Last Updated on: 3rd February 2022, 01:51 pm
Situated within a few hours from the Great Smoky Mountains, not far from Nashville, Knoxville is a fantastic getaway destination. Considered a typical college town, there’s a lot to see and do during a visit. While in Knoxville you can explore the mountainous landscape and explore stunning outdoors, but also enjoy cultural activities, music, and gastronomy.
This guide will help you find your way when checking the best places to stay around the city and the best areas in Knoxville for a fun and safe stay. The city offers different types of accommodation, there are a variety of hotels of all prices and categories, but you can also choose to stay in a vacation home, or an inn.
Best neighborhoods in Knoxville
When it comes to the areas and neighborhoods where to stay, most travelers prefer to remain in the Downtown and Market Square area, in fact, it’s here that you’ll easily find a wider hotel offer. Besides, Downtown Knoxville is perfect to visit some of the city’s most famous attractions, check Knoxville’s stunning historic homes, and discover some great restaurants and shops. Downtown, you’ll also find the Knoxville Museum of Art and the East Tennessee History Center.
Always in the Downtown district, you can head to the area known as Old City for a completely different ambiance. This is the oldest and most traditional part of the downtown and quite a popular spot among tourists as well. Over here, it’s possible to check a delicious gastronomic proposal, made of dozens of refined or even ethnic restaurants but also casual eateries and hipster bars, and even breweries and distilleries.
The area features an aesthetically inspiring landscape, with well-preserved old buildings. The place, known as Knoxville’s Creative Corridor, is filled with amazing art galleries, top-rated coffee shops, and atmospheric Irish and Scottish-styled pubs. At night, the place comes alive with concerts, dance clubs, and live music venues.
Alternatively, you can also stay near the University of Tennessee Campus. It’s located towards the west of the Downtown district, and it is perfect for younger travelers ready to enjoy football games, fun coffee shops, restaurants catering to students (and students’ limited budgets), or lively bars and pubs.
Finally, you can choose to stay in more residential areas, West Knoxville is a somewhat larger district made of different beautiful neighborhoods but also an interesting place to choose for shopping, Here you will find the city’s best malls and shopping centers.
How to decide where to stay in Knoxville
Despite having so much choice in accommodation, it can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time visitor, to decide which is the area that better fits the bill. Considering factors such as time of the year, budget, and how to move around are key to making a well-informed choice.
Always prefer a more touristy area if you’re still not acquainted with the city, this way it will be easier to get around with public transport and to find most local landmarks nearby. Staying in a central area will also be convenient since you can find all kinds of shops and services, including supermarkets, drugstores, banks, restaurants, shops, and more.
Families, instead, might go after a more relaxing area, where there are parks and wide sidewalks, plenty of green areas, and a calmer, more familiar atmosphere. If you prefer to rent a car or use your vehicle to explore, then staying a bit far from the center can help save some money too, since prices are often lower.
In any case, booking the accommodation of choice in advance is always a winning move. This way you can make sure that prices will be more convenient and availability fairly high than if you decide to book last minute.
Let’s see know which are the best places to stay in each of these four districts of Knoxville that I’ve chosen to include in this guide. They are divided by budget so that you know how much your stay will cost before heading to the destination.
Being Knoxville’s commercial and business district, the Downtown area is a perfect place to stay if you are all into the buzz of a city center. It’s over here that you’ll find shopping centers, restaurants, and attractions, as well as the oldest buildings in the city.
Downtown Knoxville you’ll also be able to get lost in the beautiful Market Square, perfect to get your Knoxville souvenirs and even to taste some of the delicious local produce.
In short, choose Downtown Knoxville because…
- It’s definitely the best district for sightseeing
- Public transport is efficient and it can take you everywhere
- Nightlife is exciting
- There are all kinds of hotels and rental apartments
- It’s perfect if you don’t plan to rent a car, so you can be a walking distance from tourist attractions
- It’s also good if you’re traveling for business.
Budget places to stay Downtown Knoxville
Crowne Plaza Hotel Knoxville, an IHG Hotel
This hotel is not only in the best part of town but also about a 10-minute walk from the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Convention Center. Guests choose the premises for its indoor pool, the gorgeous on-site bar, and the convenient free in-room Wi-Fi. Rooms in this venue are decorated in welcoming warm colors featuring hardwood furniture, a comfy work desk, and a coffee maker.
The Crowne Plaza also includes an on-site gym, open 24 hours a day, and a business center. The hotel’s restaurant, Mahogany, serves a delicious breakfast while the pub-style bar, The Library, is open in the evenings and has a full-service bar. The hotel also features an ATM machine, a swimming pool, on-site parking, facilities for disabled guests, and non-smoking rooms. Pets are also allowed on the premises
Hyatt Place Knoxville/Downtown
This is a superb three-star hotel located on Downtown Knoxville’s main road. The Hyatt Place Knoxville features a restaurant, a fitness center, a terrace, and a bar. Boasting family rooms with a desk, a coffee machine, a microwave, a fridge, and a flat-screen TV.
Guests can enjoy evening entertainment and savor the delicious continental or American breakfast served every morning. On the premises, you will also find a business center and an on-site ATM machine. McGhee Tyson Airport is only 20 km from the accommodation.
Mid-range places to stay Downtown Knoxville
Embassy Suites By Hilton Knoxville Downtown
Suites By Hilton Knoxville Downtown is a beautiful and affordable mid-range hotel near iconic places such as Market Square and the best attractions in the area.
The property features air-conditioned rooms, a fitness center, and a bar but also a restaurant. All the rooms are fitted with a desk and a flat-screen TV, as well as a relaxing space with a seating area. At the accommodation, it’s possible to choose between a buffet breakfast or an American breakfast option every morning.
Modern Downtown Loft on Gay St
If you’re looking for a home away from home, then don’t disregard this unique, sunny loft in the heart of downtown Knoxville. It’s right in the most convenient area, close to some of Knoxville’s best eateries, shops, and theaters… And just a 3-minute walk to Market Square!
In the property, there’s a living room area featuring a 55-inch smart TV with YoutubeTv and Netflix. The sleeping zone features three beds with luxurious mattresses and lavish linen.
Knoxville’s favorite restaurants in the city are located right outside our loft and can all be reached by crossing the street or just walking for only minutes.
Luxury places to stay Downtown Knoxville
Historic Sterchi Loft on Gay St
This upscale loft in the heart of downtown Knoxville is perfect to spend your time in the town surrounded by Knoxville’s best eateries, shops, theaters, and college football…all within walking distance. The property is situated a few minutes from the exciting Market Square.
The loft features a total of 4 beds, including 2 queens and 2 new self-inflating 22-inch deep queen-size air mattresses. On the premises, there is also a fully equipped kitchen with a convenient coffee pot, and complimentary tea and coffee. In the seating area, guests can enjoy a 55-inch smart tv in with the ability to stream from Netflix and other apps if they have accounts. There’s also a free parking spot while passes to the on-site gym are also provided during the stay.
Historic 1900s Townhome with a Modern Flair
This beautiful historic townhome is located about a kilometer from East Tennessee History Center, in a central but charming position in town.
Fitted with air conditioning, TV with cable channels, and luxurious details, the property offers guests ample living spaces, including 4 bedrooms, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 3 bathrooms. The home comes with private parking available on-site and free WiFi.
University of Tennessee Area
It’s a good idea to choose to stay in the surroundings of the University of Tennessee. The place is perfect for younger visitors. You will find a very lively atmosphere, plenty of nightlife options, as well as dozens of bars and restaurants with affordable menus too!
And if your budget does not allow for car rental, worry not! Three Rivers Rambler is a tourist train that covers the route from Downtown to the Tennessee River and a popular station near the campus.
In a nutshell, the best reasons to choose the university area include…
- Museums and theaters including Frank McClung Museum and the historic Clarence Brown Theater
- Plenty of public transport available connecting the area to Downtown Knoxville, such as trolley busses, and the Three Rivers Rambler
- Lively and cheerful atmosphere
Best places to stay near the University of Tennessee
The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel
This hotel is close to the University of Tennessee Campus as well as only a few blocks away from the fine dining, local shops, and entertainment located in the downtown district. A perfect example of traditional southern hospitality, the venue is fitted with contemporary amenities, including an on-site restaurant and bar and available free WiFi all through the property.
Every room at The Tennessean Hotel provides a 55-inch flat-screen HDTV with premium cable channels and a radio with Bluetooth connectivity. A small refrigerator and coffee machine are also included.
When it comes to dining, The Drawing Room offers a rotating seasonal menu featuring fresh farm-to-table fare. For the hotel’s guests, there’s a European breakfast in the morning as well as hand-crafted cocktails, fine liquor, and small plates in the evening.
One of the best-rated hotels in the area, very close to the University of Tennessee but also near the Downtown Knoxville district of Knoxville, Graduate Knoxville is also very close to the University of Tennessee Neyland Stadium.
This 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, a desktop, and flat-screen TV. There is also a luxurious bathroom with top-quality amenities. The hotel also offers on-site private parking for its guests.
Cumberland House Knoxville, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
The hotel is less than 5 minutes from the Neyland Stadium on the campus of the University of Tennessee, where the Vols play!
Featuring an on-site restaurant and a 24-hour business center, the Cumberland House is a great accommodation option not far from the campus.
Free WiFi access is available throughout the property while a coffee machine comes standard in each room. A few select rooms also feature a microwave and a refrigerator, or even a convenient kitchenette. Every room also includes a flat-screen cable TV with pay-per-view channels.
The hotel’s restaurant, Tussie Mussie is a casual and relaxed venue, serving contemporary cuisine, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A large district with plenty of interesting areas to stay in, West Knoxville is great if you’re traveling with the family. Besides, here you’ll also find some of the best shopping malls in town such as Turkey Creek, or West Town Mall.
The area of Kingston Pike, for instance, is the main commercial quarter in West Knoxville, featuring tons of cafés, dance clubs, and interesting restaurants serving a mixture of local and international food.
This side of Knoxville is better for those with a vehicle since it is only partially served by Knoxville’s bus network.
To sum up, a stay in West Knoxville is the best idea if…
- You’re all in for a shopping spree, but also into food and nightlife experiences
- Travel with the whole family
- Staying in a place with a limited public transport system is not really a problem
Budget accommodation in West Knoxville
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Knoxville at Cedar Bluff, TN
Featuring a family and pet-friendly atmosphere, this is an accessible hotel about 20 kilometers from Knoxville city center.
During their stay, guests can start every day with a hot breakfast and lounge in the indoor pool or hot tub. They can also choose to burn a few calories in the fitness center or ask the concierge for a restaurant recommendation. On the premises, there is also a business center, a mini-market, and laundry facilities.
The rooms include basic amenities such as free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and a small refrigerator. Selected suites have a more elegant vibe, with beautiful hardwood floors and a comfortable sofa bed.
Sonesta Simply Suites Knoxville The Sonesta is an incredibly convenient hotel in West Knoxville. The all-suite hotel features a gym and suites with fully equipped kitchens, cable TVs, and free wired internet access. Each suite has a dining area and living room.
Among the most praised facilities, the Sonesta Simply Suites Knoxville offers a modern business center as well as laundry facilities. The hotel has an outside patio for guests, including barbecue facilities and a gazebo too.
Mid-range accommodation in West Knoxville
Hampton Inn Knoxville-West At Cedar Bluff
Ideal for a short stay in Knoxville, this hotel is a comfortable place to stay with top guest reviews. The hotel is about 18 kilometers from Downtown Knoxville and the University of Tennessee.
On-site at this completely non-smoking hotel, guests can take advantage of the outdoor pool, the modern gym, and a great game room. In every room, there is cable TV with pay-per-view movies and, among other amenities, a coffee maker, a work desk, and ironing facilities.
Drury Inn & Suites Knoxville West
Praised by the exceptional hospitality of the staff and the top-quality premises, this 3-star venue in west Knoxville really comes as a pleasant surprise. The hotel is a pet-friendly facility, conveniently situated14 km from the University of Tennessee and 17 km from Neyland Stadium.
The hotel includes a fitness center, a business center, and private parking.
The rooms at this hotel have air-conditioning and free wifi, a desk, and a coffee machine. There’s a buffet breakfast is available daily at Drury Inn & Suites Knoxville West. The hotel also features family rooms. The nearest airport is McGhee Tyson, about 25 kilometers from the hotel.
Luxury places to stay in West Knoxville
Hampton Inn & Suites – Knoxville Papermill Drive, TN
Pet friendly and smoking-free, this is a great hotel for families and coupled in West Knoxville. Offering a complimentary hot breakfast daily, an indoor pool, and free WiFi access, Hampton Inn & Suites is located close to West Town Mall and a ten-minute drive from Neyland Stadium.
In the venue, each accommodation features a flat-screen TV, and ironing facilities. Also standard with all there rooms there is a small refrigerator, a microwave, and a coffee machine, perfect if you need a morning fix before heading out for breakfast.
Moreover, guests can enjoy the on-site fitness center, while free parking and laundry facilities are available too.
Embassy Suites Knoxville West
Check this gorgeous hotel in Knoxville West before booking any other facility. It’s a very convenient, value-for-money luxury property in a top location, and with great guests reviews.
The Embassy Suites Knoxville West features a fitness center, a snack shop, and a complimentary evening reception with light appetizers and drinks every weekday. In the morning, it also provides a daily made-to-order breakfast with omelettes and breakfast meats.
Rooms are bright and comfortable, including a flat-screen cable TV in each room along with free Wi-Fi. Each room also provides a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee-making facilities.
The property is located just 15 minutes from Knoxville city center, right opposite the Dead Horse Lake Golf Course.
More Tennessee Travel Resources
Need more travel planning help? Here are all of my Tennessee travel resources!
The best national parks in Tennessee (and National Park Service Sites)
How to Plan a Trip to Nashville + Travel Tips
What to buy in Nashville for souvenirs and gifts.
Looking for Instagram captions or Nashville inspiration? Here are the best quotes about Nashville.
An overview of the history of Nashville.
The 4 Best Neighborhoods in Nashville + Hotel Guide for Where to Stay in Nashville, TN
Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Tips for planning a trip to Gatlinburg.
How to spend one day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg: The Best Hotels & Accommodations in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The 4 Best Neighborhoods in Memphis + Hotel Guide for Where to Stay in Memphis, TN
The 3 Best Neighborhoods in Knoxville + Best Hotels for Where to Stay in Knoxville, TN
Included in these Round-Ups
The best scenic drives in America
The most charming historic towns in the USA