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The 8 Best Things to Do in Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville may once have been known for its marble quarries, but today its spirit is anything but set in stone. The Marble City is bursting with colors, flavors, and attractions you just can’t beat, whether you’re a Vol in town for a game at Neyland Stadium or a first timer looking to experience Knoxville’s Southern spirit for yourself. 

Treat yourself to everything from freshly churned ice cream to mouthwatering barbeque to Rocky Top lore, all just steps from Graduate Knoxville. Start with our 8 favorite things to do, all of which are Vols approved.

1

Honeymouth

Old City is at its most fashionable at Honeymouth, a local boutique known for their artsy wares. They spread love throughout Knoxville by showcasing carefully curated goods from leather koozies to purses, all made right here in Tennessee. Everything they sell is a work of art, which means you’ll walk out of their store feeling like one, too.

Whether you’re in the mood for a handbag or a captain’s hat, don’t leave without picking up one of their signature cotton totes or giving a pet to the boutique’s shop dog, a sweet old black lab.

Insider Tip

Grab one of the handmade leather totes for a friend – and one for yourself.

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2

Rala 

Rala considers itself a little shop of treasures, though you’ll find much more than home goods and gifts in their sprawling retail space. Creations from artists both here in Knoxville and around the world line the shelves, making this store both local and global all at the same time. 

Rediscover Knoxville by way of local art or be transported to somewhere else entirely. Peruse art, letterpress prints, an extensive collection of greeting cards, and more, or learn how to make them yourself at one of Rala’s workshops.

Insider Tip

In town celebrating a special occasion? A locally-made treasure makes the perfect gift.

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3

Schulz Brau Brewing Company

Cozy up with a cold one at Schulz Brewing Company, known throughout Knoxville not only for their bold beers but also for their tap room in a literal castle (or, at least, the replica of one). Catch up with friends in the great hall or sit back at one of their patio tables in the biergarten, with benches and chairs imported directly from Germany. 

Schulz Brau has as many as 32 beers on tap at any given time, along with wine, bourbon, and even mulled wine come winter. Pair your drink of choice with authentic German pub food from Schulz’s Schnitzel Kitchen.

Insider Tip

Headed to Knoxville in the summer? Make sure you sit outside in the biergarten for a truly authentic experience.

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4

The Tomato Head

Food worth eating won’t come out of a can, at least if you ask The Tomato Head. They pride themselves on serving up always fresh food, with many ingredients sourced from farms right here in Tennessee. With two unique locations in Knoxville, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to get your fill of oven-baked pizza, fresh bread, and more. 

Dig into garlic sticks or hummus plates to start, followed by a sandwich, salad with housemade dressing, or imaginative pizzas like lamb sausage and sundried tomato. The Tomato Head also delivers so you can sink your teeth into a slice right here in your hotel room.

Insider Tip

Grab a slice of the Benton’s Bacon, Ham & Italian Sausage pizza – featuring bacon from a farm in Madisonville, TN.

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5

Cruze Farm Dairy

Cool off with a cup or cone of fresh-churned ice cream made from Cruze Farm’s own dairy farm. Though ice cream may be their sweetest selection, Cruze Farm also crafts churned buttermilk, whole milk, light milk, chocolate milk, coffee milk, and seasonal flavored milks, all packaged in classic glass bottles. 

Satisfy your sweet tooth at either of their two Knoxville locations where cones are swirled with traditional flavors like sweet cream, chocolate, cookies and cream, and even dairy free flavors like Raspberry Dole Whip—all topped with sprinkles and a cherry. 

 

Insider Tip

They use fresh milk from their dairy farm, located right here in Knoxville, to make this delicious ice cream.

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6

Sweet P’s Barbeque

Expect nothing short of delicious at the Downtown Dive, Sweet P’s flagship location. Though they’ll soon open up a second Knoxville eatery, the Downtown Dive is a must-visit for its brick walls, rustic tables, and its reputation as the birthplace of some of the best barbeque in Knoxville. 

Fill up on plates piled high with smoked sausages, pulled pork, and racks of ribs, accompanied by beans and greens, creamy coleslaw, and more. Don’t forget to check out their daily specials for unique combinations like the meatloaf or andouille sausage plates.

Insider Tip

Don’t skimp on the sides – order the Mac n’ Cheese and Tomato n’ Blues Salad.

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7

Tennessee Theatre

Soak up the bright lights of Broadway at the Tennessee Theatre, one of Knoxville’s most beloved performing arts venues. If it happens on stage it’ll likely take place here, whether that’s a classic cinema night or a performance from a big-name artist. 

Though the show does take place on stage, you’ll have as much to soak in off stage, from the red velvet seats to the red and gold satin curtain to the ornate detailing along the walls and ceiling. Treat yourself to a night at the theatre as it would have been when the Tennessee Theatre first opened in 1928.

Insider Tip

Check the event calendar before your trip to make sure you don’t miss a great show!

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8

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Immerse yourself in the past, present, and future of women’s basketball. The Hall of Fame opened in June 1999 in a sprawling, 35,000 square-foot complex dedicated to women in basketball. It’s the only facility of its kind. 

171 inductees currently sit in the Hall of Fame, though within you’ll find the world’s largest basketball, three different courts where you can test your skills, and the 17-foot bronze Eastman Statue that celebrates women in basketball. Don’t miss the photo area where you can catch a glimpse of yourself as if you were an important figure in women’s basketball history.

Insider Tip

They have special admission hours during the Lady Vols basketball season. Check them out before heading to Thompson Boling.

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