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Nena Potter

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9 Things to Do This Fall in Knoxville

One thirty-something woman’s bucket list for things to do in Knoxville this fall.

Call me basic but my absolute favorite season is FALL, Y’ALL 🍂 There’s just something about this time of year in Tennessee. The temperatures finally start going down while football ramps up, the return of all things pumpkin happens, the mosquitoes finally start to dieee (thank the Lord!), and two words: SWEATER WEATHER. I love it all. Give me colorful (yet dying) foliage; give me chili and a PBJ (yes, this is a thing and it’s delicious); give me spooky things; give me camping and bonfires and s’mores and boots and cozy blankets and… okay okay, you get it. Anywhoooo, without further ado, here’s my autumnal bucket list: 9 Things to Do This Fall in Knoxville!

1.) Get Sporty Spice at a UT Football Game

This is an obvious one – but if you live in Knoxville, fall equals football. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. I’m not even a huge sports ball gal myself, but I absolutely love attending a game at Neyland Stadium. Seeing the team run through the T, singing Rocky Top at the top of your lungs and eating some classic stadium food? C’mon! It’s a perfect way to spend a Tennessee Saturday. Even if you don’t go to an actual game, there is always tailgating! (Find out all the pro-tips for your first game or tailgate at Neyland right here.)

Corn Maze in Corryton Tennessee

psssst this is Emilie at Oakes Farm, not me, Nena Potter

2.) Get Lost! (In a Corn Maze)

I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing. I mean, it’s corn! It’s got the juice. This one can be a little more on the spooky side if you do a haunted maze – but it doesn’t have to be! Personally, all the adrenaline I need can be found in the idea of getting lost in an endless maze, period. If you’re the same way, head over to Oakes Farm in Corryton or Walnut Springs just past Strawberry Plains for adorable fall goodness and an ah-MAZE-ing time!😉

3.) ‘Gram it Up with Gourds

Let’s be honest, you could just buy a pumpkin at your local grocery store – but where’s the fun in that?! I want Instagram-able shots of my friends picking out our favorite gourds and I want to know I’m supporting the local farming community by buying all of their produce. This year, I’m looking to check out Deep Well Farm as they have cute photo ops, baby goats and other adorable farm animals, and you can pick a pumpkin AND go on a hayride for only $14. I mean, go big or gourd home, right? 🤪

Awaken Fall Seasonal Drink

4.) Eat [F]all the Autumn-Flavored Things

Knoxville’s local eateries are doing it right this year when it comes to incorporating all the fall flavors. “Spicy Maple” ice-cream collab from Sugar Queen Creamery and Simpl? Say less, fam. “Green Apple & Salty Caramel” ice cream from Cruze Farm? Don’t mind if I do. There’s also so many great local options for pumpkin lattes and donuts that you really can’t go wrong (Pro-Tip: Awaken has a seeeriously stacked fall menu). French Market has pumpkin crepes. Barrelhouse by Gypsy Circus has pumpkin cider on tap. Tomato Head has apple mimosas. You get the idea 😂

5.) Get a Little BOO-zy

After I try all the fall foods, I want to drink all the fall beer, especially at Last Days of Autumn Brewing BECAUSE C’MON ARE YOU KIDDING ME, THE NAME? It’s perfect. Besides that, Xul Beer Co is hosting their very first beer festival – Kill the Lights on October 22nd. There’s going to be music, food, new beer releases and over FIFTY breweries to sample from. Peep all the details here (if you daaaare muahahaha!)

6.) Take a Hike! (And leaf peep along the way)

So, if you’re reading this and you’re under 30, I’m going to introduce you to a new term: *Leaf Peeping*. This is a real term used to describe the activity of traveling somewhere just to take pics of the fall foliage. I am a self proclaimed leaf peeper and (*insert salesman voice here*) you can be too! Knoxville is so close to a million great places to check out the changing colors (including, you know, that whole National Park that’s basically in our backyard 😂) According to a fall foliage forecast I found, leaves will turn to fall colors in higher elevations around mid-October, and continue into lower elevations until about mid-November. So, if you’re like me and want to see some unbe-leaf-able views, grab a buddy and make plans to get on the trails soon!


Image from @knoxnews

7.) Get Spooked at the Movies! 

When it comes to scary movies, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a baby BUT there are still a couple of screenings on my to-do list or should I say… to-BOO list?😉 If you’re looking to find your community of horror-film-loving homies, then you can’t miss this year’s Knoxville Horror Film Festival at Central Cinema in North Knox (as well as the Parkway Drive-in Movie Theatre in Maryville). This four day fest is a marathon of the macabre and includes showings of this year’s hottest horror shorts and independents as well as a short film competition and award ceremony. This is guaranteed to get you in the Halloween mood. Speaking of…

8.) Do the Time Warp Again

Less spooky and more kooky but something I’ve wanted to do for over a decade now is go to a showing of the cult classic, Rocky Horror Picture Show! If you don’t know, this isn’t just a normal trip to the movies. It’s part dinner show, part interactive experience where you dress up, sing, dance, yell at the screen and throw stuff too! There are a couple places around town to join in on all these shenanigans including The Concourse where they will be doing a Shadowcast (where the movie will be shown and actors perform in real time along with what’s happening on-screen) and the always amazing Tennessee Theatre. This has been a Halloween tradition for decades (ever since the film came out) and I don’t think I can say I’ve truly done this holiday right until I can say I’ve done this. 

9.) Get Evil! Specifically, Medieval! 

Finally, something that has been on my bucket list in general for a while is going to a medieval faire. This is technically outside of Knoxville (in Harriman) but I’ve never been to any kind of Renaissance Faire as an adult. I mean, how often, pray tell, does one get to dress up in middle age attire (I’m a fan of pretty much any event where dressing up is recommended?), nom on a giant turkey leg AND watch live jousting?! Me thinks I shall make haste to go thither as it surely will be a beauteous event indeed (though I may need to beef up on my medieval speech before I go…😂)!

Knoxville courthouse in the fall

That’s my list of things to do in Knoxville this fall! I hope it inspires some of y’all to embrace this season when there’s so many fun things to do in our Scruffy City. What’s on your bucket list for this autumn? Whatever you’re planning, I hope you fall in love with Knoxville all over again like I do. Cheers!

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