Getting Around Knoxville
The best way to get around downtown Knoxville is on foot, though if you want to travel farther afield (like to Great Smoky Mountains National Park), you'll need a car. Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) is the closest airport to Knoxville and is located just 13 miles from downtown. There are several car rental agencies at the airport, as well as taxi and ride-hailing options, such as Uber and Lyft. If you choose to rent a car, you'll find that there are plenty of free places to park around the city. Keep in mind: There is no public transportation option that will take you from the airport into downtown Knoxville.
The downtown is quite walkable with many of the attractions you'll want to visit within easy reach (you can get anywhere within downtown Knoxville in about 15 minutes). Restaurants, shops, live music venues, museums, parks and more are all located within 1 square mile of one another.
Renting a car can be a convenient option if you're hoping to explore the nearby national park. Rental agencies like Avis, Budget and Hertz are stationed at the Knoxville airport. Plus, parking is free at several popular locations, including
, and at meters weekdays after 6 p.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday.
The free Knoxville Trolley runs through downtown and to the nearby University of Tennessee campus Monday through Saturday (except on UT home game days). It has four color-coded routes, with stops including hotels , the Knoxville Convention Center and area attractions.
Knoxville Area Transit or "KAT" is the city's transit system, operating buses and trolleys and paratransit service across the city via 23 routes. A one-ride ticket costs $1.50, while a one-day pass costs $4. You can purchase a one-week pass for $15. Passes can be purchased on the bus (exact change is recommended) or at machines at bus platforms.
If you'd rather get around on two wheels, you can easily find bikes around town. Pace, the city's bike-sharing system, has 200 bikes stationed around Knoxville. Rides cost $1 for every 15 minutes. You can find live bike availability and link your credit card using the Pace smartphone app.
Explore More of Knoxville
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.