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Here Comes Summer In Knoxville

worlds fair park
The World's Fair Park is one of many venues for summer fun. Image by John Disque.

By John Disque

Twenty years ago you might get away with claiming that Knoxville's a boring city. Today that's impossible. There's always something going on. There is, in fact, so much to do that it's often hard to choose.

Our local business leaders, politicians, and everyday residents have worked incredibly hard to make Knoxville TN the Mecca of festivals, nightlife, special events, conventions and outdoor entertainment.

Outdoor music festivals to custom tailored suits, coffee houses and nightclubs to business-as-usual… in case you've been living on Mars for the past few years – Downtown Knoxville is booming.

As expected Market Square District has a summer full of special events lined up and the business areas of Gay Street and the Old City are expected to deliver.

The crowd is a unique blend of the college and business people slipping into the evening for dancing, nightclubs, coffee houses and music. If you're looking for nightlife, downtown Knoxville is the hotspot. But it doesn't end there. Downtown is also filled with family events, parades, and music festivals. If you haven't been downtown in a few years you're missing out.

market square
There's always something to do in the bustling Market Square District. Image by John Disque.

If the bustle and noise of downtown Knoxville is not for you and you're looking for something more quiet and laid back, Knoxville certainly doesn't let you down.

Did you know that Knoxville is the proud home of 21 museums? That fact alone should tell you there's always something going on, but that is just the tip of the ice burg.

Knoxville has more restaurants per capita than any city in the United States. Choose any one of them to cool off and enjoy a good meal this summer.

The Knoxville Zoo loves to have special events so they do so nearly every single day It's a great escape and learning experience for the whole family. The kids to the grand folks will love every minute of it, and that's a promise.

knoxville riverfront
Knoxville and surrounding counties have many waterways for summer water sports.
Image by John Disque

If you're looking for something different Volunteer Princess Cruises can and does keep you entertained. Enjoy a relaxing trip on the Tennessee River and witness a unique and elegant view of this incredible city.

Knoxville is home to thousands of acres of greenways, golf courses, recreation and community centers. If you like to mix your outdoor activities with the beauty of nature - Knoxville and all of East TN certainly doesn't let you down.

North Knoxville – 258 acres of recreational area
South Knoxville – 364 acres of recreational area
East Knoxville – 541 acres (greatly helped by "Forks Of The River") of recreational area
West Knoxville – 222 acres of recreational area

smoky mountain mist
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Image by Jeaneane Payne

If that's not enough, we have six (6) national parks located within 90 miles of downtown Knoxville: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cumberland Gap, Andrew Johnson, Blue Ridge, Pisgah National Forest, and Obed. There are 18 state parks in East Tennessee.

For those attracted to the water Knoxville is overloaded with some of the best boating, fishing, public swimming pools and water sports in the country. From the beautiful endless lakes (Ft Loudon, Melton Hill, Norris, Tellico and Douglas – just to name a few) to the trout stocked streams and creeks (too many to mention) Knoxville just might be the best place in the country for a water lover to live. Ask any fisherman or boater why they love this town, and they'll be happy to share stories of their favorite area waterways.

Health and fitness industries are booming and Knoxville is getting in on the action with bike races, running, walking, special event marathons, and many more outdoor participation events throughout the city. Many of these events are geared to raising money for our local charities with less emphasis on competition and more on taking part in our community.

Summer comes to a close with the event that most of us (400,000 strong) have come to adore: BoomsDay. Image by Jeaneane Payne.

Summer comes to a close with the event that most of us (400,000 strong) have come to adore: BoomsDay will be September 4th this year and, as always, held at Volunteer Landing. Personally, I see BoomsDay as a time to reflect, to look back on the summer and all the summers in Knoxville and to see how far this city has come.

Don't sit in front of the TV or computer this summer. Get on out in the community, enjoy your city, meet your neighbors and live your life. After all – this is all for you.

Published June 6, 2011

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