Knoxville, Tennessee

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What's it like to live in Knoxville?

What is it like to live in Knoxville, TN?

I’ve just read many answers and I agree with all but one of them. That was so negative that I wonder what his deal is.

Anyway, I agree that Knoxville has something for everyone, no matter who you are or where you hail from. I’m a Yankee transplant (40 years ago) and I love the four distinct seasons (with little need to own a snow shovel). I love the nearby hiking in the Smokies and boating on the many TVA lakes. I love the resurgence of downtown with many apartments and lofts that are popular with young professionals. There’s the Symphony plus dozens of venues for up-and-coming performers from country to edgy.

We have neighborhoods from urban-historic to over-the-top luxurious. There’s shopping from unique boutiques in the Old City/Market Square to big box stores in major shopping areas, and all in between. The University of Tennessee attracts a diverse student body as well as world-class speakers and classy events.

Commuting is relatively a breeze. A traffic jam on I-40 and I-75 of more than 15-minutes is a big deal. Getting from home to downtown or another section of the city is pretty easy, and soon you would suss out all kinds of alternate routes if necessary.

Oh, did I mention food? We have probably more unique restaurants, locally owned, here than anywhere. No matter your taste, you’ll find it, from felafels to fried green tomatoes to haute French cuisine. And microbrews by the dozens.

Zoo? Famous for breeding and rearing red pandas. Museums? Yes, and yes. Oh, and the Tennessee River and its paddle wheel dinner cruise. You could get on a Huckleberry Finn raft and float from here to New Orleans.

Believe it or not, I’m not with the Chamber of Commerce or a realty company. I’m just thrilled that fate brought me to Knoxville those decades ago. And, oh yeah, Go Big Orange! (Hope you like the SEC)

What is it like to live in Knoxville, TN?

The first thing you have to understand is that Knoxville is a university town with the University of a Tennessee having it’s main campus located in the downtown area. This brings a lot of young people to the city. The university also brings music, theater, and sports to the area. Outside the university there is a thriving local music scene. The city is close to the Great Smokey Mountain National Zpark so outside activities such as camping and hiking are plentiful. Downtown has reimagined and reinvented itself to be a thriving commercial, culinary, and arts center but still the historic mountain culture is the overwhelming cultural influence.

I'm going to Knoxville, TN. Where's the best place to live?

It depends on where you work and what you like to do. Knoxville traffic is a far cry from the congestion of Atlanta or LA. But, it can still be a chore to have to drive from West Knoxville to downtown at 5:30 pm every day. But, Knoxville is not over run with “bad neighborhoods” so there will be something that you find suitable that is near pretty much anywhere you you want to be.

If you’re moving here permanently or for several years, then I would start by signing a 6 month lease on a house or apartment that is convenient to work/school. Then see what it’s like to live there and go to the places you like to go for social/recreational activities.

If you like outdoor activities like mountain biking or trail running then South Knoxville (C.) could be a good option, but it’s kind of far to get to West Knox (Farragut) every day (which is west of anything in the image above). I just recently moved downtown to the old city (D.) because there’s very little traffic slow-down on my way to/from work in Powell (North of this map) and I can walk or bike to 90% of the places I like to hang out, ride, run, etc. While this was a good move for me, it wouldn’t be great for everyone. I moved here from the Green area labeled B (zip codes here: 37921 & 37909). In my opinion that’s the area that is most conveniently located to almost every part of Knoxville. The area in red (A.) is called Sequoia Hills. The houses here are older, pretty nice, and mostly very large and expensive. However, there are also some reasonably priced apartments in this area. My sister-in-law and several friends live there and they like it. It is walking distance to parks, walking/running trails, a few markets and restaurants, and the river. The 4th and Gill area is also an option. It’s walking distance to downtown, local breweries and beer gardens, and restaurants. The houses here are largely older bungalow style. The area in brown (E.) is on the north edge of campus and is known as The Fort. I only mention it in case you are coming here to go to the University of Tennessee. Otherwise… Not there.

There’s much more to Knoxville than this. If you will be working in Oak Ridge, or West Knoxville then look into Farragut or Hardin Valley. If you will work in Powell, Halls, or North Knoxville then realtor websites like realtor dot com can be useful in refining your search. Good luck, and welcome to Knoxville!

What's it like to live in Knoxville?

I've been here around 5 years now and can say that I do like living here. If you're not overly offended to the color orange, you will find most everyone here extremely friendly. I've lived downtown and loved it. But, for convenience, it is somewhat lacking (there isn't a grocery store within a few miles). The Old City is a fun little area full of eccentric folks, drunks, bums, etc.

I've moved out to the burbs and have found it to be your typical existence. You can get a lot of house for the dollar here, and if you're in the right areas, crime isn't really an issue at all. I find west knoxville to be nice, but overly congested in areas and not overly worth paying the premium to live there.

Regarding religion, racism, and politics, if you ignore the lunatic fringe, you will find it to be a relatively open town for MOST views. Obviously it's not like Asheville where topless protests are allowed for just about anything, but there is a level of discourse in the city that I find to be respectful. Please note that I say the city. The county is obviously going to be a bit less progressive, and the further you go from the city, the more conservative it gets.

Pros & Cons of Living in Knoxville, TN