Knoxville is home to entertainment options and Knoxville date nights for all ages. While dinner at a chain restaurant and a visit to the Regal Cinema movie theater qualifies as a fine date night experience, this city has much more to offer.
Think outside the “dinner and a movie” box and do something a little more unexpected next time you go on a first date or see your significant other. Sometimes, opting for a local restaurant or visiting a museum will be enough to expand your horizons and experience something new. Not only will this help you get to know your city on a new level, it’ll provide an opportunity to get to know your date better.
From beautiful parks to local breweries and art galleries, Knoxville is full of places waiting to explored. Read our top ten date spots and start planning your next great night (or day) out.
1. Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum
The Knoxville Botanical Gardens are located on the historic Howell Nurseries. Dating back to 1768, the property is located just five minutes outside of downtown Knoxville and covers 47 acres including beautiful display gardens, the original Howell family home, a butterfly meadow, row gardens, stone terraces, walking trails, and historical horticulture. This exquisite property is run by donations, memberships, and grants, making it free to public.
2. Sunsphere/World’s Fair Park
Constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair, the Sunsphere is a 266 ft high structure that once offered a 360-degree view of World’s Fair Park, Downtown Knoxville, the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee River, and the Smoky Mountains. After decades of remaining closed after the fair, an observation deck on the 4th floor became open to the public in 2005. After visiting this local monument, take a walk down to World’s Fair Park. Located on the site of the World’s Fair, this park is meticulously cared for and features a large fountain on the northern end of the lawn.
3. Market Square for a Knoxville Date Night
Looking for an afternoon of leisurely shopping and people watching? Market Square, located in downtown Knoxville, is packed with interesting boutiques, local restaurants, and plenty of open air seating. Plan ahead and visit on the day of the farmer’s market to stock up fresh produce for a home-cooked meal or stop by during one of the many music and art festivals. This is the perfect spot for a date any time of the day and offers plenty of entertainment to promote conversation.
4. First Fridays
On the first Friday of every month, Knoxville comes to life for First Fridays. This monthly art walk first began in downtown but has since spread throughout the city. Along with the many galleries and venues featuring local artwork, enjoy performance art, live music, and street food. If you’d prefer to have a specific destination in mind, visit the Emporium Center. On every First Friday, this venue hosts a new exhibition, live music, dancing, art demonstrations, and more.
5. Ijams Nature Center
Ijams is a 315-acre nature center with numerous activities you and your date will enjoy. Hike the 12 miles of trails that wind through the diverse landscape of woodlands, meadows, ponds, and the Tennessee River Bank. Take a bike ride to the Rock Quarry Gorge and explore the beautiful views from the rock bride. Rent a canoe, kayak, or paddle board and spend an afternoon on Mead’s Quarry Lake, or climb Ijams Crag, Knoxville’s only outdoor climbing area.
6. Lonesome Dove
Try a different sort of dining experience at Lonesome Dove. This restaurant and bar is located at 100 N Central Street. You can savor classic and new tastes that showcase Love’s creative use of bold flavors, wild game, and signature wood-fired cooking techniques, along with a diverse wine program. The menu is divided into several sections, starting with Love’s proprietary Wild Game Fettine. It features choice cuts spit-roasted over open mesquite fire.
7. Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern
Are you and your date craft beer fanatics? With highly educated bartenders and the best beer selection in town, Suttree’s Gravity Tavern is sure to have a beer on their 32 rotating taps that you’ll love. Along with their extensive beer selection, they also offer top-shelf bourbons that change monthly. If you’re hungry, do not forget that Suttree’s also has great ramen. Whether you opt for vegetarian, spicy, seafood, bacon, or pork belly, you’ve found a perfect match for your beer selection.
8. Knoxville Museum of Art
Overlooking the site of the 1982 World Fair Park in downtown Knoxville, the Knoxville Museum of Art is home to several permanent exhibitions that celebrate the local art of East Tennessee. With its attention to local, American, and International art, the KMA an ideal place for Knoxville natives and tourists alike.
9. Maple Hall Bowling a Perfect Knoxville Date Night
If you’re looking for a spirited bowling experience, look no further! Maple Hall boasts 11 lanes, each one equipped with leather couches, HD TVs from every angle, and relaxing lounge areas. Downstairs, you’ll find a full bar and fresh, made-from-scratch menu. You can enjoy these items at the lanes, bars, tables, or cozy lounge areas. But that’s not all – upstairs, their cocktail lounge awaits! Featuring lounge space, life-sized board games, and classic game night options, this space is perfect for unwinding. Enjoy a top-shelf drink at the full bar or take in some fresh air on the patio. So whether you’re in the mood for some bowling, drinks, or a bite to eat, they have got you covered. Go experience the fun for yourself!
10. River Sports Outfitters Climbing Center
Take your date to new heights at Knoxville’s indoor climbing gym. River Sports has all the equipment you need, 5,000 square feet of climbing surface, 15-20 top rope areas, over 2,000 holds, and climbing routes for all levels. This activity will give you an opportunity to work together and is sure to get your blood flowing.
With this list of Knoxville date night ideas, you’re sure to impress your date with creativity. A fun, unique date idea says much more to your significant other than just the classic dinner and a movie. If you’re lucky enough to call Knoxville home, the opportunities for things to do are endless. Are you ready to make the move to Knoxville? Contact us today for any question you might have!