Outdoor areas for students to visit | Housingguide

It’s good to get out and about every once in a while.

Life has become harder because of the pandemic, but getting outside is a good activity to clear your mind and stay active. Knoxville contains many destinations for students to explore. Here are a few places around and outside of campus for students to visit. Just remember to stay safe and wear a mask!

South Knoxville

There are plenty of areas to choose from in South Knoxville to get outside. The biggest is the Ijams Nature Center. The center covers a lot of land and there is plenty for everyone to do. From hiking trails to swimming holes, students can get out and explore nature.

Along with Ijams, there are plenty of parks for students to walk through. A few notable ones include Suttree Landing Park and Island Home Park.

Even if parks aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of space to walk around in. Students can visit different shops, restaurants and iconic locations in South Knoxville. You can walk from the JFG Coffee sign to Honeybee Coffee all the way to South Coast Pizza.

Finally, there is an ever-growing number of locations to bike in South Knoxville. Not only does the Greenway run through the area, but Ijams has a few biking trails as well. Along with these, Baker’s Creek has opened up some more intense trails for more avid bikers.


There are several places within Downtown Knoxville to go outside.

One of the more well-known areas is World’s Fair Park. Located near the iconic Sun Sphere, the park was created to house the 1982 World’s Fair. There’s plenty to walk around and see in the park. You can even go inside of the Sunsphere!

On campus, students can visit the University of Tennessee Gardens at the Institute of Agriculture. The gardens are open for visitors to come and see the beautiful landscapes, creations and flowers. They can be a wonderful refresher for those who feel burnt out this semester.

Finally, Market Square boasts several places for students to walk around and visit. The square itself has several restaurants and shops open for customers to enjoy. Right next to the square is Krutch Park, which has areas to walk in, art installations and statues.

The square is also a brisk walk away from Gay Street, which has its own restaurants, bars and stores to visit. Remember to wear a mask and follow COVID guidelines.

North, East and West Knoxville

There are a few more areas to explore around Knoxville.

In North Knoxville, students can visit Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park, which acts as a hiking trail loop.

In East Knoxville, students can visit a variety of parks, including Chilhowee Park and Caswell Park. The Zoo Knoxville is also located in East Knoxville, where students can get a discount on tickets by providing a current student ID.

In West Knoxville, the Sequoyah Hills area provides several parks for people to visit right along the Tennessee River. 

Students can also travel a little further toward Bearden Hill and Sutherland. A few TRECs fields can be found here, along with more sections of the Greenway.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Although this attraction is a bit farther from campus, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited national park in the country in 2019 and is a must-visit for UTK students. The 522,427 acre park is home to an array of wildlife, including one of the highest bear populations per capita in the country.

The entrance to the park located near Pigeon Forge is just about 45 minutes to an hour away from campus, so a visit to trails such Laurel Falls or the Chimney Tops makes for a great day trip away from campus.

Keep in mind that traffic in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville is usually pretty heavy heading into the park midday on weekends, so you may want to plan to leave earlier in the day if you’re heading out to the mountains.

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