Knoxville, Tennessee, is a beautiful city – and it’s also one of the best places to live in America! It’s no wonder that people are always moving there. In this blog post, you will learn about 15 things to do in Knoxville, TN, that will make you want to move there and meet new people.
You’ll find out where the best places are for shopping, eating, drinking, fitness activities, and more! We have even included some quirky or off-beat ideas so you can experience something different from all those tourist traps.
Continue reading to find out all the fun things to do in Knoxville, TN!
Fun Things to Do in Knoxville
Whether you’re new to the Knoxville area, planning to move to East TN, or have been a resident for decades, it’s helpful to know what all your city has to offer. Over the years, the Knoxville area has seen considerable growth, bringing in new businesses, developments, restaurants, and venus. And with that growth, Knoxville is experiencing plenty of fun new things to do popping up around town. Below is a list of 10 fun things to do in Knoxville that you’ll want to check out!
- Market Square
One fun thing to do in Knoxville, TN, is to explore Market Square. The Square is located right in the heart of downtown Knoxville, and it’s one of the best places to meet new people. Market Square features over 70 stores, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and more! You can get anything you need there – especially if you’re just moving into town or relocating. It also hosts plenty of events for all ages throughout the year, including concerts, festivals (such as Scruffy City Film and Music Festival), holiday celebrations (including New Year’s Eve), and much more.
- Ijams Nature Center
The Ijams Nature Center is located just south of downtown, right along the Tennessee River. It’s one of the best places for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts! You can go on self-guided tours or take a hike around their trails if you’re looking to get outside. The center also provides educational opportunities, environmental conservation efforts, and other fun events throughout the year, like live animal shows! This place has everything that someone new to Knoxville would want – it even offers plenty of classes for kids (and adults too)!
- Tennessee Theater
The Tennessee Theater is one of the most iconic buildings in downtown Knoxville. The theater has been around since 1921, and it’s considered to be on the National Register for Historic Places. It offers several different types of entertainment, including traveling shows, musicals, plays/performances, concerts, dance recitals – you name it!
- Knoxville Zoo
Knoxville Zoo is located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, and it’s one of the best spots for a day trip or family outing. The zoo features animals from all over the world, including elephants, tigers, gorillas, white rhinos- you name it! It has something fun to do for everyone (including adults), plus they offer plenty of events like feeding demonstrations throughout the year as well!
- Knoxville Museum of Art
The Knoxville Museum of Art is a great place to go if you’re into art and history. It features several different exhibits throughout the year, all with unique themes that allow visitors to see things from new perspectives! You can also take part in some fun events like Kids Club or Alive After Five- making it one of those places for young people as well (or just adults who want something new to do).
- Neyland Stadium
Neyland Stadium is home to the University of Tennessee’s football team, so it’s a perfect place to visit if you’re a sports fan! The stadium has been around since 1921 and has hosted several great teams over the years – including those from UT as well as other schools. It also hosts special events like concerts or trade fairs throughout the year that are always fun (and family-friendly) for all ages!
- Sunsphere Tower
One of the most iconic buildings in Knoxville, TN. It’s located right next to the Tennessee River and was built for the 1982 World’s Fair that took place here. You can visit it year-round to catch a great view of downtown or take part in some cool events that happen there, like concerts and plays. While you’re visiting, don’t forget to check out World’s Fair Park nearby.
- James White Fort
James White Fort is a replica historical fort built in 1792 – one of the oldest structures still standing in Tennessee. You can take a tour through it and learn about what life was like back then, plus you’ll get to see some great views from this location too! It’s one of those places for young people or families who want to learn more about Knoxville, TN’s history.
- Old City
The Old City is one of Knoxville’s oldest areas, with buildings dating back to 1820! It’s a great place for young people who love history and want to see what life was like before modern inventions. You can visit shops or restaurants here, too, if you’re looking for some local flavor while you explore the area.
- Muse Knoxville
Muse Knoxville is a children’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math (STEAM) museum located in Chilhowee Park. They offer hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, a music and science garden, and an outdoor playground. Muse also hosts other annual events like fall and spring break activities, a 21+ Muse After Dark: Costumes & Cocktails event, even a Gingerbread Engineering workshop. You can also book events and birthday parties here too. To access the museum, you can either become a member or pay admission, but on the 4th Friday of the month, they offer Free Family Night from 5-7 pm; spots are limited, though, and are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
→ Find more fun things to do in Knoxville here: Things to Do in Knoxville, TN!
Quirky Things to Do in Knoxville
If you’d like to do something out of the box, quirky or off-beat, check out these fun 5 things to do in Knoxville, TN, that fit the bill.
- Knoxville Fanboy Expo & Comic-Con
For all you comic book lovers out there, this event is perfect for any superhero fan that wants to meet some of their favorite characters in person! Held at the Knoxville Convention Center downtown during the end of October, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people who are passionate about comics and movies as well. The event will feature celebrity guests, comic industry pros, cosplay, vendors, live entertainment, and much more!! This convention runs all weekend long with special guests like William Shatner (Captain Kirk from Star Trek), the cast from Karate Kid and Cobra Kai, Jay Reso (“Christian” in WWE), Mickie James (WWE Women’s Champion), cast members from Stephen King’s IT and many more!
- Knoxville Roller Derby
If you’re into the punk, grunge, or skater scene at all and like to go out for a night on the town, check out one of these local roller derby games! Every game is an opportunity to enjoy some great skating action. Check out their Facebook page for more information and upcoming events. They’ll also post links where you can get tickets ahead of time so make sure not to miss your chance of watching this fast-paced sport played by strong female athletes who skate hard (and hit hard).
- Geeks Who Drink
Token Game Tavern hosts Geeks Who Drink every Wednesday night, a pub-based quiz night that’ll put your randomly acquired knowledge to the test. The quiz consists of eight rounds with eight questions per round, and the team size is limited to six players. Feel free to grab a bite to eat, or enjoy a craft beer or specialty drink while you’re there. Token Game Tavern also has arcade games, pinball, board games, video game consoles, D&D, comic books, cosplay parties, and more!
- Fort Sanders Yacht Club
Located right off campus on 17th Street, Fort Sanders Yacht Club is the ultimate hang-out spot for classic arcade game enthusiasts. This hole in the wall will keep you coming back with its reasonably priced beer, Super Nintendo, and chillaxed atmosphere. So if you’re looking for your new place, then look no further!
- Shop at Nostalgia
This fun, unique store definitely makes the quirky, offbeat list. The Nostalgia Market is the epitome of fun, retro shopping. It’s like taking a step back in time to the 50s, 60s, and 70s when the 8-track players were plentiful and the tube TVs were all the rage. The vintage market is stocked to the brim with amazingly curated retro decor, clothing, and music; it would be easy to lose an hour just exploring… oh yeah, and their prices are pretty great, too.
Social Meet-Ups in Knoxville
If you’re looking for a place to meet up with friends or to meet new friends, Knoxville has several options to choose from. Below are some incredible spots around town for a social meet-up:
- Bearden Beer Market – Bearden Beer Market is a local beer store in Knoxville, emphasizing a friendly, active community paired with a laid-back environment to enjoy great beers! They feature a beer garden to meet friends and enjoy great craft beer, and they also have a retail store with beer and kegs to go. It’s the perfect place for people who want a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying their favorite brews. In addition, the shop features items from select breweries and fresh food specials every day from The Local Curbside Restaurant!
- Knoxville Sports and Social Club– Knoxville Sports & Social Club was created to provide recreational sports leagues and social events for adults over 21. No matter your skill level or athletic ability, you’ll find a sport to enjoy and opportunities to socialize and make new friends that could last a lifetime.
- Backstage Dance Company– How about taking up dancing as a hobby? Dancing is fun and a terrific way to break the ice and shed any social awkwardness you might have. It is an excellent way to connect with new people and get some great exercise too. The Backstage Dance Company offers dance lessons for people of all ages. Join their classes, learn a new dance style, and strut your stuff on the dance floor. You will never fall short of friends when you join the dance community.
- Friends of Literacy– Join Friends of Literacy and, as a member, contribute to their mission to provide high-quality education to those sections of the community who lack an educational background to meet the challenges of daily life. You get to be part of the noble cause, spread literacy, and meet people with a similar desire to help and serve the community in Knoxville.
- Onsight Rock Gym– If you enjoy doing something adventurous, rock climbing should be right up your alley! Knoxville has a top-notch indoor climbing facility, Onsight Rock Gym, with over 12,000 sq ft of climbing surfaces and walls 50 feet tall. The climbing terrain is challenging and diverse, with classes for all levels and ages, ranging from introductory to advanced-level climbers. So come and be part of the community of rock climbers, enjoy the thrill and excitement of the sport, and scale new heights.
- Knoxville Ultimate Frisbee Club -This free club is open to anyone and everyone who enjoys throwing a frisbee around. The sport is not competitive, but it’s still fun to get together with friends or meet new people from all over the city at one of these socials. This Knoxville Ultimate Frisbee Club meets every Sunday from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Market Square Park downtown.
→ Find more ideas for social meetups here: How to Meet People in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Clubs and Societies for Young People in Knoxville
There are several options available if you want something fun to do with new people around town who share similar interests as yourself. Starting with a few of the more common clubs and societies in Knoxville, you have:
– A local Toastmasters club that can help improve your speaking skills, and learn leadership skills by organizing and conducting meetings and completing projects.
– A book club to discuss different books with people who share a common interest in reading.
– Poker groups or sports leagues where either betting is involved or not; a great way to meet new friends!
-Join one of the other many clubs or societies like Knoxville Singles Social, Great Smokies Hiking & Adventure Group, Uncorked Knoxville…Adventures in Wine, Knox Soccer, Modern Moms, Knoxville Social Meetup, and many more!
Free Things to Do in Knoxville (the text in this passage can be shortened)
Knoxville is a good place to live, and there is no shortage of free things you can see, do, and experience. Whether you are entertaining visitors or you simply want to indulge yourself in what this dynamic city has to offer, here are some of the free and fun things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee.
- University of Tennessee – The University of Tennessee initially started as a small college in 1974 and later turned into a respected public research institution. It is also the flagship campus of the state school system. The University currently has more than 26,000 students and 360 undergraduate degree options.
- Old City – Located in the downtown area, the Old City is filled with hidden gems that offer a visual picture of Knoxville’s historic past. Tourists who are fond of visiting art galleries, and trying out different coffee houses and restaurants, will certainly have a blast walking around in this part of town. Old City also became a nightlife hotspot, as it provides its guests with live music and entertainment.
- Ijams Nature Center -Ijams Nature Center offers nature lovers a myriad of fun-filled activities that they will surely enjoy. From sightseeing, outdoor rock climbing, and canoeing, to enjoying the different hiking trails, visitors of this 300-acre wildlife sanctuary will not run out of free things to do.
- Knoxville Visitors Center – Situated in downtown Knoxville, the Knoxville Visitors Center is a one-stop information destination for tourists. Knoxville visitors are strongly encouraged to stop by the center so they can efficiently plan out their activities and experience everything that this vibrant city has to offer. In addition, guests can enjoy listening to a live music performance every Sunday exclusively performed by the Blue Plate Special.
- Market Square – A trip to Knoxville wouldn’t be complete without visiting the historic Market Square. This event place is home to the famous Market Square Farmers’ Market which was intentionally designed to strengthen the relationship between the farmers and the local community. All of the products available in the market are made by the vendors themselves.
- Sunsphere Tower – Built in 1982, the Sunsphere Tower stands 26 stories high and provides its patrons with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city.
- Blount Mansion – Blount Mansion was the home of William Blount, the Governor of Southwest Territory and signer of the U.S. Constitution. It was built in 1792 and was saved by the Blount Mansion Association in 1926 in order to preserve the city’s vibrant history.
- James White Fort – The James White Fort is the former home of Knoxville’s founder, James White. It was reconstructed in 1970 and is now a museum home that highlights the tale of the city’s birthplace. The James White Fort is also one of Knoxville’s most visited historical sites as it entertains more than 10,000 visitors annually.
- Knoxville Museum of Art – The Knoxville Museum of Art is located near World’s Fair Park and houses one of the biggest steel and glass installations in the world. It offers free admission to its visitors.
- Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum – The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum is regarded as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Knoxville. It has more than two miles of stone walls, historic horticulture, multiple walking trails, and several display gardens. The botanical garden offers free admission to its guests.
- UT Gardens – The UT (University of Tennessee) Gardens is another one of Knoxville’s main attractions. It is home to around 4,000 annuals, tropical plants, shrubs, vegetables, herbs, perennials, ornamental grasses, and trees, and is run by the UT Institute of Agriculture. This enchanting garden also offers free admission to the public.
- East Tennessee History Center – If you are interested in learning about the rich history of East Tennessee, then a visit to the East Tennessee History Center will surely make your day. The museum holds the key to the area’s 300-year historic past as it exhibits an extensive display of artifacts that stood witness to East Tennessee’s past.
- Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame – The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame was created specifically to honor all levels of women’s basketball. The Hall of Fame features three interactive courts where you can showcase your basketball skills.
- Tennessee Theatre – Regarded as Knoxville’s first skyscraper, the Tennessee Theatre opened its doors in 1928. It was built as a movie palace designed with Spanish-Moorish interiors. The famed theatre was restored in 2005 and it is now home to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Knoxville Opera.
- McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture – Located on the University of Tennessee campus, the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture is an educational museum that showcases the artistic and historical past of Tennessee. The museum holds a collection of archaeological finds from around the globe. The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture also features exhibits on the Civil War and Ancient Egypt.
Interested in Moving to Knoxville?
Knoxville is a great city with plenty to do and see, so it’s no wonder more and more people are moving here. But one tip before you decide to move to the area is to ask yourself why you want to move to Knoxville. Of course, this article has provided plenty of fun things to do, which should make answering the question pretty easy. Still, you’ll want to find out as much information about the area and the cost of living in TN before making your decision.
Once you determine that the Knoxville area is right for you, you’ll want to figure out your wish list for your next house. Does it need to be close to excellent schools? Do you want some land or a low-maintenance yard? If you’re going to be active in the community, you may want to live closer to the city. Besides downtown Knoxville, some areas you might want to consider living in would be Farragut or West Knoxville. These locations tend to have the most amenities available nearby and are close enough for a short commute downtown if needed.
Finding the right house and location is vital when it comes to enjoying the fun things around Knoxville. So whether you’re interested in moving to the area or you’d like to relocate and find a home closer to all the action, there are plenty of houses, condos, and apartments to choose from. But if that means you need to “sell my house fast in Chattanooga,” Nashville, Atlanta, or Birmingham home first before moving to Knoxville, we can help!
We buy houses in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, so if you need to sell your home quickly to be able to move or relocate to the Knoxville area, we can make you a cash offer within 24 hours and close within as little as 7 days.
We are one of the top companies that buy houses in Knoxville; we also buy houses in any condition, with any issue, for any reason. We understand that selling a home can be challenging, so we strive to make the process super easy and less stressful. If you’d like to learn more about our home-buying process, please contact us or visit our website nexushomebuyers.com for more information!
Overall, finding the right house in Knoxville or moving somewhere new can have its challenges depending on where you decide to live; however, once you know exactly what you want, finding something perfect shouldn’t be difficult. There are plenty of things to do in Knoxville TN, that will make you want to move there, so take some time and explore the area before making any decisions!
There is plenty more to do in Knoxville that isn’t covered here, but this should give new people a good idea of what’s out there! You will not regret taking some time to explore all that it has to offer you. Make sure to remember everything mentioned here when planning your next trip out!