Traveler: Danielle Gervalis
When: June 2019
Knoxville had no trouble in winning me over. This sophisticated yet approachable city has open spaces to explore, delicious food to eat and intriguing art to enjoy. It’s easy to get around the distinct neighborhoods and there are many welcoming joints to wet your whistle during your stay. Here’s a few of our favorite parts of Knoxville:
Welcome to Knoxville!
Things to Do:
At the heart of downtown Knoxville lies Market Square. Covering one acre, the square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the late 1800s, it served as a market place for farmers to sell their goods. Today, its uses spans from concerts to political rallies, as well as a great place to meet up with friends.
Gathering in Market Square
Just across Union Street from Market Square’s border is Charles Krutch Park. A serene micro forest/park complete with babbling brook and eccentric public artworks. I’m a sucker for large outdoor sculptures so this park was the perfect place to take a stop and plot my next Knoxville adventure!
Sculptures in Charles Krutch Park
Crescent Bend House and Gardens
This historic home
was built in 1834 by Drury Paine Armstrong who was a local farmer, politician and civic leader. He acquired the house on the bend of the Tennessee river and over 900 acres of farm land surrounding the house.
Crescent Bend House
Crescent bend has a storied history. During the Civil War it was held by both the Union and Confederate armies during battles that were fought on the farm. It was even rumored to be a stop on the Underground Railroad.
The Gardens at Crescent Bend House
Today, visitors can take a self guided tour of the rooms and Italian style tiered gardens that run right up the the river. The sitting room, dining room and bedrooms all contain priceless antiques from early American furniture makers that have been shown at the Met! Just be careful to follow instructions and not reach your hands in the rooms or a VERY shrill alarm will sound!
Knoxville Museum of Art
The three story art museum
highlights artists with ties to the area but is no less worldly than bigger city museums. It’s worth spending an hour or so here touring the works. Admission and parking are free and there is a beautiful courtyard lined with white hydrangeas when you’re ready for a break.
History of Tennessee Mural
Be sure to check out the rotating interactive exhibits as well as the permanent collection. One of the most prominent yet controversial pieces is a large mural on the musical history of Tennessee
by Marion Greenwood, who trained under Diego Rivera in Mexico City.
Sunsphere and World’s Fair Park
The gold speckled eye-catching sphere has graced Knoxville’s skyline since the 1982 World’s Fair. While the fair crowds have since dispersed into a distant memory, this relic remains giving visitors a free 360 degree views of the city and surrounding Smokey Mountains.
The Sunsphere and World’s Fair Park
Coming down 26 stories, take a walk through the park’s fountains, cool down in the splash park or stop and see a show at the amphitheater and performance lawn. Knoxville did an amazing job repurposing the World’s Fair infrastructure to something the city’s future generations will enjoy!
Places to Eat and Drink:
The French Market Creperie and Cafe
This lavish french cafe
serves up authentic, sizeable sweet and savory crepes, chocolate croissants with wine and sparkling lavender lemonade! It’s a perfect breakfast or lunch spot to indulge in the finer, tastier things in life without breaking the bank.
Mornings at the French Market Creperie
Crafty Bastard Brewery
With a varied rotating micro brew selection, you’ll want to stop by Crafty Bastard Brewery
often! This friendly brewery has open seating, arty t-shirts, outdoor space and obviously some great local beers!
Crafty Bastard Brewery
Pretentious Beer Co.
Pretentious Beer Co
is anything but! This laid back watering hole serves up different IPAs, beer slushies and their own kombucha. Grab a flight and head to the back patio to admire their beer label artwork and a competitive game of ping pong. Finally, you can even purchase your own unique hand blown beer glass from the brewery owner!
Pretentious Beer Co has a sense of humor
One of the best meals I had in my travels was at Emilia
in Market Square! This Italian restaurant chefs up a seasonal inspired menu from the Emilia-Romanga area of Italy and makes their own pasta in house! I wish I had more stomachs so I could’ve eaten the entire menu. From the warm bread and butter to dessert, you will love everything you try here.
Emilia in Market Square Knoxville, TN
Delicious homemade pasta awaits!
Knoxville, TN, USA
As a Knoxville native—I’m just as happy to come home when traveling. Great article and completely agree with all recommendations! Come back to go on the Knox Brew Tour for more stellar craft beer spots or get outdoorsy at Ijams with hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding—all just across the bridge from downtown.
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All of that sounds amazing! I would love to come back and do a brew tour!
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