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  Top 20 Features of Knoxville

Knoxville is a fast-growing city with a rich cultural history, leading sports teams, historic buildings, popular museums, and many other features that make it a family friendly city. Knoxville is one of the best cities in America in which to raise a family, start a business, and enjoy life.

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1. University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee has an enrollment of 27,253 and 9,767 faculty and staff members. Situated on a 560 acre campus, UT has 236 buildings and over 300 degree programs. The university offers a first-class research library, provocative speakers, a technology-rich infrastructure, nationally competitive athletic teams, and many opportunities for community service.

2. Sports
Knoxville has a number of nationally competitive athletic teams, including the UT VOLS football team, the Lady VOLS basketball team, the UT Men's basketball team, and soccer teams. The Knoxville Ice Bears is a professional ice hockey team. Smokies Baseball is a minor league team. Hard Knox Roller Girls is East Tennessee's first all female flat track roller derby league. The Knoxville Ambassadors Homeschool Sports Program has baseball, basketball, cross country, softball, and volleyball teams. There are sports teams for youth, including baseball, basketball, flag football, lacrosse, swimming, and softball.

3. Close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Encompassing over 500,000 acres of forest land, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is situated in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountains, the majestic climax of the Appalachian Highlands, are a wildlands sanctuary preserving the world's finest examples of temperate deciduous forest. Some 800 miles of trails thread the whole of the Smoky Mountains natural fabric - and its waterfalls, coves, balds, and rushing streams.

4. Museums
Knoxville offers 21 museums and historic places of interest. The Knoxville Zoo has been rated as one of the best zoos in America. The 53,000 square foot Knoxville Museum of Art features five galleries, an auditorium, shop, and gardens and terraces. McClung Museum is a general museum with collections in anthropology, archaeology, decorative arts, medicine, local history, and natural history. The attendance to Knoxville museums exceeds that of all UT home football games combined.

5. Lakes and Parks
Knoxville is situated on the banks of the Tennessee River. Fort Loudon Reservoir is connected by a short canal to Tellico Reservoir on the nearby Little Tennessee River. Water is diverted through the canal to Fort Loudoun for power production. The canal also offers commercial barges access to Tellico without the need for a lock. Barges passing through the Fort Loudoun lock carry half a million tons of cargo a year. More than two million outdoor enthusiasts visit Fort Loudoun Reservoir each year. The reservoir is known for its bass fishing, boating, and birdwatching. The city of Knoxville has 81 parks. Knox County has 48 parks. Knoxville has 45 greenways covering 65.53 miles.

6. Great Restaurants
Knoxville has more restaurants per capita of any city in America. American, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Asian, French, Greek, Irish, Japanese, European, Mediterranean, Mexican, Vietnamese, and Thai are yours to choose from.

7. Boomsday
Boomsday is an annual event which takes place on the waterfront. This is the biggest single-day event in the state of Tennessee and the largest fireworks show in the southeast United States.

8. Dogwood Arts Festival
This is one of the largest and finest annual festivals in America and has been termed "The Best 17 Days of Spring in America" by the Southeast Tourism Society. The Dogwood Arts Festival not only promotes the natural beauty of our area, the festival promotes, supports, and fosters educational programs, charitable undertakings, historical, horticultural, canine and equestrian societies, arts, music, drama, crafts, tours, lectures, and other related activities.

9. Historic Theatres
Knoxville has two historic theaters -- the Tennessee Theatre and the Bijou.

The Historic Tennessee Theatre is one of the last great movie palaces still in operation. Opening its doors on October 1, 1928, the Tennessee made kings and queens of all who entered its lavish interior. After all, the idea of the movie palace was to create a fantasy land, a place where people could forget the outside world and its troubles - at least while they were inside the castle on Gay Street.

The Bijou Theater opened March 8, 1909 to a sellout crowd. Wells secured a production of "Little Johnny Jones" starring George M. Cohan, with tunes such as "Give my regards to Broadway" and "Yankee Doodle Boy". In 1975 the Bijou Theatre was added to the list of historical places in the National Historic Record. In its era the Bijou has made its mark in the entertainment industry by presenting operas, musicals, orchestral concerts and comedy shows. It has hosted many well-known artists such as The Marx Brothers, Anna Pavlova, Lunt & Fontaine, Dizzy Gillespie, Dolly Parton, The Ramones, Dave Matthews Band and so many more. It has withstood wars and fires, and throughout its many name changes and structure changes, it has remained Knoxville's Gem of the South.

10. Shopping
Knoxville has two major malls and a large number of strip malls. One of the most popular strip malls is Turkey Creek, and the most unique shopping area is the Market Square District. There are two indoor malls, West Town Mall and Knoxville Center Mall.

11. Culture
Knoxville's rich cultural history consists of a wide variety of performing arts. The Knoxville Choral Society consists of over 150 voices. Other arts include a children's theatre, modern dance, theatre, concert bands, opera, symphonies, and dance ensembles. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra was established in 1935 and is the oldest continuing orchestra in the southeastern United States. KSO was formed in 1934. Its founder and first conductor, Bertha Walburn Clark, was a handsome, snowy-haired woman who was a cultural force in Knoxville for nearly 70 years.

12. Market Square District
Downtown Market Square offers various types of restaurants, including sushi bars and upper crust cafes. You will also experience unique shopping opportunities and enjoy entertainment at various venues. In seasonal months, an open-air farmers' market is located on Market Square. Everything at the MSFM is grown or made by the vendor in the East Tennessee region. Products vary by the seasons and include produce, eggs, honey, herbs, free-range meat, bread, baked goods, salsas, coffee and artisan crafts. Market Square is the scene of the the International Biscuit Festival which was selected the Best Food Festival in the nation by

Main Street at a Glance
main street knoxville

13. Main Street
Main Street in Knoxville depicts a hub of government, religious, and financial institutions as well as a hotel.

• The City-County building houses city and county government offices.
• The historic Knox County Courthouse was built in 1885. It served as Knox County's courthouse until the completion of the City-County Building in 1979 and continues to house offices for several county departments. John Sevier, Tennessee's first governor, is buried on the courthouse lawn. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The United States Post Office and Courthouse, commonly called the Knoxville Post Office, is a federal building located at 501 Main Street. Constructed in the early 1930s for use as a post office and federal courthouse, the building contains numerous Art Deco and Moderne elements, and is clad in Tennessee marble. While the building is still used as a branch post office, the court section is now used by the state courts. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Howard H. Baker, Jr. United States Courthouse is a postmodern rendition of neo-Georgian architecture. The building was constructed as the headquarters of Whittle Communications, a now-defunct telecommunications company.
First Baptist Church of Knoxville, located at 510 W. Main St., was built in 1924. This building was the church's 3rd location. This architecturally-significant structure, noteworthy for its Neoclassical design and octagonal sanctuary, was designed by Dougherty & Garner of Nashville, Tennessee, and is modeled on St Martin-in-the-Fields of London. The exterior of the church sanctuary is sheathed in marble.
The Medical Arts Building was constructed in 1932 with unique architectural elements consisting of Gothic Revival and Art Deco influences. The building has traditionally housed commercial entities but is now on tap for a major redevelopment that will result in up to 75 apartments. It includes a 40,000-square foot parking garage.
Hampton Inn & Suites Knoxville - Downtown is a modern hotel offering 85 guest rooms and a gym and fitness center.
Bank of America, located at 550 W. Main St., is a 9 floor bank offering commercial space.

14. Thompson-Boling Arena
Thompson-Boling Arena is home to the UT Men's and Women's basketball and Women's Volleyball teams. It is also a venue for special events such as concerts, conventions, and other sporting events including NBA exhibition games.

15. World's Fair Park
Established for the 1982 World's Fair, the park offers acres of lawn, cascading waterfalls, streams, and beautiful walkways all of which create an inviting environment for festivals, performances, meetings, conferences, or a quiet moment for personal reflection. The park offers man-made lakes, streams, cascading waterfalls, and interactive waterfalls. A Performance Lawn which is larger than two football fields is a carefully maintained open area providing a natural amphitheater-like setting perfect for concerts, festivals, parties and other special events.

16. Gay Street
Gay Street runs through the heart of downtown Knoxville. Gay Street was developed in the 1790s and has served as the city's principal financial and commercial thoroughfare. It has also played a primary role in the city's historical and cultural development. The street contains Knoxville's largest office buildings and oldest commercial structures. Several buildings on Gay Street have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

17. Places of Worship
Knoxville has over 500 churches, several synagogues, and other places of worship. Knoxville is located in the heart of the "Bible belt". 82% of the population of Tennessee are Christians. Baptists make up 51% of the population of Knoxville.

18. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states at prices below the national average. TVA, which receives no taxpayer money and makes no profits, also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development.

19. Gay Street Commercial Historic District
The Gay Street Commercial Historic District originally consisted of 35 buildings constructed circa 1880-1940 along Gay Street and adjacent side streets. It was added to the National Register in 1986, and its buildings range from 1880s-era wholesaling outlets to 1930s-era movie theaters.

20. Biking, Hiking, and Walking Trails More Information

Published December 3, 2012

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