Looking for things to do and places to go in Knoxville? Enjoy our Neighborhood Guide series where we share a part of town and cover food and drinks, nature and outdoors, arts and culture, attractions, and more!

Family Friendly Fun - East Knoxville

East Knoxville is a hotspot for kids of all ages from the children’s museum for the littles to stops on Knoxville’s Ale Trail for the 21+ crowd. No matter your crew, we’ve got you!

Whether or not you’re pushing a stroller, consider a meander through the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum. Any time of year is beautiful here, but spring’s blooming dogwoods steal the show. Older kids familiar with The Secret Garden will love a real secret garden found within, inspired by Francis Hodgson Burnett’s famous novel. Fun fact alert: English-born Burnett lived in Knoxville and began her writing career here. Another outdoors option is Morningside Park. Burn off some energy on the playground, play disc golf, or use the greenway to connect to other parts of the city. The park is also home to Alex Haley Heritage Square, a dedication to the author of Roots who lived in the Knoxville area in his later years.

Got young kiddos, say crawlers to age 10? Spend some time at Muse Knoxville, located next to Zoo Knoxville on the grounds of Chilhowee Park. This hands-on children’s museum is the perfect immersion in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) activities. Chilhowee Park itself has been a suburban escape for families since the 1880s. Baseball games, holiday gatherings, and more – all accessible by streetcar at the time – were held here for many decades. The Tennessee Valley Fair has been a Park staple since 1916, and the Fair continues to modern day with classic rides, agricultural exhibitions, and concerts!

Older kids learning history in school will find plenty to think about, as East Knoxville also claims two of Knoxville’s seven Historic House Museums. Ramsey House was built in 1797, constructed of Tennessee Pink marble and blue limestone. The Ramseys were one of the first families to settle in the area, and some members were founding trustees of Blount College (now the University of Tennessee). Mabry-Hazen House was built in 1858 and housed three generations until 1957. It served as headquarters for both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. The home has an impressive collection of artifacts, the grounds are certified as a Level I Arboretum, and the docents have stories from somber to scandalous! Adjacent to Mabry-Hazen lies the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, a community treasure dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting African American history in East Tennessee.

Fuel the fam with good eats from morning until night. Caffeinate at Perk City or Likewise Coffee, pick up a noontime meal at the appropriately named Lunch House, and pull in for dinner at Pizza Palace (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives). While all ages are welcome, the 21+ group can end their East Knoxville adventures and imbibe at Last Days of Autumn Brewing or Orange Hat Brewing Co. Find Baker Boy Pizza next door to Orange Hat for some of the largest slices around, or in the same strip, taste the flavors of Jamaica at Dulcie's Cafe.

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