Today, we’re letting Lori, the store manager of our location on Market Square in Knoxville, Tennessee take it away with an “Earthbound in Your City” feature on Knoxville!
Let me first introduce Knoxville to you – we are known as the “SCRUFFY CITY” and wear this nickname proudly. The name came from a reporter’s comments during the debate on where to hold the 1982 World’s Fair. She felt the city was the wrong choice for the Fair and called Knoxville a “scruffy little city”. The comment actually united people in town and has become a source of great pride here. You see “Keep Knoxville Scruffy” bumper stickers, buttons and t-shirts everywhere!
Is there any cuisine your city is known for? Where’s the best place to get it?
Pork BBQ at Dead End BBQ on Sutherland Avenue. Voted “Best of Knoxville” for 4 years running, this award winning BBQ is tender and delicious – choose your sauce, from mild to spicy! I like the spicy! They have an amazing red, white and blue cole slaw made with blue cheese and red onions – YUM. Their outdoor patio with a huge built in fireplace is the place to relax with a cold brew on those chilly evenings . You can even take BBQ cooking classes – but they don’t give out all of their secrets…shhh!
Pizza! The Tomato Head on Market Square. They offer the freshest, handmade pizza in town and cater to the vegan community as well. They have an eclectic atmosphere, which features local artists’ works, poetry readings and performance art.
Trio Cafe has incredible, fresh food for lunch and dinner, and is my go-to place for “build your own”, custom-made salads. The owner is a friend of my daughter, which came in handy during our store set-up. She sent delicious food down for all of us! Every so often, one of her staff will show up at the store with some type of treat for everyone to enjoy!
What’s the music scene like? Where do you go to catch a concert or go dancing?
For good ol’ Down Home Country, Cotton Eyed Joe is the place to be. Featuring well known bands and dancing, this is where to do your boot scootin’! The Knoxville Visitor Center in downtown Knoxville holds a “Blue Plate Special” concert 6 days a week, featuring local and regional acts, from the Blues to Indie Rock. Knoxville also boasts a fantastic symphony orchestra and an amazing youth orchestra. Preservation Pub on Market Square has live music and comedy. Their new foray into the music scene is Scruffy City Beer Hall & Brewery, which recently opened right next door to Earthbound.
What’s something fun to do with children in your town?
The Knoxville Zoo is fabulous fun. You can feed the giraffes or check out my favorite exhibit: the penguins! Hike, bike, paddle or just get wild with nature at Ijams Nature Center. They also have great kids programs. TheWorld’s Fair Park has fun, amazing fountains that kids (and adults) love to play in during the heat of summer.Jump Jam is a crazy, fun, indoor trampoline venue; it’s a great place to take the kiddos when the weather outside is not so great.
What museums, theatres, galleries or other cultural activities do you recommend?
There are so many great museums in town, but two of my favorites are: the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame(it’s really cool) and the Knoxville Museum of Art. The art museum features artists from east Tennessee and traveling exhibitions. I can’t wait to visit the Ansel Adams exhibit. The historic Tennessee Theatre and the Bijou Theatre, both in downtown Knoxville, feature various types of music and musical theater. South Gay Street, which is also downtown, is home to several fabulous art galleries, artists’ co-ops and workshops.
Where’s the best place to be after midnight in your city?
I have to admit – I had to ask my younger associates about this one! Here are their favorite places: The Peter Kern Library, located in the Oliver Hotel is an honest to goodness speakeasy. NV Nightclub in the Old City is a great place for dancing. Preservation Pub and Scruffy City Hall are great places to meet your friends and enjoy some rockin’ entertainment.
What’s the best time of year to visit? Why?
I recommend 2 times of the year to visit our beautiful city: Spring and Fall! Spring brings us the Dogwood Arts Festival. I love the walking neighborhood tours; the Chalk Walk turns our downtown sidewalks into fabulous works of art! Fall is all about the trees changing to breathtaking colors and of course – FOOTBALL! “Football Time in Tennessee” has become the standard battle cry around here. Top rated University of Tennessee and the Vols bring it home. UT is proud to be the college that brought Peyton Manning to the national sports stage! In September, Movies on the Square begins. Every Friday night, right outside our store, the Knox County Public Library screens iconic films. Back to the Future, ET, and The Princess Bride were a few of the featured films last year – I can’t wait to see this year’s lineup.
What’s one unique thing about your city that a visitor absolutely should not miss?
Knoxville is fortunate to have a very vibrant downtown. This is THE place to visit when you are in town. Market Square, where our Earthbound store is located, is a historic outdoor shopping and dining venue, and is host to a wonderful farmer’s market, concerts, and special events. How about the Christmas Beagle Parade or the upcoming “Mardi Growl” Parade? Dogs in their finest regalia – not to be missed! There is something for everyone, and events year-round. The holidays bring an outdoor ice skating rink to the Square. The smell of funnel cakes and popcorn is intoxicating, and can make you forget how many times you fell on the ice!
South Gay Street is home to great art galleries, while North Gay features additional shopping, dining and theater experiences. Knoxville is a very pet friendly city and the downtown dog park is a great place for visitors bringing their canine family members. Most of the restaurants and cafes offer outdoor seating, where dogs are usually welcome. Ooh la la, how cosmopolitan are we in east Tennessee?
Just a few blocks away, the Old City beckons. Considered the more eclectic and funky area of downtown, the Old City features great shops, restaurants and night clubs. It’s a fun, active area!
In the mood for a little cruisin’? Right in the heart of downtown, you can book passage on the Star of Knoxville paddleboat and take a lunch or dinner cruise around Knoxville. The evening cruises are my favorite – I love seeing the lights of downtown.
So, come get scruffy with us in Knoxville! We know how to have fun and will make sure you have a fantastic time!
“Earthbound in Market Square” ©2013 Christie Cook.
“Dead End BBQ” ©2014 Mark Steele.
“Tomato Head” ©2008 C Jill Reed, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License
“Blue Plate Special” ©2014 Mark Steele
“Spirit Family Reunion” ©2011 Sean Russell, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License
“Giraffe” ©2012 Alex Banakas, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share-Alike License
“The Fountains at World’s Fair Park” ©2013 Alex Banakas, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share-Alike License
“Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee” ©2009 Knoxville Museum of Art used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License
“Theatre District” ©2014 Mark Steele
“Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame” ©2006 Arizona Shona, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives License
“Art District” ©2014 Mark Steele
“artist and chalks” ©2011 Joel Kramer, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License
“Pride of the South” ©2007 Rusty Tanton, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license
“Knoxville” ©2008 Frank Kehren, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives License
“Ice Skating on Knoxville Market Square” ©2008 Dieter Weinelt, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License
“Sunset on Gay Street” ©2009 Frank Kehren, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives License
“The Old City” ©2005 Bryan Howard, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike License
“The Star of Knoxville” ©2011 Joel Kramer, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License