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 21 from 11AM-6PM.
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 26 at 6:15 but come early and catch live music with the K-Town band at 5:15PM. Free live music continues with Tray Dahl & The Jugtime Ragband with the WDVX Holiday Ho Ho Down on Market Square at 6:30PM. The tree will remain lit through January 2.
Farragut Light the Park
Thousands of holiday lights will twinkle along Campbell Station Rd from the I-40 commuter lot to Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza at the Campbell Station Inn as part of the Light the Park event on November 23!
There will be daily giveaways, food trucks, caroling from local organizations, and a special day of horse-drawn carriage rides. Carriage ride registration begins Nov. 1 at townoffarragut.org/register. Kids can drop off letters to Santa in the big mailbox at Founders Park at Campbell Station.
Enjoy the lights from dusk until 10PM daily until January 2.
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 24-28.
Knoxville’s Newest Light Spectacular, Zoo Lights by Chick-fil-A Knoxville returns featuring colorful animal lanterns, tree lights, and festive food and drinks at Zoo Knoxville. Zoo Lights opens on Friday, November 26 and continues through January 2 from 5-8PM nightly.
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 sixth 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 26. 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 or download a North Pole Pass here. 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 2.
The 2021 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!
Enjoy the Peppermint Window Wonderland displays as you explore the Peppermint Trail – just follow the peppermints along the sidewalks! You’ll have plenty of opportunities to taste seasonal goodies at businesses offering Peppermint Trail treats and specials. Downtown restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and boutiques will feature peppermint specials throughout the season including peppermint coffees, desserts, cocktails, gifts, and more. You'll also find store fronts, windows, doors, and patios decked in decorations to add to the over 150,000+ lights and garland draped throughout downtown's trees and parks. Enjoy from November 26-January 2. 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 26-January 2, 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 27) and the second Saturday in December (December 12) from 11AM-4PM on both days. Plus enjoy restaurants, coffee shops, and a fun day in the Old City!
Light Up Lakeshore
Lakeshore Park will be shining bright this holiday season. Trees throughout the park will be lit through sponsorships. There will be vendors and activities for the entire family. Kick off celebration is on Sunday, November 28 and lights remain until January 2.
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 1-January 2.
WIVK Christmas Parade
Everyone loves a parade, and this fun-filled evening of bands, dancers, lighted floats, characters, and Santa Claus is no exception! This event takes place on Gay Street on Friday December 3 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!
Parade will start on Church Avenue near the Coliseum, then turn right onto Gay Street, right onto Jackson, ending at Jackson & Patton.
Christmas Drive-In at Chilhowee
The Drive-In at the Midway series will conclude with a holiday film on Friday, December 10 at 7PM. Admission is free but space is limited. Bring your plaid fuzzy blankets, bring your own meal or snacks, and get cozy in the comfort of your own vehicle. Bonus – free photos with Santa and free activities from 5:30-7PM before the cinematic magic begins!
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 18 from 10AM-2PM.
Tour de Lights presented by Visit Knoxville and Bike Walk Knoxville
Tour de Lights will be hosting their annual costume contest on Saturday, December 11 from 5:30-8:30PM. More than 1,000 people participate in this fun, free 5-mile bike parade. Participants decorate their bikes and themselves to win one of the coveted awards.
New Years Eve at the Sunsphere
Bring in 2022 with your friends and family at World's Fair Park with food trucks, free activities, DJ music at 9PM and live music by Mike Snodgrass Band at 10PM. Ball drop from the Sunsphere at Midnight.
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.