Downtown: Life in ‘everyone’s neighborhood’

Jennifer HolderDowntown

Whether you want to live, work or play, downtown Knoxville might be the place for you. Our downtown offers hundreds of options as “everyone’s neighborhood.”

As a downtown Knoxville resident for 30 years, I’ve seen dramatic changes, and I can attest that regardless of your age, there’s something here for you. And it truly is a neighborhood.

Newcomers easily integrate with the downtown old-timers. One good way is to participate in a progressive dinner. These events have become popular as a way not only to meet people but also to experience the variety of local residences that downtown offers. From small studio apartments and lofts to 3,000 square feet condominiums and townhomes, no two places are alike.

Most people who give urban living a try simply do not want to live anywhere else, which is a double-edged sword. To keep up with unwavering demand, new housing is seeing a historic boom and is pushing the traditional district boundaries. Alongside this growing demand often are rising rents and pricing, but an astute potential dweller can watch the market and consult with real estate professionals to find that ideal new home.

Among more recent new homes are City House on the northwest end, Regas Square to the north on the site of the historic Regas restaurant, the Overlook on the south end with stunning views of the Tennessee River, and Church + Henley on the site of the former State Supreme Court on the west side. Many more options are in the works throughout the downtown district.

One of the unique features for me is the suitability for people of all ages. I’ve been here from my twenties to my fifties and have found it effortless to meet other downtowners regardless of my age. I have a favorite “watering hole” (my “Cheers” is Chesapeake’s) and full -service salon, Tree of Life, where you’ll find patrons of pretty much any age.

A large number of people who enjoy downtown Knoxville don’t actually live in the center city. I have friends who patronize our huge variety of restaurants, and many make the seasonal farmers market a regular destination. Just as significant are the cultural attractions available at the historic Tennessee Theatre, Bijou and Emporium plus the many festivals our town offers, from Kuumba to regular free concerts of all musical genres presented on Market Square.

Downtown Knoxville also boasts a unique shopping destination not found anywhere else. Bliss, Mast General, Tree and Vine, Union Ave books and even the Visit Knoxville welcome center are just a few of the favorites for shoppers looking for that special gift.

Home to many banks, law firms, architects, hotels, the Lincoln Memorial law school and myriad small businesses, downtown Knoxville is a great place to work as well. It’s also extremely walkable with ample parking.

And for pet lovers, the dog park is a choice destination, and soon baseball returns to downtown on the east side and will bring with it more retail and residential options.

If you already know our center city, you know how welcoming downtown Knoxville is, and if you don’t, I hope you’ll give it a try. You won’t regret it.

Jennifer Holder owns Pirate Girl PR, with the motto, “Plan before you plunder.”


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