We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Linda, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Linda is from the United Kingdom, and submitted the following report about her trip to Knoxville, Tennessee. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English
Costs at Destination: Reasonable (local transportation, dining, tours, events and attractions)
Reasons to Visit Knoxville
I visited Knoxville, Tennessee primarily for the Rhythm N' Blooms (RnB) Music Festival that runs every April.
I stayed at the Crowne Plaza, Downtown, a relatively upscale hotel with good facilities, including a swimming pool and a gym.
The RnB festival runs for three days across different venues in the Old City area of downtown Knoxville. The music spans Americana, country, indie, blues, and this year some gypsy punk (from Gogol Bordello). I love the range of venues–from a large main stage under the road to a tiny patio at the back of a glassworks–as you can get up close and personal with the singers and often watch headliners watch each other!
Knoxville is also home to the Chalk Walk, where individuals and groups are allocated a piece of Market Square to color in chalk. Part of Art in Public Places, an annual exhibition featuring large-scale sculptures in Knoxville’s downtown public spaces, the contributions are stunning.
I ate at Pete's, a local diner. The family has been serving the area for 31 years and the breakfast is both delicious and super cheap! I also had brunch at Balter's Beerworks, a gas station that has been turned into a micro-brewery/restaurant.
Craft beer is having a bit of a surge in Knoxville. I visited two bars: The Casual Pint and Suttrees (a high gravity tavern). Each had more than 15 beers on tap when I stopped in.
Most of the downtown area is walkable, but there is also a free trolley bus service that you can hop on to get you around.
There are a few museums worth a visit: the East Tennessee History Center and James White's Fort. It's also worth a trip up the Sunsphere, one of only two remaining structures from the 1982 World's Fair. From the observation deck you can get great views of the Smoky Mountains and downtown Knoxville, and admission is free. Walking by the Tennessee River is beautiful too.
There's also a daily radio show, the Blue Plate Special, which is broadcast live from the Visitors Center. Here you can catch touring bands as they pass through the city, at no cost. If you hoot and holler loud enough, you can even hear yourself on the radio!
I found everyone in Knoxville very friendly and welcoming.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)