Knoxville surprised me. It has interesting buildings and parks. The leftovers from the 1982 World’s Fair include a grand plaza, an art museum, several fountains and a man-made river that is a nice addition to downtown. The iconic tower from the Fair remains, but is not grand or particularly creative. Downtown Knoxville has an old town area that has become a pedestrian walkway an in lined with restaurants for al fresco dining. It works better than many downtown pedestrian-oriented malls. The main street of downtown has many old buildings that also have become restaurants, and some have become loft apartments/condos. The Tennessee Theater is nicely restored and maintained, although the street facing box office is nonfunctional and houses chotskies. There is an interesting general store with –you guessed it- general merchandise. I bet there is great turnover in the restaurants, since there are so many and the population base is fairly small. I really like how the city has preserved its old storefronts and major portions of classic building interiors. There is, however, one of the ugliest Marriott hotels I have ever seen. I bet when it was built it was considered really avant garde, but that can only last so long!
All in all, Knoxville is a nice city.