Authored by Sandra Parker in Tennessee
Published on 09-05-2009
Though Knoxville, TN may not come up at the top of “must-see” places for many people, this sprawling city has a lot to offer.
First up is the Sunsphere. Standing as a tribute to the 1982 World’s Fair which was hosted in Knoxville, which incidentally became one of the most popular World’s Fairs in U.S. history boasting an attendance of over 11 million visitors, the Sunsphere is a 266 foot tall steel truss topped with a bronze colored glass sphere. It is one of Downtown Knoxville’s most prominent buildings. The Sunsphere has housed a number of attractions in the years since the Fair and has most recently served as a restaurant and gift shop.
Next on the list is the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was built to honor one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches of all time, Coach Pat Summit. The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame features some of the most accomplished womens athletes. Many of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols players are featured here, most of whom have gone on to play professionally.
The Tennessee Theater is one of the oldest downtown institutions and has just completed a multi-million dollar renovation. Originally designed for motion picture viewing, the Tennessee Theater has been completely revamped to accommodate a number of live shows as well as motion picture movie enjoyment. The opulent ambience takes patrons back to a time long ago, while still providing modern, state of the art sound and lighting for a truly one of a kind experience. The Tennessee Theater hosts many free live shows and movies as well as paying performances.
One of Knoxville’s main attraction is its proximity to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Located on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smokey Mountains is world renowned for its diverse plant and animal life. It is the most visited American National Park. The park is a hiker’s paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails that wind through acres of natural wilderness. Approximately 1500 black bears call the park home alongside deer and elk and a huge range of wildflowers. It is estimated that over 100,000 individual organisms make their homes in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Tourist attractions include hiking, camping, and tubing through miles of pristine rivers.
At the foothills of the mountains is a great tourist venue known to locals as Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Here you will find attractions such as miniature golf, go-karts, bumper boats, a multitude of live shows, specialty craft shops and restaurants, and amusement parks such as Dollywood and venues such as Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokeys. There is something for everyone.
Knoxville boasts a population of well over 173,000 residents and is the third largest city in Tennessee. With so much to see and do, its no wonder why many visitors just can’t seem to leave.