27 Best Things To Do In Knoxville, Tennessee (Entertainment)

Knoxville, Tennessee lies in the eastern corner of the Appalachian Mountain range in the heart of the Tennessee River and is surrounded by stunning natural beauty while its historic downtown streets have remained intact for many years.

Knoxville has grown to become one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities.

There are endless things to do in Knoxville including the arts, outdoor and night life. Travelers can enjoy southern cooking as well as exploring nearby mountains. Knoxville is a destination for everyone - from couples to families to groups to foodies.

So what does Knoxville have in store purely for entertainment? This list will provide a variety of trusted "go-to" experiences that will make Knoxville memorable.
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Table Of Contents
  • Learn How To Dance
  • Tennessee Theatre
  • Neyland Stadium
  • Bijou Theater
  • Knoxville Museum of Art
  • Old City
  • ​Riverboats and Trains
  • ​Knoxville Food Tours
  • ​Clarence Brown Theatre
  • ​Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
  • ​James White Fort
  • ​Outdoor Adventures
  • ​Sweet Treats In Knoxville
  • ​Blount Mansion
  • ​Zoo Knoxville
  • ​Mabry-Hazen House
  • ​World Fair Park
  • ​East Tennessee History Center
  • ​House Mountain State Natural Area
  • ​Sunsphere
  • ​The Muse Knoxville
  • ​Thompson - Boling Arena
  • ​Knoxville Historic Tours
  • ​Market Square Farmers' Market
  • ​McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture
  • ​Ijams Nature Center
  • ​Knoxville Botanical Garden
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Learn How To Dance
SalsaKnox Dance Company offers beginner level classes that will be sure to make your Knoxville experience memorable.

There are a few different things to do in order to make the most out of your time with the Salsaknox Dance Company.

First and foremost, you should take some time to learn about the company, their goals for students, and the different classes they offer.

No matter what your skill level or experience, there is always something for everyone!

Another great way to get involved with the Salsaknox Dance Company is to:

1. Attend one of their classes! They offer a variety of modifications, so there's something for everyone.

2. Check out their Salsa party schedule and try to attend. You'll be blown away by the talent and athleticism of these dancers.

3. If you're feeling really inspired, take a private lesson or two with one of the instructors. They can help you learn the choreography from your favorite routines.

4. Spread the word about this gem of a dance company! Tell all your friends and family about Salaknox and help them become fans too.

Don't forget to show off your newly learned skills in Market Square or the Old City with the live bands!
Tennessee Theatre
The Tennessee Theatre had already gained an immediate following from people when it opened in 1928.

A stunning Spanish-Moroccan architecture features a beautiful facade and exquisite interior decorated with ornate Czech chandeliers, terrazzo floors and detailed drapery.

Eventually it became listed on the National Register for Historic Places and became a State Theater of Tennessee.

Over the years the building has lost its original character, and was rebuilt in 2005. Today you may experience Tennessee theater much like they had in the early 1920's; it's truly one of the most beautiful historic places to see in Knoxville.

Come out and enjoy off-the-road performances, old movie performances and music from classics to rock.

Located on Gay street, the Tennessee Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Knoxville on Gay Street, and its ornate marquis sign makes it distinguishable.
Neyland Stadium
Neyland Stadium is home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team. It also hosts a number of other events, including concerts, NCAA Division I men's and women's soccer matches, and high school football playoff games.

In 92 years of operation, Neyland Stadium has hosted numerous memorable moments and made a name for itself as one of the most atmospheric and intimidating venues in college football.

The stadium has a capacity of 102,455 and is one of the largest stadiums in the United States.

Every Saturday in Knoxville, Tennessee at Neyland Stadium you will see, and likely hear, fans cheering for the Volunteers.

Neyland Stadium is a college football landmark named in tribute of legendary football coach Robert Neyland and also has a statue in his honor.

Knoxville, Tennessee in the fall will not disappoint. But get there early to view the boat tailgating on the Tennessee River.

It doesn’t make any sense for you to leave the stadium at the beginning of football season. Neyland Stadium is one of the iconic Knoxville attractions.
Bijou Theater
The Bijou Theatre shows and concerts are an excellent way to experience the entertainment scene in downtown Knoxville.

This four-story Knoxville theatre was renovated in 2006 and offers a variety of performances ranging from full jazz ensembles to smaller orchestras.

The performances of internationally acclaimed artists and its excellent acoustics have made it one of the best entertainment venues in the country.

Its landmark, which was once used by hotels, bars, and fruit stands, was restored and preserved and became a vital part of downtown Knoxville's revitalization.
Knoxville Museum of Art
The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates East Tennessee artists who create work in showcasing the finest local talent in Knoxville.

A selection of temporary and permanently exhibited artworks shows artists who call Knoxville and East Tennessee home.

This complex is adorned by a Tennessee Marble exterior, which draws you to its walls before it opens the door.

The permanent exhibition at the museum displays work dated back to the 20th century as well as a new installation dubbed "The Cycle of Life".

This huge display is one of the most extensive in existence making it one of the more memorable things to do in Knoxville.
Old City
Within walking distance to the World's Fair Park, your trip to Knoxville should never end without visiting the Old City.

This revitalized city center is a destination where visitors can enjoy authentic and excellent dining experiences in an authentic setting.

The city is known as the independent alternative of Knoxville at night as it is home to the largest music community in East Tennessee.

The gorgeous historic architectural building in Knoxville has been renovated.

Beginning at Central St. and Jackson Ave., explore the Old Town for a unique experience in Knoxville, TN.
Riverboats and Trains
Star of Knoxville Riverboat: Star of Knoxville offers authentic paddle wheeler riverboats and cruises on the Tennessee River.

If you want to experience the area differently try Knoxville's Sight Seeing Cruise. During the holidays, themed meals, brunch, and dinner trips depart.

There are also a few different trains you can take for fun in Knoxville, TN. The most popular one is the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

You can ride on a historic steam locomotive or one of the modern diesel engines. There are also a variety of local and long-distance routes you can take.

For something really unique, try the Knoxville & Holston River Railway which offers scenic rides along the Tennessee river.

Visitors can seasonally board the three river rambler trains in Knoxville's downtown campus to experience the city's past. Open early in the spring!
Knoxville Food Tours
When looking for things to do in Knoxville, Food Tours are as fascinating to tourists as they are to locals.

The majority of the tours consist of walk-in tours around city areas and you can choose when to take part in a journey.

When you're unable to walk through somewhere such as Market Square downtown, take a drive through Bearden which is minutes from downtown Knoxville.

Knoxville Food Tours offers a variety of restaurants and tour options that allow you to sample some of the best local cuisines the city has to offer.

Whether you're looking for a culinary adventure or just want to enjoy some good cuisine, this unique experience has something for everyone.
Here are just a few of the tour options available:

Knoxville Food Tours offers a variety of food tours featuring some of the best restaurants and local fare in Knoxville.

Guests can choose from a variety of tour options, including the Downtown Tour, All Things BBQ Tour, Brewery Tour, and Sweet Tooth Tour.

The Downtown Delights tour, for example, takes you on a walking tour of downtown Knoxville, stopping at different restaurants and meeting chefs along the way to sample their signature dishes.

This is a great way to get an insider's look at the city's culinary scene and try some delicious food that you might not otherwise have the chance to taste.

In addition to enjoying delicious food, guests on the tours will learn about the history and culture of Knoxville while exploring some of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods.

The knowledgeable and friendly tour guides make for a fun and informative experience for all.
Clarence Brown Theatre
Experience Broadway's charm at the Clarence Brown Theater on UT's campus. Clarence Brown has been Knoxville's most cherished theater since 1970.

This wonderful venue is a gift from theatre teacher Dr. Paul Soper in the 1940s and the generosity provided by legendary film director Clarence Brown in the 1960s.

The theater thrives on community participation and offers education programs and school performances along with general auditions or volunteer opportunities to the residents.

Awards have been recognized nationally by the theatre as a success.

Although several theaters have been listed above, you may want to look into the Knoxville Children's Theater as another option for more youthful group entertainment.
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
Show off your basketball abilities or lack thereof on an interactive court in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

The giant, most famous basketball is located on its roof. 139 inductees and other items of historical significance are on display.

The Hall has an objective focus that includes honoring the past, celebrating the past and encouraging the future.

More than a museum, it features basketball courts, an interactive exhibit, and American Redhead souvenirs and is located in the downtown area and within walking distance to some of the other places listed above.
James White Fort, Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, where founder James White lives. White had earned a grant for the area during the revolutionary battle and led an expedition to uncover the site of the fort, which became later the capital of the Southwest Territory and Knoxtown.

The Fort was rebuilt in the town center in 70 and attracts more than 10,000 visitors a year through interactive displays ranging from pioneer cooking to blacksmithing.

His objects tell the stories of Knoxville's birthplace.

This site holds popular special occasions during the year like Cherokee Heritage Day Ghost Tours and Christmas Celebrations.
Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center- Located at the waterfront, there is rental for paddleboarding, canoeing, and bicycles as well as maps and information.

Take a right turn under this incredible bicycle arc (see below). It offers over 400 acres of beautiful natural areas only three miles outside the city of Knoxville.

Over 10 kilometers of walking trails are available for outdoor lovers, with sloping paths along Tennessee rivers, woody groves, and undeveloped stone quarries.

Historic Meads Quarry (listed as a National Listed Historic Site) and its historic house site offer plenty of attractions.
Schakolad chocolate factory – A chocolate specialist formally known as Schakolatier, takes you through its production processes.

On this tour, visitors can learn about chocolates’ history, their health advantages, and cool facts before molding them. The trip concludes with tastings of the most famous chocolates.

Magpies Bakery Magpies Bakery has a can-eat bakery, and bakes cheesecake cakes, cookies, and bananas every day.

All of our products are made by hand using only quality materials. In season, King Cake, apples-stacked cakes, and various delicious snacks will be offered.
Blount Mansion
The Blount Mansion was reconstructed for Tennessee's earliest days.

The home was constructed by William Blount in 1792 as the Governor for the southwest Territory who signed the United States Constitution.

Guests will be given the opportunity to experience a fascinating and sometimes scandalous history.

The Blount Mansion Society rescued the house in 1826, preserving its historical value to display Knoxville's rich past.

The festive and bright festival in December and Legends Customs and Myth Tour in October showcase the museums' year-round events.
Zoo Knoxville
Enjoy observing wildlife close at Knoxville Zoo. More than 900 animal species are found at Knoxville Zoo.

Visitors are able to ride camels or giraffes on their rides or take the most scenic ride in Knoxville. Wee Play Adventure takes kids on an interactive jungle journey and provides a private look into Khaleezi Komodo dragons.

This zoological attraction was named in recognition of efforts to protect red pandas and displays a wide array of endangered species of animals. The facility is closed daily. Enjoying animals.
Mabry-Hazen House
The Mabry Hawing House Museum on Mabry Hill in the City of Knoxville, preserves the story of the best family in the city.

In the historic register, the Victorian house was built in 1858 and contains one of the most valuable family heirlooms in the United States.

Once occupied by the Confederacy and Union Army, the building and adjacent Bethel Cemetery provide visitors with a captivating display detailing Knoxvilles important role in the Civil War.

Throughout the year the museum organizes events, including an annual Christmas trip. It closed Sunday.
World Fair Park, Knoxville, Tennessee
The World's Fair Park was the location of the 1980 World Fair and is the perfect spot for outdoor activities in Knoxville. A new lawn is being planted along sweeping trails that lead to beautiful lakes.

Innovative fountains and geysers attract tourists looking for a refreshing dip in summer and lawned areas are ideal for festivals and performances.

The artificial lakes and rivers offer beautiful scenery whilst the sunspheres recently renovated observation terrace offers spectacular panoramas of Nashville and Smokey.
East Tennessee History Center
Dream Time The East Tennessee History Museum aims to recreate the rich history and cultural heritage of the past.

Through the diverse exhibitions and programs, you can explore Tennessee's founding years and discover important events that helped shape this state's history over the last 3 centuries.

This historic site has received many awards for quality display. Although this complex past has been complex, it is good to have the exhibits available for children.

With everyone involved, this allows for a lot of immersion into the 300-year-old past.

House Mountain State Natural Area
Dreamtime The city's population is just a 10-minute walk from downtown Knoxville.

This natural area has many pathways which flow through, some of which are beautiful, making you feel incredibly alien to civilization.

These two main paths have links across various points and are easy to discover in the park.

House Mountain, named after a mountain with two high peaks, is now a summer destination.

The trail offers ample shade during the summer, while wildflowers bloom in the winter providing more beauty for a beautiful landscape.
Dreamtime The 1982 Knoxville event hosted a geodesic sphere on which a spectacular sphere is built on.

The sunsphere is placed in the center of an eagle-like tower that is 265 feet above the surface. The sphere remains an interesting attraction even 40 years later.

In this view, you will have 360-degree views from the World Fairpark, the Knoxville skyline, the University of Tennessee, and the huge Smoky Mountain.

Sunsphere is open every day from 9 am to 9 pm and is free and ideal for those with limited budgets.
The Muse Knoxville
The Muse Knoxville Kids love The Muse Knoxville. The 4,000 square meter play area combines science with art and so many fun activities are provided that children are never even aware of what they learn.

The exhibits provide fun, interactive, and physically stimulating experiences for hours. This is a public space that is a must-see attraction for visitors.

The library has a full program schedule with excursions available. Its location was at Chilhowee Park opposite Knoxville Zoo.
Thompson - Boling Arena
Thompson-Boling Arena is more than UTKs premier basketball arena. The arena has been widely regarded as an important event center in East Tennessee.

The city offers various entertainment events throughout the year, such as concerts, basketball exhibitions, and conventions.

This is situated on a beautiful river bank that attracts many people for volleyball and basketball. If you visit the site, it can be used for concerts, monster truck pits, and exhibition halls.
Knoxville Historic Tours
Star of Knoxville Riverboat : Star of Knoxville offers authentic paddlewheel riverboats and cruises on the Memphis River.

If you want to experience the area differently try Knoxville's Sight Seeing Cruise. During the holidays, themed meals, brunch, and dinner trips depart.

Trolley Rambler Train – Visitors can seasonally board the three river rambler trains in Knoxville's downtown campus to experience the city's past. Open early in the spring!
Market Square Farmers' Market
Courtesy Jackienix - fotolaia.com The markets are part of Project Nourish Knoxville. The project is meant to build mutually beneficial connections and foster a positive relationship between farmers and locals, as well as between businesses.

This building is situated at its highest point in the historic and picturesque market square of Knoxville. All goods that come out of a retail store have been created and designed by those selling them.
McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture
Museum of nature - culture. Stop by the McClung Museum for a photo with Monty the famous dinosaur.

Then you can enter to see the only fossils found in Tennessee. This museum specializes in Tennessee's artistic heritage as well as the history of an ancient civilization.

The Civil war and Human Origins exhibitions attract visitors the most. The Museum has a varied collection of international exhibitions.
Ijams Nature Center
Ijams Nature Center is a 300-acre nature preserve located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

The nature center offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors, including hiking and biking trails, rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking, and bird watching.

The preserve is also home to a variety of plant and animal species, making it a perfect place to learn about the local ecosystem.

Ijams Nature Center first opened to the public in 1931, and has since grown into one of the premier habitat and environmental learning centers in the region.

The nature center is open year-round and offers a variety of educational programs for all ages. Whether you're looking for a fun day trip or a week-long nature retreat, Ijams is the perfect place to explore the great outdoors.
Knoxville Botanical Garden
This Botanical Garden is a nonprofit organization located in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. The garden's mission is to enrich the lives of the community by promoting the enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment.

The garden was founded in 1991 and is located on 11 acres (4.5 hectares) of land in Knoxville's historic East Knoxville neighborhood.

The garden features a variety of gardens, including a native plant garden, a children's garden, an herb garden, and a butterfly garden. The garden also has a greenhouse, a gift shop, and a library.

The Botanical Garden and Arboretum is open to the public from Tuesday through Sunday and offers a variety of educational programs for all ages.

The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum is a great place to learn about native plants, enjoy the beauty of butterflies, or simply relax in a peaceful setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time of year to visit Knoxville?

peak tourist season in Knoxville is during the summer months, June-August, when the weather is warm and sunny. However, many people also enjoy visiting during fall (September-November) or springs (March-May), when there are fewer crowds and the temperatures are a bit cooler.

How do I get around Knoxville?

There are a few different ways to get around Knoxville once you’re here. If you’re staying within downtown area, walking or biking is usually the most convenient option. For longer distances or if you’re travelling with a group, a car or bus is the better option.

How many days should I plan to spend in Knoxville?

You could easily spend a week in Knoxville and not get bored – there’s that much to see and do! Depending on your interests and budget.

Is Knoxville TN a fun place to live?

There is no definitive answer to this question since everyone's definition of "fun" may be different.

However, there are definitely some positive aspects to living in Knoxville that could make it an enjoyable experience for many people.

For example, the city has a thriving music and nightlife scene, as well as plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy thanks to its location in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Additionally, Knoxville is home to a number of colleges and universities, which can provide residents with access to cultural and intellectual enrichment. Ultimately, whether or not Knoxville is a fun place to live depends on the individual's preferences and perspective.
There are many reasons to visit Knoxville, and we’ve only scratched the surface. If you want to experience all that Knoxville has to offer, be sure to check out our other blog posts for more information on attractions, restaurants, and events.

And don’t forget to come see us – the Visit Knoxville team is always happy to help visitors plan their trip! What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today.
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