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Things To Do in Downtown Knoxville | Fall 2023


Thinking about spending some time in Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee? Fall is the perfect season! College football Saturdays, pumpkin everything, crisp and cozy weather, and that "something special" Downtown vibe. Get lost in the falling orange leaves in Krutch Park and at Volunteer Landing, or make your way to Market Square, the Old City, and Gay Street – all buzzing with excitement during this favorite season.

We're loving these things in Autumn 2023!

Game Day in Downtown Knoxville

The heart of Downtown Knoxville is only about a mile from Neyland Stadium, so you can spend the day shopping for gameday gear, meeting visitors traveling through Market Square, or grabbing a bite to eat on Gay Street before or after the game. Knoxville was ranked as one of “College Football's Greatest College Towns” by Sports Illustrated, so you know this time of year is electric! Plan your day—or weekend—with some of our game day tips.

Photo Credit: @brhodes_90

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 tailgate favorites? Try: Sweet P's BBQ, Downtown Grill & Brewery, and Tommy Trent's.

Photo Credit: @simplesouthernliving

Fall Markets

Downtown Knoxville is home to many weekly and seasonal markets you don't want to miss! The Market Square Farmers' Market continues throughout the fall every Wednesday (10 AM-1 PM) and Saturday (9 AM-1 PM). While the Old City Market happens on the second Sunday (11 AM-4 PM) and fourth Thursday (5 PM-9 PM) of every month. Outdoor markets in the fall! Could you ask for anything nicer?

Photo Credit: @awsnapshots

Pumpkins for Everyone

'Tis the season for pumpkin everything—and we can't wait for all of these! 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 cheesecake popcorn from Proper Popcorn, pumpkin walnut fudge from Kilwins, and pumpkin pie lattes from K Brew. Plus, handblown glass pumpkins from Pretentious Glass. We might make you a believer yet.

Photo Credit: Pretentious Glass Co

Try a Newly-Opened Restaurant

Lots of new restaurants have recently opened in Downtown Knoxville. Check out SmashCity for delicious burgers, crispy hand-cut fries, and homemade sauces. Try STIR for craft cocktails (they're known for artisanal ice), oyster bar, and lunch, brunch, and dinner. Next, Fred Beans & Rice (the kitchen concept of Knox Brew Hub) is serving up Creole-style food. We can’t wait to try the soppin’ shrimp with a locally-brewed beer. Lastly, give DiCarlo's Pizza a try – Ohio Valley-style pizza topped with cheese after the bake!

Seasonal Craft Beers

Put these fall flavors on your list: the State Street Stout from Downtown Grill & Brewery, a creamy brew bursting with the flavor of dark roasted grains and the seasonal brew from Balter Beerworks that always proves to be extra delicious when enjoyed by the toasty firepit. Explore more below!

Discover Downtown's Speakeasy

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 cozy cocktails, the Lamont Cranston with aged rum, milk, simple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Creative Lattes

Sipping on warm spices from one of more than a dozen places to grab coffee and tea sounds like a great way to kick off the cooler weather. Cozy up with Awaken's Downtown Spice Latte, a vanilla and pumpkin coffee topped with toasted marshmallows that give it a subtle smokiness. And, try K Brew's fan-favorite Pumpkin Pie Latte, which is oh-so decadent! For a more traditional fall drink, taste Mahalo's rich and creamy Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Fall Shopping

Experience a day exploring Downtown Knoxville's 60+ retail stores and local boutiques! Enjoy the best weather of the year as you walk from shop to shop, finding everything from new fall clothes and Vol Game Day gear to home décor, gifts, and unique finds. Make time for a coffee break, and have a relaxing day out.

Photo Credit: Bliss

Patio Dining

The cooler weather is a match made in heaven with outdoor dining, and we have over 50 Downtown Knoxville 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!

Sunset From a Rooftop

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.

Photo Credit: Five Thirty Lounge

Pride Parade

Celebrate equality for all people at Knox Pride Fest with a weekend full of events. The weekend kicks off with a "March for Equality" down Gay Street on Friday, October 6 at 7 PM. The celebration continues on Saturday, October 7 at World's Fair Park from noon to 8 PM with music performances, food vendors, and more!

Photo Credit: @awsnapshots

Wicked Cool Halloween

Mark your calendars to experience the spooky season during the whole month of October in Downtown Knox! You'll feel a chill in the air—is that just the weather or is it the ghosts around every corner? We'll have some good old-fashioned wicked fun, including a costume photo contest, a calendar full of weird and wonderful events, spooky cocktails and frightful foods, and more wicked cool surprises in store. It’s gonna be a Wicked Cool Halloween — we can feel it in our bones!

Concerts on the Square

Fall nights on Market Square are magical. Twinkling lights overhead, cool weather, and Concerts on the Square! Grab dinner on one of the patios and listen to brilliant musicians fill the Square. Lawn chairs and blankets are also encouraged to enjoy these free outdoor, family-friendly evenings. Don't miss Square Dancing on the Square on Thursday, September 21, a free event for square dancing enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels!

Photo Credit: Inside of Knoxville

Fall For Downtown Knox!

Now that you're ready for the season, come on down and share your experiences with #LoveDowntownKnox. Plus, get your picture with the seasonal Downtown Knoxville Mural!