Hometown Series: Knoxville, Tennessee

My husband is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. A town I have grown to love over the last few years of being with him. He first took me here in 2012 and I went back year after year ever since. The town is your typical college town, but it is also so much more than that. This town has come to feel like my 2nd home and I town that I love to escape to and visit. The town is just a short drive away from the Great Smoky Mountains, also a short drive always from towns such as Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Below are 10 places that my husband recommends going. Some of which I have been to and others I have yet to visit. I am thrilled to talk about a town I think so highly about.

Top 10 places to go in Knoxville, Tennessee:

1.) Sunsphere

The shiny ball like structure that you see in the picture below is called the Sunsphere. This was built by the world’s fair in 1982, as the world’s fair was hosted in this very city. The Sunsphere has a restaurant in the top of it and you can go up in it but not to the very top. The observation deck is on the 4th floor. The Sunsphere is located in the world’s fair park. This structure is easily seen from the highway and very neat to see up close.

2.) Market Square

Market Square is located in downtown Knoxville. The market is in the shape of a square and has tons of shops in it. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars to go to at night. I have never personally been here but my husband enjoyed going to Market Square often. This market Square was established in 1854.

3.) Ye Olde Steakhouse

My husband highly recommends this place. The restaurant burnt down several years ago, but was rebuilt and opened back up for business. This restaurant has been opened since 1968 and is a Knoxville favorite. My husband says their signature meal is filet and baked potato. He also recommends the hot homemade bread and their desserts are homemade.

4.) Copper Cellar

This place was hands down amazing. My husband took his family and I here for the Sunday brunch. I was completely amazed that they had it all for brunch. There are two locations for this restaurant, one is downtown and the other is located in west Knoxville. I highly recommend the Sunday brunch, as it is highly known for their amazing brunch.

5.) Calhouns on the River

This restaurant is amazing because it offers good food and a good view. This restaurant is known for their BBQ and because it is located on the river. My husband recommends getting their BBQ, pulled pork sandwiches or hamburgers. This location is near Neyland Stadium which I will discuss further down. My husband and I went to a different location for this restaurant, but I highly recommend it.

6.) Buddy’s BBQ

I am from Kansas City (known for their amazing BBQ), so I know great BBQ. Buddy’s is a chain restaurant that is local to and in Knoxville. This restaurant is known for their hush puppies, hot fudge sundaes and BBQ. I was completely amazed when I first had Buddy’s BBQ. I always ask to go back there every time we go back to Knoxville.

7.) Neyland Stadium

This is home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team. This stadium is the third largest football stadium in the United States. My husband has been to several games here and highly recommends this if you love college football like he does.

8.) Cotton Eyed Joes

This is a country bar and restaurant, which the main attraction live music and line dancing. This bar was recognized by the Academy of Country Music for a nomination of Night Club of the Year. My husband has danced here several times and spent many of his younger years there. Beware of the strobe lights if you have a medical condition.

9.) Alumni Hall

This is a store where you can get all the Tennessee Volunteers gear your heart desires. If you are anything like me, I love collecting shirts from any place I visit. Each time my husband and I go back to Tennessee we have kept to a tradition of getting a new shirt each time. The staff is super friendly and always willing to give a helping hand. The store is always also easy to find things in, I have even been there on Black Friday and can easily say I have found what I was looking for and more!

10.) Knoxville Zoo

Knoxville Zoo is located in downtown Knoxville. They are currently doing new renovations and additions to the zoo. Many of the animals were out and about, as we were just there over Thanksgiving. This is a great place to go for families with children and even adults who love the zoo! This zoo has 53 acres to it and has over 800 animals in it. The Knoxville Zoo has been opened since 1935. The zoo costs $20 USD per person (adult) and $17 USD (kid and over 65+) to get in, as well as $5 USD to park.

As you can see Knoxville, Tennessee is a really pretty place to go. Especially in the fall months as the trees change colors. That is when I usually love to go here and go to the mountains for the vibrant fall colors. Tennessee also has some amazing sunsets and sunrises. I have been to many of the places listed above, but each time I go back I discover something new. I always love going back to a place and discovering something new. If you ever find yourself in or near Knoxville, Tennessee I hope this list helps you to find places to discover.

Stay tuned tomorrow to learn what to pack for a cruise. Next week I will have a travel review of 2017 and my travel goals and plans for 2018. I will also be writing a piece about the state of Missouri. Stay tuned! See you soon.

Have you ever been to Tennessee? If so, what are some of your favorite memories of the state? I would love to hear about them, let me know in the comments below.



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  1. I have never been to Tennessee let alone Knoxville. Sounds like a great place to go to!I love zoos so the zoo would be my first destination!

    1. I hope you get to go to Tennessee one day, it is a beautiful place. Zoos are my husband and my favorite place to go in a new city. Thank you for your great feedback!

  2. Since I’ve never been to any part of America and would really love to go Knoxville is now on my list! It looks beautiful with so many good attractions for all sorts of visitors! Cotten Eyed Joes sounds like a lot of fun!

    1. I hope you get to go to America. There are definitely so many things to do here. Thank you for your wonderful comment.

  3. Knoxville is a neat place. We spent a weekend there. I saw the sphere, and we went hiking at a park, and we did a scavenger hunt. I walked around Knoxville a lot that weekend. Oh, and we visited a quarry!

    1. That sounds like an awesome weekend! Which park did you hike at and a quarry? That sounds so neat! I’m going to have to ask my husband about that. Thank you for your wonderful comment! I really appreciate it.

  4. I would love to visit Tennessee one day! The photos you showed are absolutely beautiful and wow – that tiger shot is amazing! Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind feedback, I really appreciate it! I hope you get to go one day, it’s definitely full of plenty adventures! Happy new year to you as well.

  5. I have not been to Tennessee but it is definitely on my list as I have to visit all 50 states 😀 Thanks for sharing information about Knoxville. I cannot wait to visit someday.

    ❥ tanvii.com

    1. I am trying to achieve the all 50 states as well! I’m 34 in and so ready to see the rest. You can tell on my map that I don’t like up north as I have most of the north left. You are welcome, thank you for your great feedback. I hope you get to go one day!

  6. I visited Knoxville one time in my life. I was considering going to the University of Tennessee and I was there touring the campus. It is a beautiful place and city.

    1. I love the campus of the University of Tennessee, it’s definitely a beautiful campus. Thank you for your great feedback.

  7. This was super informative. I have friends that recently moved to Knoxville and I was already itching to visit them. Now I will be coming with a whole list of things I’m looking to do. I love all the great food recommendations because we all know good food MAKES the trip!

    1. Oh that’s so neat! I love the Knoxville area, I highly suggest visiting in the fall for the amazing fall colors. Good food definitely does make a trip. I hope you make it there one day! Thank you for your wonderful comment, I really appreciate it!

  8. I’ve been to Pigeon Forge, but not to Knoxville. The Sunsphere reminds me of the New Year’s Eve ball. I bet the views are amazing! The other places sound great too!

    1. Pigeon Forge is great too! The Sunsphere does remind me of that as well, except you can go in it. They are all amazing. Hope you get to go one day, thank you for your feedback!

  9. Sadly I’ve never been to Tennessee but it was super refreshing to hear all about it from a local’s perspective. The Market Square sounds like loads of fun and the Sunsphere is pretty impressive. The views must be beautiful especially in Autumn

    1. I hope you make it there one day, it’s super pretty in the fall for sure. The Sunsphere is amazing, I definitely want to go in it whenever I go back. Thank you for your great feedback! I really appreciate it!

  10. I haven’t been to Tennessee, but I’m considering moving there! It’s between Nashville area and Knoxville, so I loved reading this blog!

    1. That’s amazing! Tennessee is a beautiful place. I love the Nashville area and the Knoxville area. I bet you will love it there if you do end up moving there. Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it!

  11. We almost visted here this past summer but had to cancel the vacation. I’d love to take my kiddos to visit Nashville and now have great places to visit in Knoxville as well!!

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry you had to cancel. I hope you get to go here one day, it truly is amazing. Nashville is so pretty, I love it there.

  12. I go Tennessee once or twice year just to go see family. Memories I have about Tennessee is seeing my family, but I definitely could not live there. It is too many hills lol

    1. That’s awesome that you have family there. I definitely agree about the lots of hills part. I was so shocked the first time I went. It looks so different than where I am from and where I had been at that point, it was actually amazing. But hills and winter definitely don’t mix well.

  13. I have never been to Tennessee, sounds like a great place to go to. This is so helpful post for anyone planning to visit Tennessee, adding it to my bookmarks. Love all the pictures.

    1. I hope you get to go sometime, especially in the fall. That is when I feel it is the most pretty! Thank you so much for your compliments and comment. I really appreciate it.

  14. I haven’t been there but I wish this year I would and explore more states. Tennessee looked really nice place to visit.

    1. Tennessee is a wonderful place to visit. I hope this year you can explore more states, it’s definitely fun and each is different from the next. Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it.

  15. Wow those places sound amazing … indeed look at those pictures makes me want to go right there soon … thanks for the lovely information

    1. Thank you so much, this place is definitely a wonderful place to go. I hope you make it there one day. You are welcome, thank you for the lovely comment. I really do appreciate it!

  16. Very informative post! I love college towns and their cozy yet upbeat atmosphere! Hope to visit Knoxville one day.

    1. Same here! I enjoy the atmosphere that they have. It is definitely different from towns that don’t have colleges in them for some reason. I hope you get to visit someday as well. Thank you for your great comment, I really appreciate it.

  17. I have never been to Tennessee but it looks beautiful. The photo of Market Square looks stunning, I’d love to visit.

    1. I hope you get to go to Tennessee one day, it is truly beautiful especially in the fall! Thank you for your wonderful feedback, I really appreciate it.

  18. Tennessee is one of my favorite states to visit! The scenery is beautiful!

    1. Same here, I love all the scenery especially in the fall.

  19. This are all beautiful places to visit and I hope I would some day!

    Knoxville looks great!

    1. I hope you do get to visit one day, it really is beautiful! I would definitely suggest going in the fall. Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate the great feedback!

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