Knoxville is a diverse city that has endless things to do, outside of school, but if you aren’t native to Knoxville you might not know where to start. One of the first things that students new to Knoxville should do is to check out the World’s Fair Park. The most well-known aspect of the World’s Fair Park is the Sunsphere. Built-in 1982, it has been an icon of the Knoxville area since its creation. There is an observation deck on the 4th level, where you can get a break-taking, 360-degree view of the park, downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River, the University of Tennessee, and the Smoky Mountains. This is a completely free experience, so there is no reason not to check it out.
Another staple of Knoxville that new students must check out is Market Square located in downtown Knoxville. It has been one of the most popular parts of Knoxville since the 1860s. There is live music, art and sculptures, plays and theatre, restaurants and shopping. Some of the more well-known places in Market Square are the Oliver Hotel, an elegant hotel/restaurant, Soccer Taco, an excellent Mexican restaurant to watch live sports, or Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar, an upscale southern restaurant with amazing fried chicken. If food isn’t your thing, bring a foldable chair and watch one of the many plays performed on the stage; this is called “Shakespeare on the Square.”
If outdoorsy things are not your forte, then the Bijou Theatre might be for you. Since its creation in 1909, it has been one of the most respected and revered theatres in West Tennessee. The New York Times said that the Bijou Theatre was, “One of the best sounding rooms in this country.” The Bijou Theatre has all sorts of shows and events such as movie showings, live music, and plays. Tickets are much cheaper than one would expect from such an elegant and prestigious theatre as the Bijou, so you should look into it.
Another free fun activity is the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It is only about a 50-minute drive from campus, so although it is the farthest thing on this list from campus it is still very manageable. With hundreds of routes and trails, it would take years to do it all. There are many different difficulty levels based upon how intense of a hike you want. It is full of gorgeous views, streams, and waterfalls. In the national park, there is Clingmans Dome the highest point in Tennessee at 6643 feet of elevation. On a clear day, views extend over 100 miles, and if you climb to the top of the tower, you get a spectacular view of the Smokies.
“About.” Bijou Theatre, https://knoxbijou.org/about/.
“Clingmans Dome.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 30 June 2016, https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/clingmansdome.htm.
“Knoxville Sunsphere.” Sunsphere, https://worldsfairpark.org/sunsphere.html.
“Market Square Knoxville.” Explore Market Square Knoxville | Food, Fun, Events & Shopping, https://www.visitknoxville.com/things-to-do/popular-spots/market-square/.