10 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Knoxville, Tennessee

A Photography Story

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Written by Jason Barnette
Posted on January 5, 2018
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The local slogan for Knoxville is “KnoxRocks” and it’s perfect. Between local breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants, a vibrant shopping scene centered around Market Square, exciting outdoor recreation on the Tennessee River, and of course those orange and white weekends when the Volunteers play at home, Knoxville has a little bit to offer anyone. It’s no wonder I keep coming back to this beautiful, active, friendly city year after year.

But don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at these ten photos from previous trips to the city and book your next weekend getaway now. Stay at the Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown to be within walking distance of Market Square and Gay Street. Get brunch at The Plaid Apron and dinner at Calhouns on the River. Then let me know what you thought about it all!

A young girl feeds a giraffe at the Knoxville Zoo in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

The Knoxville Zoo is one of the best I’ve come across in the Southeast. For a few bucks you (and I also mean the adult you) can feed the giraffes! Just watch out for their 9″ long tongues. Seriously.

A red panda cub at the Knoxville Zoo in Knoxville, TN on Tuesday, December 16, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

And while you’re at the zoo be sure to visit these adorable bundles of furry fun. Knoxville is known as the Red Panda Capital of the World because this zoo breeds the red pandas that are seen in most other zoos.

People fill the seats for a free screening of the holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life" at the historic Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, TN on Sunday, December 14, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

The historic Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street is a must-see when you visit Knoxville. In the winter they have a special screening of It’s a Wonderful Life; the line wraps around the block for people to enjoy this once-a-year event.

The view of the city, and interesting facts about the 1982 World's Fair, at the Sunsphere, located in the heart of the World's Fair Park, in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

The Sunsphere is a left over from the 1982 World’s Fair. The towering orb has an observation deck about a hundred feet above the ground. Just hop on the elevator and enjoy the panorama views of the city in this all-glass deck.

People wander down the closed-off Union Avenue at the Market Square Farmers' Market, an open-air market in the city's Market Square, in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

Market Square is very much the heart of downtown Knoxville. The large square is surrounded by local shops and restaurants. On the weekends the Farmers Market takes over the square for a few hours on Saturday mornings.

Interesting pool balls turned into bottle openers at the Holiday Market at Market Square in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, December 13, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

You’ll find all kinds of amazing locally-made arts and crafts at the Market Square Farmers’ Market. They also have baked goods (you need to find Dale’s Fried Apple Pies), produce, and some amazing apple butter!

Beautiful decor and a painted ceiling at Old City Java, located in the Old City neighborhood, in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

Knoxville loves coffee. Head over to the Old City to find Old City Java is this rustic building and try their coffee.

Ready for brunch? On Saturday’s the locals known to head over to The Plaid Apron for some amazing foods. If you see a long line out the door don’t worry; service is fast, there is plenty of seating, and the wait is worth it. Besides long lines usually mean good food!

The view from the second level of the spacious Downtown Grill & Brewery in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

What do a couple of attorneys do when they’re not studying a law book? Open a brewery, of course! The Downtown Grill & Brewery puts the beer front and center, literally, in this nice restaurant with some pretty good food. There is also a nice lounge and game room in the back.

Amazing chicken waffles with watermelon from Not Watson's at the Market Square in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, December 13, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

Have you ever tried chicken & waffles? My first was at Not Watson’s on Market Square and I’ve been hooked ever since. But try as I might I have not been able to find better chicken & waffles than I did right here on one very cold December night.