When you think of great destinations in the U.S., you might not automatically think of Knoxville, Tennessee, but a lot of travel writers and media outlets recognize the gem that this city really is.
Knoxville is home to major companies like Scripps, which is the parent company of HGTV, and it’s also within a short drive of the Smoky Mountains. Also within the city itself, there’s a lot to do, especially if you love the outdoors.
Recently The Huffington Post even wrote an article titled “ 5 Reasons to Skip Nashville and Go To Knoxville Instead,” citing the arts scene, The University of Tennessee, and the many restaurants and bars.
The following are some of the top reasons you should put it on your travel list this year.
Camping and the Outdoors
Knoxville is a great place to go if you love the outdoors.
You can rent an RV and drive to Knoxville, or rent an RV on Outdoorsy from someone who lives locally. There are plenty of campgrounds in and around Knoxville, or you could go outside of Smoky Mountain National Park and camp there.
As well as proximity to the Smoky Mountains, Knoxville has a lot to explore in terms of urban wilderness as well. There’s even a namesake Urban Wilderness Trail that you can hike or mountain bike and it features downtown waterfront as well as forests.
One of the most exciting things happening in Knoxville right now is the burgeoning food scene. There seems like there’s a new restaurant opening every week, and some of the favorites right now include Knox Mason, Emilia and J.C. Holdway.
There’s a lot of focus on locally sourced items from the farms in the area, and there’s also a thriving downtown farmer’s market that happens every week from late spring through fall.
Another notable eatery worth visiting is Lonesome Dove in Knoxville’s historic Old City which is the restaurant of famed chef Tim Love. It features a menu of unique items such as pheasant enchiladas, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is great as well.
Music and Live Entertainment
Knoxville is a city that has a distinctly creative feel to it, and this is showcased in their music and live entertainment.
There’s the beautiful Tennessee Theatre downtown which regularly hosts touring music acts, Broadway shows and more, and there’s also festivals like the Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival which is held in the spring each year.
You might not think of a city in the valley of the Smoky Mountains as being a hub for artists, but it is.
There are plenty of local galleries to shop as well as a public art program that puts in large-scale sculptures and art pieces each year to the downtown area as well as throughout the city.
Finally, if you love craft beer, your options are plentiful if you visit Knoxville. There are breweries and taprooms like Balter Beerworks, Cold Fusion Brewing Company, and the Bearden Beer Market, just to give a few examples.