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Hometown Spotlight: Knoxville and Knox County

From the lows of the Tennessee River to the rooftops of downtown, the Scruffy City and the county it calls home have so much to offer to locals and visitors alike.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — A scruffy little city on the Tennessee River boasts thriving local businesses, successful schools of every academic level, scenery to rival any postcard, and diverse neighborhoods that make Knoxville and Knox County destinations for travelers and home sweet home for locals.

Every area of Knoxville has its own iconic restaurants, local breweries, nature trails and places for people to explore.

One place that ties it all together is the University of Tennessee, which calls Knoxville home.

North Knoxville consists of neighborhoods like Happy Holler, Fourth and Gill and Fountain City. Local favorites include Litton's restaurant, the Fountain City Duck Pond and Park, and the budding brewery district on Central Avenue.

South Knoxville caters to our area's nature loves, with access to the Tennessee River through Suttree Landing Park, miles of hiking and biking trails in the Urban Wilderness, and unique breweries and restaurants along Sevier Avenue.

You can't think of Knoxville without picturing the Sunsphere. We have the 1982 World's Fair to thank for that, which put Knoxville on the map and gave it its nickname "The Scruffy City."

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More inclusive spaces are opening across the city, where people can feel safe regardless of their differences. 

South Press is an inclusive coffee shop in South Knoxville off of Chapman Highway. It embraces the LGBTQ community and offers a safe space for anyone who needs it.

The Knox Pride Outreach Center is also located in South Knoxville. Also known as the East Tennessee Equality Council, it's a place for the Knoxville LGBTQ Community to find a home base.

There are also inclusive playgrounds popping up all over the community.

Pizza Palace is an iconic restaurant in East Knoxville that's been serving up its unique creations to new and repeat customers for more than 60 years.

East Knoxville is home to iconic Knoxville institutions like Chilhowee Park, Zoo Knoxville, the Muse Knoxville and all the businesses that make up Magnolia Avenue.

Knoxville's craft beer industry is growing constantly, with more and more breweries opening every year.

In 2014 there were just four craft brew sites in the Knoxville area.    

Now there are 22 local breweries in every part of the city.

Ebony & Ivory Brewing will be number 23 when it opens in 2022 and will be the first brewery in the city to be co-owned by a Black brewer.

The brewery's goal is to promote and grow diversity in the craft beer scene.

The "Nicest Place in America" calls Knoxville home. Yassins' Falafel House, owned by Syrian refugee Yassin Terou, is a local favorite for delicious Middle Eastern Cuisine.

Yassin's has two locations, one downtown and one in West Knoxville. Yassin and his wife just welcomed their fourth child and first son, Muhammad.

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The heart of any city is its downtown, and Knoxville is no exception. From the restaurants and shops of Market Square, to the iconic Tennessee and Bijou theatres on Gay Street, to the history and vibrancy of the Old City — there's always something going on downtown.

Knox County has fun activities planned for Halloween and Christmas, including the fan-favorite Christmas light event Christmas at the Cove, where you can walk through beautiful light displays in the park outside Farragut.

TAMIS has been collecting family movies from every part of Knox County for decades, giving us a glimpse into what life was like nearly a century ago.

And calling all moms! If you're looking for great events in the area, or some parenting advice or resources, Knoxvillemoms.com is the place to go.

Launched in 2013 by one local mom, it's grown into a blog with multiple contributors, written for moms by moms in Knox County and East Tennessee.

West Knoxville has a slew of local restaurants with unique cuisines and atmospheres, from Lakeside Tavern's views to fan-favorite Italian food at Altruda's.

This just scratches the surface of all that Knoxville and Knox County offer. But those of us who live here can confirm, this is a special place with wonderful people who make the Scruffy City shine.