Honest Pros and Cons of Living in Knoxville

Honest Pros and Cons of Living in Knoxville

Knoxville feels like the perfect combination of a bustling city and quiet suburbs —  that's because you can experience both within the same town. This city has become more prominent in regional and national news as a great place to live. U.S. News ranked it as top 25 metro area to live in this year because of its growing economy and job market, affordable cost of living, and access to plenty of natural and cultural hot spots. If Knoxville is on your list as a future hometown or you're planning to temporarily move to Knoxville for your job, it helps to know the area's pros and cons. Keep reading to learn what we love best about living in Knoxville, along with a few potential cons to keep in mind.

Pros of living in Knoxville

Knoxville is a beautiful city that has something for everyone. Whether you're a new professional looking to fast-track your career, someone yearning for a great place to live long-term and grow a family, or someone who wants the convenience of city amenities with easy access to outdoor activities, then Knoxville's the right town for you. Consider these pros of living in Knoxville that are hard to find anywhere else.

#1: Lots of access to nature

When you're in the center of Knoxville, you're only an hour away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy hiking to view the sunrise over Tennessee's hilly landscape, take frequent walks below towering trees, and get your steps in along the Tennessee River. Dedicated hikers and campers have dozens of trails and campgrounds to choose from without having to take a long drive. There are so many parks within city limits that there’s no fear of running out of options. So, whether you want to spend more leisure time in nature or explore the great outdoors, Knoxville offers easy access to everything from small parks to national preserves.

#2: Vibrant Arts Community 

When you think of Knoxville, you might not immediately picture a vibrant arts and culture hub. However, this "Scruffy City" has so much to offer in terms of artistic experiences. Knoxville proudly hosts a plethora of festivals that celebrate music, arts, and culture, including the renowned Dogwood Arts Festival and the Big Ears Festival. These events showcase the city's creative spirit and provide unforgettable experiences for attendees. If you're a fan of live performances, Knoxville won't disappoint. The historic Tennessee Theatre and Bijou Theatre stand as iconic venues, hosting a diverse range of shows that captivate audiences. Additionally, the city boasts the First Friday Art Walk, Beck Cultural Center, Strong Alley murals, and the Emporium Center, forming a constellation of art-related venues and experiences. It's no wonder that Knoxville recently earned the impressive title of the fourth-best arts district in the country, according to USA Today's 10 Best People's Choice ranking.

#3: Diverse job opportunities and a strong economy

Knoxville is home to a growing, thriving job market. The Knoxville Chamber cites a job growth rate of 30.4% from March 2021 through March 2023. And all the job growth is diverse. Some of the biggest employees in the area include Covenant Health, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the University of Tennessee. With jobs available across so many different sectors, Knoxville is in a great position to continue growing and thriving.

Cons of living in Knoxville

While Knoxville is a nature oasis that's easy on the wallet and great for your resume, nowhere is perfect. Some cons to consider as you're exploring the Knoxville area include:

#1: High temperatures in the summer

Many newcomers may expect gentle or mild seasons, especially since Tennessee is on the northern edge of the South. However, while Knoxville summers rarely ever reach above 94°F, they do continually hover in the mid-eighties. The weather is also humid and muggy, which can amplify the hot temperatures and make the summers sweltering.

When there's a breeze or some shade — or if you're enjoying a comfortable indoor environment with air conditioning — the summers are bearable. But expect short springs, very cold winters, and long, sweaty summers.

#2: Limited public transportation

Knoxville is a bustling city in Tennessee, coming in at #3 with a population of approximately 196,000 people. Despite that, Knoxville doesn't have a lot of mass transit options for people living in and around the city. The system is pretty inexpensive at around $1.50 for a standard KAT bus ride, but it offers limited options outside of a few popular destinations.

If you're moving to Knoxville, having a car is extremely helpful. With a car, many residents have pleasant commutes because of the well-planned roadways and easy access to Interstates 40, 640, and 75. The major highway hub provides fast commutes and an easy start or end to any road trip.

#3: Heavy focus on football

Many residents, visitors, and prospective residents don't consider this to be a con — it might even be a perk if you're a fervent sports fan. But for those who simply tolerate football or could do without it, expect to see a lot more football paraphernalia and team spirit around football season. After all, Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee, which has a nationally famous football team and lots of other renowned athletic programs.

How does this impact life in Knoxville? To start, it flavors the restaurants and bars you'll find all around town — not just the ones near campus. You'll find dozens of sports bars, restaurants that keep the game on all season long, and frequent mentions at most live events. The topic may frequently come up around the water cooler or during small talk.

If you're not used to a college town, you may notice a bit of a college town vibe. But Knoxville is over 98 square miles. Once you start exploring, you'll find plenty of areas that don't focus on football. Many residents consider this a small gripe compared to the advantages Knoxville has to offer.

Moving to Knoxville

If you want to maximize the advantages of moving to Knoxville and mitigate the disadvantages, there are a few steps you can take to make Knoxville feel like home.

  • Learn more about the different neighborhoods: Knoxville real estate agents can provide information about the various neighborhoods of Knoxville and the surrounding suburbs so you can zero in on homes in the right location with your desired amenities nearby.

  • Experiment with your commute: If you don't plan on having a car, opt for centrally located neighborhoods with the best walkability and transit options for your lifestyle. Alternatively, if you have a car, drive around and see if you're comfortable with the driving times.

  • Get a guide: Knoxville has a rich history, but it's also constantly changing and developing. As local experts we can help you learn about the area, find what you're looking for, and match you with homes in your budget, style, and parameters.

Enjoy the best parts of living in a Knoxville home

If you're ready to move into a Knoxville home or you want a curated homebuying journey through Knoxville's neighborhoods, the team at Foster-Boline Group is here to help. We'll match you with homes that fit your budget, lifestyle, and favorite parts of Knoxville. Reach out today to schedule a meeting!

Work With Us

We understand the elements of the individual needs and the unique process of each transaction. At the end of the day, we want you to walk away feeling that you have received an amazing experience with our team and that you have been able to realize your dream of selling or buying a home!

Follow Us on Instagram