Amidst the sea of breweries and songs about whiskey, it can sometimes feel like all Tennessee activities revolve around drinking. And you’re not so very wrong: fun runs, trivia nights, and live music are often held at drinking establishments. However, we also know there are plenty of reasons to step away from the drinking scene for any length of time – so if you ever find yourself in need of a sans-alcohol experience, we’re here to help!
Here are ten things to do in Knoxville if you want to lose the booze:
1.) MIGHTY MUD
If you’ve ever stared mesmerized at a pottery wheel, (who hasn’t?) Mighty Mud is for you. They offer multi-week classes for people wanting to truly learn the craft; but they also host hour and a half long events for those of us who like to dip our toes into various crafts and never really commit to any one thing. Nestled in North Knoxville, you can spend a fun evening creating, then head home with your very own piece of pottery and a lot of fun memories to boot.
Another fun option is Liza Moz Pottery in West Hills. You get to pick out your already-made-piece and then spend the evening painting and decorating it!
2.) NOBLE KAVA BAR
Yes, the word “bar” is here, but no, it’s not alcohol! Kava is an herbal remedy that helps ease anxiety, lessens the effects of stress, and makes your mouth feel all tingly and numb in a really fun way. The Noble Kava Bar is open from noon to midnight and has the coolest vibes for those of you who still want a fun night-life experience. We felt like we were momentarily transported to Asheville, NC when we stepped through their doors. This is such a unique experience for Knoxville (in fact, Noble is the first full service kava bar in Tennessee) so we highly recommend checking it out.
3.) THE ZOO
We all know what a zoo is. But did you know a ticket to Knoxville’s zoo is only $20? Or did you know they have after-hours opportunities at the zoo called Night Safaris? Or that you could ride a camel?? Or that they have fun events like Feast with the Beasts where you can sample from some of Knoxville’s best restaurants while hangin’ with monkeys?
Yeah, Zoo Knoxville is pretty awesome.
4.) MAPLE HALL
Okay, we admit alcohol is served at Maple Hall. But it’s certainly not the main attraction! This bowling alley is oozing with hip vibes and historic ambiance. It’s an awesome place to bowl – and their fried pickles aren’t bad either. (Is it bad if we mostly go for the fried pickles? That’s normal, right? Right?)
5.) EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS
Knoxville is the place for outdoor adventures. You can hike up House Mountain, on Sharp’s Ridge, or the Bluffs. You can bike through the greenways all over town. You can swim in the quarries or zip-line at Ijams. There are so many fun things to do outside in Knoxville. Head to our Outdoors page for the full scoop!
6.) YOUNG WILLIAMS ANIMAL SHELTER
Three words: DOGGIE DAY TRIP. Yes! This is not a dream! Through Young Williams Animal Shelter, you can hang out with one of their adoptable pups all day long. All you have to do is fill out an application! Then hang out at a dog park, take him for a walk, or play fetch all day – the pupportunities are endless!
7.) ESCAPE ROOMS
8.) HUMMINGBIRD HEMP CAFE
Located in North Knoxville by Lost & Found Records, Hummingbird Hemp Cafe is another “sober bar” open late! With plenty of teas and mocktails, you won’t feel like you’re missing out at all. However, just to make extra sure you’re not missing out, ask the friendly and knowledgable owners about off-menu goodies!
9.) AXE THROWING
This new trend sweeping the nation has finally hit our favorite target: Knoxville, TN. 865 Axe Throwing has lawn games, fire pits, and – you guessed it – axe throwing! Whether you’re brand new to the sport or throw axes all the time (should we be concerned…?) there are people on hand to teach, help, and demonstrate. Best part? It’s BYOB (and snacks) so it’s just as easy to, well, not BYOB as well!
10.) ICE CREAM
Whenever we decide to take a break from alcohol, there is always, without fail, a new vice waiting for us: ice cream. And while we’ll gladly enjoy ice cream of all sizes and qualities, our favorite places to get scoops are the Phoenix Pharmacy & Fountain and Cruze Farm on Asbury Rd.
The Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain allows you to truly step back into time. The ambiance is great and it doesn’t hurt that they serve sundaes the size of your face.
And while we also love Cruze Farm’s downtown location, their big old house on Asbury Rd. is a must-visit. It just feels right to enjoy an ice cream cone on their huge front porch on a hot summer evening. If you time it right, they also tend to have fun events at that location – our favorite is the series of drive-in movie nights during Christmas!
Written by: Emilie Stooksbury