10 Reasons We Loved Vacationing In Knoxville, Tennessee


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For us, our night in Knoxville, TN was supposed to be just an overnight stop along the way. It turns out it was more than just a little vacation instead. We were able to stay in an unexpectedly great hotel and explore the downtown area, including a really special area Market Square!

Downtown Knoxville Tennessee

Quick note: I’ve started and stopped this series of posts about our cross-country trip a few times over the past few months. Every time we feel like we’re headed toward more casual travel, another (rather predictable) curve ball is thrown in and I hold off on posting until things settle down again from a travel perspective.

While in Knoxville, we intended to use the station to catch up on rest to get ready for the next section of our cross-country road trip. We ended up feeling relaxed and ready to go – but that wasn’t from getting some extra sleep. It was from being in a place where we could really relax and unwind, right into the afternoon, evening, and into the next morning. Although we were only there for a day, we were able to explore downtown Knoxville a bit because our hotel was very central in the downtown area.

More on Knoxville.

If you are not familiar with Knoxville, it is located in Knox County which is about an hour from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and also from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. With its location just off Interstate 40, it’s a good place to stop for an night on your way to or from vacation or a weekend getaway – if you’re lucky enough to live near you.

For us, our enjoyment in Knoxville, TN was heightened by our unexpectedly wonderful hotel stay and our time in the private hotel Market Square!

We loved this hotel so much that I had to share a mini review of Hyatt Place Knoxville/Downtown.

Admittedly, I love the Hyatt brand, but I’m not usually a big fan of Hyatt Place/House. It’s perfect to stay the night before a flight but I wouldn’t look for it for longer periods. When we were leaving Hyatt Place Knoxville/Downtown, we didn’t want to leave. We were pleased to stay here for a longer period.

First, the lobby was great and had a lot of elements that make it feel like a boutique hotel. Second, all the staff there did their best to say hello, help and make sure we and our fellow guests had a really great stay.

The rooms had all the features and design you would expect from Hyatt Place, but they were also very clean and well kept. In the normal way, we had two rooms next to each other, and it worked perfectly too.

We were upgraded to a room on the top floor with a view of South Gay and we all loved the view of the street below. When you stay here, be sure to ask if there are any rooms with a street view.

The Market Square in Knoxville, Tennessee is within 3 minutes’ walk of Hyatt Place Knoxville.

We ate in the square for all of our meals while we were in Knoxville. It was such a great feeling and so lively, I can’t wait to see him again during normal times.

We were really excited to try the food at The Tomato Head when we heard they had vegetarian options. It did not disappoint!

When I was looking for things to do in Knoxville, knowing we would have an afternoon to spend there, the first thing that came up was that we’d be there while the Market Square takes place on Firefly Nights.

Firefly Nights brings the twinkling of lights to a really cool area. We got there a bit early before completely dark so plan to be there at or after sunset and bring your camera.

There are also statues, shopping, ice cream and more in a short walking area.

We just walked around after our arrival and the next morning before heading back on our road trip.

We also ate at Kabuki Restaurant and the Japanese food was good. They were even able to accommodate vegetarian/vegan diets.

When we return we want to eat at one of the rooftop restaurants!

Amy recommends having a cup of ice cream at Cruze Farm Ice Cream!

If we could only spend a couple of hours more in Knoxville, we would also have loved to visit the East Tennessee Historical Museum and Museum. It is about a minute’s walk from Hyatt Place Knoxville in the opposite direction from Market Square.

We really enjoyed our quick visit to Knoxville, TN and look forward to returning!

A quick note about masking and the images in this post:

Amy was not eligible for a vaccine yet on this flight (June 2021) so she would wear a mask any time she could come into contact with those outside of our household. Outside she was wearing a cloth mask and inside a high-quality mask that provided better protection. To protect it, we also wore high-quality masks inside even though we had all been fully vaccinated.

At the last writing and publication of this post in January 2021, we are all fully vaccinated, and adults are boosted. We all wear N95/KN94/KN95 masks anytime we are around those outside. The images in this post reflect a different time in this pandemic with different variables and hidden recommendations.



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