Welcome to Downtown
Downtown Knoxville is best known for its independent nature and historic properties. Composed of multiple individual areas within one square mile, it is easy to walk and bike but despite its small size, there is a lot to see and do. It is the central business district of the city, including municipal offices, residential properties, and Knoxville’s convention center.
The vibrant downtown area boasts an ever-shifting landscape of festivals, concerts, and more. Considered the center and heart of eastern Tennessee, it is a unique place. With over 90 restaurants, more than 40 boutiques, and many entertainment options, such as theaters, parks, museums, and festivals, downtown is an eclectic combination of cultural activities, natural beauty, and indoor and outdoor excitement.
What We Love
- Many things to do
- Community atmosphere
- Easily walkable
This waterfront area is a bustling, urban area populated with a unique community, mixing families, students, young professionals, and empty nesters. Its small size leads to a tight-knit community, and the neighbors know each other. Downtown Knoxville has an exciting, vibrant, fun-loving atmosphere with many places to explore, from Market Square to Gay Street. There is much to enjoy, such as the river views, waterfront areas, and the Old City.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Market Square is one of the area’s most popular destinations and has been since the 1860s. It is a place where downtown residents can shop, play, eat, and work. It also showcases many movies and outdoor concerts like Shakespeare on the Square. Two water fountains are available for playing, and it is near Krutch Park and Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.
S Gay Street is considered by the American Planning Association to be one of the greatest streets in the United States. As the center of downtown, it has a busy nightlife and lots to do during the day as well. From beautiful architecture to lively culture, it is a great street to explore, shop, and eat. With two historic theaters, visitors can enjoy various shows and performances.
With a foundation of high quality service, J.C. Holdway is a high-end venue serving regional meals. The restaurant boasts a full bar with an array of seasonal signature drinks. Inspired by rural Appalachia’s cooking and traditional southern fare, the restaurant crafts exquisite flavors using wood-fire methods.
Bistro by the Tracks provides a casually elegant setting for New American cuisine. The upscale restaurant also serves gluten-free and vegetarian meals, and all dishes are consistent and delicious. The long and varied wine list includes wine from the best wineries in the world.
Exotic and innovative, the Lonesome Dove Knoxville brings a creative flair to American cuisine. Designed to be rustic-chic yet upscale, the restaurant serves traditional and modern flavors inspired by Knoxville and the west. From wood-fire cooking to wild game, it is unique and enjoyable. It also provides an outdoor bar and live music.
Kefi, a name coming from the Greek language and meaning ‘profound passion,’ serves Mediterranean and Greek food. Celebrating these cultures, the dishes are healthy, small, and full of flavor and color.
Not far away, the University of Tennessee campus can be found. Opened in 1794, the historic university is known for its research and its sports program. It has a fun atmosphere, full of energy and tradition.
Things to Do
Built in 1928, the Tennessee Theater is an official historic place and considered one of the South’s beautiful theaters! Classical music, dance, broadway shows, vintage films, and other performances can be seen here. It can also be rented for special occasions, such as weddings and private parties.
Knoxville Museum of Art features traveling shows, concerts, classes, and regional art exhibits. The four-story building focuses on the area's eclectic, vibrant visual culture while also exploring the wider art world. The facility opened in 1990, covers 53,200 square feet, and is visited by over 70,000 people annually.
World’s Fair Park sits on the former grounds of the 1982 World's Fair hosted in Knoxville, full of beautiful lawns, cheerful water features, and walkways, covering an area larger than two football fields. The park features an amphitheater, an observation deck on the sun sphere tower, and a performance lawn. It is the home of many events, including concerts, parties, and festivals. The Dogwood arts festival happens at World’s Fair Park each spring. Visitors enjoy more than 100 art vendors, live music, food and drink vendors, and entertainment.
Concerts on the Square are fun, community events taking place all summer. Full of food, community, and live music, every Tuesday provides Jazz music, while every third Thursday showcases various music styles. Meanwhile, First Friday Artwalk happens each month on the first Friday. Art collections, galleries, and studios showcase their art along the streets of downtown. In addition to the visual beauty, visitors can enjoy live music and other performance art.
Big Ears Weekend is an internationally-beloved festival. It includes author talks, pop-up events, concerts, and a Saturday afternoon street party and parade. Residents and visitors come to enjoy the music shows, demonstrations, and art exhibitions, from local creators and businesses, throughout the weekend. It is an exciting, energy-filled time.
Located just east of downtown, Zoo Knoxville has a foundation of education and inspiration, covering many acres of animal habitats. It is a participant in the world’s biggest conservation movement. The zoo works to maintain animals in a healthy environment to avoid extinction, leading to becoming the first zoo to have the endangered northern spider tortoises born there. It is the home of many remarkable endangered animals.
- L&N Stem Academy
- Green Magnet Academy