Tips for Living and Working in Knoxville

Knoxville, a gorgeous Southern city located on the Tennessee River, is truly one of Tennessee’s hidden gems, as it is home to a plethora of spectacular sites. This town emerged from a rich history, and grew into a vibrant city with an even deeper culture for visitors to explore. Knoxville’s downtown area permits amazed visitors to marvel at the city’s many wonders, from the countless historic sites and art museums to the lush greenways, parks, and the unique local music scene.

Some well-loved sites in Knoxville include the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, both just a 90 minute drive outside the city. Nature-lovers will also enjoy Ijams Nature Center, which has a location right along the Tennessee River, close to downtown Knoxville.

Those interested in sports will get their fill of sports action with minor league baseball team, the Tennessee Smokies, professional hockey team, the Knoxville Ice Bears, and even the Hard Knox Roller Girls, Knoxville’s very own female roller derby team.

The city’s modern atmosphere, dished out with classic Southern charm and hospitality, would be an absolute dream to live with. In 2013, Knoxville earned a spot as one of the happiest cities to work in right now by It also earned a top 50 spot in Forbes’ list of the Best Places for Business and Careers, in addition the Top 10 Best Places to Retire by Knoxville was also listed as one of three cities that experienced the best recovery following the Great Recession, and was in the 10 top for economic growth potential.

There could be something gained from working in a lovely city like Knoxville; however, if you’re unsure of where to start, no worries. Here’s your basic guide on tips for living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Knoxville Basics

Thanks to the prominent university scene, Knoxville has a particularly youthful resident population. People younger than 20 years old in Knoxville represents a quarter of the population.

Additionally, Knoxville enjoys a cost of living that is lower than the national average, which is indicative of the affordable transportation, housing, and utility rates. In fact, the cost of living in Knoxville is significantly lesser than other metro areas around the United States.

Job Market

Knoxville’s unemployment rate is much lower than the national average. The city’s largest employers are the US Department of Energy and the Oak Ridge National Library. It is also worth noting that the majority of jobs in Knoxville are trades, health services, or government jobs. Many people in Knoxville also enjoy easy commutes. In fact, the average commuter drives only 19 minutes to work, much less than the national average.

Real Estate

As of 2017, Knoxville, Tennessee remains as one of the 10 hottest US real estate markets. This means that the value of homes in the city are quickly rising and, paired with the low unemployment rate and Knoxville’s economic growth, the city is one of the best places you can purchase a home in the country at the moment. In the past year, Knoxville’s income growth grew by 1.1% while its unemployment rate has dropped to 3.6%, a figure that’s below the national average.

That’s pretty great for a city like Knoxville. Let’s compare that to Orlando, Florida, a city that is similar in size. Orlando’s unemployment rate is around the same amount as Knoxville. It is approximately 3.8% and the average annual salary is at $43,000. That’s also about the same as Knoxville. Side by side, these two cities are fairly similar.

On average, the cost of a home in the US totals out to around $222,400. The average cost of rent is about $1,200 a month. Now, let’s take a look at Orlando, whose cost of housing is slightly below the national average.

The average price on a home that you will find in Orlando is totaled to be around $213,717. Additionally, the median monthly rent in Orlando is reported to be approximately $1,063. In Knoxville, the average price of a home is listed at $156,325, while the average price of rent is $756. Taking this side by side comparison and the average cost on the housing market today, this means that Knoxville, Tennessee has a better than average value on homes, whereas Orlando, Florida would have the opposite effect.

And with Knoxville’s current real estate market growing, it would be beneficial for those that have interest in investing in property to seriously consider it. Though the city had experienced some financial hardships way back when, it came back full force and now, investors are beginning to avert their attention to smaller real estate markets like in Knoxville.
Here are some great neighborhoods in Knoxville:

North Hills

North Hills is an area that’s slowly starting to flourish and develop its own personality. In this neighborhood, you’ll find young professionals, families, longtime residents, and a community of people with a passion for gardening. North Hills presents a very diverse population, with affordable homes that were built in the early 20th century. If you have any interest in a fixer upper project, you might want to check out this neighborhood.

Island Home

Island Home is a neighborhood that separates the city by the Tennessee River. It offers picturesque views of majestic mountains, and scenic driving routes. Island Home has gained recognition for gorgeous Bungalow-style homes, and the nearby wildlife sanctuary and hiking trails. You’ll expect to find young professionals, university professors, and community activists (with varying political ideologies).

Fourth and Gill

Fourth and Gill has a perfect location in the exciting downtown district of Knoxville. Over the past decades, downtown Knoxville has experienced an urban revitalization, drawing hundreds of residents to this area. This neighborhood is one of the most diverse to live in. It is home to students, families, working professionals, artists, and even those who just really love architecture.