Knoxville Visitors Guide

The Swank Pad Knoxville Visitor’s Guide


Vintage Knoxville Google Map is a way to tour various remnants of the 50s and 60s in town. There are neighborhoods with Mid-Century Modern homes, vintage neon signs, shopping, and other mid-century points of interest.

Knoxville is becoming a destination and visitors want to plan their trip. So for those who are interested in vintage shopping, vintage touring, great cocktails, fun destinations and good food, we’ve put together this guide. If you are a fan of the Swank Pad, this is what we recommend for you.

Best Knoxville Vintage Shopping

Best Knoxville Cocktails:

There are a couple of rooftop bars now to try for the heck of it. One in the Hyatt and the other in the Hilton, both on Gay St.

  • Tern Club135 S Gay St. –  The best bar in Knoxville. Drinks are somewhat rum-centric, but they make anything well.
  • Public House 212 W. Magnolia Ave. – A variety of generally good and interesting cocktails and appetizers, but they struggle with consistency.
  • Peter Kern Library 407 Union Ave inside the Oliver Hotel – Entrance is via the alley beside the hotel, you may need the buzzer. Small and interesting “speak-easy” with craft cocktails. Can get really crowded on weekend evenings. Drink list is short.
  • Maple Hall414 S Gay St. – Bowling alley and bar in the basement. The Parlor in the back is cocktails, but you can get drinks at the alley too. Quality and good prices.

Unique and Great Knoxville Eats:

Market Square


Bounded by Clinch, Market, and Union Ave. Tupelo Honey is highly rated, but not by locals. Best restaurants here: Stock and Barrel has the best burgers, Flying Tomato for pizza. Inside the lobby of the Hotel Oliver is a speakeasy called the Peter Kern Library. Good craft cocktails Entrance is via a buzzer in the alley between the parking garage and the hotel. First entry on the right.

Various Great Mexican Restaurants:

We seem to subsist on tacos lately and try them all over town. These places are cheap and anti-fancy, but good.

Best Knoxville BBQ:


The other food we eat a lot of. There are 2 places we recommend:

Best Knoxville Coffee:

Some good local choices:

Best Knoxville Beer:

We don’t drink much beer, so our opinions are based a lot more on the service, location, aesthetics, and other qualities that a more hard core beer drinker may not care as much about.

Knoxville Things To Do:

I’d suggest going up in the Sunsphere observation deck. Also the Museum of Art is free. Lots of stuff along Gay Street, Market Square, and down in the Old City.

Up Central there is Magpie’s on the right for great sweet treats. At Baxter Ave. is Three Rivers Market on the right. A Coop with a salad and hot bar and all the organic and local stuff you could want. We eat there several times a week. Sort of across Central and on the left it Retrospect Vintage. Raven Records on the right. Central Flats has great wings, baked. Further up is Timewarp Tearoom on left, then XYZ, the top gay club in town with a fun campy drag show. About another ¼ mile up on the left is Mid Mod Collective with higher end vintage and a good coffee shop next door.

There is a walkway all along the river near downtown. Park at Calhoun’s and walk around.

  • East TN Historical Society and Museum601 S Gay St. – A great local centered museum with fun, funky and eclectic exhibits.
  • Knoxville Visitors Center 301 S Gay St. – More than a visitors center, it is also home to the Blue Plate Special, a near daily live noon show, usually in the Bluegrass vein also broadcast live on WDVX radio. The website is also a decent guide.
  • Old Gray Cemetery 543 N Broadway near downtown – If you like old interesting cemeteries…
  • Outdoors… Tons of this stuff from SUP on the river, to tons of trails and mountain biking, canoeing, etc. The visitors center can help, we can’t but, explore.