Knoxville — It's time to celebrate the holidays, and Knoxville's Christmas in the City will provide plenty of opportunities for festive fun!
The city will be draped in tens of thousands of lights and swags of greenery, businesses are decorating windows, and lighted trees will top the buildings, and at the heart of it all will be the 42-foot tall Christmas tree in Krutch Park.
The city has a number of great events planned throughout the holidays!
Regal Celebration of Lights
Friday, Nov. 23, 6-9 p.m.
Market Square, Market Street and Krutch Park Extension
The holiday season goes into full swing the day after Thanksgiving with Regal Celebration of Lights. The Holidays on Ice outdoor skating rink, presented by Home Federal Bank, opens for the season at 10 a.m. in Market Square.
There will also be live music, food vendors, activities, children’s train rides, marshmallow roasting and free hot cocoa and doughnuts.
On the Market Square stage, WDVX’s Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown begins at 6:30 p.m., featuring music performed by AP Strings, Circus No. 9 and Soulfinger.
Parking is free after 6 p.m. at all city-owned garages, or you can ride the KAT bus! Take the bus from any part of Knoxville to Knoxville Station on Church Avenue, hop on the Blue Line Trolley and get off at Market Street. From there, it's a short walk to the celebration!
The following streets will be closed Friday for Christmas in the City festivities:
Union Avenue between Walnut and Gay streets, 2 - 10 p.m.
Market Street between Clinch and Union avenues, 2 - 10 p.m.
Market Street between Church and Clinch avenues, 5:20 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Gay Street between Summit Hill and Church avenues, 5:20 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Clinch Avenue between Walnut and State streets, 5:20 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt
The hunt begins Friday, Nov. 23, as participating downtown businesses will stamp your North Pole Pass when you spy the elves on their shelves. Participants who get 20 or more stamps will qualify to win grand prizes of downtown merchandise and gift cards. Share your Elf sightings on social media by tagging your posts #elvesinknox. Downtown visitors should also keep an eye out for businesses offering Peppermint Trail food and drink specials. Participating merchants are listed at DowntownKnoxville.org/holiday.
Christmas at Chilhowee
Friday, Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m.
Chilhowee Park, 3301 E. Magnolia Ave.
At this popular annual event, families can get their pictures made with Santa, make crafts, roast marshmallows and enjoy the spectacular lighted drive around Lake Ottosee. Admission is free. The park will be open nightly for self-guided tours Nov. 23, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019.
WIVK Christmas Parade
Friday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
Festival floats, marching bands, vintage vehicles and Nativity scenes promenade down Gay Street during the 46th annual WIVK Christmas Parade. More than 100 community groups participated in last year’s parade. Parade night coincides with Knoxville’s First Friday, so make plans to come early to find a good viewing spot and stay after the parade to browse stores and galleries.
A Safety City Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 8, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Safety City, 165 S. Concord St.
The Knoxville Police Department’s Safety City rings in the holiday season by introducing “A Safety City Christmas.”
Families are welcome to walk through the miniature city decked out in holiday lights and decorations. Children will have a blast playing games, making crafts and rocking out to some wonderful holiday music. Santa will make a special appearance. This event is free to the public. Safety City will also be open Dec. 11, 13, 18 and 20, 5-8 p.m. for open bicycling rides.
Tour de Lights Bicycle Parade
Friday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Market Square and Krutch Park
Tour de Lights is a truly unique Knoxville tradition. Part parade, part bike-decorating contest, this annual event brings together seasoned and amateur bicycle riders of all ages to don their most festive – sometimes outrageous – apparel and cruise a five-mile course from downtown through some of the City’s most historic neighborhoods. It’s fun for riders and viewers alike – in all kinds of weather.
Based on Tour de Lights’ popularity, there will be two staging areas with bike checks and photo booths – one near the Market Square stage and another near the Krutch Park entrance at Union Avenue. Participation is free, but your bicycle must have a white front headlight and red rear reflector.
New Year’s Eve on the Square
Monday, Dec. 31, 10 p.m.
Say farewell to 2018 and ring in 2019 with a few thousand friends in Market Square. Bicho Brothers start performing at 10 p.m. followed by a countdown, ball drop and fireworks at midnight.