5 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, TN

By VI Staff on April 7, 2020

Snuggled between the Great Smoky Mountains and the mighty Tennessee River, Knoxville,Tennesseeis a modern, exciting city, famous as the gateway to theGreat Smoky Mountains. The city is home to theEast Tennessee History Center,World's Fair Park,Tennessee Theatre,Ijams Nature Center, Blount Mansion and many other great attractions. Best things to do in Knoxville,TNwith kids include theKnoxville Zoo, theMuse Knoxville, theMcClung Museum of Natural History and CultureandKnoxville Children's Theater.

1.World's Fair Park 1

.Designed and built by the City of Knoxville as a space for the community to enjoy outdoor events and functions from intimate wine-tastings to music concerts. The World’s Fair Park features many characteristics that were built for the 1982 World’s Fair, such as the Tennessee Amphitheater, the Court of Flags, and the Sunsphere, as well as the newly added Knoxville Convention Center.

The Park consists of four main areas, namely The Performance Lawn, the Festival Lawn, the Amphitheater and the Lake Area, along with facilities, such as restrooms and picnic spots for visitors to enjoy. The Park also features new enhancements to accommodate one or more events taking place simultaneously, such as reinforced lawns and environmental features characteristic of the region. The park is filled with dogwood trees – the city’s signature tree and large, open lawns that provide multi-functional areas.

The World’s Fair Park features beautifully manicured lawns and a variety of horticultural features. The central Performance Lawn is a vast open area that is larger than in size than two football fields and provides a natural amphitheater-like setting for outdoor concerts, gatherings, parties and festivals.

Designed to cater for large events, the Festival Lawn spans two acres and features specially designed turf that can withstand bustling crowds. Located in the heart of the park, this multi-purpose manicured lawn is bordered by a tree-lined plaza to the east and native plantings on the west and is a favorite location for festival promoters.

Located on the northern end of the lawn, the Court of Flags Fountain is a fun, interactive water play area for summertime play, operating seasonally from March until the end of October. The popular Fountain and playground area is open year-round and creates a beautiful backdrop for photographers.

Horticultural features at the World’s Fair Park include plants that are symbolic of Knoxville, such as azaleas, rhododendron, forsythia, redbud and dogwood trees and bloom into a riot of colors each season.

2.East Tennessee History Center1. 2.

History comes alive year-round at the East Tennessee History Center where the award-winning exhibits, educational programs, and events showcase the rich history of East Tennessee. Operated by the East Tennessee Historical Society, the museum exhibits an array of artifacts and intriguing stories that compose 300 years of life in Tennessee. Highlights of the annual events include the Blue & Gray Reunion held April-May and the East Tennessee History Fair in August. An interactive educational exhibit and outreach program designed for K-12 students is available for student groups. A variety of free lectures and genealogy workshops are offered throughout the year. Workshops require pre-registration. 601 South Gay Street, Knoxville, Tennessee, Phone: 865-215-8824

3.Tennessee Theatre

© Courtesy of ugljesaras - The beautiful Tennessee Theatre opened its doors in 1928 as a “movie palace.” Designed in the magnificent Spanish-Moorish style, the theatre was decorated with the most beautiful pieces available at the time: Czech crystal chandeliers, Italian terrazzo floor, and Asian details in the drapery and carpets. The theatre was meticulously restored in 2005 and today offers a bit for everyone: vintage movies, classical music concerts, Broadway shows, and rock concerts. If you are looking for romantic date ideas in Knoxville, watch a performance at the Tennessee Theatre. The theatre is home to the Knoxville Opera and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and is used for many special events, big parties, and even weddings. The theatre is part of the National Register of Historic Places. 604 S Gay St, Knoxville, Tennessee, Phone: 865-684-1200

Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville, TN

© Courtesy of Melinda Fawver -

Nature lovers have been enjoying Ijams Nature Center for over a century. Developed by Harry Ijams as a bird sanctuary, the 300-acre park has grown into a leading wildlife sanctuary and environmental learning center. Visitors travel just three miles from downtown Knoxville to explore its trails, creeks, groves, boardwalk, homestead, and so much more. Have an adventurous day in Knoxville’s only outdoor rock climbing area, take in the natural landscape on a slow canoe trip, or relax with a picnic at a scenic overlook. The award-winning attraction offers an impressive range of events and programs for adults and children alike and is one of the best things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee. Read more 2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee, Phone: 865-577-4717

Blount Mansion

© Blount Mansion

Blount Mansion has been restored and recreated to tell the stories of Tennessee’s formative years. William Blount, signer of the U.S. Constitution and Governor of the Southwest Territory, built the home in 1792 when he declared Knoxville as his capitol. Visitors can enjoy stories of the mansion’s intriguing and sometimes scandalous history as “the house with many eyes.” The Blount Mansion Association saved the home in 1926 and preserved it to display Knoxville’s rich history. The Merry and Bright Celebration in December and the Legends, Customs, and Myths Tour in October highlight the museum’s year-round events. The Blount Mansion Visitors Center is open Tuesday through Friday. 200 W. Hill Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee, Phone: 865-525-2375

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