36 Hours in Knoxville

36 Hours in Knoxville - offbeat + inspired

My love for Tennessee is no secret. I visited Nashville for the first time 5 years ago and that was it — within a year I had rented a house and now this city is home. As far as the rest of the state, I’ve fallen in love with the sleepy, small, incredibly charming town of Lieper’s Fork with all it’s swimming holes, the cabin I escape to at least once a year in Cookeville (which is covered in golden leaves right now…a dream), the hidden gem cafes and restaurants of Chattanooga, and most recently, Knoxville.

36 Hours in Knoxville - offbeat + inspired

I had the honor of partnering with Tennessee Tourism for a 2 day trip to Knox where I got to eat, explore, and attend Kelsea Ballerini’s hometown show in the gymnasium of her high school. It was so cool to be there for that on MULTIPLE levels…one being that Kelsea Ballerini’s bass player is my person’s brother! Yep. I’ve had a person for about 5 months now, aaand it’s pretty amazing. Hehehe ok anyhoo. More on that later. The concert. I loved that she played her old high school. I thought that was the sweetest thing. I saw all those kids crowding around the stage, SO excited to see this girl who sat in the same classrooms they sit in, who made a dream happen for herself and didn’t forget where she came from. It was truly inspiring and a LITTLE emotional for me.

36 Hours in Knoxville - offbeat + inspired

36 Hours in Knoxville - offbeat + inspired

As far as Knoxville’s restaurants and cafes, I definitely discovered a few favorites I would highly recommend. For breakfast, Tupelo Honey was great. I got the bacon, eggs and really good gluten free toast, and on a rainy day with some hot tea it was all perfect. For lunch, Wild Love Bakehouse was wonderful. It’s really an anytime cafe where you can set up and work, but the food options were great, AND they were featured as “Best Bakery in the USA” by AFAR! They had pastries, pizzas, an assortment of gluten free goodies (I got the peanut butter chocolate oat bar), and AMAZING coffee. For dinner, it was all about the sushi at Nama Sushi Bar. It was to die for. I’m sitting in my room in Nashville right now salivating just thinking about it.

For wandering, I couldn’t get over the main square! It was so pretty with benches and trees everywhere, lined with shops, restaurants and bars. So lovely during the day and perfect for a nighttime stroll.

36 Hours in Knoxville - offbeat + inspired

The trip felt way too short. There was rest, music, exploring, good food, good drinks and I cannot wait to go back!

A little background on that main photo. It was pretty chilly that morning and I really wanted to get a shot of the Tennessee sign in front of the theater Before heading back to Nashville, but there were so many cars stopping and going in front of it and we were going to have to wait to get what I wanted. So in the meantime I told Nate to take a few test shots just so that we could play around with angles, and this was one of the first test shots. We were on that corner for about 10 minutes, teeth chattering, and when I looked through the tests I was like OK that’s a wrap! Then we scurried back to the Hilton and thawed out with hot cappuccinos in the lobby Starbucks. So cozy.

I’m so so glad we decided to get that shot because the Tennessee Theatre, which has been around since the 20’s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places AND is honored as the Official State Theater of Tennessee! I love it. It started as a movie theater and now its a performing arts theater. They do everything. Dance, music, old movies, Broadway. So cool. I’d  really love to go back and experience one of the shows.

36 Hours in Knoxville - offbeat + inspired

you might also like


  1. Such a lovely post! 🙂

  2. I went to Nashville last summer and fell in love with that place. Two days there wasn’t enough.

  3. Oh my god, okay, I’m so excited and happy for you and the person – that’s just the first thing I had to say! You just deserve the best T! <3 And this trip indeed seemed amazing! And for 2 days I must say you made some damn good photos! lol xo

  4. lol! oh my gosh Sarah you made me laugh so much when you described how you are as a crafter (buying all the supplies, starting projects and taking forever to finish) i’m the same way!!! i just made my first CP soap yesterday and the essential oils i used were tangerine (they didn’t have orange), tea tree and geranium. also the recipe called for shea butter but i used cocoa butter instead. my soap totally smells like chocolate/orange! i had a question regarding the addition of real chocolate to your soap, doesnt it make it sticky?

  5. I’m very happy for you, wish you all the best thing. The photos are so stunning~ Glad that your had a great time there.

share something