Reviews & Comments
Knoxville, TNListen to a local...
I've lived in Knoxville my entire life and I can certainly say that Knoxville DOES indeed have a pulse and a budding culture. Those that are saying otherwise are perhaps unwilling to find the pulse or are looking in the wrong places. No, Knoxville is no Portland (or even an Asheville), but it is well on its way to being there, and over the past 10 years Knoxville has grown and evolved tremendously. I see no indication of this trend stopping or slowing down either.
If going to a "good ole' boy" church before tailgating at the UT game with your truck friends is the life for you, then you'll find it here. HOWEVER, if you'd rather sip on a craft beer while watching the Flaming Lips perform in a converted warehouse, then you'll find it here too at the Mill and Mine. Maybe you'd rather drink a locally produced nitro cold-brew coffee while reading Jack Kerouac, with ambient chillwave and trip-hop playing in the background. If so, you'll find it here too at Honeybee Coffee. You can go down to the IJAMS Nature Center rock quarry and rent a paddleboard in summer, and then go relax in your Eno by the river. You can go buy locally grown and produced honey and handmade pottery at the Saturday morning farmer's market in downtown (while eating the mojito popsicle you got from the craft popsicle food truck), after buying your craft beard tonic from the 30 year old guy with a handle-bar mustache. I could go on for a while...Knoxville is a vibrant city that is on its way to becoming a cultural hub of music, the arts, and zestful living.
Of course this process isn't instantaneous. Yes, there is still a fair amount of tradition that can lead to some stigma and an otherwise retrogressive view of certain things. Yes, there are people here that won't get along with anyone that isn't a copy pasta version of themselves. But these people are in literally EVERY city on Earth, and you can't avoid them. This isn't as much of a problem in Knoxville as everyone on here is suggesting. I think that perhaps many of these people came here expecting to see this in action, thus, are more prone to either see it even when it doesn't exist, or likely to notice and point it out more when it happens versus when it doesn't happen. And maybe the ones complaining need to learn how to better interact and accept those that are different from themselves; maybe they aren't the progressive people-acceptors they think they are.
Knoxville ins't perfect, but it is a living, breathing city that has a rich history and future. I do wish that the people and life overall was more vibrant here, but it's a process, and Knoxville is on the right track. The music scene is VERY diverse; you can go listen to everything from bluegrass to avant garde orchestral to hip-hop to noise rock. The food scene is booming with tons of craft breweries and craft restaurants popping up (including the nationally renown J.C. Holdway, which is truly a fantastic dining experience if you have the coin for it). There are places to go buy art, vintage toys and records, boutique clothing, musical instruments, books, and anything else you can think of. If you can't find it here, you're a close drive to Chattanooga, Asheville, Nashville, and Atlanta; three excellent cities with lots to do. Oh, and you're a hop and a skip away from one of the most famous national parks in the country, with all the nature and beauty you could want. I've hiked most of the Smokies at this point, and I can say it is a bucket list destination. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are tourist deathtraps, but avoid those and you'll find some of the most pristine forests on the planet, plus several areas of preserved old growth forest, such as the spruce fir growths near Newfound Gap and Clingman's Dome.
Come and see Knoxville for yourself and bring an open mind. Go find the vibrant things. Be an active participant. I think you'll like what you find.