Looking for the perfect weekend escape? A place where in a mere 36 hours you can satisfy and indulge every single sense?
Look no further than one of the best-kept secrets of Tennessee – Knoxville. Knoxville is the kind of city that evokes a sense of discovery in its guests. Situated in a state which features a handful of well-known cities, i.e. Nashville and Memphis, the spotlight isn’t on Knoxville. As a result, Knox (as it’s fondly referred to) has been able to grow into whatever it wants to be. And grow it has!
From urban jungles to southern BBQ, Knoxville is as unique and quirky as they come, and we’re positive you’ll have an epic time discovering all of its delights. Few cities are as sensory oriented as Knox, and to give you a deeper sense of that, here’s a sense-driven weekend itinerary.
Things to Do Knoxville, TN – A Sensory Explosion
Taste of Knox
Situated sort of in the south, not too far from the east coast, and surrounded by eight different states, Knoxville, Tennessee is exposed to a variety of culinary influences. There’s hardly a type of cuisine you can’t find. For a weekend stint, we recommend the following:
- Breakfast – OliBea – Only open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., OliBea features a fresh, seasonal-driven menu. Featuring a diverse menu with offerings such as OliBea omelet with smoked trout and arugula, the chicken biscuits, stuffed acorn squash with quinoa, your palate will thank you.
- Lunch – Sweet P’s Downtown Dive – Sweet P’s is the most iconic place for southern BBQ in Knox, and the newer Downtown Dive location features an array of local craft beer and wines!
- Dinner – Knox Mason – Located on the historic 100 block of Gay Street in downtown Knox, Knox Mason can best be described as contemporary Southern cuisine. Definitely, on the swankier side, Knox Mason is an excellent place to treat yourself during your weekend escape.
- Drinks – There are way too many amazing bars to list just one, we recommend:
- FIVE Knoxville
- Peter Kern Library
- Old City Wine Bar
- Balter Beerworks
Sounds of Knox
Knox is as cultured as they come and is proud to boast quite a few neat theaters. After dinner on Saturday evening, head to The Mill and Mine to catch a concert, or head to Bijou Theatre to grab a show. Nestled in historic downtown Knox, The Mill and Mine is known for its diverse musical offerings and intimate space – 1,200 max. For a culturally enriching experience head to The Bijou, where you’ll be treated to orchestras, singers, bands, and more.
Sights of Knox
There’s so much to see and such little time! Naturally, one cannot see all that Knox has to offer over the course of one weekend, but here are a few highlights you won’t want to leave without seeing:
- Sunsphere – Knoxville’s pride and joy is the Sunsphere, the icon of the city’s 1982 World’s Fair.
- Ayres Hall – The iconic landmark on the University of Tennessee in Knoxville campus. A historic building, and one that has been inspiring students and locals alike since 1921.
- Neyland Stadium – Sports fans will have a “ball” at Neyland, the home of the Tennessee Volunteers.
- Downtown at Night – Downtown hasn’t always been a desirable part of Knoxville, but over the past decade or so it’s quickly become one of the best parts of Knoxville! Though it’s ideal for strolling around anytime, downtown truly comes alive at night.
Touch in Knox
The ability to feel isn’t limited to our skin; we also feel various emotions and sensations on the inside. One of the most exciting “feelings” is adrenaline, and there’s plenty to be had in Knox.
- Navitat – At Navitat you’ll be touching ropes, harnesses, and lots of trees. This tree-based adventure will have your heart beating and your adrenaline pumping.
- House Mountain – Clamber your way to the top of Knoxville’s highest peak – House Mountain! This is a great hike in any season, and the sights along the way and the views from the top are beautiful year-round.
Scents of Knox
Ahh, the smells of Knoxville, of which there are many. Smell and taste often go together, but since we already went over where to go for libations, we’ll now guide you to the natural scents of Knox. Nature is abundant in Knox, especially within city limits, which is one of the best aspects of the city! For the best nature-sniffing, head to:
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Not quite in the city of Knoxville, but it would be a crime not to prompt you to check out one of our nation’s most incredible national parks. Scents you can expect to smell – trees, dirt, and a bear or two.
- Ijams Nature Center – Located within the city of Knox, Ijams Nature Center is the ultimate nature playground! Featuring trails, hikes, bike rides, rock climbing, and much, much more, this is a place of many senses, but the scent of nature and excitement is pervasive!
Ok, being totally honest, you might not be able to do all of these things in a one-weekend getaway. BUT, that’s okay, it simply means you’ll need to plan two-weekend getaways or just one really long vacation! There are so many things to do in Knoxville, many of which are truly unique and memorable. Nearly everything you choose to do, see, or eat will target more than just one sense because Knoxville is a total sensory city.
To be up close and personal to all the action, opt for a stay at one of Knoxville’s newest and most luxurious downtown hotel’s – The TENNESSEAN Hotel. Not only will a stay at The TENNESSEAN be convenient location-wise, but you’ll also have access to the insight and guidance of the knowledgeable hotel team, each of whom is quite passionate about Knox!