The third-largest city in Tennessee, Knoxville, although not as illustrious as Memphis or Nashville, is well worth a visit. Serving as Tennessee's capital from its admission into the Union in 1796 until 1817, early reports of Knoxville described it as an 'alternately quiet and rowdy river town.'
Modern-day visitors to Knoxville, just three hours east of Nashville on Interstate 40, have plenty of attractions to choose from. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a stone's throw away, while downtown Knoxville is home to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, and the historic Tennessee Theatre.
Knoxville is also home to the University of Tennessee. If at all possible, buy a ticket to a UT Vols football game. Their fanatical, orange-clad supporters are a sight to behold on game-days, easily filling the 100,000-seat Neyland Stadium, and raising a cacophony that can be heard right around the city. The downtown area known as the Jackson Avenue Warehouse District, immortalised by Cormac McCarthy's sprawling novel Suttree, is full of soot-blackened buildings, jazz bars, and funky home-style restaurants.