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11 Fun Things To Do in Knoxville, TN

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In this Tennessee Vacation Guide, we give you a list of fun things to do in Knoxville, TN for a weekend getaway.

Knoxville, TN is just a short two hour drive from our home so it makes for a great day trip or weekend getaway when we feel the need to get into the city. (Yes, that can be a thing for a country girl…sometimes I just gotta pound the pavement of a cool & hip city like Knoxville!) 

Things To Do in Knoxville, TN
Things To Do in Knoxville, TN

We know most of you will only think of football when you hear the words, “Knoxville, Tennessee”, but there is so much more to downtown Knoxville than Neyland Stadium. 

We recently took the opportunity to stay one night with our kids, and discover all that Knoxville, TN offers on the weekend.  What we discovered is that visiting on the weekend is a great idea! 

Here are 11 fun things to do in Knoxville that will make you want to spend the weekend.

If it’s too far to drive, the local airport has non-stop flights to several US destinations.  You can check airline rates Skyscanner. 

What is Knoxville, TN famous for?

Knoxville, Tennessee is well-known for its vibrant culture and rich history. It’s the third largest city in the state and home to a number of attractions that draw visitors from all over. From modern art galleries to historic sites, there is something for everyone in this bustling city.

Knoxville is a popular destination for music lovers due to its strong musical culture. The city hosts numerous festivals throughout the year featuring various genres of music, such as jazz, bluegrass and country.

It’s also home to the historic Tennessee Theatre which is one of the most beautiful venues in the area and plays host to a variety of performances from renowned musicians and artists.

In the early 20th century, Knoxville was a significant hub for distributing marble, earning it the nickname “the Marble City.” Today, buildings throughout the city showcase the stone from the area.

Things To Do in Knoxville, TN
Things To Do in Knoxville, TN

Just 45 minutes away is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visitors come from far and wide to explore the trails, campgrounds and lookouts that make up this breathtaking park.

Knoxville also has an array of outdoor activities such as riverside ziplining, rock climbing, fishing, boating and so much more.

Best Things To Do in Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, Tennessee is a vibrant city full of unique and exciting things to do. From outdoor adventures to delicious restaurants, there's something for everyone in this bustling Southern town.

Where To Stay In Knoxville, TN

WOW! Luxury Accommodations: The Tennessean A Personal Luxury Hotel

As this was a last minute stopover for our family, we snagged a great last minute deal. We can highly recommend it as a great place to stay in downtown Knoxville. 

If you are like us, when we arrive in a city to explore, we like to put away the car and do as much on foot as we can. 


The Tennessean is as close to the main downtown Knoxville attractions as you can get.  We especially loved that the skywalk could be easily accessed just outside the hotel and takes you straight to market square. 

If you have spent much time in a big city with littles, you know that the fewer times you have to traverse heavy traffic on foot, the better.

The staff were very friendly and the room was impeccable.  On checkout day, they gladly kept our bags so we could continue to explore the city for a while.

Family Friendly Moderately Priced Accommodations

Here are a few other family-friendly options to consider.

Related Tennessee Reading


If you get tired of the city,  don’t forget, you can be in the Smoky Mountains in just under an hour. Be sure to read our comprehensive guide to these Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains for some great ideas and book a great cabin in the Smokies for an extended weekend!

For long drives, make sure to bring some portable road trip snacks that are easy to pack and eat in the car.

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Monday 11th of April 2022

Great article on a great city! I moved to East Tennessee 6 months ago and Knoxville was the runner up for a new home city. There is a lot to do in and around the city. Fir anyone interested, there are a few museums to explore as well. The Tennessee Historical Society and Museum was one that I enjoyed!

Mary {The World Is A Book}

Monday 15th of October 2018

We haven't been to Knoxville yet but this post is inspiring. It's alway great to read about family-friendly destinations especially ones with a variety of delicious food. You had me at the chicken and waffles and that mouth-watering sundae. What a fun weekend trip to do.


Monday 1st of October 2018

I've never been in Knoxville Tennessee, so it's good to know there are so many things to do there. I wish I had more time to visit all the states of the US. That Sundae looks so yummy! #TheWeeklyPostcard

Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)

Sunday 30th of September 2018

So far, every trip to Knoxville has been spent in hotel conference rooms. Boooo! It's high time we took a trip just to enjoy all that Knoxville has to offer! Thanks for the great ideas, and for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

California Globetrotter

Sunday 30th of September 2018

We were just in Kentucky for 7 weeks and I really wanted to go to Knoxville, but sadly we didn't make it there. And we just discovered the bliss of chicken and waffles! Never understood it before but now I do! Would like to also check out some of the food trucks there and see what else they have! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!