our hipster tourist guide of knoxville


I’m an artist from Vancouver Canada, and I will be visiting Knoxville in May.  I was looking up arts and culture in Knoxville when I stumbled upon your bog.  I am wondering if you could do a post on a hipster tourist guide for Knoxville, as I am hoping to see indie art and find great restaurants when I visit. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,

keep knoxville questionable

So here it is, The Hipster Tour of Knoxville:
1.  Find hip music at The Blue Plate Special.  Six days a week (no show on Sundays)at the Tourist Center on the corner of Gay Street and Summit Hill.  Stop in at noon for a live radio performance.  See famous and also not-so-famous acts and enjoy the some east Tennessee twang and a pretty pair of cowboy boots from Red Hickey
2.  Eat local at Just Ripe.  I recommend the Quesadilla. Or the Tomato Head in the Market Square.
3.  Be seen  at the Farmer’s Market.  Saturdays and Wednesdays.  Good food, art to browse, and interesting people to talk with.  The bakery man with the white boxes is a favorite market staple.
4.  Wear skinny jeans to The Pilot Light.  We hardly ever go because we’re on the same schedule as chickens.  But if you’re feeling foxy, go see a show.
5.  Dance ironically to pop music at Sassy Anne’s in Fourth and Gil.  You will also have discovered one of the best old neighborhoods in Knoxville.  You can sweat off the PBRs because the old Victorian house gets pretty crowded.

N. Broadway Felini Kroger (where you can sit in a performance art piece while you shop)

6.  Swap things.  This one is selfish.  I looked at your etsy shop (poodlebreath.etsy.com) and love what you make, if you see anything you’d like on my etsy, let’s have an art swap.
7.  Shop local at the Morelock Music.  They’ve got a great vintage clothing section and a good collection of instruments.  Then skip across the street to Mast General.  Browse a while, then rest in a rocking chair and browse some more.
8.  See art at the Knoxville Museum of Art.  We have a really wonderful museum, especially for our size of a city.  And its free everyday, amazing.  After your visit you can walk around World’s Fair Park and (I think) visit the Sunsphere (that big golden ball).  The University of Tennessee is not far off (in the other direction), I’d walk through the neighborhood (Fort Sanders) to get there.
9. Find Indie bands/art/everything  at the Birdhouse, an old Victorian house in Historic Fourth and Gil converted into an artist co op.  Reading the community board there or pilfering through the free rack of music and books would be a good place to start your tour.
10. For a drink stop the Public House, and while you’re at it visit TVB (Tennessee Valley Bikes) nextdoor in the scruffy edge of downtown.  Here is probably the hub of most cool people in Knoxville.
11. Three Rivers Market co op is the place to get some food and read another good community board.  (Felini Kroger is a better place to have an experience of bizarre human encounters).
This would be a good start.  For an exhaustive list of what Knoxville thinks about itself, read the 2012 best of Metro Pulse which just come out a week or so ago.  Hope you have a good trip and feel free to look us up at our home studio, the Mason Jar in Historic Old North Knoxville.
and READERS please chime in!

Reader Comments (4)

  1. Jon U said:

    Don’t forget about Tomato Head!! I’d also throw Relix and Preservation Pub in the mix, and last but not least, Hillbilly Jam at Jig & Reel


    • Ashley said:

      Yep those are good ones too.


  2. Sophie said:

    I might be moving to Knoxville this summer (so soon!) because of my boyfriends job and we were wondering where in the area is best for finding a house. We are coming from Austin by way of New York City so we would really love a neighborhood with lots of walkability and shops/bars.. we really want a house but want to be close to downtown.. I’m not at all familiar with Knoxville so any tips would be great! We are in our twenties so we’re really just looking for a fun environment with a music scene.



    • Ashley said:

      check out fourth and gill, old north knoxville, park ridge, the fort, and mechanicsville. happy hunting and you are pre-welcomed to knoxville


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