What makes a city great? Beautiful buildings, renowned museums, acclaimed universities? Certainly those features all help, but the main feature that helps makes any city great, is if it has a wide variety of unique and diverse neighborhoods.
Instead of Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, The Flatiron District, etc., imagine if New York City was all the same, each neighborhood an exact replica of the next. Thankfully, that isn’t the case, and nor is it the case for numerous other U.S. cities.
Let’s take a look at one of the greatest cities in the American Southeast – Knoxville, Tennessee. Prized for its abundance of culture, cuisine, and outdoor adventure offerings, Knoxville is a true gem of a city. Comprised of more than 15 distinctive, unique, and diverse neighborhoods, Knoxville is a city full of discovery.
The question is not if you should visit but rather when, and then of course, where. Where, as in which neighborhoods out of the many should you spend the bulk of your time. We can help with that!
Knoxville, TN Neighborhoods
Quickly becoming one of the most exciting and, dare we say, coolest parts of town is downtown Knoxville. Downtown, certainly isn’t the biggest neighborhood, it’s a mere square mile, but it packs a punch when it comes to culture and activities. A typical downtown experience might include dining at any one of the 75 restaurants, shopping in Market Square, and seeing a show at the Tennessee Theater.
Old City Knoxville
One of the most historic and aesthetically pleasing neighborhood is Old City Knoxville. Much of the city’s architectural history can be seen in this part of town, buildings dating back to the early 1900s. With a burgeoning art scene and new nightlife haunts popping up regularly, the Old City is becoming home to the new, alternative artistic movement happening in Knoxville. In this neighborhood it isn’t what can you do and see, it’s more a question of the few things you can’t. Dine, shop, dance, learn and listen.
Old North Knoxville
Just north of downtown Knoxville lies an area called Old North Knoxville, another historic part of the city. This part of town is primarily known for the revitalization movement that’s happening, and as a result, many of the historic homes and buildings are being restored, some with modern interiors, but most featuring the historic exterior design. Many of the houses were built from the late 1800s through the early 1900s, and their architecture reflects the designs of that time.
Like many other cities, after WWII suburbs became the popular place to move to, and Knoxville’s fancy version of that is known as West Knoxville. In West Knoxville, you’ll find plenty of private schools and wealthy people. Bearden, Farragut, Karns, and Rocky Hill are all part of what is considered West Knoxville.
Located in North Knox, Happy Holler is exactly that – a happy part of town to explore. With a quirky vibe and unique offerings, Happy Holler is the perfect part of town to spend an afternoon. Some of the featured attractions include Hops and Hollers craft beer store and taproom, Three Rivers Co-op, and Wild Love Bakehouse.
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Fourth and Gill
Another historic and lovely neighborhood in Knoxville is Fourth and Gill. Timewise, the architecture found in this neighborhood is similar to that of Old North Knoxville – the late 1800s – 1940s. Colorful houses and more decorative elements define Fourth and Gill compared to the other areas, which makes it an ideal ‘hood to go for a stroll and enjoy a leisurely day.
From a vibrant downtown scene to a quaint and peaceful street, Knoxville’s neighborhoods are as diverse as they come. Truly, there’s something, or rather, somewhere, for everyone, and we hope you’ll swing by Knoxville for a visit to discover which parts of town suit you best.
For an authentic Knoxville experience staying downtown is key. Downtown is central to nearly every neighborhood and has plenty to entertain itself. Treat yourself to a weekend of luxury with a stay at The TENNESSEAN Hotel. We hope you enjoy peeling back the layers of Knoxville, and we’re interested to see which parts become your favorite!