32 Best Places and Things To Do in Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee, is a vibrant city nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Known for its scenic beauty, rich history, and cultural offerings, Knoxville offers a wide array of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or delicious cuisine, Knoxville has something for everyone.

1. World’s Fair Park

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As the site of the 1982 World’s Fair, this park offers a blend of history, art, and recreation. Explore the iconic Sunsphere, which offers panoramic views of the city, stroll through the beautiful landscaped grounds, and visit the Knoxville Museum of Art to admire its impressive collection.

2. Ijams Nature Center

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If you’re a nature enthusiast, Ijams Nature Center is a must-visit destination. This 300-acre urban greenspace features hiking trails, boardwalks, and stunning views of the Tennessee River. You can rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the waterways, go birdwatching, or even take part in educational programs and workshops.

3. Knoxville Museum of Art

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This renowned museum showcases a diverse range of artwork, with a particular focus on regional artists. The museum features rotating exhibitions, a sculpture garden, and a permanent collection that includes works by influential American artists. Admission is free, making it accessible to all visitors.

4. Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum

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This serene oasis features diverse gardens, walking trails, and historical buildings. It’s a great place to relax, have a picnic, or take beautiful photos amid the vibrant blooms and tranquil landscapes.

5. Knoxville Zoo

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If you’re visiting with family, a trip to the Knoxville Zoo is a fantastic choice. The zoo is home to a wide variety of animals from around the world and offers engaging exhibits, interactive experiences, and educational programs for all ages.

6. James White’s Fort

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Immerse yourself in Knoxville’s history by visiting James White’s Fort, the city’s first permanent settlement. This reconstructed log fort showcases life in the late 18th century, offering guided tours and demonstrations. Explore the buildings, learn about the early settlers, and gain insight into Knoxville’s early days.

7. East Tennesse Historical Society

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The East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) is an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and heritage of East Tennessee. Founded in 1834, it is one of the oldest historical organizations in the state. The society’s headquarters is located in the East Tennessee History Center in downtown Knoxville, making it a prominent destination for history enthusiasts and researchers.

8. UT Gardens

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UT Gardens, Knoxville is a beautiful botanical garden located on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. With its diverse collection of plants, well-designed landscapes, and educational programs, the UT Gardens offers visitors a delightful and informative experience. The UT Gardens is home to several distinct garden areas, each showcasing different types of plants and landscapes.

9. McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture

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The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture is an impressive museum located on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. As one of the region’s premier museums, it offers visitors a captivating journey through the natural and cultural history of East Tennessee, the United States, and beyond. The museum features a wide range of exhibits that explore various aspects of natural history, archaeology, and regional culture.

10. Mabry-Hazen House

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The Mabry-Hazen House is a beautifully preserved Victorian-era home built in 1858. It showcases a blend of architectural styles, including Greek Revival and Italianate influences. Visitors can explore the various rooms, including the parlor, library, dining room, bedrooms, and kitchen, which are furnished with period pieces, family heirlooms, and original artifacts.

11. House Mountain State Natural Area

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House Mountain State Natural Area is a beautiful and unique natural gem located near Knoxville, Tennessee. It offers visitors a chance to experience the outdoors and enjoy stunning views from one of the highest points in Knox County.

12. Lakeshore Park

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Lakeshore Park is a picturesque public park located along the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee. Known for its stunning views, recreational opportunities, and serene atmosphere, the park offers a wonderful outdoor experience for visitors of all ages. Lakeshore Park is its breathtaking views of the Tennessee River and the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll, enjoying a picnic, or simply sitting on one of the park benches, you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the beauty of the river and the distant Smoky Mountains. The park’s location offers stunning sunsets, particularly in the evening.

13. Krutch Park

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Krutch Park is a charming urban park located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Known for its beautiful landscaping, artistic features, and serene atmosphere, the park offers a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city center.

14. Historic Ramsey House

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The Ramsey House, also known as the Nathaniel Alexander Ramsey House, is an impressive example of Federal-style architecture. Built in 1797 by Thomas Hope for Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey, the house has been meticulously restored to its original grandeur. Visitors can explore the various rooms, including the parlor, dining room, bedrooms, and the well-preserved kitchen, which showcase period furnishings, artwork, and artifacts.

15. Third Creek Greenway

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The Third Creek Greenway is a scenic and popular multi-use trail located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It follows the path of Third Creek, a picturesque waterway that flows through the heart of the city. The greenway offers a fantastic opportunity for outdoor recreation, exercise, and enjoying nature. The Third Creek Greenway consists of a well-maintained paved trail that winds alongside Third Creek. The trail spans approximately 1.8 miles and provides a smooth surface for walking, jogging, running, cycling, and rollerblading. The wide path allows for comfortable and safe sharing of the trail among users.

16. Volunteer Landing Park

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Volunteer Landing Park is a vibrant waterfront park located along the Tennessee River in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. It offers visitors a picturesque setting with stunning views of the river and the cityscape. Volunteer Landing Park is a popular destination for outdoor activities, relaxation, and community events. The park features a scenic riverfront promenade that stretches along the Tennessee River. The paved walkway provides a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a refreshing jog while enjoying the panoramic views.

17. New Harvest Park

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New Harvest Park is a hidden gem located in Knoxville, Tennessee. This community park offers a range of amenities and recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages. New Harvest Park features a modern playground area that provides endless fun for children. The playground is equipped with slides, climbing structures, swings, and other play equipment. Additionally, during the warmer months, kids can cool off in the splash pad area, where water features and spraying jets provide a refreshing way to beat the heat.

18. Adair Park

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Adair Park features open green spaces and well-maintained walking paths that wind through the park. The paths provide a pleasant area for leisurely walks, jogging, or simply enjoying the fresh air. The park’s natural surroundings create a tranquil atmosphere and offer a respite from the bustling city.

19. First Baptist Church

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First Baptist Church has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1843. The church has witnessed significant growth and transformation over the years, serving as a spiritual and community center for its members and the wider community.

20. Victor Ashe Park

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Victor Ashe Park is a popular recreational area located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Named after former Knoxville mayor and U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe, this park offers a wide range of amenities and outdoor activities for visitors of all ages. The park features several walking trails that wind through the natural beauty of the area. These trails offer a scenic setting for leisurely walks, jogging, or hiking. The park’s expansive green spaces provide opportunities for picnicking, playing sports, or simply enjoying the outdoors.

21. Sequoyah Park

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Sequoyah Park is a charming public park located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Named after Sequoyah, the Cherokee scholar and inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, this park offers a serene and picturesque environment for outdoor activities and relaxation. Sequoyah Park is known for its natural beauty and tranquil setting. The park features mature trees, open green spaces, and well-maintained landscaping. It offers a peaceful atmosphere that allows visitors to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors.

22. High Ground Park & River Bluff Wildlife Area

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High Ground Park & River Bluff Wildlife Area is a scenic outdoor space located in Knoxville, Tennessee. This park offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and recreational opportunities. The park features beautiful landscapes, including rolling hills, woodlands, and scenic views of the Tennessee River. The natural beauty of the area provides a serene and picturesque setting for outdoor activities and relaxation.

23. Crescent Bend House & Gardens

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Crescent Bend House & Gardens is a historic mansion and beautiful garden located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is also known as the Armstrong-Lockett House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Crescent Bend offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s rich history and a chance to explore its meticulously manicured gardens. The centerpiece of Crescent Bend is the stately mansion, which was built in 1834.

24. Fort Dickerson Park

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Fort Dickerson Park is a historical park located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It encompasses the remnants of Fort Dickerson, a Civil War-era fortification that played a significant role in the defense of Knoxville during the war. Fort Dickerson was constructed in 1863 as part of the defensive line around Knoxville. The fort played a crucial role in the Battle of Fort Sanders and the defense of the city against Confederate forces. Today, the park preserves the earthwork fortifications and provides visitors with a glimpse into the area’s Civil War history.

25. Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

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The Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a stunning Catholic cathedral located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It serves as the mother church of the Diocese of Knoxville and is a prominent landmark in the area. The cathedral’s architecture is a sight to behold. Designed in a contemporary style, it features a mix of traditional and modern elements. The exterior of the cathedral showcases impressive stonework, while the interior boasts soaring ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, and beautiful artwork. The design creates a sense of reverence and awe as you step inside.

26. Carl Cowan Park

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Carl Cowan Park is a public park located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It offers a range of recreational facilities and outdoor amenities, making it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The park is known for its excellent sports facilities, which cater to a variety of sports enthusiasts. It features multiple baseball fields, soccer fields, and softball fields. These fields are well-maintained and provide opportunities for organized games, practices, and recreational play.

27. Holston River Park

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Holston River Park is a scenic public park located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Situated along the banks of the Holston River, the park offers a tranquil natural setting and a variety of recreational opportunities for visitors. The park provides access to the Holston River, allowing visitors to engage in various water activities. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck in the river, which is known for its abundant fish population. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities, providing an opportunity to explore the river’s gentle currents and enjoy the scenic views.

28. Historic Westwood

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Historic Westwood is a historic home and museum located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is a beautifully restored mansion that serves as a tribute to the city’s history and architecture. Historic Westwood is a Greek Revival-style mansion that was built in 1890. It features a striking exterior with stately columns and intricate architectural details. The mansion has been carefully preserved and restored to its original grandeur, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience the elegance of the late 19th century.

29. Harold Lambert Overlook Park

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Harold Lambert Overlook Park is a small park located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Situated on a hillside, the park offers a scenic overlook that provides panoramic views of the surrounding area. The highlight of the park is the overlook, which offers stunning views of the cityscape, the Tennessee River, and the nearby Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a great spot to admire the natural beauty of the region and take in the picturesque vistas.

30. Sharp’s Ridge Memorial Park

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Sharp’s Ridge Memorial Park is a public park located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Situated on Sharp’s Ridge, the park offers a range of recreational opportunities and panoramic views of the surrounding area. The park’s main attraction is its scenic overlook, which provides stunning panoramic views of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River, and the nearby Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a perfect spot to admire the beauty of the city and capture memorable photographs.

31. Suttree Landing Park

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Suttree Landing Park is a riverfront park located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Situated along the banks of the Tennessee River, the park offers a picturesque setting and a range of recreational amenities for visitors to enjoy. The park provides convenient access to the Tennessee River, making it a popular spot for water activities. Boating enthusiasts can launch their kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards from the park’s boat ramp and explore the scenic river. Fishing is also a common activity, with opportunities to catch bass, catfish, and other freshwater fish.

32. First Presbyterian Church

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First Presbyterian Church is a historic and prominent church located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Established in 1792, it is one of the oldest congregations in the city and has played a significant role in the religious and cultural life of the community. The church building itself is a sight to behold. With its stunning architectural features, including Gothic Revival elements, stained glass windows, and a towering spire, it stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of its time. The church’s architecture and design make it a notable landmark in Knoxville.

Knoxville, Tennessee, has something to captivate every visitor. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply enjoying the local cuisine, Knoxville is a destination that will leave you with lasting memories.