Knoxville - Not Just for College Kids

Knoxville Tennessee Waterfront Retirement Communities

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Baby Boomers seeking an affordable retirement destination in one of the most picturesque and culturally enriched regions of the country should consider exploring Knoxville, recognized as a best place to retire in Tennessee.  With a cost of living 11% below the national average, Knoxville offers a city full of diversity, history, amazing cultural events, some impressive and affordable waterfront communities on nearby lakes all combined with the youthful appeal and energy generated by the student population that attend the University of Tennessee which creates a fun and vibrant place to retire and  enjoy life.

Knoxville is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and offers residents a multitude of entertainment options, great restaurants and a wide variety of festivals annually.  This old world city sits on the banks of the Tennessee River which runs through downtown creating the perfect backdrop of natural beauty blended with good ole fashioned Southern hospitality.  Knoxville offers the ideal combination of civil war history and modern world amenities which entices youthful Boomers to explore the waterfront retirement communities found here.  The charming downtown area features a mixture of architectural styles including Greek Revival, Victorian, Gothic, Neoclassical and Art Deco and reflects the diversity of living in Knoxville.

For water lovers, there are 3 lakes that surround Knoxville; Tellico Lake connects to the Tennessee River and is one of the best boating lakes in the US; Fort Loudon Lake and Norris Lake both provide fresh water recreational activities all offered at a reasonable price providing cost savings for those retiring on a budget.  While visiting the city, take the time to explore some of the outstanding properties that are available in the region, especially those who enjoy boating fishing, and golfing.

Active folks can enjoy the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center in downtown which offers boat, stand-up paddleboard and bike rentals year round to enjoy the great outdoors.  The eclectic blend of students from the University keeps the city active, youthful and happening encouraging seniors to join in the fun found here along the Tennessee River.  It is also a great place to just sit back and people watch.

The Knoxville Greenway System is another great way to stay healthy and enjoy all the offerings the city has to offer.  The Knoxville Greenway interconnects the city with 86 miles of paved greenway and natural trails for both hiking and biking and is one of the most sophisticated in the country.  There is also the Knoxville Urban Wilderness Center which is 1,000 acres of green space that has 10 parks and nearly 40 miles of recreational trails along Knoxville’s downtown waterfront.  Here visitors and residents can hike, bike and even ride horseback through this scenic topography. The multi-use trails are overseen by the Legacy Parks Foundation which have developed a sophisticated “easy to navigate” system with signage and kiosks throughout the Center. 

The Ijams Nature Center is pretty spectacular and houses a wildlife sanctuary on more than 300 acres of protected woodlands and 12 miles of trails for viewing the exotic birds that are native to the region.  For convenience, there is a Knoxville Visitor’s Center on Gay Street where weekday lunchtime concerts are held featuring old-time, bluegrass and country music.  Toe tapping in downtown is common and enhances the overall mood of living in this vibrant southern town.

For shopping, dining and enjoying outdoor concerts, Market Square is the place to be and be seen.  Since 1860, this downtown hotspot features some amazing culinary selections ranging from popular chains to regional favorites with southern appeal along with some intriguing boutiques, shops and art galleries.  Outdoor festivals and concerts are held in the Market Square year round.  From July through August, “Shakespeare on the Square” is held featuring two classic plays by William Shakespeare which are rotated nightly.  In April, the Dogwood Arts Festival is a 17-day event featuring arts and craft fairs, food and live music and a great way to kick off the celebration of spring.  The Rossini Festival is also held in April and combines the rich appeal of live opera with classic Italian cuisine.  In the month of June, African American heritage is celebrated at “Kuumba” (which is Swahili for “creativity”) offering traditional folk arts, dance, music, theatre and exotic food choices.  “Autumn on the Square” provides an outdoor concert series highlighting local and national artists.  On Labor Day, the famous “Boomsday” celebration features the largest fireworks display in the nation along the banks of the Tennessee River. In warmer months, fresh produce can be found at the Farmer’s Market held on Wednesday and Saturdays. There is never a dull moment living in Knoxville as festivals take place year round.  It’s no wonder why folks are relocating to Knoxville, a best place to retire in Tennessee.  While visiting, be sure to check out some of the affordable and enticing waterfront retirement communities located nearby. 

Cultural enrichment is offered by the Knoxville Opera which has been led by Don Townsend for over 20 years; the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra which is the oldest continuing orchestra in the southeast established in 1935; and the Children’s Theatre of Knoxville which offers 10 productions annually for children and families.  The Clarence Brown Theatre at the University of Tennessee produces eight plays a year from September through May and ranges from musicals to drama.  The energy, excitement and affordable entertainment makes Knoxville the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the finer things in life without spending a ton of money.  Not to mention, a visit to The Great Smoky Mountains is only an hour away and provides the perfect retreat for a family outing.  Forbes Magazine ranked Knoxville on the list of “Top 25 Best Bang for the Buck Cities” this mountain paradise is also known as the “Most Dog Friendly City” for those with four-legged friends.

Other places to visit in Knoxville:

  • Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum which is a 200 year old 47-acre garden that boasts walking trails and “secret” garden paths throughout the property.  It’s a perfect way to take a walk, visit with friends and explore this beautiful collection of plants, flowers and trees.
  • Knoxville World Fair Park houses the infamous 26-story bronze glass “Sunsphere” which decorates the skyline.  The park celebrates the history of the 1982 World Fair held there.   Located in downtown, the park features dining atop the “Sunphere”, an amphitheater, the Great Lawn for festivals and concerts as well as HGTV.  It’s a great place to enjoy the day with family and friends.
  • Knoxville Museum of Art showcases art and artists of Eastern Tennessee and hosts events ranging from musical concerts to wine tastings. 
  • Knoxville Zoological Gardens offers events throughout the year including the Giraffe Encounter and Budgie Landing in the spring and summer months.  Meet Khakesi, the infamous female Komodo dragon at the zoo which is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 10am to 4:30pm.
  • Knoxville Food Tours located on Gay Street in Market Square is an innovative culinary tour designed by regional food expert Paula Johnson who will guide guests to some of the best “hidden” local eateries offered in Knoxville.  The tour includes a variety of cuisine including both fine dining and hole-in-the-wall restaurants that offer regional fare.
  • Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street is a century old and is called the “South’s most beautiful theatre.  Performances are held here year round and a visit to this majestic venue should definitely be on the “to do” list.
  • Turkey Creek Shopping Mall offers over 200 brand stores, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues on 800,000 square feet of retail space and is the perfect place to get some quality exercise and enjoy the day.  

There is never a dull moment as the possibilities are endless in Knoxville.  With the beauty of the region exploring the great outdoors is a daily adventure, not to mention the water activities enjoyed while living in one of the spectacular waterfront retirement communities located here.  It no wonder folks are relocating to Tennessee.  With a low cost of living, great history and non-stop entertainment, we believe Knoxville truly is a best place to retire in Tennessee.

If you're exploring Knoxville for the first time, ask for our free Knoxville relocation information to help you learn more about the area. 

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
General Price Range*

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
General Price Range*
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