City: Knoxville, Tennessee
My Home: Two-bedroom loft in 1920s Art Deco high rise
Downtown Knoxville is an up-and-coming neighborhood full of independently owned and operated shops and restaurants. It's extremely walkable and pet friendly (with an off-leash dog park, dog friendly restaurant patios, & stores that let you take your puppy inside!), and it seems like there is something happening all the time with festivals, farmer's markets, street fairs, local bands, theatre, and firework shows. We have loved every moment of living here this past year!
A.B.'s Guide to Downtown Knoxville
1. Favorite Neighborhood Home Store
- BLISS: 29 Market Square
Bliss has some of the most beautiful furnishings! They always have something fun and different in their shop.
2. Go-to Shop for Gifts
- EARTH TO OLD CITY: 22 1/2 Market Square
Earth To Old City has a great variety of different gift-type items, as well as a huge selection of Burt's Bees, my favorite bath products. I love looking around in here for unique articles.
3. Best Vintage Shop, Thrift Store, or Flea Market
- RÄLA: 2 Market Square
Räla is a brand new store that's a consignment art shop. They have gorgeous dinnerware and stunning prints and postcards, all locally made by Knoxville artists. This is my favorite new shop! Local arts show their stuff and it is always fabulous, and the window displays are the best.
4. Favorite Bookstore
- ORGANIZED PLAY: 221 Cumberland Ave
Organized Play has the best selection of comic books in Knoxville, and they are just down the street from us. I love to look through their indie and webcomic selections. I have found so many great new artists because of material I've picked up in here.
5. Favorite Coffee Shop, Café, or Restaurant
- THE FRENCH MARKET: 526 S Gay Street
The French Market is the best place to go if you want to sit on a dog friendly patio and eat the best crepes in Tennessee. (Nutella Crepes all the way!) The owner is always so kind to our dogs, giving them cookies and spoiling them rotten.
6. Best Place to Pick Up Groceries
- AISLE 9: 112 S Central Street
Aisle 9 is a new, very funky kind of grocery store. They will let you take your dog shopping with you! How cool is that? I love to check out the art on their walls, all done by local artists. They also have the best selection of beer in the downtown area. It's a convenient place to get all the items you can't find at the Market Square Farmer's Market.
7. Best Place to Buy Flowers
- THE FLOWER POT: 700 S Gay Street
The Flower Pot has gorgeous flowers and a fun atmosphere (and free cupcakes the day we went!). My husband surprised me with a beautiful bouquet from there this past spring. I love 'just because' flowers!
8. Best Neighborhood Park
- WORLD'S FAIR PARK
World's Fair Park contains the famous sunsphere from the 1982 World's Fair. There are always events going on like the Irishfest, Brewer's Jam, concerts, races, festivals, and more. It also has great green spaces for playing with the dogs, having picnics, or playing a game of ultimate frisbee. And the Candy Factory is conveniently located in the park, in case the need for some tasty chocolates arises!
9. Best Spot to Take Visitors
- Market Square, Barley's Taproom & Pizzaria, Remedy Coffee, Tennessee Theatre, Bistro at the Bijou! Too many to name them all! If visitors are coming into the area they should make sure to take a good long weekend to explore downtown, at the very least. And that still isn't enough time, which is why my husband and I decided to move here in the first place!
Photos: A.B. Monk