Knoxville, Tenn.
October 25, 2011 9:02 PM   Subscribe

What to do in Knoxville, TN around Thanksgiving time?

Once again, I'll be traveling to the Knoxville / Oak Ridge area of east Tennessee for Thanksgiving this year. I need recommendations for day trips (within an hour's drive from Harriman), excluding generic shopping, vol football, and the radlabs in Oak Ridge. I wouldn't mind hearing about good places for hiking, antique hunting, and not-to-be-missed places to eat.
posted by crunchland to Travel & Transportation around Knoxville, TN (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For hiking, Ijams Nature Center, ( - sorry, can't link from this computer - specifically the Mead's Quarry side, which is a lot more wild.
posted by frobozz at 7:06 AM on October 26, 2011


-Ye Olde Steakhouse
-Sam and Andy's, unless you're horrified by the idea of a steamed deli sandwich. It's good, I promise.
-Cardin's Drive-In. This might break your hour mark, as it's way the hell out in North Knox County (near Strawberry Plains/Mascot), but the milkshakes are worth it.
-Petro's, natch.
-Buddy's Bar B Q
-Humphammer's. A little out of the way, but I grew up in Powell, and I want a Humpburger RIGHT NOW. Also, the rest of that guy's series is worthwhile reading - I've been to the Pizza Palace too, but not since I was a little girl, so I don't remember it.


-Yee Haw Industries downtown, if you like letterpress artwork.
-Mast General Store (because you need a Cheerwine)

I grew up in Knoxville, but haven't lived there in ten years, so you might want to double-check some of these suggestions - I'm reasonably sure Hump's is still there, but don't know for sure. Also, I see you live in Northern Virginia like I do, so enjoy the friendliness that we don't get here!
posted by timetoevolve at 7:17 AM on October 26, 2011

More foods:
Sitar, easily the best Indian food in town, everything from scratch.
Ali Baba's Time Out Deli. No website, but fast, good Mediterranean food for generations.
Taste of Thai, just doubled their dining area and they're still packed all the time. Cheap and delicious.
You could have some terrific Mexican food at Pelancho's and then walk across the parking lot to the artiest movie theater in town. Chez Guevara is also outstanding.
If you want sushi, you want Nama.
Linderhof serves up epic portions of good German food.

If you enjoy Sunday brunch, some good options are Sunspot for cheapish and healthy, The Northshore Brasserie for super fancy, and Copper Cellar in the middle.

I've only been to Harriman once, but I seem to remember that it's awfully near Frozen Head State Park. That's a lovely park with several waterfalls and rocks to climb.

I'm not sure how antique hunting is typically done, but you have a lot of options for flea markets around here, particularly Green Acres. There's also the old city. It has several stores that carry antiques and "junk," though they're often open unusual hours; there are plenty of independently-owned bars, clubs, and restaurants to hang out at there too. If you end up there, do check out Barley's. There is no maker of great pizza here, but Barley's is a contender.

It's still early to use event calendars really, but Metro Pulse always does a good job of keeping track of that stuff.
posted by heatvision at 8:56 AM on October 26, 2011

If you're a walking &| bicycling person, Knoxville has an extensive network of greenbelt trails. If you'd like some world-class hiking, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a short drive (okay, a medium drive from Orc Ridge.) If you get out that way, be sure to drive through Cades Cove for historical setting and high potential for bear and deer sightings. If you run, the Knoxville Track Club is hosting an 8k on Thanksgiving day.

The Fantasy of Trees is a Christmas wonderland, a combination of craft show, Christmas festival and fundraiser for Children's Hospital. It's a good place for non-Grinches. Also, the Ice Bears (minor league hockey) are celebrating their tenth year in Knoxville. Friday the 25th of November they will play the Mississippi River Kings, with wiener dog races between periods. How can you go wrong with that?
posted by workerant at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2011

I would offer some warning about going to the Smokies or Cades Cove or anywhere around Sevierville / Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area during Thanksgiving weekend, mostly because of crowds and traffic. It's often crowded and loaded with traffic, but a holiday weekend and a super busy shopping season with all those outlet malls? Avoid like the plague, I think.

That said, eat at Petro's, if only for me. :)

(Disclosure - grew up in Sevierville, parents still live in the area. They are planning on visiting me in Nashville for Thanksgiving, in part to avoid all that mess.)
posted by southpaw at 12:50 PM on October 26, 2011

Excellent. Thanks to those who wrote something. I'm looking forward to exploring.
posted by crunchland at 3:11 PM on October 26, 2011

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