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A Holly Jolly Holiday in Downtown Knoxville (2023)


Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee transforms into a sparkly, bright, and merry place with memory-making festivities for everyone during the holiday season. We invite you to ice skate the day away, sip on a hot chocolate, browse unique, local stores for the best gifts, and even plan a winter weekend get-away to Downtown Knoxville this Christmas!

Keep reading for the Santa-approved list of things to do.

🌟 Experience Peppemint Grove's Magic

Market Square's large oak trees will be wrapped in twinkling red-and-white lights to create the magical experience of Peppermint Grove, back for the first time since 2020. Along with this scene, Krutch Park dazzles with romantic trees wrapped in more sparkling lights and holiday murals will decorate storefront windows, drawing you into their magic. There are plenty of festive photo ops, awe-inspiring holiday art, and candy cane trees to create a fantastic, festive environment.

🍬 Sleigh the Peppermint Trail

Downtown Knoxville is decked out and dipped in peppermint – the Peppermint Trail is sweeter than ever! Treat yourself to delicious holiday cocktails, coffees, candies and desserts, including holiday flavors of peppermint, gingerbread, cinnamon, cranberry, apple spice, and more. Explore the Peppermint Trail from the day after Thanksgiving through January 7, 2024. #KnoxPeppermint

Photo Credit: Frothy Monkey

πŸ”Ž Discover Hidden Elves

One of the most magical traditions in Downtown Knoxville is The Elf on the Shelf® Adventure. Every year Santa sends special elves to hide in stores, assisting businesses with all things holiday. Each elf has a name, which you can read about here. Pick up your North Pole Pass at Mast General Store or Knoxville Visitors Center, and make a day of it (the parents have as much fun as the kids)! #ElvesInKnox

⛸️ Ice Skate the Day Away

Knoxville's Holidays on Ice in Market Square is an annual tradition. The open-air ice rink is nestled under twinkling lights for children and parents to skate the day away from the day after Thanksgiving through early January. Pro tip: Buy tickets online and grab a season pass. It's also a perfect spot to people watch, sip on a coffee, and check out the surrounding local shops.

πŸ’ Find The Best Gifts

Say farewell to the big-box online stores in exchange for shopping local in Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. You'll find heart-warming gifts for everyone on your list, plus have a fun day building excitement around the holidays. Meet the business owners behind local stores to see the faces you support when you shop small.

Photo Credit: Pretentious Glass

πŸ“¬ Send Your Wish List to Santa

Elves placed a magical mailbox in Market Square where children of all ages can drop off their secret wishes to Santa before Christmas Eve. Local artist Paris Woodhull designed and painted the special box with a yummy cookie-theme! Drop off for express delivery to the North Pole (no postage required). The elves even created a coloring page for Santa's special letters.

🍸 Warm Up With a Spirited Cocktail

Take your holly jolly to new heights with a holiday-inspired cocktail. Sip on a Winter in Fiji at Oliver Royale with chocolate-infused vodka, peppermint, coconut puree, and vanilla. Head to PostModern Spirits for a full menu of cocktails, including Candy Cane Children with Empirical Dry Gin, peppermint, cranberry, Amaro Arancia, and rosemary. And no Christmas would be complete without a trip to Brother Wolf's Miracle pop-up bar. 'Tis the season to be merry with dozens of cocktails on the Pepoermint Trail!

Photo Credit: Oliver Royale

🎁 Shop Holiday Markets

You can practically feel the joyful warmth radiating from Downtown Knoxville's outdoor holiday markets. Artists bring handcrafted gifts to the weekly Winter Farmers' Market on Market Square and the special December Old City Market on Jackson Ave, where you can browse jewelry, pottery, ornaments, and art straight from the maker's hands. Plus, First Friday ArtWalk is a great holiday shopping night for unique gifts.

πŸŽ„ Attend a Holiday Event

There's a host of holiday events in Downtown Knoxville! Revel in the excitement of the Christmas Parade and Tour de Lights Parade as they make their way down Gay Street. Witness the Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet, watch iconic Christmas movies, and attend Cookies With Santa all at the Tennessee Theatre. And cap off the holidays by celebrating New Year's Eve at the Sunsphere with friends, food trucks, and a ball drop.

Photo Credit: Tour de Lights

❄️ Enjoy the Season

Slow down and get lost making memories this holiday season. Share laughs over delicious meals, inspire kid's imaginations with scavenger hunts, cozy up to your partner over a rooftop fireplace, walk the sidewalks for photo-ops and lights. Is there a better way to spend time with family and friends? See you in Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee!

Find some Holiday Magic.

Photo Credit: @helloknoxville