24 hours in Knoxville, TN
- Jan 4, 2017 |
We at Mast General Store feel so lucky that many of our stores are located right in the middle of vibrant urban settings. There’s so much to do and see right outside our doors. We’re excited to share a selection of our favorites with you! We’re continuing our “24 Hours In…” series in 2017. This blog series features a day’s worth of places to enjoy within walking distance of each of our Mast Store locations. Over the past year, we’ve taken a stroll through Greenville, SC, Waynesville, Hendersonville, and Asheville, NC. This week, we’re exploring Knoxville, TN. Won’t you join us?
Knoxville, Tennessee is often described as a hidden gem. The city’s vibrant art, music, food, shopping, and outdoor scenes are easily accessible – even right in the heart of the city. As Knoxvillians say, “In this one, unique city, mountains meet music… art meets adventure… and culture meets cuisine.” Knoxville’s beautiful and eclectic community has something to offers folks with a wide variety of tastes and interests. You’ll find a few of our many favorites below:
Only a block from Mast Store, the Knoxville Visitor Center is a great place to start your day. This is not your average visitor center. Yes, there’s maps, information about local attractions and events, and friendly folks to help you find your way… And there’s also a souvenir shop, a café offering snacks and drinks, and public restrooms. Best yet, the WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show held at noon, Monday through Saturday, at the WDVX studio inside the Knoxville Visitor Center! It’s always free to join in and you’re always welcome to bring your lunch. “From blues to bluegrass, country to Celtic, folk to funk, rockabilly to hillbilly, local to international, it all part of the live music experience on the WDVX Blue Plate Special.” Click HERE for this week’s line-up.
Market Square, in the heart of Downtown Knoxville, is the city’s meeting place for food, shopping, live music, and a stroll through this unique pedestrian-only zone. The perfect place to begin your 24 hours in “K-Town” (as the locals call it), Market Square is also the meeting place for ice skating in the winter, the Farmers’ Market in the growing season (May through November), children frolicking in the play fountains in the summer, and a wide array of festivals like the highly-acclaimed Rhythm and Blooms Music Festival each spring.
Also, be sure to stop a moment at the Women's Suffrage Memorial on Market Square. It honors the women who campaigned for the state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to give women the right to vote. Tennessee was the final state to ratify the amendment and have it added to the Constitution, and thus was the focus of considerable effort both from local women and women who traveled from other states to assist them. The base of the sculpture features text on the campaign and a number of quotations from the campaigners. It's really quite moving.
If you enjoy pizzas, sandwiches, salads, burritos, quesadillas, and sweets that are fresh, healthy, and delicious too, then The Tomato Head is the place for you! Who could ask for anything more? With over 25 years as a local favorite, this casual restaurant is anything but casual about making delicious eats. With food as the focus, The Tomato Head also serves as a venue for musical acts, performance art, and poetry readings. Pop over to 12 Market Street, in the heart of Market Square, to taste and see for yourself. For more, click HERE.
Just behind Market Square and parallel to Gay Street, don’t miss Strong Alley. Don’t let its nickname, “graffiti alley,” scare you off. The Artist Alley Revamp Project, established 5 years ago, is a successful collaboration between business owners and local artists to beautify the alley while also encouraging more foot-traffic. The original murals painted along Strong Alley reflect the wide array of artists and cultural diversity of Knoxville’s rich fine arts scene. Some murals are funny, some are thought-provoking, and others invite you into a world of imagination. Don’t miss it!
Right across Union Avenue from Market Square, you’ll find Krutch Park. This tranquil green space offers a peaceful respite in the middle of the city’s business and retail district. Winding walking trails are situated along a gentle stream and are lined with benches, encouraging folks to sit, rest, and enjoy. You’ll also find gardens, a small cascading waterfall, and art sculptures. Share lunch alfresco or a cup of coffee with a friend in this peaceful and well-manicured, tree-lined park. Explore more of Knoxville’s many parks by clicking HERE.
Only a couple of blocks from Mast Store Knoxville, at 604 S. Gay Street, you can’t miss the brightly-lit marquee and stunning 1920’s-era façade of the Tennessee Theatre. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theatre’s breath-taking interior harkens to a bygone era of beauty and craftsmanship. With superior acoustics, lighting, and cozy red velvet seats, any show at the Tennessee Theatre is an unforgettable experience. Take a look at their events calendar HERE for musical acts of all genres (from classical to rock ‘n roll), Broadway shows, and movies.
Just past the Tennessee Theatre, at 601 S. Gay Street, is the East Tennessee Historical Society. Among their many interesting exhibits and programs, you’ll learn more about the Cherokee people and early settlers in East Tennessee, farming and mountain life, the Civil War’s impact on the city, the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), when Knoxville hosted the World's Fair in 1982, and so much more. For a complete listing of exhibits and events, click HERE.
Another architectural treasure of Knoxville is the Old City Historic District. With Mast Store Knoxville as your starting place, the journey to Old City is an easy and pleasurable half-mile walk. When you spot the iconic Patrick Sullivan’s Saloon [pictured right], built in 1888, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Known as the “Creative Corridor,” Old City provides a vibrant intersection of cultures: During the day, architects, filmmakers, photographers, and designers of every medium can be found hard at work in their studios or enjoying an expertly-crafted cup of coffee at any number of Old City’s java houses. Authentic Scottish and Irish pubs, pizza joints, steak houses, and restaurants that serve the finest of southern fare will please every palate. With a tummy full of delicious fuel, linger in Old City after dark for nightly music and dancing in a number of entertainment venues. And if you’re not up for the walk, Old City offers free parking. For more about this unmissable district, click HERE.
Outside the heart of Knoxville’s downtown district, we highly recommend a stop at Ijams Nature Center. Only a 3-mile drive from Mast Store Knoxville, Ijams is fascinating place to explore over 300 acres of wetlands and rock formations. This special urban nature park offers 10 miles of trails plus bike and canoe rentals. Ijams is a sanctuary for all visitors to learn about and connect with the natural world and be made better by that connection.