7-Day Knoxville Vacation

Day 1 You'll See:

Park Tower Tennessee Travel Landmark Knoxville

  • Sunsphere
  • Sweet P’s Downtown Dive
  • Star of Knoxville Riverboat

Day 2 You'll See:

  • Market Square Breakfast
  • Knoxville Walking Tour
  • WDVX Blue Plate Special
  • Knoxville Museum of Art
  • East Tennessee History Center
  • Tennessee Theatre

Day 3 You'll See:

  • The Museum of Appalachia
  • Blue Slip Winery
  • Knoxville Chocolate Factory

Day 4 You'll See:

  • Oak Ridge
  • The American Museum of Science and Energy
  • Picnic at Haw Ridge Park

Day 5 You'll See:

  • Dollywood Theme Park
  • Great Smoky Arts and Crafts
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Sky Lift

Day 6 You'll See:

  • Tennessee Valley Railroad
  • Hiwassee Loop
  • Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar

Day 7 You'll See:

  • Knoxville Farmer’s Market
  • McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture
  • Old Gray Cemetery

Get ready for one whirlwind week-long adventure in Tennessee as you and your group spend some quality time getting to know Knoxville.

Day One

Sunsphere - Your first stop on the trip is within World’s Fair Park, the grandiosely stunning Sunsphere! The Sunsphere is an 81 meter high, or 266 foot, hexagonal steel structure that stands today as a glimmering culture icon and symbol of the 1982 World’s Fair. This amazing structure is topped with a 23 m. gold-colored glass sphere as well as 360 panes of exterior glass windows caked in 24 karat gold dust. That’s right, this building is gold! Head up to the observation deck on the fourth level to see a spectacular 360-degree view of the city, the original fair site, downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River, and the Smoky Mountains strewn across Tennessee. 

Sweet P’s Downtown Dive - Next stop, Sweet P’s Downtown Dive, a true southern treat located in the heart of Knoxville. This location was opened on Jackson Avenue in 2005 and has quickly grown through local praise, national attention, and even a spot on Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food. Sweet P’s was born from Chris Ford’s love of dive bars and traditional BBQ joints and has thrived in the Scruffy City’s Art District as a southern family business quite well since then. Here you and your group will get authentic BBQ, great sauces, and out of this world sides!

Star of Knoxville Riverboat - End your first day of fun Knoxville adventures with a true star attraction, the Star of Knoxville Riverboat. This authentic stern wheel riverboat is USCG approved to fit 235 passengers comfortably and can be found/boarded on Neyland Drive off of the Tennessee River. Enjoy the enclosed and heated/air conditioned main deck, or scurry over to one of the two bars, the dance floor, or the band stage.

Day Two

Knoxville Museum of Art

Knoxville Museum of Art

Market Square Breakfast - This overall highly unique and highly enjoyable gathering place allows you and your group to do everything from playing to shopping, eating to enjoying an entertaining date night on the town. Take advantage of all the local live theater, music, performances, niche shops, gallery walks, and daily events here. During the Civil War Market House served as a barracks community and in 1984 this entire area earned the seal of the National Register of Historic Places. Keep in mind that during the winter the area boasts a fun ice skating rink, in the summer a lively farmers market.

Knoxville Walking Tour - Take some time to truly get to know the city with this fun Knoxville Walking Tour. This tour explores the unique Eastern Tennessee town of Knoxville and is led and directed by Laura Still. The extremely rich and colorful history of this city contains both famous and infamous figures, characters who have since their time inspired books, movies, and works of art. Use this opportunity to stroll along the beautiful scenery of downtown Knoxville while also learning and hearing harrowing, heroic, and heinous tales of local history (and trouble) makers. 

WDVX Blue Plate Special - While in Knoxville your group will have the unique opportunity to eat lunch at the WDVX Radio station, deep within the fun and informational Knoxville Visitor Center. With the WDVX Blue Plate special your group has the chance to relive an old local noonday classic, a live performance radio show! Economy booster, an attraction of the year, and truly entertaining lunch option, the WDVX Blue Plate Lunch is an absolutely amazing dining option. 

Knoxville Museum of Art - The Knoxville Museum of Art is the rich visual legacy of eastern Tennessee located within the gorgeous campus of the cities World’s Fair Park. World’s Fair Park is a lively and highly popular local social gathering place well-known for hosting annual festivals, live performances, meetings and conferences, and all the great spots within for reflection and learning. One quick look around will show you acres of well-manicured lawn, cascading falls, placid streams, and several various "gifts of natural beauty." 

East Tennessee History Center - Welcome to the East Tennessee History Center, the prime place to find informational and even entertaining regional history, located in the heart of Knoxville. Here you will find regional history preserved in permanent and visiting exhibits, each containing authentic artifacts, art, and Civil War items. Explore such exhibits as Smokies Splendor, Life in Tennessee Art, Civil War Families of Tennessee, First Families, and the most popular, the award-winning Voices of the Land: People of Eastern Tennessee. 

Tennessee Theatre - Welcome to the Tennessee Theatre, the 1920s era movie palace located in the historic Burwell Building in downtown Knoxville. This early 19th century (1928) hall has been restored to its former colorful grandeur and glory and today plays host to many local and international musical and theater acts. At this theater, your group will find everything from classical music and Broadway shows to vintage films, dance, and popular music from today and yesterday! 

Day Three

The Museum of Appalachia - The Museum of Appalachia is located just 20 miles north of Knoxville, along Andersonville Highway in Norris, Tennessee. This museum was created in 1969 by founder John Rice Irwin as a local living history museum that interprets the pioneer and early 20th century period of the Southern Appalachian region of the United States. The museum strives to preserve the physical artifacts of these early regional times as well as instill a greater knowledge and overall appreciation for this period/setting of history. 

Blue Slip Winery - You're truly in luck, you have just been handed a blue slip. Not a pink slip for the day, but a blue slip for the entire weekend! That was the baseline concept behind this stop at Knoxville’s Blue Slip Winery, the city’s first winery, created in 2009, and Tennessee’s first ever 'urban' winery. Blue Slip is located in the 1903-built historic Southern Railway Station, deep within downtown Knoxville. Your group will love the meticulously restored floors and fireplaces, the entire structure containing a type of southern rustic chalkboard and wine cork charm, both stunningly historic and elegant. 

Knoxville Chocolate Factory - Welcome to the Knoxville Chocolate Factory, located right next to the Museum of Art within the sprawling and stunning World’s Fair Park. Under the name of Bradley's Chocolate, this small production chocolate facility sells wholesale delicious confections and local handicraft gifts and decor, all within an absolutely great location to continue shopping, eating, and sightseeing. This is truly a ‘chocolate lovers must-stop’, the entire establishment selling highly popular Tennessee chocolates, Tennessee Walking Sticks, assortments of chocolate confections, chocolate corn pops, and even wedding event goodies! 

Day Four

Oak Ridge - Oak Ridge is the famous "secret city" located in Eastern Tennessee, just about 25 miles west of Knoxville. This quaint town has a history "born in war and rich in natural beauty," a fairly small city with a fairly large story to tell. Exploring the streets here is as informative as it is interesting, not to mention as aesthetically pleasing. A quick look around Oak Ridge will show you and your group that this city and its dedicated citizens are highly involved in the water sport rowing, getting down and dirty with dirt bikes and ATVs, and also in boasting some of the most impressive scientific and technological innovations in the region.

The American Museum of Science and Energy - Welcome to the American Museum of Science and Energy, the science museum located in Oak Ridge that was designed to teach both children and adults all about energy! Not only does this museum cover the science of energy, but more specifically it focuses on nuclear power, as well as the city of Oak Ridge’s role in the famous Manhattan Project. 

Picnic at Haw Ridge Park - End your fun Oak Ridge day at one of the most popular and locally loved parks, Haw Ridge Park. Haw Ridge Park is actually a riverfront park located on a peninsula, a truly scenic and immersive outdoor experience. Here you and your group can take advantage of wildlife observation, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and even trail running and equestrian recreation. Here there are several different terrains and trails to choose from, the difficulty levels ranging from moderate to strenuous across the close to 30 miles of single-track dirt road trails.

Day Five

Knoxville city skyline is backlit by the orange hues of sunrise

Dollywood Theme Park - Start your day at a park as unique as the famous country singer’s name, Dollywood theme park! This world-class theme park located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is famous for its down-home Southern charm and live entertainment, as well as its thrilling roller coasters and refreshing water rides. At this 150 acre park, your group will have the chance to see award-winning shows, educational craft demonstrations, or ride ground-breaking rides and attractions. Some of the most thrilling rides include the Thunderhead roller coaster, the Barnstormer, the wet and wild Smoky Mountain River Rampage, as well as the SkyZip aerial adventure and children’s carousel. 

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community -While here your group can check out the galleries containing oils, watercolors, sculptures, and lithographs. You can also watch the artisans at work as they whittle, paint, sew, cast, weave, and carve to make some of the best and most unique crafts. Take a look at all of the original collectibles made here, such as candles, willow baskets, quilts,  jewelry, ceramics, stained glass, clothing, and much more. Any arts and crafts lovers in your group will flip for this opportunity, and the cultural and historical information your group will receive along the way will make it worth the stop for anybody!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - This massive and amazing natural wonder is found on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, technically in the city of Gatlinburg. The ridges of forest within the mountain are world renowned for the diversity of plant and animal life, as well as for the beauty of the ancient mountains and quality of remnants of the Southern Appalachian culture. The mountain itself is around 200-300 million years old, making it among the oldest ranges in the world. While you are here you will have the opportunity to camp, fish, picnic, auto tour, or perhaps the most popular activity, view the wildlife. 

Sky Lift -  End your night with one of the absolute best views in Gatlinburg, atop the Smoky Mountains aboard the popular Gatlinburg Sky Lift. This open-air chairlift ride to the top of the 1,800-foot overlook will provide your group with some of the absolute best views of the Smoky Mountains, this stop actually rated Gatlinburg’s number one scenic overlook. From the top, you will see spectacular views of lush forests and majestic mountains, the lift surrounded on three sides by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 

Day Six

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Created in 1961, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum features a historical collection meant for the presentation, operation, interpretation, and display of railroad artifacts in an authentic setting. This museum experience will take you on a short ride on your choice of the train that is packed full of historical facts and interesting stories. Learn about the first rail line, Western and Atlantic, in the 1850s all the way to the demise of the track after the introduction of interstates and air travel in the 1960s during your very own train ride!  

Hiwassee Loop - As a part of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum experience your group will now get the chance to continue on the railway of history with a three and a half hour long round trip! The Hiwassee Loop is just one of several different authentic train rides available while here. This family-friendly excursion is a 50 miles round trip from Etowah that happens between April and November, typically on the weekends. 

Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar - We have included this eatery as one of many delicious dinner options around the city of Chattanooga. The Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar was chosen to be included in particular simply because of its long-standing Chattanooga tradition for neighborhood camaraderie, as well as a long-standing choice dining destination in the area. 

Day Seven

Knoxville Farmer’s Market - Nourish Knoxville! and the Market Square Farmers Market have come together in the heart of downtown Knoxville to provide a seasonal full-blown local farmers market. The Knoxville Farmers Market is a seasonal (May -November) market, established in 2004, located in the city’s Historic Market Square. This open-air gathering of local vendors is a producer-only market, with each product sold here being made, grown, or raised by vendors within a strict 150-mile radius of Knoxville. 

McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture - Welcome to the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, a locally loved Knoxville museum located on, and as part of, the University of Tennessee campus. You and your group will delight in the opportunity to discover various exhibits on local Knoxville history, decorative arts, human history through anthropology and archaeology, and more. Once here it will be easy to see why this Natural History Museum is one of only 18 museums in Tennessee accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Old Gray Cemetery - The last stop in your epic Knoxville adventure can be found off of Broadway Street, at the Old Gray Cemetery. This historic and highly scenic local cemetery is actually the second oldest cemetery in Knoxville, established in 1850 and holding the graves of some of Knoxville’s most influential citizens, such as William Brownlow and Charles McClung. Explore all the history, culture, and natural beauty within these 13 acres of cemetery land as you take in an important example of cemetery planning and design during the garden movement in this state.

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