If you’ve never been to the South, then welcome ya’ll.
And if you have, we’re glad you’re back!
Knoxville is not simply a college town, for its history reaches far beyond the shadow of the University of Tennessee. Nestled in the heart of east Tennessee, between the Cumberland Gap and the Smoky Mountains, is a town with rapid growth. While the national construction economy was in a major decline, Knoxville seemed mainly unaffected and continues to build and grow exponentially.
The majority of the expansion work has happened in West Knoxville, where new subdivisions and businesses are exploding quickly. However, the downtown has also seen much in the way of new and refurbished construction. A new twelve-screen cinema was added a few years ago, as well as a Walmart and a Publix grocery store on "the strip". Many old buildings, which were for a long time sitting vacant and abused, have been given a new life and are being converted into loft apartments and charming shops.
The World’s Fair Park Sunsphere, constructed on the site of the 1982 world’s fair, is open to tourists. Similar to the Space Needle in Seattle, WA, the Sunsphere, which stands 26 stories high, provides tourists a chance to see Knoxville from a bird’s eye view. From the observation deck you can see 360 degrees around the city. Currently, the visit is free.
For history buffs, there are several museums, including James White’s Fort, Blount Mansion, both within a few blocks of each other downtown, Marble Springs, Governor John Sevier’s home in South Knoxville, and the Ramsey House Plantation in east Knoxville. These are only a few of the many museums in the area.
A special fact of James White’s Fort is that one of the tour guides is a true descendent of James White. This gentleman is a great storyteller and gets his guests actively involved in the tour.
In addition to the museums, many of the buildings downtown remain from the late 1700’s, offering a wonderful walking tour that will astound any who enjoy the architectural beauty of that period.
After a long day of sightseeing, sit down and rest a spell with some good food! There is a plethora of the standard franchised fair in this beautiful city, but why not try something local instead. Here are a few favorites:
- Litton’s Restaurant in North Knoxville offers large portions, thick Texas-style toast and a nice atmosphere.
- Austin’s Steakhouse on Merchant's Drive, near Clinton Hwy, is not your typical steakhouse. They have delicious steak meals you can order off their cafeteria-style menu. In addition, they provide a huge hot meal and salad bar. Each meal, bar or menu item comes with a wide variety dessert bar and they are very reasonably priced.
- El Charro’s Mexican Restaurant set in Bearden Hill, west Knoxville with its lively, Latin atmosphere and bright colors is a treat to the eyes, as well as, the stomach.
Knoxville offers a variety of activities, fun, food and places to see for young and old alike. With so much to do, stop by and say hi! And come back ya’ll.