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Knoxville is a unique town in eastern Tennessee that offers plenty of cultural, historical and outdoor attractions for visitors. No matter if you’re looking for family-friendly attractions or unique hot spots in the city, there is plenty to do in this vibrant Tennessee town. Make the best out of your stay here when you experience these top things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee.
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World’s Fair Park, one of Knoxville’s most popular attractions, is not just a park but also an event venue and a family-friendly hangout spot. Climb The Sunsphere, the park’s prominent landmark, to catch 360-degree views of the city and the Smoky Mountains on a clear day. Depending on when you visit, you may find live music and festivals happening in this park. However, even when no events are scheduled World’s Fair Park is still a great place to visit, as it has walking trails, water features and even a splash pad for kids.
If you need an escape from the city, explore Ijams Nature Center. This 300-acre park is a learning center and wildlife sanctuary. There is plenty to do at this nature center, from hiking and picnicking to even rock climbing and canoeing. Located three miles outside of the city, Ijams Nature Center is truly an outdoor oasis enjoyed by Knoxville locals and tourists alike.
A popular family-friendly attraction in Knoxville is Zoo Knoxville, which is home to nearly 1,000 animals and 30 different species. Zoo Knoxville isn’t just home to wildlife from all over the world; this zoo has other attractions too, like the largest splash pad in Knoxville. View endangered animals, feed a giraffe, or enjoy a show at the Forest Theater. In addition to viewing the animals, young guests can enjoy interactive exhibits found here too. The zoo’s resident Komodo dragon, Khaleesi, is a must-see.
History buffs visiting Knoxville should make a stop at James White’s Fort. This historic museum portrays how frontier life was like in the late 1700s. This historic home was the living quarters of Knoxville’s founder, James White. You can not only view the space but also watch fascinating demonstrations of historic activities, from blacksmithing to hearth cooking. The museum also hosts a number of events throughout the year, including ghost tours near Halloween.
McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture is ideal for those on a budget since admission is free. Run by the University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology, guests to this museum can view various permanent exhibits focused on historical artifacts. The exhibits range from dinosaur fossils to Native American artifacts to even Civil War memorabilia.
Another museum not to miss while in Knoxville is the Knoxville Museum of Art. One major draw of this art museum isn’t just its two permanent exhibits that are inspired by Southern Appalachia but the museum’s glass installation, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Knoxville Museum of Art isn’t just for art snobs either; families with young children will enjoy an afternoon here, as the museum has an interactive play area for young visitors. For the past 25 years, Knoxville Museum of Art has showcased artwork from the region’s most talented artists.
If you’re looking for a vibrant city scene in Knoxville, then you’ll want to head to Old City. This downtown Knoxville district is scattered with eateries, cafes, live music venues and art galleries. This area of town is where you should head for Knoxville nightlife. Old City gets its name because the area is a historic district, with businesses operating out of some of the city’s oldest buildings. This corner of Knoxville is oozing with culture and local authenticity that locals and tourists both appreciate.
Knoxville is home to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, a must-visit attraction for all sports fans. The Hall of Honor is where guests will find notable players of the game, however, it’s the interactive exhibits that really keep visitors coming back. Test your dribbling and passing skills on the interactive play areas. Before you leave, snap a photo of the world’s largest basketball, the landmark of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Another part of downtown Knoxville that showcases the city’s charm is Market Square. This area of the city is home to eateries and shops, however, it’s the Farmer’s Market that truly draws visitors to this area of Knoxville. Purchase locally grown produce and handmade goods at this open-air market that occurs every week.