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The Tennessean Hotel

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Gemstone Collection

Explore The Property

Like a Local

Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.


Long’s Drug Store

This old-fashioned family-run drugstore and soda fountain has been the place where Knoxville residents have been coming since 1956 to throw back a malt or a cheeseburger, catch up with neighbors, and fill prescriptions. Locals rave about their giant two-dollar milkshakes that features unique flavors, like chocolate-cherry-banana and “Big Orange.”

East Tennessee History Museum 

Where else can you expect to find Davy Crockett’s rifle, a real log cabin, a stocked corner drugstore, and Dolly Parton’s red dress all under one roof? Only at this museum in the heart of downtown Knoxville that documents 300 years of life in the region of East Tennessee.

Maple Hall Bowling Alley 

This boutique 11-lane bowling alley nestled in the basement level of downtown’s historic JCPenney building is nothing like your cheesy neon-lit neighborhood alley. Brick walls, blond wood floors, a concrete bar, and brown leather couches give it an urban feel. An added bonus: The drink menu serves Big Lebowski–themed cocktails.

Peter Kern Library 

Named after a postwar German cobbler with a big walrus moustache, this secret bar is tucked behind a hidden door behind the front desk of unassuming hotel. Inside, you’ll find a well-stocked bar set under the watching eye of a painting of Kern himself, bookshelves, tufted gold sofas, and prohibition-themed drink menus hidden in old World Book Encyclopedias.

The Weekender

How to spend 36 hours in Knoxville with The Tennessean as your base camp.



7 p.m. | Entertainment at Sassy Ann’s
This 120-year three-story Victorian home was converted into a dance club and music venue in the 1970s – and a club it remains with two bars, a kitchen, and a dance floor/stage area overlooked by a wraparound balcony. Each Friday kicking off around 6 p.m., expect some sort of special entertainment going on here: retro-themed dance nights, guest deejays, open mic performers, even a “bring you own vinyl” spinning party.


9 a.m. | Coffee at the Golden Roast 
University of Tennessee’s quintessential campus coffee shop roasts its beans in small batches in an antique roaster, then brews it up on the spot for the freshest coffee you’ll have in town. Try the hazelnut latte. 

10 a.m. | Stroll Sequoyah Hills Park
This 87-acre scenic tree-lined park runs along the Tennessee River and features hills, quaint older homes (some that date back to the 1920s), and open spaces – ideal for wandering or soaking up the sun. A nature trail winds along the banks of the river and skirts passed an old Indian mound (some speculate this area, below the surface, is littered with Indian artifacts).

12 p.m. | Lunch in Market Square
After perusing the eclectic blend of stores and galleries in this downtown Knoxville district that is alive with outdoor music and performers, grab lunch at Tupelo Honey Café. The eatery features sidewalk seating, where you can dig into creative takes on classic Southern dishes – like goat-cheese grits and brown butter Brussels sprouts – while you people watch. 

2 p.m. | Knoxville Museum of Art
Built on Knoxville’s 1982 World's Fair site, this steel-and-concrete building faced in Tennessee pink marble is the crown jewel of the city. In addition to five galleries and a “Sculpture Terrace,” the museum also features a Great Hall home to a panoramic view of the city and the largest figural glass assemblage in existence. 

7 p.m. | Dinner at Stock & Barrel
Bourbon and burgers are the specialty of this small wood and brick-lined restaurant. Some 80 different types of bourbon are available from small batch to the most popular brands, while 20 different types of burgers are made from all-natural, pasture-fed meat sourced from a family farm in the neighboring town of Blaine.


8 a.m. | Breakfast at Gourmet’s Market & Cafe
Knoxville’s favorite all-day breakfast joint makes an epic plate of French toast that is a Sunday staple for locals: several thick slices of Italian bread come stuffed with Nutella, soaked in a vanilla custard, and grilled golden brown. Get there as close to 8 a.m., when they open, to beat the rush. 

Flavor of…

The best food artisans, farms, and local markets.


The Coop Café

Who knew chicken salad could be so versatile? At this small café decorated in bright colors and chicken wire, more than 10 different chicken salad options are available to eat alone in a sandwich or to take home in a to-go container. Try the curry-cranberry-pecan flavor, which is kind of like Thanksgiving dinner meets a taste of India.


Photo Courtesy of Willy’s Butcher Shop

Willy’s Butcher Shop

Knoxville’s one true butcher shop is run by Johnson and Wales formally trained chef William Carithers. Expect unique cuts of meat, like long bone cowboy rib-eye, whole pig heads, cold-smoked pork chops, Berkshire pork cuts, and more. But what master butcher Willy really prides himself on is his variety of house-made sausages – you can always anticipate anywhere between five and ten unique options each day. 


Market Square Farmers’ Market

Stretching through the heart of Market Square, Krutch Park, and down to Clinch Avenue, this open-air farmers’ market features only vendors from within a 150-mile radius. Produce varies by the season and includes everything from ornamental plants and coffee to pastries and vegetables. 


Wild Love Bakehouse

You can see your flakey croissant or sweet or savory galette being made through the large glass wall that peeks into the kitchen prep area of this bright contemporary bakery, featuring wood, white handmade tiles, and clean minimal design. Leave with an artisan pudding, colorful salad, or locally smoked fish sandwich from their grab-‘n’-go cold case. 


The Adventurist

When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do. 


White-Water Raft the Upper Pigeon River | Smoking Mountain Outdoors

The lower Pigeon may be tame, but the upper is where rafters who want to earn their bragging rights go to dominate Class 3 and 4 rapids. A six-and-a-half-mile trip on this section takes paddlers through 70 rapids of big waves, drops, and plenty of surfing. 


Climb Chimney Tops Trail | Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The steep two-mile trail to the exposed overlook is one of the Smoky’s most popular hikes. The first mile is relatively tame, but the last mile requires you to climb more than 960 feet – an elevation gain that is comparable to what you’ll find on Colorado’s famous 14,000-footers. The final stretch to the summit requires you to do some actual scrambling over rock, so exercise caution.


Mountain Bike South Loop | Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness 
Part of the 1,000-acre Urban Wilderness Corridor, the South Loop section offers approximately 35 miles of natural surface single-track trails. The main 12.5-mile South Loop trail connects parks, neighborhoods, schools, and natural areas for a slew of stopping points along the way.


A Gemstone Collection Hotel

The Tennessean Hotel, 531 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN 37902   P: (844) 413-0026