Cvent's Knoxville meeting planning guide is an extensive city guide for Knoxville meeting planners. Centrally located close to three major interstate highways (I-81, I-40 and I-70), Knoxville is within a day's drive for over fifty percent of the nation's population. It sits at the heart of Tennessee and attracts more than 140,000 business visitors every year. Here, big city amenities are paired with the character of a small town to create an ideal meeting destination.
A wide range of unique venues are available to meet the requirements of any meeting or event. Looking for a historic venue? Local favorite, the Foundry on the Fair Site dates back to 1865 and has hosted over 2,000 receptions. Its magnificent, antique interior features brick walls with hardwood floors and beautifully rustic chandeliers. More interested in the exotic? The landscaped grounds of the Knoxville Zoo provide the perfect backdrop for a corporate reception or product release. Sip on cocktails and nibble on "hors d'oeuvres with the animals" or host a seated dinner surrounded by a world-class exhibit. Interested in a view? Host a dinner accompanied with live music aboard a Tennessee River Boat. Enjoy a cool breeze and the dancing lights of the Knoxville skyline. The Star of Knoxville can accommodate up to 144 for a seated dinner and as many as 325 for a reception. Seeking the more traditional? A new 500,000 square-foot Convention Center, over 70 hotels with meeting space and 15,000 guestrooms can be found within the Knoxville Metro Area.
As the center of the high-tech Tennessee Valley Corridor, Knoxville's economy thrives on the Tennessee Valley Authority, the National Transportation Research Center, the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Library. Other notable businesses headquartered in Knoxville are AC Entertainment, Bush Brothers and Company, Clayton Homes, Goody's Family Clothing, Regal Entertainment Group, Scripps Networks and Weigel's.
Founded in 1786, this former capitol with a population of 182,200 is situated outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the Tennessee River. Full of history and industry, it is the third-largest city in Tennessee and serves as home to many civil war battle sites. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Knoxville boomed with furniture factories, iron works, marble quarries and textile mills giving way to nicknames like the Marble City and the Underwear Capitol of the World. Today, the warehouses and factories have been repurposed to create the offbeat urban area called Old City. The streets of Old City are full of unique restaurants, clubs, bars and shops.
Museums are also an important part of Knoxville's legacy. From Confederate Memorial Hall, an antebellum mansion that has been listed on the National register of Historic Places since 1984, to the Knoxville Museum of Art, which opened its doors to downtown Knoxville in March of 1990, more than 20 museums provide visitors with the opportunity to discover the old and the new. The American Museum of Science & Energy, Aviation Museum, Blount Mansion, Children's Museum of Oak Ridge and Farragut Folklife Museum are a few other notable area attractions. Knoxville is also the site of one of the oldest man-made structures in the United States, a burial mound dating back to 1000 A.D. that is located on the University of Tennessee campus. Civil War history buffs should be sure to check out the McKlung Museum or the Mabry-Hazen House-complete with battle reenactments.
History is just the beginning of what Knoxville has to offer. Culture abounds in this river city. Enjoy inspiring performances such as La Forza del Destino and Tosca at the Knoxville Opera Company; be captivated by the professional actors of the Clarence Brown Theatre; or catch a Shakespearean play, rock concert or art show at Market Square. Knoxville also holds numerous events and festivals throughout the year including the largest Labor Day fireworks display in the U.S. and a 17-day Dogwood Arts Festival. It also serves as host to an African American heritage festival called Kuumba and the Rossini Festival which celebrates Italian culture and opera.
For nature enthusiasts, the world renowned Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located only 20 miles south of Knoxville. A hiker's paradise, the Park offers over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging in difficulty from extremely strenuous to family friendly. The park is an ideal place to enjoy wildlife from deer and bears to birds and a variety of microscopic organisms. Car camping, fishing, and picnicking are also popular park activities. For those who prefer to stay closer to the city, visit World's Fair Park, marked by the 266-foot high Sunsphere, a signature feature of the Knoxville skyline. This urban escape designed for the inhabitants of Knoxville showcases major landmarks associated with the 1982 World's Fair held in downtown Knoxville. The Park provides sweeping green lawns with thoughtful landscaping and beautiful interactive water elements. World's Fair Park has served as host to many of Knoxville's festivals and concerts.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Located in a humid subtropical climate zone, Knoxville is shielded from extreme cold in the winter and the stifling heat in the summer by the Great Smokies to the southeast and the Cumberland Mountains to the northwest. A slightly higher elevation than areas to the west and south also tempers summer highs. Average temperatures remain in the upper 80s during the summer and drop as low as the mid-20s in the winter. Most of the 50 annual inches of precipitation falls during the spring and fall months, with March averaging as the wettest month. Mild winters result in approximately less than 10 inches of snowfall.
The best time to visit Knoxville is in the spring or autumn, with autumn carrying the additional benefit of fall foliage. Temperatures remain in the 60s and 70s in the months of April, May, October and the beginning of November, providing pleasant walking weather for sightseeing.
Knoxville Convention Center
The 500,000 square foot Knoxville Convention Center is located in the newly renovated World's Fair Park, offering beautiful views of downtown Knoxville. Opened in July 2002, it houses the largest ballroom in East Tennessee at 27,000 square feet. A 461-seat Lecture Hall, 3 boardrooms and state-of-the-art catering facilities are available to accommodate a wide range of meetings. An underground truck drive with 9 bays facilitates painless exhibit set-up and break-down. Plasma monitors are placed in key locations throughout the building and can be used to direct attendees to various event spaces. The Convention Center also provides 250,000 square feet of flexible space and 120,000 square feet of exhibit space. Downtown is easily accessible by a short trolley ride. Driving is also convenient as parking is free in all city-owned garages (including Locust Street Garage) every day after 6:00 pm and on the weekends.
McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS)
Approximate taxi fare: $33 USD
Located 12 miles South of Knoxville in Alcoa, Tennessee, McGhee Tyson Airport is the primary airport serving the Knoxville metro area. With 4,000-plus seats available, Tysons has 120 departures and arrivals each day. Eight airlines fly through McGhee Tyson Airport, providing service to 18 non-stop destinations in the eastern United States. A $70-million renovation was completed in the fall of 2000, incorporating two new concourses and a 115-foot indoor mountain stream.
Airline carriers serving the McGhee Tyson Airport
A taxi costs roughly $33 from McGhee Tyson's airport to downtown Tennessee. There are a number of taxi services that operate within the city which can be booked by phone. Once in town, the free trolley service described below is the best way to navigate the city.
Knoxville is reachable by car, Greyhound bus and boat via the Tennessee River. There is no Amtrak train service in Northeast Tennessee. The Knoxville Area Transit, or KAT, provides bus service in Knox County and the city of Knoxville with stops on hourly intervals.
For downtown transportation, try the Knoxville Trolley Lines which runs several free lines to area destinations like the University of Tennessee, McClung Museum, James White's Fort, Blount Mansion, Volunteer Landing on the Tennessee River waterfront, Historic Old City, the Knoxville Convention Center and World's Fair Park. On Friday and Saturday nights during the University of Tennessee spring and fall terms a "Late Line" route is in operation. A number of greenways throughout the city also provide walker and biker-friendly transportation pathways.
Photo Credit : Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation
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