4-Day Knoxville Culture, Cuisine, and Cultivation

Day 1 You'll See:
Culture

Day 2 You'll See:
Cuisine

Day 3 You'll See:
Cultivation (History)

Day 4 You'll See:
More Culture! 

4 full days of interesting culture, mouth-watering cuisine, and fascinating history await with this sample itinerary to Knoxville, Tennessee.


Day
1

Culture

Sunsphere

An iconic piece of Knoxville's skyline and integral part of the community, the Sunsphere is an absolute must-visit during your group's travels. This 266 foot high, hexagonal steel truss represents Knoxville's innovation, engineering feats, and cultural background all at once, with an impressive architectural history tracing back to the 1982 World Fair. During your visit, you will head up to the 4th-floor observation deck, the spot where you will be able to take in more detailed information about the architecture and history of the sphere within the onsite gallery, as well as take in the amazing 360-degree views. See downtown, the original fair site, and bits and pieces of the Smokie Mountains. You will also have the chance to eat onsite here, with a fine Italian Restaurant, Primo Ristorante, on the 5th floor and Icon Ultra Lounge on the 4th. The Ribeye at Primo is one of the best you'll ever have, trust us!

Knoxville Walking Tours

If you want a good overview of the city, both geographically and history wise, head over to Knoxville Walking Tours. This locally beloved tour company provides guided tours of this 'unique eastern Tennessee town', showing visitor's the stories of the pioneers, outlaws, soldiers, and even fictional characters who have walked these very streets. Tales of 'heroes, heels, and hardened criminals' will be explored by master storyteller Laura Still, with help of the stories by historian Jack Neely.

Tennessee State Theater

With humble beginnings in 1928, this movie palace started out with 40 cent matinees and 60 cent evening shows. The theater displayed popular musical and theater acts, a tradition they have carried on until today. Your group will see jazz concerts, classic movies, popular musicals, holiday shows, or special theater acts while here, with a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy.You won't only enjoy the entertainment, though, you will also enjoy a tour of the out-of-this-world gorgeous theater itself, the 1920's era theater restored to its original majesty in 2005.

Day 2

Cuisine

Market Square Knoxville 

What first began as a local farmers trading post, meeting spot, and polling station has today grown into the number one spot in the city to find food, entertainment, lodging, and of course, fun!First and foremost Market Square is, well, a market, an excellent spot to find an easy picnic lunch or dinner with your group while also interacting with locals and learning about local agriculture and food production. This portion of Market Square is only open Wednesday through Saturday within the months of May, June, July, October, and November. Around the square you will find over 13 eateries and 10 shops, one of the more popular places being the Market House Cafe, an excellent spot to grab a sandwich or cup of coffee and enjoy the weather on the patio.

Knoxville Food Tours

Enjoy multiple food tastings of signature and specially selected dishes at some of Knoxville's best new and iconic restaurants featuring local products in Southern & Appalachian cuisine.Enough for a meal and more for most! - Knoxville Food Tours

Dinner at Stock and Barrel or Naples Italian Restaurant (group decision) 

Day
3

Cultivation (History)

East Tennessee History Center

Considered to be 'the front porch to the region's history', this spot is undoubtedly one of the most historically and culturally insightful in Tennessee.During your visit, your group will be able to participate in any happening lectures, tours, heritage programs, genealogy classes, or student/teacher education courses. You may also just choose to browse the museum on your own, some of the most popular displays including Following in the Footsteps of Sergeant York, Stories on Stitches, Smokies Splendor, Civil War Families of Tennessee, and First Families of Tennessee. You will get to learn about the start of the society that made this all happen as well, with a history tracing all the way back to 1834.

Historic Old City Knoxville

For one of the best overviews of Knoxville history as well as Knoxville modern culture head to Historic Old City, the community downtown that tells the story of Old Town and the story of modern day living at the same time. The area considered to be within Old City sits at the intersection of Central and Jackson Avenues, taking up a few linear blocks near the old railroad station.While the name may lead you to believe you will be walking down old cobblestone streets and viewing historic landmarks, Old City actually boasts one of the most creative and independent modern cultures in the area. Your group will have a 'vibrant and alternative downtown experience' here, with such things as the 'Creative Corridor', art galleries, underground music venues, and fantastic cuisine. The historic side of the area is linked to trade, railroad industry, and dangerous times during the saloon era, there is PLENTY of interesting history to get filled in on.

Mabry-Hazen House

Highlighting family life during the Victorian and Civil War era, a tour of the property will take you on a journey of the home and grounds, and on a journey through time.This house sits atop Mabry's Hill and has served as the picturesque home of 3 generations of the same family, the family staying here from its first day built in 1858 to the last immediate family members passing in 1987. This impressive history has earned the entire 8-acre site a rightful spot on the National Register of Historic Places list.If you opt-in for a guided tour (reservations are required in the offseason) you will get to see the artifacts left inside, including antique furnishings, china, silver, and crystal.

Day
4

More Culture!

Knoxville Museum of Art

.Located within Knoxville's World's Fair Park, the Knoxville Museum of Art is one of the best places your student group can visit for local culture and art. This museum, oftentimes referred to as KMA, provides a rich visual legacy of Eastern Tennessee, with several exhibits boasting new art from the region, new and old. In particular, the culture of the Southern Appalachians is focused on throughout the galleries.The Knoxville Museum of Art was established in 1961, seeing over 60,000 guests since then. Not only will visitors to KMA find outstanding visual arts and local history, but they will also have the chance to take part in classes, tours, workshops, and educational programs, as well as catch a concert or lecture depending upon the time of their visit.

McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture

Established in 1963, this highly popular museum features several different exhibits that range in subject from local geology to popular decorative arts. You can find information on archaeology, anthropology, fossils, ancient Egypt, and even local civil war battles here, ensuring there is something interesting for everyone in your group to enjoy during your visit. Some of the more popular permanent exhibits you may want to make time for are the Tennesee Freshwater Mussels, Human Origins, and Battle of Fort Sanders exhibits.

Museum of Appalachia

Located just 20 minutes north of Knoxville in Norris, Tennessee, your group will find the Museum of Appalachia, the living history museum that depicts the life of pioneers during the early 20th century within this region. The Southern Appalachian region is a vastly unique and interesting place, both geographically and culturally, and learning the history of it is always fun for student groups (and teachers!).This rustic museum was established as a nonprofit in 1969 by John Irwin with the goal of 'preserving the past for the future'. Since then it has earned a spot as an official Smithsonian Affiliate museum for its excellence in displaying regional history and culture.