Traveling is all about experiences and taking a class can be a memorable way to experience a city. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend and only have an hour or two to spare, or here on an extended stay (travel nurses, project work, visiting family, etc.), Knoxville has lots of options to keep you busy and learning something new!
Get your hands dirty – literally – by taking a class at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum in east Knoxville. Class examples include worm composting, collagraph print cards, birding 101, flower arrangement workshops, and more. Sometimes they even partner with local establishments, for example last summer they teamed up with PostModern Spirits (one of two Knoxville stops on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail) for Botanical Cocktails. Cheers!
If you’ve never experienced the joy of cooking (get it?) and don’t know how to boil water, this is the place for you. They supply all ingredients – and an apron – and their chefs demonstrate techniques with hands-on practice. Examples of their classes include Date Night Homemade Pasta, Mexican Street Food, Couples Hibachi Techniques, and much more. Go on a date, take your kid, or fly solo and meet new people. The best news is you get to EAT what you made in class!
RALA stands for Regional and Local Artisans, so naturally they have art workshops and other events. Some examples include a Macrame Plant Hanger Workshop, Time Management, and a Dolly Parton Art Contest! They also have artists on First Fridays, so make sure you put that on your calendar to give them a visit on the first Friday of every month.
The Central Collective is a unique event space that hosts a lot of unique events. Examples include Exercising to the Oldies, their Good Sport Nights, and even Life Drawing Sessions with Knox Draw (heads up, that last one is an adult-only study session with a nude model). Keep an eye on their event calendar since you’ll never know what will pop up next!
Salsa Dance Knox hosts 8 week-long bootcamps, bachata lessons, and salsa lessons, but they also do social Fridays for beginners, intermediate, and advanced dancers. Maybe hit the dance floor after the Cutting Edge and sashay those calories away?
6. Mighty Mud
Mighty Mud is a clay studio in north Knoxville that provides 6 week-long classes, but also do several one-day only events that are only a few hours each. Try your hand at making bowls, cups, pressed trays and more. Some classes are great for the family, while others are more suited to date night (think drinking wine while making your own ceramic wine cups).
This non-credit extension of the University of Tennessee really runs on the gamut on programs and workshops. While many are geared towards the working professional, some are just for fun (or both!). Photography, culinary courses, and the Smoky Mountain Field School are a few of their offerings.
8. Knox Makers
Knoxville is quickly becoming known as The Maker City, and there are many pieces to that puzzle. Knox Makers offers “Open Hack Nights”, where the public come out and hack on anything at any skill level, like practice a new programming language, get help working on your personal projects, or try your hand at using the 3d printer. Other class examples include 101/entry-level classes on laser cutting, knife sharpening, machining, and more.
For those with 8 weeks to spare, the Fountain City Art Center has wonderful courses designed for the painter in mind. Watercolor, oil, and acrylic are all mediums explored here. Their guild also has exhibits and open shows throughout the year; check their event calendar for more.
10. Laurel Theater
If dancing is your jam, you really need to check the Laurel Theater out – they have it all. Don’t believe us? Here are their offerings – English Country Dancing, Cajun/Zydeco Dancing, Square Dance, Swing Dance. The only thing they don’t have is West African dance classes, but Knoxville has that covered too – check out the Broadway Academy of Performing Arts.
From kids to adults, from mixed media to belly dancing, the Knoxville Arts & Fine Crafts Center has something for everyone. They offer 4, 6, and 8 weeks classes and a variety of 1, 2, and 3 day workshops.
If you’ve wanted to dig deeper into your family’s history, good news – The East Tennessee Historical Society hosts genealogy workshops at the East Tennessee History Center. They have extensive records in the McClung Collection and excellent resources on online research as well.
Hope this gives you some ideas to learn something new in Knoxville!