Nestled at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, surrounded by the Tennessee River and home to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is the perfect combination of natural beauty and big city amenities. While life in Knoxville is largely centered around the Vols during football and basketball seasons, there’s so much more to this city. The revitalized downtown district’s crowning glory is Market Square, a cute area known for its great restaurants, cool shops and many events hosted throughout the year, as well as seven farmers’ markets, 55 parks and an unparalleled arts scene. Knoxville’s unemployment rate is below the national average and because of the area’s ability to bounce back financially, it is a great place to buy a home and settle down.
Top Industries and Employers: The university along with the city’s location near Oak Ridge National Laboratory make Knoxville a center for research and technology.
Best Coffee Shop: Remedy Coffee
Best Local Beer/Brewery: Knoxville’s craft beer scene is constantly growing and evolving, but Balter Beeworks is a tried and true favorite. We recommend enjoying the Maypop brew while sitting in the garden.
Must-Have Meal: When the World’s Fair came to Knoxville in 1982, the ‘petro’ was born. A combination of Frito chips, chili, and toppings, Petro’s are a mainstay, especially on gameday.
Best Co-Working Space: Branding itself as a “place to get sh*t done,” CoWorking Knoxville does just that, providing tenants with free parking and printing and community.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Known as the cathedral of entertainment and libations, the rooftop at Scruffy City Hall is the perfect place to grab a drink and take in views of downtown.
Creative Hub: Centrally located on Gay Street is the iconic Tennessee Theatre. The exquisite interior is opulent and was originally built as a movie palace in 1928. Today, the theater serves as a performing arts center and hosts more than 150 productions, concerts and film showings each year.
Favorite Weekend Activity: After spending the morning at the Market Square Farmers’ Market, get out and about at Ijams Nature Center — Knoxville’s very own wildlife sanctuary and part of Knoxville Urban Wilderness, an initiative which promotes the preservation of recreational, historical and cultural sites within 1,000 forested acres surrounding the downtown waterfront. Ijams has more than 10 miles of trails, a quarry for fishing and kayak and canoe rentals available.
Free Way to Have Fun: The WDVX’s Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show that is completely free and airs six days a week. Located off of Market Square at the Knoxville Visitors Center, the show has hosted Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Local Dream Job: Smokey’s handler. The mascot of the Vols is a bluetick coonhound and is beloved by the city.
- Cara Sanders