If you’re headed to Rocky Top this year to cheer on the Dawgs in their annual tilt with the Tennessee Volunteers on Nov. 18, here’s a guide for where to stay, eat, and sightsee in the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Where to stay
The Graduate Hotel Knoxville is a boutique hotel with eclectic, locally-inspired décor. Their restaurant and bar, Saloon 16, is owned by Peyton Manning, who is frequently spotted there by patrons. The hotel chain has locations in college towns around the country—including Athens!
The Oliver Hotel in downtown Knoxville is located in a historic building above Tupelo Honey, a regional chain restaurant known for delicious fried chicken and Southern favorites. For a luxurious experience, the grand Tennessean Hotel offers electric bikes to guests so they can explore Knoxville’s beautiful outdoor scenery with ease.
Where to eat
Calhoun’s on the river serves barbecue and other casual American foods in their waterfront location in Knoxville’s historic district. The restaurant is accessible by boat and even has its own dock.
The Market Square district has many restaurants, bars and shops all within walking distance of one another. Cafe 4, located in the heart of Market Square, has an extensive list of cocktails made with syrups, shrubs, and mixes prepared in-house. The restaurant was part of Knoxville’s urban revitalization and has been dishing out American classics with a Southern flair and locally-roasted coffee for over 10 years.
The Tomato Head, another Market Square favorite, serves fresh-made pizzas, sandwiches, cocktails and mocktails. The restaurant hosts monthly exhibits to support local artists and serves as a venue to musical acts, poetry readings, and performance art.
On game day
Even if you don’t have a ticket, you can still watch the game alongside fellow Dawgs at a sports bar or restaurant in the area.
The Hill Bar & Grill has views of the Sunspot and World’s Fair Park from its patio. They’ve won multiple awards for their wings, which have been voted best in Knoxville.
Fieldhouse Social is a football-inspired bar and eatery with a massive TV perfect for watching the game.
The World’s Fair Park, initially created for the 1982 World’s Fair Exhibition with the theme “Energy Turns the World,” is one of the city’s most recognizable attractions. In addition to a large lawn and amphitheater, visitors can tour the Sunsphere, a sculptural tower and observation deck with views of the city.
Maple Hall, a boutique bowling hall located in the historic J.C. Penney building, is one of the city’s most unique attractions. Upstairs, guests can enjoy craft drinks in the cozy cocktail lounge after they play.
Not making the trip to Knoxville and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you.