Why We Love Flying To (and Around) Knoxville
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Why We Love Flying To (and Around) Knoxville

October 22, 2020

Located just 20 minutes from the Cirrus Aircraft Vision Center at McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS), Knoxville is a city that can’t be defined by just one thing. This area is home to incredible outdoor adventure, rich history, a thriving music, art and cultural scene, plus amazing local restaurants, breweries and distilleries.

The pure walkability of downtown allows people to explore and discover vibrant murals, historic sites, museums, theatres, shops and more than 90 amazing restaurants in and around Market Square.

Thanks to a group of talented local chefs, including Knoxville-native and James Beard Award-winner Joseph Lenn, chef and proprietor of J.C. Holdway, the Knoxville culinary scene is receiving national attention. Maybe that’s the reason Texas celebrity chef (and University Tennessee grad) Tim Love opened Lonesome Dove in Knoxville’s Old City. Other popular downtown spots include Emilia, Knox Mason, Oli Bea, Kefi, Tako Taco, A Dopo Pizza, Oliver Royale and Bistro at the Bijou. This amazing culinary scene pairs well with Knoxville’s growing number of craft breweries and distilleries.

Knoxville is home to one of the southeast’s largest German Biergartens (Schulz Bräu Brewing Company) and the only brewery we know of that operates in tandem with a glass blowing studio. At Pretentious Glass Co., one of the top-selling Etsy stores in the world, you can watch Matthew Cummings and fellow glass blowers create and sell artisan beer glasses, the same ones you’ll find right next door at Pretentious Beer Co.

If live performances are of interest, Knoxville is also one of America’s most vibrant cities for live music. From classical to bluegrass, country to rock, the city is like a jukebox full of options. Live music is on the streets, in Market Square and on the stages of famous venues like the historic Bijou Theatre and Tennessee Theatrethe official State Theatre of Tennessee.

Year round, Knoxville also hosts a variety of diverse cultural festivals including Big Ears. This festival, slated to return March 2021, has been hailed by The New York Times as “the widest-angle music festival in the country…”. World-class musical performances celebrate Knoxville’s historic theatres, nightclubs and museums, including the Knoxville Museum of Art – home to Richard Jolley’s Cycle of Life, one of the largest figurative glass-and-steel assemblages in the world.

And finally. The great outdoors. Located only three miles from downtown, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is a thousand-acre stretch of land that features more than 50 miles of walking, hiking and biking trails, connecting parks, trails, Civil War sites and recreational amenities. This area is also home to Ijams Nature Center and Navitat Knoxville, a tree-based zipline adventure park. Other popular outdoor adventures await on the Tennessee River and Seven Islands State Birding Park. And it’s also situated just a short drive from the stunning landscape and picturesque trails of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – America’s most visited national park.

Knoxville may be known for its stunning scenery, friendly people, and of course, University of Tennessee football, but beyond that, the city also offers a surprisingly real, truly accessible and unexpectedly sophisticated mix of culture and adventure rooted in history and genuine Southern hospitality.

No matter how you experience our hidden gem of a city, you can be sure of one thing: This nature-loving-adventure-seeking-artsy-kinda-town will indeed surprise you.