Discover Knoxville with your student
963 and 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive
3 minute drive, 15 minute walk
The instant you arrive in Knoxville, you’ll be drawn to the Sunsphere tower, and why resist the urge? The location of the 1982 World’s Fair is a delightful city park. Enjoy a picnic on the emerald lawns (you might catch a festival or concert during the warmer months), stroll the Tennessee River waterfront, and ascend to the 4th level observation deck of Sunsphere (a remnant of the Fair) for breathtaking views of the river, university, and the Great Smoky Mountains. A walk of just a few minutes brings you to the stellar Knoxville Museum of Art, a celebration of the art and artists of East Tennessee. Admission to the Museum (closed Mondays) is free.
1327 Circle Park Drive
Don’t miss this engaging and family-friendly museum on the University of Tennessee campus. Permanent collections range from ancient Egyptian artifacts to an exploration of the Civil War in Knoxville. You can learn about the history of Tennessee’s native peoples as well as its geology and fossil history. Don’t miss the “Tennessee Freshwater Mussels” exhibit (sorry, no tasting).
301 South Gay Street
5 minute drive
Step back in time with a self-guided walking tour of Historic Downtown. Starting at the Knoxville Visitors Center, explore a few (or all 60!) of the tour’s historic sites. Highlights include James White’s Fort (built in 1786 as the home of Knoxville’s founder), the beautifully restored jazz era Tennessee Theatre, and Blount Mansion (William Blount was a Territorial Governor and signer of the U.S. Constitution). Plan your walk to end up in Market Square where you will find restaurants, cafés, shops and live music — and a Farmers’ Market Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through November.
2915 Island Home Avenue
10 minute drive
Ijams: Free (donations accepted; trail map $1)
Navitat: $29.92 and up
There is so much to do and see at this wonderful non-profit nature sanctuary, you may need to visit more than once. Rent a bike, canoe or paddleboard at Mead’s Quarry Lake (April–November); meander along the Tennessee River boardwalk; hike to the Keyhole at Historic Ross Marble. Ijam hosts night hikes, animal programs, and music and movies in season so be sure to look at the calendar for upcoming events.
At the Ijams Visitor Center, you may buy tickets for Navitat — a tree-based adventure park (imagine yourself ying along ziplines, swings, bridges, nets and more up in the tree canopy!). Navitat offers a combo pass with Zoo Knoxville.
2560 University Commons Way
2 minute drive
What a fun and relaxing way to get to know Knoxville. Currently the tourist steam train rides are offered only October through December, but if you can catch either the All Hallow’s Eve train or Christmas Lantern Express you are sure to be delighted. (Spring and summer trips will resume in the future.) The 11-mile/2-hour trip chugs past campus highlights including the university’s football stadium and Thompson-Boling Arena, home of the Vols and Lady Vols basketball and volleyball teams. Your conductor and volunteer staff will share history and stories as the train moves on to picturesque farmland and wildlife areas, culminating at the dramatic Three Rivers Trestle where the French Broad and Holston Rivers converge to form the Tennessee. Advance reservations are highly recommended.