.
  38. ^ a b Milton Klein, "University of Tennessee." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 28 February 2008.
  39. ^ W. Bruce Wheeler, "Knoxville." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 28 February 2008.
  40. ^ a b Jack Neely, "Knoxville, Tennessee." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 654.
  41. ^ Carlos Campbell, Birth of a National Park In the Great Smoky Mountains (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1969), 13-18, 32.
  42. ^ W. Bruce Wheeler, "Tennessee Valley Authority." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 28 February 2008.
  43. ^ a b William Bruce Wheeler, "Knoxville, Tennessee." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 376.
  44. ^ W. Bruce Wheeler, "Knoxville World's Fair of 1982." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 28 February 2008.
  45. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
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  48. ^ Economic Research Institute, Inc., ERI Economic Research Institute Releases Survey on Best and Worst Cities for College Grads – Based on salary/cost of living, Knoxville, TN rated best, press release, July 6, 2006
  49. ^ Barker, Scott (August 19, 2002). "Council lets mayor keep gavel - for now". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. 
  50. ^ "City Council". City of Knoxville. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  51. ^ Hot Spots -
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  53. ^ Top 100 Metro Area Home Price Forecast
  54. ^ Knoxville Real Estate Market Trends
  55. ^ James Agee at Notable Names Database. Retrieved: 13 August 2008.
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  57. ^ Cormac McCarthy at Notable Names Database. Retrieved: 13 August 2008.
  58. ^ Patricia Neal at Notable Names Database. Retrieved: 13 August 2008.
  59. ^ Quentin Tarantino at Notable Names Database. Retrieved: 13 August 2008.
  60. ^ Johnny Knoxville at Notable Names Database. Retrieved: 13 August 2008.
  61. ^ Lynn Point Records, The St. James Sessions. Retrieved: 5 February 2010.
  62. ^ "10 Years - Band Bio." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  63. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  64. ^ "Sheila and Sherry: The Aldridge Sisters." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  65. ^ "Victor Ashe." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  66. ^ "Ava Barber" — official site. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  67. ^ "Dave Barnes with Andy Davis." Retrieved: 23 May 2008.
  68. ^ Katherine Wheeler, "Barber & McMurry Architects." Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  69. ^ "Summer: Death's Acre: Inside Bill Bass's Body Farm." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  70. ^ Forrest Conklin, "William Gannaway "Parson" Brownlow." Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  71. ^ "Francis Hodgson Burnett - Biography and Works." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  72. ^ Wayne Bledsoe, "Man of Constant Motion.", 15 June 2006. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  73. ^ a b c d e f g City of Knoxville official website, 24 April 2008.
  74. ^ "Comic Creator: Darby Conley." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  75. ^ "John Cullum." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  76. ^ Darren Paltrowitz, "Superdrag's John Davis: The Daily Vault Interview." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  77. ^ Leo Goodsell, "David Glasgow Farragut." Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  78. ^ "Superstar Lookback: Mr. Fuji." 8 February 2008. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  79. ^ "Biography of Phillip Fulmer." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  80. ^ "The 400 Richest Americans - Guilford Glazer." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  81. ^ Life is 1 Big Romp for "Jungle Jack" Hanna
  82. ^ "[1]."
  83. ^ "James Haslam II Receives 2004 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Business Administration." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  84. ^ Linda Wynn, "William Henry Hastie." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  85. ^ "Arcadia Publishing: Knoxville." Arcadia bio. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  86. ^ "Online World of Wrestling Profiles - Kane." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  87. ^ "Biography - Jeff Jarrett." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  88. ^ Laura Holder, "Mabry-Hazen House." Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  89. ^ "Brownie McGhee." Piedmont Blues bio. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  90. ^ "Adolph Ochs." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  91. ^ "Randy Orton Profile." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  92. ^ Wayne Bledsoe, "Have you heard? Knoxville home to variety of music.", 25 March 2007. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  93. ^ "Florence Reece at the Internet Movie Database." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  94. ^ "Glenn Harlan Reynolds." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  95. ^ Robert Corlew, "John Sevier." Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  96. ^ Carroll Van West, "Pat Head Summit." Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  97. ^ "[Whitechapel - This Is Exile]." The Dreaded Press, 17 July 2008. Retrieved: 27 July 2008.
  98. ^ "Our Stories: The Dramatic Rise and Fall of Chris Whittle." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  99. ^ "Chris Woodruff - Bio." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  100. ^ "Tina Wesson at the Internet Movie Database." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.


  • Carey, Ruth. "Change Comes to Knoxville." in These Are Our Voices: The Story of Oak Ridge 1942-1970, edited by James Overholt, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 1987.
  • Deaderick, Lucile, ed. Heart of the Valley—A History of Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville: East Tennessee Historical Society, 1976.
  • Jennifer Long; "Government Job Creation Programs-Lessons from the 1930s and 1940s" Journal of Economic Issues . Volume: 33. Issue: 4. 1999. pp 903+, a case study of Knoxville.
  • "Knoxville". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved 2006-03-14. 
  • "Knoxville". Tennessee History for Kids. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  • "Knoxville History". Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  • The Mcclung museum at The University of Tennessee Knoxville, "Archaeology & the Native Peoples of Tennessee" exhibit. "Exhibit Link". 
  • McDonald, Michael, and Bruce Wheeler. Knoxville, Tennessee: Continuity and Change in an Appalachian City University of Tennessee Press, 1983. the standard academic history
  • The Future of Knoxville's Past: Historic and Architectural Resources in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission, October, 2006).
  • Rothrock, Mary U., editor. The French Broad-Holston Country: A History of Knox County, Tennessee. (Knox County Historical Committee; East Tennessee Historical Society, 1946).
  • Isenhour, Judith Clayton. Knoxville, A Pictorial History. (Donning Company, 1978, 1980).
  • Barber, John W., and Howe, Henry. All the Western States and Territories, . . . (Cincinnati, Ohio: Howe's Subscription Book Concern, 1867). pp. 631–632.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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.


The 'scruffy little city' called Knoxville sits nestled on the Tennessee river about an hour from the Great Smokey Mountains National 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. Knoxville is also home to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, but is dominated by the University of Tennessee Volunteers 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 year round with the people of Knoxville.

Get in

By plane

McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) is serviced by:

  • American Eagle, +1 800 433-7300, [1].
  • Comair, +1 800 354-9822, [2].
  • Continental Express, +1 800 525-0280, [3].
  • Delta Airlines, +1 800 221-1212, [4].
  • Northwest Airlines, +1 800 225-2525, [5].
  • United Express, +1 800 241-6522, [6].
  • US Airways Express, +1 800 428-4322, [7].

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

  • Greyhound, 100 East Magnolia Avenue, +1 800 231-2222, [8]. National bus service.

By boat

The Tennessee Rivers run through Knoxville and is accessible by personal watercraft. Many boaters routinely navigate the Tennessee River for both pleasure and travel.

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 in the Downtown area and around the University of Tennessee. One can traverse downtown itself by walking, but most major roads are not amenable to pedestrians or bicyclists. The outer parts of the city are most amenable to private automobiles, as bus service is necessarily thin in the outer sprawl. Many of these neighborhoods lack sidewalks, rendering travel by car a real necessity.

  • Knoxville Area Transit, or KAT [9]. KAT runs a bus service throughout the City of Knoxville and parts of Knox County. Unfortunately, most KAT bus stops are served on an hourly interval, so exploring Knoxville via KAT bus is somewhat difficult. All KAT buses are equipped with flip down bicycle racks and many are powered by biodiesel or other alternative fuels. KAT operates special routes for some events, a downtown trolley service, and bus services for the University of Tennessee.
  • Knoxville Trolley Lines [10]. The trolley runs several free downtown and University routes during business hours and one "Late Line" route on Friday and Saturday nights during the University of Tennessee fall and spring semesters. Most daytime stops are served on ten to twenty minute intervals.

Biking and Walking

Knoxville is slowly building out a viable paved greenway system [11] that allows cyclists and pedestrians to travel into downtown from close by suburbs such as Sequoyah Hills and Island Home.

  • Bearden Village [12] / Third Creek Greenway [13]: Beginning at Bearden Elementary School on Kingston Pike, the Third Creek Trail parallels Sutherland Avenue as it follows Third Creek's wooded path. When the trail ends at Neyland Drive, pedestrians and cyclists can continue on the Neyland Greenway [14] to access Volunteer Landing, the stadium, and parts of the University of Tennessee campus. Unfortunately, a spur of the Neyland Greenway connecting to the World's Fair Park via a parking lot has been recently demolished in a construction project.
  • Sequoyah Greenway [15] Technically, the Sequoyah Greenway is a gravel walking/running path located in the median of Cherokee Boulevard, the main road of one of Knoxville's wealthiest neighborhoods. However, cycling the broad boulevard roadway is a pleasant and reasonably safe ride for a casual or serious cyclist. Keep right and most automobiles will have more than enough room to pass you safely. Sequoyah Hills Park [16] and the Tennessee River parallel much of the boulevard's southern side, and the park is a wonderful place to stop for a picnic. The northern side of the street is lined with stately homes. Much of the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood is pedestrian friendly, so be sure to explore a few of the leafy side streets. The trail is accessible at several parking areas along the boulevard, and at the Laurel Church of Christ parking lot (use the crosswalk at the intersection of Cherokee Boulevard and Kingston Pike.) A spur of the Third Creek Greenway leads to the Laurel Church parking lot. Be advised that this spur is extremely steep and not in the best repair. Bicyclists may need to dismount and small children will need lots of help.
  • Jean Teague Greenway [17]: Beginning at West Hills Elementary School and terminating at West End Church of Christ, the Jean Teague Greenway is an ideal trail for walkers and families with young children. As the trail passes through West Hills/John Bynon park, it divides to form a loop and winds around numerous athletic fields and playgrounds. Near its midpoint, the trail crosses Winston Road near the YMCA. Parking is available at the elementary school when school is not in session, at the park entrance on Winston Road, and at West End Church of Christ on East Walker Springs Lane. Those wishing to continue on to the Cavet Station Greenway may do so by exiting the church parking lot and traveling westbound on East Walker Springs Lane.
  • Cavet Station Greenway [18]: The Cavet Station Greenway follows the heavily traveled Gallaher View Road from the intersection of East Walker Springs Road to Middlebrook Pike. Although this may someday be a useful link between greenways, it is a less than idyllic experience for a recreational biker. Nearby residents do seem to make use of it as a convenient exercise path for jogging. A sidewalk is on the opposite side of Gallaher View, and there is a cross walk at the intersection of Walker Springs Road. A Wal-Mart and Sam's Club are located just off of the western side of Gallaher View Road.
  • Candy Factory. Currently undergoing conversion to condominiums, but still hosts a fully-functioning candy store. White chocolate dipped strawberries (fresh daily) are a treat for Valentine's Day.
  • Fort Sanders neighborhood. A multitude of Victorian-era houses.
  • Market Square. [19] A small, historic downtown square, home to dining, retail, a twice weekly farmer's market, and special events. Market Square takes its name from the Market House that once stood at its center. Farmers from surrounding areas would bring their wagons into Knoxville's Market House to sell their wares. Entering the the southern end of the square from Union Avenue, one may pass the bell from the old Market House as well as a statue commemorating Tennessee's role in the fight for women's suffrage. Dotted with benches and tables, Market Square is a lovely place to spend a few hours browsing the shops, dining with friends, or watching children play in the small fountain. A lucky square patron may happen upon anything from a pair of cellists playing Beatles songs to an ice cream give away. Market Square is home to the Sundown in the City concert festival, so someone looking for a leisurely evening would be wise to avoid the square on Thursday evenings in the summer. Unless an event is taking place in the downtown area, parking at the Market Street garage (on Walnut) is free on weeknights after six pm and all day on weekends. Event parking is usually five dollars.
  • Old City. A lot of interesting architecture and a chief nightlife spot.
  • Tennessee Theatre, on Gay Street in downtown. [20] The state theater of Tennessee and is an interesting example of Moorish architecture.
  • Volunteer Landing. Knoxville's riverwalk along the Tennessee River, complete with large, splashing fountains that were purosefully designed for you to play in!
  • World's Fair Park. Site of the 1982 World's Fair Park and adjacent to the Knoxville Convention Center. Large, kid-friendly fountains. A big hit in the summer months.
  • Sunsphere. A modernistic monument built for the 1982 World's Fair. The observation deck is open daily April - October 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. and November - March 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. There is no admission charge.
  • The University of Tennessee (UT) Gardens. The UT Gardens have been open to the public at no charge every day year-round since 1982. The UT Gardens now serve an estimated 50,000 visitors annually. Over 1,000 woody plants are under long term observation and 2,000 varieties of annual herbaceous plants comprise the primary collections of this 12-acre urban public garden in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Gardens will celebrate their 25th Anniversary in 2008 with many new features and special events such as the 2008 Blooms Days Garden Festival and Marketplace, June 28th and 29th. Hours are 9AM - 6PM on Saturday and 11AM - 5PM on Sunday. For details on Blooms Days 2008, visit, email or call 865-525-4555. The Friends of the University of Tennessee Gardens, an 800-member nonprofit 501@3 organization founded in 1992,advocates, promotes, and raises funds for the Gardens from citizens on the university campus, in the community, and across the state. For additional information, call the Friends at 865-525-4555, visit or email

Knoxville is located only 30 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park , one of the largest protected areas in the United States. With its ancient beauty and diversity of plant and animal life, the Smokies are a hiker's paradise with over 800 miles of trails.

  • The Smokies and surrounding park areas offer a host of activities, including camping, fishing, auto touring, horseback riding, sightseeing, and more. If you enjoy bicycling, visit Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11 mile one way road surrounded by stunning landscapes and closeup viewing of wildlife and 19th century homesites.
  • Fishing The Tennessee River's bass producing waters feature an abundance of fishing opportunities. From the lower end of Pickwick, legendary for world-class smallmouth fishing, the river pours through a powerful tailwater before winding many miles until backing into the Kentucky Lake basin. Kentucky Lake, covering 164,000 acres (109,000 in Tennessee), is legendary for its largemouth bass fishing. Whether you enjoy pure river fishing, open-reservoir structure fishing or casting to cover in creeks or backwaters, there's a Tennessee fishing experience waiting for you.
  • Motorcycling Living in the Knoxville area puts you near America's number one motorcycle road: The Tail of the Dragon. If 318 curves over 11 miles sounds a little too exciting, enjoy the area's many other roadways. Loop through Smoky Mountain National Park or follow the backbone of the Appalachian Mountains on the Blue Ridge Parway.
  • The Vols The Tennessee Vols are an integral part of the Knoxville lifestyle. Game after game over 100,000 Tennessee football fans pack Neyland Stadium to cheer on their favorite football team. Neyland Stadium first came to life in 1921 as Shields-Watkins Field with 17 rows seating 3200. Over the course of more than 80 years Neyland Stadium has become one of the country's most popular college stadiums. You'll know why when you hear the roar of the Tennessee fans and feel the energy that fills the stadium at every game!
  • Holiday Express at the UT Gardens, University of Tennessee Trial Gardens (Just off Neyland Drive behind the UT Veterinary Hospital on the UT Institute of Agriculture campus), 865-974-7141, [21]. See under description. Bring your family and friends and enjoy the new holiday event at the UT Gardens: the Holiday Express! The Holiday Express at UT Gardens is now open for the holiday season. Hours of operation vary: 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays, 1 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays through January 4, 2009. The display features 10 garden-scale model trains, thousands of lights and a miniature landscape with rivers, waterfalls and more than 100 buildings decorated for the holidays. Tickets are not required but can be purchased for gifts at For more information, click on [22] or call 865-974-7141. $5 per person, children under 4 are admitted free.  edit
  • A-Affordable Jet Ski Rentals, LLC, 956 Volunteer Landing Ln, 865-934-9411, [23]. Jet Ski rentals in downtown Knoxville. Offering new and fuel efficent Yamaha jet skis. Located at Volunteer Landing Marina.  edit
  • College football. See a University of Tennessee game at Neyland Stadium, one of the largest stadiums in college football.
  • The Clarence Brown Theatre.[24] CBT is a professional LORT theatre affiliated with the University of Tennessee. Shows produced at the CBT feature undergraduate theatre students, MFA theatre candidates, and professional actors and directors.
  • The Black Box Theatre, 5213 Homberg Drive, +1-865-584-0990 [25]. The Black Box is the performance space of the Actor's Co-Op, a community theatre company, and it often features the work of MFA candidates from UT's graduate theatre program. Shows at the Black Box range from children's plays produced by the apprentice company to provocative productions intended for mature audiences only.
  • The Tennessee Theatre.[26] The beautiful Tennessee Theatre is located downtown. Originally constructed in 1927, it was fully renovated and reopened in January of 2005. Past performances include the Knoxville Symphony, John Legend, Alison Krauss and Union Station, David Sedaris, Savion Glover, Lily Tomlin. They also screen classic movies.
  • The Bijou Theatre.[27] In addition to being housed in Knoxville’s fourth oldest building, the Bijou Theatre has an atmosphere that’s perfect for live music and the performing arts. Many performers and music fans consider the Bijou the best-sounding room in Knoxville. Tennessee Shines[28] is a radio show broadcast live from the Bijou the last Wednesday of each month. Sponsored by WDVX[29], the show celebrates Appalachian and other genres of American music.
  • Sundown in the City. [30] During the summer months, head to Market Square every Thursday night to see fabulous live music.
  • Dogwood Arts Festival
  • Rossini Festival
  • Honda Hoot
  • Kumba Festival
  • Boomsday
  • Knoxville Lindy Exchange
  • Christmas in the City
  • Blooms Days Garden Festival and Marketplace, University of Tennessee Gardens on Neyland Drive
  • University of Tennessee. A public land-grant doctoral-degree granting university. The campus is near downtown.
  • Knoxville College. A small, historically African-American college.
  • University of Tennessee Trial Gardens (located just off Neyland Drive behind the UT Veterinary Hospital on the UT Institute of Agriculture campus).
  • West Town Mall, 7600 Kingston Pike, [31]. Located a few miles west of downtown Knoxville at the West Hills interchange (Exit 380 off I-40/75,) West Town is the more upscale of Knoxville's two malls and is anchored by Belk, Dillards, Sears, Belk, and JCPenny. West Town contains a food court and most traditional "mall" stores. The Centre at Deane Hill (located across Morrell Road, east of the mall) contains a Borders, PetSmart, Kohls, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Food City, and numerous smaller stores and restaurants.
  • Knoxville Center, 3001 Knoxville Center Drive, [32]. Most locals still refer to Knoxville Center by its former name, East Towne Mall, if not from habit, then for geographical clarity. It is indeed located in the eastern, or northeastern part of the city off of I-640 (Exit 8.) Knoxville Center contains a food court, movie theater, numerous small to midsize stores, and is anchored by Sears, JCPenny, Belk, and Dillards. Surrounding shopping centers include Sams Club, Walmart, Carmike Cinema 10, Lowes, Home Depot, Kohls and Super Target.
  • Turkey Creek, Parkside Drive, [33]. A "Lifestyle Center" containing many different restaurants, clothing stores, a very large movie theater (Regal Cinemas Pinnacle Theater 18.) Large retailers include Wal-Mart, Super Target, Old Navy, Borders, and Belk.
  • Market Square, [34]. The shops lining Market Square include several locally owned clothing and home accessories boutiques. In addition, the square is often home to vendors during events such as the Dogwood Arts Festival.
    • Market Square Farmer's Market, +1 865 405-3135, [35]. Harking back to the square's original function, the Market Square District Association hosts a farmer's market each Wednesday (11AM-2PM) and Saturday (9AM-1PM.)
    • Indigo, 327 Union Avenue, +1 865 525-8788, [36]
    • Reruns, 2 Market Square, +1 865 525-9525
    • Earth to Old City, 22 Market Square, +1 865 522-8270, [37].
    • Bliss, 24 Market Square, +1 865 329-8868, [38].
    • Village Market Place, 32 Market Square, +1 865 541-5050.
    • Vagabondia, 27 Market Square, +1 865 525-4842, [39].
    • Bliss Home, 29 Market Square, +1 865 673-6711, [40].
  • Gay Street. Once the center of life in Knoxville, Gay Street is slowly becoming a destination for shopping and socializing. Mast General Store and Yee-Haw industries make up the limited but hopefully growing retail. At the north end of Gay Street, The Emporium Center for the Arts contains studios of local artists and gallery space. The visitors' center (located on the corner of Gay and Summit Hill,) The East Tennessee History Center, and Blount Mansion also have gift shops with souvenirs and local products.
  • The Old City
  • McKay Used Books & CDs, 230 Papermill Place Way, [41]. A warehouse sized extravaganza of cheap, used books, CDs, DVDs, videos, audiobooks, CD-ROMs, and video games. As well as shopping, you can sell your used items for cash or store credit.
  • Carpe Librum, 5113 Kingston Pike # A, +1 865 588-8080,[42].
  • Book Eddy, 2537 Chapman Highway, 888-303-0990, [43]. A large selection of used books and LP's, predominantly from estate sales. Excellent quality, with neighborly felines to pet while reading.


Knoxville has plenty of restaurants - more per capita, in fact, than any other city in the U.S. - 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 many fast food places. Most typical fast-food chains have one or more locations in Knoxville.

  • Petro's, various locations, [44]. Petro's was founded in Knoxville during the energy themed 1982 World's Fair. The petro consists of layers of corn chips, chili, cheese, green onions, tomatoes, and sour cream and comes in beef, chicken, and vegetarian varieties. Wash it down with Petro's Hint-of-Orange® Iced Tea.
  • M&M Catering, 7409 Middlebrook Pike, 865-692-1003, Fax 865-531-3048, [45]. For melt in your mouth bar-b-que, go to M&M Bar-b-que. It is just a little cement block setup open daily, and it is amazing.
  • Elidio's Pizza, 6714 Central Ave Pike, 865-697-1002. Great New York style Pizza and various other Italian offerings on the cheap.
  • Aubrey's [46] Fresh seafood, steaks, and salads. Voted "Best of Knoxville" in the Knoxville-News Sentinel.
  • Calhoun's, 6515 Kingston Pike, 400 Neyland Drive, and 10020 Kingston Pike, [47]. Voted as serving the best ribs in all of America, Calhoun's offers what they call a "taste of Tennessee". Calhoun's also operates a microbrewery at each of their locations.
  • The Chop House [48]. A Knoxville favorite for great steaks and chops in a warm, friendly environment. Many locations throughout the city.
  • Connors Steak & Seafood [49]. Fresh seafood and dry-aged steaks.
  • Downtown Grill and Brewery, 424 S Gay St, [50]. 11AM-midnight every day. Big, stylish microbrewery on two floors with huge copper brewers' tanks in the center. Upscale pub fare -- steaks, seafood, sandwiches and fry ups, as well as the tasty house-brand beers. Free WiFi. $15-25 (with a pint).
  • El Charro, which has three locations in Knoxville, claims to have the "best salsa in Knoxville."
  • Gourmet Market, 5107 Kingston Pike, +1 865 584-8739, [51].  edit
  • Litton's Restaurant in the Fountain City area offers some of the best burgers that can be found anywhere in the State of Tennessee, and their patties have a remarkably robust and well balanced flavor that is almost sweet. All baked goods are prepared fresh daily in-store by a team of bakers who arrive to prepare the day's goodies before first light. The Tuesday lunch special is fried chicken, broccoli casserole, and banana pudding. Their red velvet cake is simply the best, and their "dinner plate" chocolate chip and sugar cookies (literally the size of small dinner plates) are not to be missed. 2803 Essary Drive NE
  • Nama's off of Kingston Pike is one of the better high end sushi joints in Knoxville. Everything is made fresh and to order, and their skilled chefs will be glad to whip up something special for you. $10-20
  • Puleo's Grille is the only place in Knoxville (and probably the state) where you can begin a meal with fried green tomatoes with cheese grits and two kinds of sausage gravy and top off the evening with a glass of white wine and a cannoli. At the junction of I-40/75 and Cedar Bluff Road in West Knoxville.
  • Trio, 13 Market Square, +1 865 246-2270, [52]. Trio's menu takes a multiple choice approach to salads with an order card of ingredients and a pen to tick of the items you'd like tossed with your greens. Tasty sandwiches and a handful of entrees round out the lunch and dinner options. Breakfast is decidedly eggy with a choice of several types of omelets and Eggs Benedict. Coffee and pastries are available all day. Free WiFi. $6-9.
  • Tomato Head, 12 Market Square, +1 865 637-4067, [53]. The Tomato Head is a favorite restaurant of many locals. They have fabulous (and veggie friendly) salads,sandwiches, pizza, and calzones. Open Monday - Sunday for lunch and Tuesday - Sunday for dinner.
  • Table Fifteen, 11383 Parkside Drive, +1 865-675-1721, [54]. Table Fifteen is more of a wine bar than and eaterie, but nevertheless they do have some great menu items (eclectic pizzas, standard entrees, etc.) to complement their extensive wine offering. Gets a bit crowded in the evenings, but worth a visit. $10-16.
  • Baker Peters is typically known as a jazz club but locals also know that it is a very good restaurant.
  • Naples is the city's best stop for Italian food, with nightly specials designed in-house by award-winning chefs. Try not to fight over the cannoli and Seafood Goddess salads...
  • Restaurant Linderhof [55] Excellent German fare.
  • Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Excellent steaks, among other things.
  • The Orangery Open since 1971, with live piano every evening, this restaurant serves outstanding continental fare.
  • Ye Olde Steakhouse, 6838 Chapman Highway,(865) 577-9328. One of Knoxville's oldest and most popular steakhouses.
  • Patrick Sullivan's Steakhouse and Saloon in the Old City.
  • Preservation Pub, on Market Square [56]. Good beer selection, live music
  • Union Jacks, 124 Northshore Drive, 865-584-5161 Low key pub scene
  • Sapphire, [57]. Trendy, upscale, located downtown on Gay Street
  • Crowne Plaza, 401 W. Summit Hill Drive, 865.522.2600, [58].  edit
  • Knoxville Hostel, 404 East Fourth Avenue, +1 865 546-8090, [59]. Dorm beds at $17 per night.
  • Hampton Inns and Suites, 618 West Main Street, +1-865-522-5400 [60]. Downtown. Free garage self parking.
  • MainStay Suites, 144 Merchant Drive, +1 865-247-0222, [61]. Extended-stay hotel with weekly housekeeping service, coffee makers, hair dryers, irons, ironing boards, fully equipped kitchens, microwaves, refrigerators, pillow-top mattresses, and cable tv. Some rooms have work desks, sofa sleepers and balconies.
  • Ramada Limited East Knoxville, 722 Brakebill Road, +1 865-546-7271, [62].

Stay safe

In general, Knoxville is a safe town. Practice the same precautions you would in any other mid-sized American town (lock your car, don't put valuable items in plain view in said car, etc.). Low-income areas downtown should be traversed carefully.


In general, it is necessary to speak English in Knoxville as the majority of the population is monolingual.

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: [63].

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg. About an hour's drive.
  • Chattanooga. About two hours' drive to the home of the Tennessee Aquarium.
  • Southeastern Conference Tour
  • The Museum of Appalachia in Norris, [64]. About 30 minutes north of Knoxville up I75. See how settlers in Southern Appalachia lived. This area was once "the Wild West". The museum features pioneer artifacts and authentic buildings. There are special events in the spring, the Christmas season, and the Fourth of July (anvil shoot!).
  • Oak Ridge, Manhattan Project site and host of the annual Secret City Festival.
Routes through Knoxville
NashvilleCookeville  W noframe E  AshevilleWinston-Salem
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