Sandwiched between the rolling foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and a lazy bend in the Tennessee River, Knoxville is an easy-going town of twanging bluegrass and folk art, with some of the friendliest locals in Dixie. Its revitalized downtown is dotted with theaters, locavore restaurants and sidewalk cafes.
Much-loved Market Square is a hopping spot for shopping, drinking and dining, especially on the music-filled first Fridays of the month. Nearby, the East Tennessee History Museum has fascinating exhibits covering everything from pioneer days and the Civil War to moonshine and country music. Enjoy a bird's-eye view over the city from the observation deck of the Sunsphere, a remnant of the 1982 World's Fair.
The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is a slam dunk for fans, with videos and memorabilia of star players, plus courts where you can shoot some hoops yourself. Speaking of sports, Knoxville is Volunteer country – the University of Tennessee’s teams draw a frenzied crowd. Don't miss an opportunity to see a football game in 102,000-seat Neyland Stadium.