Downtown Knoxville

In the heart of Knoxville, Downtown is a thriving melting pot of small businesses that will tug at your heart strings on every visit.

Downtown Knoxville is pretty much where you’d expect: right in center of the city and just north of the University of Tennessee. Downtown is easily accessible via I-40 and Kingston Pike (which turns into Cumberland Avenue and literally dead ends into it).

Downtown Knoxville has certainly come into its own in the past few years, growing from a sparsely inhabited semi-ghost town with very little commercial development into a thriving city center with loads of restaurants, shops and some very cool places to live.

While residential lofts and condos in downtown Knoxville are not necessarily new (folks have been living in The Pembroke for quite some time), the last 5 years have seen a huge rise in the conversion of older, sometimes historic and mostly commercial buildings into residential space. One example of this is The Holston, a former bank building dating from 1913, which now houses some of the most high end condos in the downtown area (complete with doorman service).

Other downtown residential buildings include the The Emporium Lofts on the 100 block of Gay St, Fire Street Lofts on Jackson Ave, The Cherokee Lofts on Church and Market, the Jacksonian Condos in the Old City, The Gallery Lofts, The Phoenix on Gay Street, and The Residences at Market Square, just to name a few.

There are also several nice places to live on the edges of downtown. The Candy Factory, located just next to the Knoxville Museum of Art, features lofts and condos and is also an easy walk to UT campus. And don’t forget the south side of the river: while it’s a longer walk to the heart of downtown, the ambitious (and long awaited) new development CityView at Riverwalk features luxury amenities and its very own boat dock, with slips available to residents at an additional cost.

Undoubtedly the best part of downtown living is being within walking distance of a myriad of restaurants, bars, art galleries, theaters and shops, not to mention the numerous events that periodically take place downtown.

Downtown residents only have to walk a few blocks in any direction to enjoy a variety of foods, from sushi at Nama to baba ganoush (and possibly belly dancing) at The Mirage with pizza at The Tomato Head, carne asada at Soccer Taco and lobster mac and cheese at Cafe 4 in between. And after dinner they can head to Old City Java or Coffee and Chocolate for coffee and dessert or skip the coffee and satisy their sweet tooth at Rita’s Ice or Coolato Gelato.

And Knoxville’s urban dwellers never have to worry about being bored. People watching on Market Square is an any time activity and there are plenty of new movies showing all day long at the downtown Regal Riviera Stadium theater as well. If live music and musicals (and sometimes older movies) are more their style, they can head to the historic Tennessee Theatre or the historic Bijou Theater, both located on Gay Street. There are also live musical acts featured regularly at Cafe 4’s Square Room as well as at The Pilot Light in the Old City.

Downtown residents need a little greenery as well, and they can get it at Krutch Park, right off Market Square. And downtown doggies also have a pretty sweet place to play at the new PetSafe Downtown Dog Park, located on the corner of Summit Hill and Central.

As if all that weren’t enough, art lovers get a special treat once a month, when downtown Knoxville hosts First Friday, when art galleries and businesses all over the downtown area offer an, “enjoyable gallery walk downtown” that features “performances, food specials and sales.”

While there’s lots of fun to be had downtown, the residents also have to have their basic supplies. Grocery shopping has always been somewhat lacking downtown, but recently Aisle Nine grocery in the Old City has stepped in to help fill the void, offering basic staples plus dairy, produce, meat and homemade goodies.

Most (but not all) condos and lofts in the downtown Knoxville area are currently zoned for Sequoyah Elementary School, South Doyle Middle School, and Austin East High School.

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  • a condo or loft with no or very little exterior maintenance
  • a completely walkable neighborhood
  • a location right in the thick of things, surrounded by restaurants, theaters and shops
  • something near the water
  • something with a fairly central location that’s convenient to several different areas
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