Best Attractions and Things to Do around Knoxville

Not only does Knoxville offer a number of attractions within the city limits, there are plenty of things to do in nearby Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains. From theme parks and camping, to train rides, museums, and other outdoor recreation, Knoxville has plenty of options for travelers.

In 1982, Knoxville was home to the World's Fair, and today the park still welcomes visitors. The signature icon is the Sunsphere, a sprawling viewing tower offering sweeping city views. Visitors can travel back in time to some of the Historic Homes of the area, or wander through the Museum of East Tennessee History.

Families can bring little ones to the Muse, a hands-on art and science center, or take them on a train ride aboard the Three Rivers Rambler. About 30 minutes away, Dollywood offers amusement park rides and water slides, while the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is perfect for a day trip or family picnic.

Sports fans can appreciate the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, and nature lovers can experience Ijams Nature Center - located within Knoxville's city limits. There's also Market Square for shopping, dining, and nightlife. The travel experts at have sorted through Knoxville's attractions and present this list of the 10 Best things to do.

Three Rivers Rambler
Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan


This train travels along the Tennessee River from Downtown Knoxville, past historical sites to the "Three Rivers Trestle" where the French Broad and Holston Rivers meet. The 90-minute ride generally runs on Saturdays since freight is hauled...  Read More



This is the most visited national park in the country, and one glimpse at it lets you know why. The park includes more than 520,000 acres, 735 miles of streams, and 800 miles of some of the most scenic hiking and biking trails in the world. The...  Read More



Fun in the Great Smokies awaits at this celebrated theme park co-owned by Dolly Parton. If you're lucky, you'll catch a live performance by the country music songstress! Rollercoasters, kiddie rides, craft shops, train rides, an interactive...  Read More

The Muse Knoxville
Photo courtesy of The Muse Knoxville


Formerly the Discovery Center, this kid-friendly museum is full of hands-on programs and learning experiences. With extremely affordable ticket prices (just $5 for adults and $4 for kids), families won't have to break the bank at this fun...  Read More

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of Visit Knoxville


A thirty-foot tall basketball, which weighs more than 10 tons and sits on top of a glass staircase that resembles a basketball net, beckons visitors to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Located in downtown Knoxville, this 32,000-square-foot...  Read More

Museum of East Tennessee History


This museum traces the area's history, from its beginnings in the 1700s to the present. Guided tours feature a documentary and numerous hands-on exhibits. Enjoy displays devoted to the "Trail of Tears," Davy Crockett, Bonnie Kate Sevier, the...  Read More



Once a frontier town, Knoxville has a fascinating history that is on display at six unique houses. From log cabins to mansions, visitors can time travel through several eras. Listed on the list of National Historic Landmarks, Blount Mansion is...  Read More

Airport - Tys
Ijams Nature Center
Photo courtesy of Visit Knoxville


This sprawling nature center includes 3.5 miles of marked trails, rolling meadows, colorful gardens, and dramatic bluffs, all intersected by the Tennessee River. The main mission at this 275-acre park is to educate visitors about the...  Read More

Airport - Tys
World's Fair Park
Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan


Knoxville was the host of the 1982 World's Fair that drew 11 million people, making it the last successful World's Fair. Decades later, the area where the fair was held is still a top draw for visitors. Attractions include The Candy Factory, a...  Read More

Market Square District
Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan


With a history dating back to 1854, Market Square has been a hub for exchanging goods and for people to gather. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, today the square features a blend of restaurants, bars, shopping areas, an...  Read More


Meet Amber Nolan

Originally from upstate New York, this restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters. You can usually find her just about anywhere that has a hammock. Amber's favorite...  More About Amber