Exploring Downtown Knoxville {Tennessee}

Of Tennessee’s favorite cities Knoxville is high on the list coming just under Nashville. We found ourselves with a few hours of enjoying this beautiful city and we quickly saw why this is such a favorite place in Tennessee.

Knoxville (photo:: architecturaldigest.com)

Our first stop was a visit to the campus of University of Tennessee. Campus sits on a rocky hill that sits up above the rest of the city. It is fondly called ‘Rocky Top’. And as is true in many college towns, the buildings of campus were some of the most beautiful designed buildings in the city.

University of Tennessee’s mascot is a blue tick hound named Smokey (a nod to the school’s proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains). And where most schools have a costume for their mascot, they have a real dog that goes to all the games and events with wagging tail beating out the school spirit. When one Smokey retires, they bring in the new puppy to keep the tradition going. Recently they announced that Smokey XI will be starting his part of the legacy this fall. Each retired Smokey has a memorial around the campus. Our dog Scout is part Blue Tick and part Walker hound so we felt a great fondness for this school’s legacy of hounds.

After wandering through the beautiful campus, we walked down the hill towards the downtown area. We went to a popular place called the Market Square where the two sides are filled with great restaurants and boutique shops. It was a difficult decision on where to go for lunch because they all looked so good.

the Market Square

After much debate and walking back and forth across the green space, we finally landed on The Stock and Barrel with their cool atmosphere and amazing artisan hamburgers. The decision was a great choice and the food was fantastic.

lunch at the Stock and Barrel

We wandered down to the city center where we caught sight of the Tennessee Theater sign. The theater has been running since 1928 and is considered one of the icons of the city. It lights up Gay Street and serves as a welcoming beacon to visitors and locals alike.

Tennessee Theater sign in downtown Knoxville

We popped into the Cruze Farm Ice cream Shop where the happy red and white checks greeted us. The Cruze family live just outside of Knoxville and their dairy farm has been providing the best milk and ice cream to the community for many years. You just can’t beat local fresh ice cream on a warm Knoxville day.

Cruze Farm Dairy

With our time in Knoxville coming to an end, we made our way back to our car. But we stopped to take a picture of the World Fair tower called the Sunsphere. This tower was constructed for the 1982 World Fair held here in Knoxville. It stands at 266 feet and the golden sphere at the top is 75 feet across. There is an observation deck that visitors can view all of the city and the mountains beyond. We put this on our list for next time we visit Knoxville.

Sunsphere Tower

I have driven through Knoxville a few times, but this was my first real visit to this city. Already I want to go back and see more of it. I could probably spend a day just admiring the interesting architecture throughout the city. No wonder why this is such a favorite city in the state.

If you enjoyed this tour of Knoxville, you may find these other architecture rich cities interesting:

Asheville – North Carolina

Willemstad – Curacao

Louisville – Kentucky

Edinburgh – Scotland

Thanks for joining me on this quick tour of Knoxville, Tennessee. May Smokey the hound bring you victory in all things!

10 thoughts on “Exploring Downtown Knoxville {Tennessee}

  1. I would like to think that Knoxville is one place I could tick off if I ever make it back to Tennessee. I really like the look of Market Square: pedestrianised, leafy, food and drink spots abound. You guys didn’t hold back on the food eh? Good for you, it all looks great! Catching a show at the Tennessee Theatre sounds essential, are prices typically much much cheaper than say in NYC?

    1. Knoxville I think could be my new favorite city in Tennessee, more than Nashville. I think it’s somewhere you would really enjoy too. Prices at the Tennessee Theatre are much cheaper than NYC but also comes with less available shows and less of that Broadway glamor. I hope you have a great week 🙂

    1. Thanks Marion 🙂 The campus was really lovely. Each building was so interesting in the architecture elements. I hope you make it Tennessee one day- I think you would love it!

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