It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after football season…and after dogwood season…and…well anytime is a wonderful time in Knoxville but we admit the winter holiday season is particularly delightful. We’ve rounded up our favorite activities to enjoy your favorite traditions and make new memories along the way!
The Retropolitan Craft Fair Holiday Market
The Retropolitan Craft Fair is a hand selected indie-craft marketplace featuring the South East’s finest talents in contemporary craft and design while also incorporating upcycled goods with a funky, vintage inspired, and fabulously quirky vibe. Shop til you drop at the Mill & Mine on November 19 from 11AM-6PM.
Farragut Light the Park
From 6-8PM nightly from Nov. 20 through Jan. 1, thousands of holiday lights will twinkle along Campbell Station Road from the I-40 commuter lot to Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza at the Campbell Station Inn as part of the Town’s Light the Park event. As always, kids can drop letters to Santa in the big mailbox at Founders Park at Campbell Station. There will be daily giveaways, food trucks and caroling from local organizations.
Fantasy of Trees
Wander through a forest of hundreds of beautifully decorated trees at the Knoxville Convention Center. Shop for holiday accessories and visit with Santa at this long-running annual event benefitting East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, taking place November 22-26.
Regal Celebration of Lights
Downtown Knoxville will shimmer like a scene from a classic Christmas movie this season. Enjoy the 42-foot-tall tree with 5,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient, synchronized LED lights, approximately 200,000 tiny bulbs will shine across downtown. The tree will be lit on November 24 at 6PM but come early and catch live music with Mikki Norwood at 5:15PM. Stay for continued live music featuring your favorite holiday favorites on Market Square at 6:45PM. The tree will remain lit through the holiday season.
Elf on the Shelf® Adventure Scavenger Hunt
The Elf on the Shelf® is a cherished Christmas tradition celebrated in households around the world. This November, for a seventh straight year, Santa will send some of these magical Scout Elves from the North Pole to Knoxville, Tennessee to be adopted by over two dozen downtown Knoxville businesses. Families are invited to explore downtown and find where these little Scout Elves have landed each night for a fun-filled holiday scavenger hunt.
Scout Elves will land in Knoxville to begin the scavenger hunt on Friday, November 24. To help guide them through the adventure, children of all ages are invited to pick up a North Pole Pass at the Knoxville Visitors Center or Mast General Store. The pass includes a list of the elves’ locations and details on the fun-filled holiday experience. As a special treat, Santa has granted permission for these Knoxville Scout Elves to remain in Knoxville until Sunday, January 7.
The 2023 event is again sponsored by Mast General Store (the Downtown Knoxville Santa-Approved Scout Elf Adoption Center), the Downtown Knoxville Alliance and Visit Knoxville. Find information about the scavenger hunt and participating merchants, pick up a North Pole Passport at either Visit Knoxville or Mast General Store. Don’t forget to share your elf sightings on social media using #elvesinknox!
The Peppermint Grove lights up Market Square with thousands of red and white lights. Photo ops throughout Krutch Park with trees wrapped in sparkling lights, 42-foot Christmas tree on Gay Street, decorated storefronts, and murals galore.
Follow the trail of peppermints on the sidewalks of Downtown Knoxville to discover all sorts of treats featuring the favorite red-and-white candy. From candy cane coffees at morning brunch to craft cocktails sipped by candlelight, you’ll find peppermint treats round almost every corner – along with plenty of gingerbread, cinnamon, cranberry, apple spice, and other holiday flavors. Plus, boutiques and gift shops feature peppermint-themed t-shirts, scented soaps, candles, and all kinds of holiday surprises. Enjoy from November 24-January 8. Post photos of your favorites at #knoxpeppermint on Instagram!
Holidays on Ice
Whether with family, friends or on a date you'll love skating in the heart of Downtown Knoxville in Market Square!
Holidays on Ice presented by Home Federal Bank is a great way to make memories that will last long after the holidays are over. Enjoy skating under the stars and twinkling lights while listening to music every night. There may even be a panda sighting by our Holidays on Ice Mascot, 'Peppermint Panda'!
Rink is open November 24-January 3, weather permitting. Full details of dates, hours, pricing at link in header above.
Old City Holiday Mini Market
The Old City Market transforms the 100 block of West Jackson Avenue into a curated, outdoor market showcasing artists, crafters, and creative makers. Enjoy their holiday market on Small Business Saturday (November 25) and the second Saturday in December (December 10) from 11AM-4PM on both days. Plus enjoy restaurants, coffee shops, and a fun day in the Old City!
Festival of Lights at the Cove
The Cove at Concord Park in Farragut will be lit with animated holiday-themed light features and characters. Enjoy hot chocolate as you stroll through the greenway path at this west Knoxville annual favorite from December 3-January 3, 2024 excluding Christmas Day.
During the Festival, The Cove’s three-quarter-mile greenway trail is illuminated by a sparkling light display coordinated to music. The Knox County Parks and Recreation Department staff does all the decorating, which includes placing displays and thousands of lights. An onsite vendor—found inside the River Sports Outfitters facility—will have hot drinks available for purchase most nights. The Cove has several fire pits available for guests to warm up or roast s’mores. Pets on leashes are welcome.
WIVK Christmas Parade
Everyone loves a parade, and this fun-filled evening of bands, dancers, lighted floats, characters, and Santa Claus is no exception! The 50th annual parade takes place on Gay Street on Friday December 1 at 7PM, and is quite the two-fer as December’s First Friday happens to be on this day, so be prepared for a jam-packed night of art and holiday spirit!
The parade starts at westbound Howard Baker near the Coliseum, will go west up Church Street, and turn right onto Gay Street, continue past the Bijou Theatre, the Tennessee Theatre, and the Regal Riviera movie theatre toward Summit Hill. The route will continue by crossing over Summit Hill Dr. and will turn right ending onto W. Depot Street.
Comcast Christmas at Chilhowee
A free holiday event on November 17 from 6-9PM in Chilhowee Park with a tree lighting in the bandstand followed by free activities, free photos with Santa, crafts and a holiday 'Touch-A-Truck' where kids will be able to see decorated construction vehicles, firetrucks and police cars up close. Also enjoy a free hayride around the park to look at the lights!
Market Square Farmers’ Market
The Market Square Farmers’ Market will have craft vendors with holiday items, artisan foods (like caramels, roasted coffee, and hot sauces), baked goods, food trucks, greenery, and all manner of farm products, including great gifts like maple syrup, honey, and cheeses. Visit the Market on Saturdays through December 23 from 10AM-2PM.
Tour de Lights presented by Visit Knoxville and Bike Walk Knoxville
Tour de Lights is a fun, free, family friendly holiday bike ride on Saturday, December 9 starting at 5:30PM! Participants are encouraged to get in the holiday spirit by decorating themselves and their bikes. The event engages neighborhoods and businesses, along with others who come out to view the festivities. The ride will start and end at Mary Costa Plaza.
New Years Eve at the Sunsphere
Bring in 2024 with your friends and family at World's Fair Park with food trucks, free activities including a silent disco at 9:00pm, DJ music with Knox Vegas DJs on the main stage starting at 9pm, live music with WIVK Band starting at 10:00pm-11:55pm with the Ball drop from the Sunsphere at Midnight. Plan an evening enjoying the lights and restaurants in Downtown Knoxville, ice skating at Holidays on Ice will be open until 9pm and then take the short walk over to World's Fair Park to continue your evening celebrating the start of a new year!
Free parking is available all day long in all City-owned garages, including Locust Street and Market Square, as well as the 11th Street Garage. For a map of available garages and lots, visit DowntownKnoxville.org/Parking. This is a rain or shine event. Please feel free to bring chairs; however tents and canopies are not allowed. This is an alcohol free family friendly event.
All Christmas in the City events and updates are posted on the City of Knoxville’s website.
An updated list of county-wide holiday events including, Christmas at Cherokee Caverns, a Candlelight Christmas at the Museum of Appalachia, historic home tours, all kinds of holiday themed performances, and MORE can be found at visitknoxville.com/holidays.