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HotelTonight – Find Your Perfect Knoxville Hotel

Knoxville, Tennessee is known as the gateway to The Smoky Mountains, but it's also known for its deep love of college football (tailgates for the University of Tennessee games are legendary), and its rich history. I'll admit that I didn't know much about Knoxville prior to visiting, but by the end of my stay, I had fallen in love with this Southern town. I was visiting Nashville with a friend when some locals told us that Nashville wasn't the only city in Tennessee worth visiting. After listening to their stories about tailgating at the university, exploring the Smoky Mountains, and wandering through the beautiful, historic town, I knew I had to visit. Less than an hour later, I had booked a hotel in Knoxville with my HotelTonight app, and my friend and I hopped in our rental car and started driving to this cool Tennessee town.

World's Fair Park

The first thing we noticed about Knoxville was the Sunsphere, a 266-foot tower with a golden sphere at the top that was built for the 1982 World Fair. We were able to go up to the observation deck of the sphere, which is free, and we got a great view of the city. The Sunsphere is located in the World's Fair Park, a favorite spot among locals to get outside and enjoy some greenery. This public park is a beautiful green space with lush lawns, paved walking trails and even a picturesque little lake. It was the first spot we visited in Knoxville, and it gave us a great impression of the city off the bat.

Market Square

Arguably the beating heart of the city, Market Square was where I started to really get a sense of the culture and lifestyle of Knoxville. Located downtown, Market Square is a beautiful, historic square packed with restaurants, shops and breweries. It's also home to the famed Knoxville farmers market, where we picked up some delicious fresh produce and food for a lunch picnic. This lively farmers market doesn't just feature great food, though; in true Tennessee fashion, the Knoxville farmers market also features awesome live music. It's more than just a place to find fresh local produce – it's a place to enjoy the culture and energy of the city.

Old City

While at Market Square, we met a handful of friendly locals who were happy to give us tips on what to do and see in their city. That led us to exploring the Old City next. The Old City is a historic district that is full of gorgeous old architecture and refurbished buildings that now house some of Knoxville's hippest restaurants, shops and cafes. This revitalized district embodies the soul of Knoxville, as it blends the past with the present, and it's a great place to enjoy some delicious local food and experience the hip culture of Knoxville's younger population.

Gay Street

Gay Street has been a center for life, art and entertainment in Knoxville since the late 1700s, and it's just as vibrant as ever. This historic street has a long, storied past, but today its major attractions are restaurants and entertainment options. Just on Gay Street alone there are over 75 restaurants, so it's definitely the best place to be if you're feeling hungry. I wanted some good old Southern cooking while in Tennessee, and I certainly found it here on Gay Street. Plus, this lively avenue also features a number of theaters, galleries and museums, so it's the heart of Knoxville's arts scene.

The Riverfront

Knoxville sits along the Tennessee River, a wide, beautiful water source that was once the lifeblood of the town. After eating as much delicious Southern cuisine as I did during my first day in Knoxville, I felt the need to get outside and get active. Fortunately for me, there are several riverfront paths and parks that were the perfect spots for getting some exercise. I killed two birds with one stone when I rented a bike – I worked up a sweat and got to see new areas of this beautiful city. The riverfront was one of the most picturesque parts of Knoxville, so I was glad I got to experience it the way I did.

HotelTonight – You'll Feel Right at Home in These Knoxville Hotels

Before visiting Knoxville, I knew almost nothing about the city. Of course I had heard plenty of things about Nashville prior to visiting Tennessee, but Knoxville remained more of a mystery to me. I was so glad we took the advice of some random locals we met in Nashville, though, because I loved every minute of our time in Knoxville. Our spur-of-the-moment Knoxville getaway wouldn't have been possible without HotelTonight, which made it so easy and hassle-free to book a great last-minute hotel in Knoxville. Because finding great hotels at a moment's notice is so simple with HotelTonight, being flexible while traveling has never been easier.