Whether you’re a Knoxville native or brand new to town, there is no shortage of places around the city to snap a picture worthy of Instagram. From Tennessee legends to Knoxville landmarks, each mural captures a different side of the city’s unique culture.
Although there are hidden gems all around town, here are seven of the best places to strike a pose, snap a picture and spice up your social media in the Scruffy City.
“Greetings From Knoxville”
A must-see for any Volunteer, this 31-by-19 foot mural captures the spirit of an old style postcard and is perfect for showing off your Knoxville pride. Between each giant letter in the world “Knoxville” can be seen iconic images of the city, including Neyland Stadium, the Tennessee Theatre and the Sun Sphere.
The Greetings From Knoxville mural can be found at 1141 North Broadway, 37917.
Located in Downtown Knoxville just off of Market Square, this piece has been a staple piece of Strong Alley, also known as Artist’s Alley or Graffiti Alley, since 2019. The homage to Dolly Parton was vandalized in the spring of 2020, and it has since undergone a bit of a facelift to both improve and restore the artist’s original work. Now that it is back on its feet, you have your chance to snap a picture next to every Volunteer’s favorite bluegrass singer.
Strong Alley, which contains a number of other signature murals, is tucked between Market Street and Gay Street.
“Weaving Rainbow Mountain”
If you’re not looking to stray too far off of campus, “Weaving Rainbow Mountain” is the spot for you. The set of 10 foot-wide stairs, which acts as a segue between campus and World’s Fair Park, provides the perfect pop of color for any picture. While you’re at it, you can also climb the stairs to snap a photo in front of the Sun Sphere.
“Weaving Rainbow Mountain” can be found at 1050 Cumberland Ave, 37916.
Just down the way from the famous Dolly Parton mural, Strong Alley boasts another staple of the Knoxville mural walk: the Downtown Knoxville mural. This particular piece is unique in that it is routinely revamped to follow a new theme for each season. Now on its eighth seasonal rotation, the mural was updated Sept. 14 to its new fall theme.
The best part? A new photo op — and a new excuse to post an OOTD — every time the seasons change.
Another set of colorful stairs can be found in Old Town under the name “Stories.” Woven into the images on the staircase are the faces of famous Knoxville faces, including writers, activists, celebrities and more. If you look closely, the winding mural also holds an interactive scavenger hunt of iconic Knoxville landmarks and images.
Stop by “Stories” to complete the scavenger hunt and dive into the history of Knoxville at 203 West Jackson Ave, 37902.
COVID-19 Memorial Mural
One of the newest editions to the city's array of murals, the World’s Fair Park COVID-19 memorial mural was commissioned by Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon earlier this year to honor the lives lost to COVID-19 in Knox County. The mural covers the entirety of one of the underpasses at the base of the Sun Sphere and allows visitors to experience the piece’s vibrant colors from all angles.
If you wish to visit the memorial and pay your respects to those lost to COVID-19, the mural can be found at the Clinch Avenue Viaduct in World’s Fair Park, 963 World's Fair Park Dr, 37916.
“Windows to the Smokies”
“Windows to the Smokies” is likely a familiar sight to any downtown regulars. Located on the busy corner of Gay Street and Wall Avenue, this 12-by-50 foot mural pays an artistic tribute to architectural elements of windows found all around Knoxville, including the windows of St. John’s Cathedral. Through the “windows,” passersby can enjoy the painted blue haze of the Smokies that give East Tennessee its charm.
The mural can be found at 403 South Gay Street, 37902 on the side of the Lerner Lofts building.