Downtown For the Holidays


It’s a magical time of the year for children and grown-ups alike as the downtown festivities get underway in a serious fashion starting today. The centerpiece of today’s fun is the lighting of the 42 foot Christmas tree in Krutch Park Extension (on Gay Street). The event starts at 5:15 with music by the KP Express. There will be a visit from Santa and at 6:00 pm amidst a fun fireworks display the Christmas tree will be lighted and remain so through the New Year.

There is much more surrounding the event, with live music on the Market Square Stage with Evelyn Jack starting at 6:30. And there is more all around downtown, including craft activities for children sponsored local businesses along Market Street. There will be free hot chocolate and cookies, opportunities to sit on Santa’s lap and lay out the hopes and dreams for Christmas morning. There will be a (large!) miniature train set, a Little Elves Workshop and an opportunity to make cards to send to local veterans.

Ice Rink, Market Square, Knoxville, November 2016

The ice rink on Market Square also makes its official debut today. Holidays on Ice will operate seven days a week through January 2 (except for Christmas Day). You can find tickets, hours, and other details here. If Christmas Trees are your thing, don’t miss the chance to check out the beautiful trees at the Fantasy of Trees running through Sunday at the Knoxville Convention Center and supporting Children’s Hospital. This year’s event is sponsored by Axle Logistics and last year it raised over a half-million dollars for the hospital. Tickets and details can be found here.

Throughout the holidays you’ll find these on-going activities and more:

  • Eat, drink and be merry at downtown businesses along the Peppermint Trail (Treats for adults and kids)
  • Search for sneaky elves on The Elf of the Shelf Adventure, a family-friendly tradition (Collect your passport and get started!)
  • Send a letter to Santa at the convenient Market Square mailbox painted by Paris Woodhull
  • Take an elf-ie at Downtown Knoxville’s holiday photo ops, including season Strong Alley mural by Megan Lingerfelt

Oh, but there is much more. Some of you may remember Miracle on Gay Street at Sapphire. Well, the miracle is still around, it’s just found a new address at the Brother Wolf Wine Bar and now it’s Miracle in the Old City. “Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to . . .” Find out the details here or follow along with the fun on Instagram.

#8 Old North Victorian Holiday Home Tour, 122 Leonard, Knoxville, December 2018

It’s also important to remember that all the downtown shops are waiting to serve up local goods from local people. Spend some of your shopping dollars supporting your neighbors. Beyond the shops, there are other local shopping options during the season, like the Old City Market taking up residence on Jackson Avenue on November 26 (Small Business Saturday) and December 11 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Winter Farmers’ Market also has lots of good gift options and runs December 3, 10, and 17 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The events also keep on rolling through the season, starting with the WIVK Christmas Parade next Friday night at 7:00 pm. The same night is the First Friday Artwalk and that’s a great chance to see the seasonal decorations in downtown windows. The weekend Christmas fun continues with Old North Knoxville’s Victorian Home Tour on Saturday and Sunday (12/3 and 12/4).

Tour de Lights, Knoxville, December 2018

The fun continues on December 10 with the Tour de Lights bike parade from Suttree Landing Park to Market Square. Feel like singing some Christmas Carols? December 21 the Carol Cart will make the rounds downtown and you are welcome to come along. It all ends with a giant ball drop at the Sunsphere bringing in the new year, with activities starting at 10:00 pm December 31.

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