2021 Spring Guide to Enjoy Downtown
The Downtown district is blooming with fresh ideas to make the most of sunny days and warm weather. We've rounded up a dozen things to do this spring, including tasting seasonal beverages, exploring outdoor art, and did someone say the Farmers' Market is returning to Market Square?
1. Raise a Glass on a Rooftop
Take advantage of spring forward's long days with a trip to the top of the world (okay, top of Downtown Knoxville). Catch a sunset and view our skyline like never before — while sipping a craft cocktail — from a selection of beautiful Downtown rooftops. Try recently opened Bernadette's and adjoining Preservation Pub's rooftop scene in Market Square. And, head to Gay Street to enjoy Downtown's indoor and outdoor rooftop bars, Five Thirty Lounge and Radius Rooftop Lounge. All have views and cocktails you're not going to want to miss.
2. Enjoy an Outdoor Patio
Downtown Knoxville is the place to be for outdoor dining. With 60+ outdoor options across Market Square, Gay Street, and the Old City (many are pet-friendly), there's a spot calling your name! We've got cozy spots for coffee, small patios tucked away in alleys, and large, outdoor spaces for physically-distanced gatherings. Explore!
3. Refresh Your Spring Wardrobe
Out with the old, in with the new. But with purpose! Shop Downtown's local retailers for new, spring wardrobe items and merchandise to freshen up your home. Many retailers carry items by regional artisans, so you know the story behind your purchase. Shop some of our favorite spring items here.
4. Walk Through Downtown Parks
Downtown means green too! Take a walk through Krutch Park, a little oasis in the heart of Downtown that connects Market Square to Gay Street. It's home to trees that change with the seasons (you have to see these blooms!), a waterfall and rippling stream, and plenty of benches to enjoy your iced coffee. Enjoy a spring day at World's Fair Park with 15 acres to play and picnic. And within walking distance of downtown, Volunteer Landing is a perfect jumping off point to enjoy the riverfront. Walking, running, and biking with friends and family are lovely ways to make memories along the Tennessee River.
5. Buy Fresh Flowers
Freshen up your home or treat your partner to a sweet surprise with flowers from Bloomers, Jacks of Knoxville, the Market Square Farmers' Market, or the Market at Mary Costa Plaza! All of these places carry seasonal flowers in affordable wraps for easy pick-up. They smell great, and make you feel good too!
6. Sip on Iced Coffees
When the weather warms up, we think of one thing: Iced Coffee! And Downtown's coffee scene is where it's at with chocolate covered strawberry lattes, iced coconut mochas, coffee sodas, and more! Explore our list of must-try Spring Coffees & Teas.
7. Sip on Spring Cocktails
Oh, have we got a list for you cocktail enthusiasts! We've rounded up the BEST Spring Cocktails to try, and they run the gamut, from fun and flirty to crisp and refreshing to rich and comforting. It's hard to pick favorites, but some of what you'll see are floral gin & tonics, peach-flavored cocktails, electric lemonades, and frozen tropical drinks.
8. Spend May at the Market Square Farmers' Market
They say April showers bring May flowers. The month of May also brings Wednesday's Farmers' Market back to Market Square on May 5!!!! We're so happy to welcome the mid-week market back home. Saturday's Market will continue at Mary Costa Plaza beginning May 1. Swing by either market to enjoy fresh seasonal produce, plants, artisan crafts, and a wonderful day Downtown.
9. Explore The Old City Market
The first Old City Market of spring is scheduled for Sunday, April 11 at Jackson Terminal, transforming the patio into a curated, outdoor market showcasing artists, crafters, and creative makers. The market continues throughout the Spring every 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. They're going to have the cutest seasonal décor, jewelry, gourmet foods, and more! Plus spend the rest of the day enjoying Downtown's restaurants, coffee shops, and architecture.
10. Discover Outdoor Murals & Art
Better weather means getting out to explore! See Megan Lingerfelt's spring Downtown Knoxville mural in Strong Alley, inspired by flowers at The Bloomers Company. It just feels like spring! Continue down the alley to see a few colorful murals that have popped up recently. After snapping a few pictures, head to the Bicycle Arch at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center for a one-of-a-kind photo op and a pretty walk down Volunteer Landing.
11. Rediscover the Dogwood Arts Festival
One of our favorite festivals is back! Following a year of virtual events, the 60th Anniversary of the Dogwood Arts Festival will return in-person to World’s Fair Park April 23rd-25th. Festival organizers are prioritizing the health and safety of everyone. It's free to attend, but make sure you reserve a ticket online! It's going to be a beautiful setting featuring 75 juried artists working in mixed media, pottery, photography, painting, glass, jewelry, sculpture, and more.
12. Rent Bikes & Scooters
Ditch the car, rent a bike (or scooter). From beginner-level to the experienced, everyone can ride safely throughout the district. We recommend starting near Market Square, making your way down Gay Street, and then through the Old City as you take in the beautiful architecture. Stop for lunch, coffee, or ice cream along the way! And if you're in the market to purchase one yourself, Two Bikes and Java Racer both just opened!
Thanks for Doing Your Part
We appreciate now – more than ever – what you are doing to help keep our businesses open. Thanks for doing your part by making health and safety a top priority. Wear a mask, practice physical-distancing, and stay home when sick.