Knoxville, Tennessee will always hold a special place in my life. It's where I went to college (Go Vols!), it's where I met some of my very best friends, it's where I spent four of the most fun years of my life and it's where I met and fell in love with my husband.
That being said, the college student's Knoxville and the slightly-older-than-a-college-student's Knoxville are two different experiences. Kyle and I revisited the city for a wedding recently and found a new side to one of our favorite cities.
Market Square and The Oliver Hotel
The Market Square area of Knoxville has been completely revamped in the past few years. Now, it is full of great restaurants, fun bars, good shops and one very swanky hotel. Try Tupelo Honey Cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is sure to be excellent. For shopping, Fizz and Bliss both have fun and unique clothing and accessories options. Stay at The Oliver Hotel. Renovated in 2011, this 28 room boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Knoxville has everything you need, including complimentary bikes! Be sure to check out the hotel's speakeasy, The Peter Kern Library for a trendy cocktail or two - hotel guests skip the line!
Bars and Nightlife
Downtown Grill and Brewery is a staple for a good meal and a good brew as well as the huge wrap around bar. Its right on Gay Street in the heart of downtown and has a great bar scene. For that same bar atmosphere in Market Square, the Stock & Barrel is a burger and bourbon bar within three minutes walk of the hotel. For some off the beaten path night-time entertainment, Sassy Ann's is known for its dancing scene, but you'll want to wait until after midnight in order to see any actual dancing.
Old City and The River
While Knoxville's Old City is popular with the college crowds for its night life, there are several great bakeries and coffee shops for the morning crowd. Make a stop at Old City Java for a cup of coffee and a pastry - there is plenty of seating inside.
Before heading back to Atlanta, we decided to grab lunch at Calhoun's on the River, an old favorite from our college days, but its not just for the younger crowd! Calhoun's is one of those places that is an all around crowd pleaser, great for families, kids, students, when the parents are in town, date night - whatever. Get the beer cheese, you won't regret it!