Knoxville Brings Out the Queer Southern Soul

Roger Porter READ TIME: 4 MIN.

On the eastern edge of Tennessee, in the region that is home to living legend Dolly Parton, is Knoxville, a town teeming with queer southern soul. It may be Pride Month in June but for Knoxville residents, pride is on display year-round at these tasty food spots, adventurous hiking trails, popping nightlife and live music venues. The scenes about town come complete with a pet-friendly vibe for you and your queer friends to enjoy. Don't miss out on Knoxville, the best time you'll have in the south.

Saddle Up For Tasty Treats

I bet you didn't know Knoxville is at the forefront of mouth-watering goodies from all over the world. It's true. Knoxville has all the southern specialties you'd expect, but its diverse (local) food scene is full of deliciousness! Learn more about the international food scene, and Knoxville's Ale Trail, your passport to craft beer heaven. This fun-filled crawl for visitors and locals alike guides you to the finest breweries and taprooms Knoxville has to offer. Here is a pro tip: Grab your digital passport, find adventure – and cold, crisp beers – along the Ale Trail map and collect stamps at each stop. Finish at Knox Brew Hub, present your passport filled with stamps and claim prizes!

Check Out a Band and Dance the Night Away

There's no shortage of popping nightlife and live music in Knoxville, a diverse and eclectic offering of soulful joints that entertain all night long. Get the night started with a visit to Club XYZ, a queer space for the latest in drag performances, trivia and karaoke. Check out the club's Facebook page for themed nights and the full line up of events you don't want to miss.

For stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Tennessee River, look no further than the Radius Rooftop Lounge. Located atop Embassy Suites Downtown on Gay Street, Radius blends the indoor and the outdoor space with an incredible wrap-around glass encasement for late-night cocktail sipping and mingling with spectacular views.

You're in the right town for live music! Knoxville is known for its rich musical heritage, featuring A-list country and early rock 'n' roll stars like Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers, Roy Acuff, and a weekly calendar full of great music! Check out the full list of venues for everything from popular local artists to internationally known touring groups. Popular live music spots include Yee Haw Brewing Co., The Ale' Rae Grill, Barley's and Barrelhouse at Gypsy Circus – just to name a few.

Find Your Path in the Great Outdoors

It's not a visit to Knoxville without lacing up or hopping on a bike for an outdoor adventure. Knoxville features 112 miles of greenways, a sprawling interconnected system of scenic paths that let you take in the natural beauty of the town and surrounding areas. Download the Knoxville Greenways Map to plan your route and discover parks and community centers, rivers and neighborhoods.

Take your outdoor excursion to the next level with Knoxville's Urban Wilderness, a spectacular adventure area where you can hike, bike, climb, paddle, and explore – all within the heart of the city. The wilderness space features 60 miles of greenways and brings the fun with even more activities like fishing, swimming, ziplining and rentals.

And perhaps the best part of exploring the natural beauty of Knoxville is that it is one of the most pet-friendly places in the country. Bring your furry friends along for outdoor adventures and when you're ready for a bite, many restaurants and patios around town are welcoming, too. Dubbed "Scruffy City" for a reason, Knoxville businesses go above and beyond for our four-legged family members and many places even offer treats and plenty of water.

Plan Your Visit

Knoxville brings out the queer southern soul with thrilling outdoor trails and greenways, raucous nightlife and live music, a tasty food scene and the finest quality beers in the south. Check out the Visit Knoxville website to plan your visit and enjoy this queer-friendly city that makes for a memorable experience.

by Roger Porter

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