Last month, we discussed the various neighborhoods in Knoxville from Downtown and moving west. This month, we want to walk you through the various neighborhoods in and around Knoxville on the north, south, and east sides of the city. Many of these neighborhoods have experienced rapid growth and development over the last several years, with many more plans for expansion still in the works. Take a look and let us know if we missed anything or what some of your favorite spots are in these great areas throughout our beautiful city of Knoxville. 

The Old City

Where it is: Just five minutes or so (and walking distance) northeast of downtown, the heart of the Old City is across Central and Jackson Avenues. 

The history: The Old City has a rich and wacky history. It once contained the city’s largest collection of saloons (yes, saloons) and brothels. It also was once the meat-packing district and home to various industrial buildings and the garment district. This section of Knoxville is now incredibly vibrant, rich in culture, and hosts many of Knoxville’s events like races, cultural festivals, live music and plays, art walks, and more. 

Things to see/do: There are some really wonderful and unique eateries, watering holes, and boutiques throughout this neighborhood. This neighborhood always has something going on like DollyFest, the celebration of all things Dolly Parton. 

4th and Gill

Where it is: 4th and Gill is the area just north of downtown that is delineated approximately between I-40, Broadway, Central, and Hall of Fame Boulevard. 

The history: This historic Knoxville neighborhood was initially developed in the 1880s as a residential area for the growing middle class. It still contains most of its original houses with a unique architectural spread that lasted from about 1880 to 1940 and has more than 280 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Things to see/do: If you’ve had enough of looking at some really beautiful architecture on one of their architectural or garden tours, this pleasant and walkable neighborhood hosts a series of breweries, coffee shops, and small boutiques to keep you coming back. 

Happy Holler

Where it is: This section of Knoxville is just slightly north and west of the 4th and Gill neighborhood. 

The history: In the early-1900s, this was a strip of commercial buildings. Now, it’s evolved to be an area of Knoxville filled with unique cafes and bakeries, vintage clothing stores, and antique shops. 

Things to see/do: Knoxville Children’s Theatre is in the Happy Holler, along with Central Cinema. Three Rivers Market is Knoxville’s community food co-op, featuring a wide range of healthy and sustainably-produced foods. 

North Knoxville

Where it is: North Knoxville is a vague reference to the north/south area around Broadway (also US-441). 

The history: With a number of unique neighborhoods throughout, which can include Happy Holler and 4th and Gill, along with Emory Place, Uptown North, and Old North Knoxville, many of these neighborhoods emerged as “streetcar suburbs” after the invention of the automobile, after the Industrial Revolution. 

Things to see/do: Well, you might want to start off with Knoxville’s answer to hot chicken at Jackie’s Dream, some of the best Mexican food in town, art galleries, the Knoxville Fine Arts and Crafts Center, and a ton of breweries (have you ever heard of the “Knoxville Ale Trail”?). 

South Knoxville

Where it is: The SoKno (South Knoxville) neighborhood is the area of Knoxville which lies south of the Tennessee River. South Knoxville connects to downtown by four bridges: Gay Street Bridge, the Henley Bridge, the James C. Ford Memorial Bridge, and the J. E. “Buck” Karnes Bridge. This area is mostly concentrated around Chapman Highway. 

The history: Population was spartan before the 19th century because the bridges hadn’t yet been built. Recently, there have been a number of economic initiatives that focused on improving the waterfront area, developing the Urban Wilderness trails, and making the area more accessible. 

Things to see/do: By the time we publish this, there will undoubtedly be new things to do, see, and eat in SoKno. This area is rapidly expanding and many new extensions of much-loved Knoxville boutiques and restaurants are expanding into SoKno. Ijams Nature Center is located in South Knoxville and is arguably one of the most beautiful places in all of Knoxville. 

East Knoxville

Where it is: East Knoxville is east of the city’s downtown area and refers to the part of Knoxville east of First Creek, which parallels the eastern portion of downtown at Neyland Drive and James White Parkway.

The history: Magnolia Avenue was home to the city’s first electric streetcar, a wide avenue lined with magnolia trees. While it may not be the most bustling part of Knoxville, its history is rich. WBIR did an awesome story on the history of East Knoxville

Things to see/do: Zoo Knoxville has its home in East Knoxville. This area also has the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, Chilhowee Park, and the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. 

Fountain City

Where it is: Fountain City is in north Knoxville and was formally annexed by the City of Knoxville in 1962. It consists of the area at the end of Broadway, north of I-640 at Sharp’s Ridge, past north Knoxville, and ends at Halls Crossroads. 

The history: Fountain City was once called the Fountainhead, so named for the water forming the source of First Creek, which originated in what is now Fountain City Park. It was an area that became popular for religious revivals and fostered a reputation for moral and natural cleanliness. 

Things to see/do: Some of Knoxville’s oldest restaurants have made their home in Fountain City, including Sam & Andy’s (founded in 1946) and Inskip Grill (1967). It also has some great parks, including Fountain City Park and Adair Park. 

So what do you think? Did we hit all the neighborhoods? Did you think of any that we missed? Let us know and we’ll be sure to feature it in next month’s collection of neighborhoods.