10 Date Night Ideas in Knoxville

As one of the largest cities in the Appalachian region, Knoxville is home to entertainment options 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

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. Knox Mason

Try a different sort of dining experience at Knox Mason. This full-service restaurant and bar, located in the 100 Block of Gay St., offers a seasonal menu stocked with Southern favorites. Their delicious dishes are made with top quality ingredients from local farms and suppliers. Expect down-home dishes like cornmeal crusted catfish, pork rinds, fried green tomatoes, smoked chicken breast, and glazed vegetables. For dessert, indulge in banana pudding, buttermilk panna cotta, or derby pie.

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. Drink

No, our date idea is not to just go drinking, but rather to visit the place called Drink (and perhaps enjoy a libation or two). This hidden gem is the place to go for a nice dinner and drinks. While the atmosphere at Drink is comfortable and laid back, this is the perfect opportunity for you and your date to get dressed up. Expect delicious craft cocktails made by trained mixologists, tapas style shared plates, an extensive wine menu, and delicious desserts.

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 date ideas in Knoxville, 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!