Fall For Downtown Knox
College football Saturdays, pumpkin everything, crisp and cozy weather, and that "something special" Downtown vibe ... sounds like a winning combination. It's Fall y'all! Get lost in the falling orange leaves in Krutch Park and Volunteer Landing, or make your way to Market Square, the Old City, and Gay Street buzzing with excitement during a favorite season.
We're lovin' these things in Autumn 2021!
1. Game Day Downtown
Ranked as one of “College Football's Greatest College Towns” by Sports Illustrated, Knoxville is home to can’t-miss gameday traditions! Football season means pre-and post-game time hanging out in Market Square, a buzz of activity on Gay Street, and a quick walk to Neyland Stadium. Check out the Vol Navy too, where orange and white boats tether together and fill the docks on home football weekends. It's an experience you won't soon forget!
2. Tailgate Food
Speaking of gameday, what would a trip to Knoxville be without enjoying BBQ and tailgate food alongside a panoramic view of the river? All eyes are on TVs and UT football at Calhoun's on the River, whose ribs were once named “Best Ribs in America" during the National Rib Cook-Off in Cleveland, Ohio. Order plates of the Rocky Top Potato Skins, Pulled Pork Nachos, and Bacon Wrapped Beef Brisket Burnt Ends. Looking for more of a hidden gem? Try: Sweet P's, Pop Up Truck, and Tommy Trent's.
3. Seasonal Craft Beers
Put these Fall flavors on your list: Wicked Harvest from Blackhorse Pub & Brewery with Fall squash, brown sugar, and grandma’s pumpkin pie spice; State Street Stout from Downtown Grill & Brewery, a creamy brew bursting with the flavor of dark roasted grains; Pretentious Beer's Barrel Reserve 5am Stout, carrying notes of toffee, chocolate, and vanilla; and the seasonal brew from Balter Beerworks. Explore more below!
4. New Music Venue
In anticipation of their permanent home opening in 2022, The OutPost will celebrate with a 7-week outdoor concert series at their new space on State Street. Sing along to your favorite Willie and Waylon songs, dance away the night at a silent disco, and enjoy a Dolly Parton night with a Dolly Drag Show! Great live music under the stars every Friday night Sept 10 thru Oct 22, plus food trucks, artwork, and more. Season passes are limited.
5. Fall-Inspired Coffees
Cozy up with Awaken's Downtown Spice, a vanilla and pumpkin latte topped with toasted marshmallows that give it a subtle smokiness. K Brew goes all-out in creativity with their seasonal lattes, like Butterbier and Chipotle Maple. Mahalo (a Hawaiian word meaning thank you) has a rich pumpkin spice latte that is so tasty you'll leave saying "mahalo" a thousand times ... it's a must-try. All of Downtown's favorite local spots are bringing Fall vibes this season!
6. Color for Miles
The Great Smoky Mountains are just gorgeous from rooftop bars, and times that by ten when the leaves turn golden yellow, bright orange, and fiery red. Each of Downtown's rooftops offer unique atmospheres for different tastes. Radius Rooftop Lounge boasts a pool and lounge area perfect for a sunset cocktail, and after dark, the music turns up a notch. Five Thirty Lounge is a swanky indoor/outdoor bar with delightful cocktails and tasty small bites. And the rooftops of Market Square — Pres Pub and Bernadette's — are eclectic, colorful, and full of personality.
7. Cool Jazzy Nights
Maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves with the idea of cool weather in September, but nights on Market Square are pretty cool any time of year. And this September, every Tuesday night from Sept 7 thru Sept 28 brings Jazz on the Square. Bring your lawn chairs and blanket to enjoy these free outdoor, family-friendly evenings of live jazz and community. Prior to the show, grab dinner on Market Square to make a night of it!
8. Crisp Fall Days
Get up close and personal with the Fall weather on an adorable scooter from Java Racer! These affordable, super-stylish scooters come in all colors, from UT orange, pretty in pink, and classic red. Located in the historic Old City, Java Racer – a concept that was established from a nostalgic time of the late 1950 and '60 of Café Racers – recently opened their flagship store in Knoxville. Their goal is to provide an alternative form of transportation while building a local community of fun-loving friends.
9. Sunday Concerts
Come down to World's Fair Park for some live music this Fall! The Sunsphere Sundays Concert Series, hosted by Visit Knoxville in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourism and Born and Raised Productions, will celebrate the season with four amazing bands at crazy-good prices – October 10 (COIN), 17 (Dawes), 24 (The Lone Bellow), and 31 (St. Paul & The Broken Bones). A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Sunsphere Fund!
10. Halloween Treats
Experience the spooky season like never before in Downtown Knoxville! Check out the annual Zombie Walk in Market Square on October 23, showing of the classic Phantom of the Opera at the Tennessee Theatre on October 24, Thrill the World in Market Square on October 30 ... and stay tuned for more! It’s gonna be a great Halloween — we can feel it in our bones! Mua-ha-ha!
11. Outdoor Dining
The cooler weather is a match made in heaven with outdoor dining, and we have over 50 Downtown patios for you to explore! Whether you're unwinding after work during happy hour, grabbing dinner with friends, or sharing a romantic night out with your partner, there's nothing like enjoying a meal in the Fall air. Pictured here is Babalu, perfect for lunch, dinner, brunch, or cocktails to celebrate the season!
12. Pumpkins for Everyone
'Tis the season for pumpkin everything! Whether or not you're a fan of the squash, you'll find many of these treats interesting: pumpkin and brown butter swirl ice cream from Cruze Farm, pumpkin spice popcorn from Proper Popcorn, pumpkin walnut fudge from Kilwins, and pumpkin pie lattes from K Brew. Plus, glass art from Pretentious Glass and pumpkin spice sugar scrub from Knoxville Soap, Candle & Gifts. We might make you a believer yet.
13. Cozy Cocktails
If you're walking through Downtown Knoxville at night, you may notice a single red light down the alley beside The Oliver Hotel. That's the city's original speakeasy — Peter Kern Library. Once a well-kept secret, the bar is now a beloved institution with a warm ambiance of dark wood, a cozy fireplace, rows of books, and cocktails named after literary characters. Try one of their favorite cocktails, the Lamont Cranston with aged rum, milk, simple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon.
14. New (To You) Restaurants
We keep saying it, but the Downtown food scene has exploded! With 100 restaurants and cafes, there's bound to be many you haven't tried yet. We recommend clicking the button below and scrolling through until one catches your eye. Call your friends, your family and delight your tatsetbuds with new flavors, like Curious Dog! Pro tip: weeknight dinners Downtown are the perfect way to get through the week.