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Rainbow Mountain, Knoxville

Knoxville and Its Hidden Gems

Rainbow Mountain, Knoxville

Quirky, vivid, and original, Knoxville appears ordinary only from the highway. Once inside the maze of streets, it becomes apparent that this town is not at all what you expected. From Rainbow Mountain, vibrant with color, to the Greenway curving to the river, surprises bounce from every corner. A train sits stagnant alongside the murky river, the World’s Fair Sunsphere glows over a green lawn, and an open air theater juts out from under a cleverly constructed dome of three arching pieces.

Sunsphere Knoxville

These aren’t the only sights taking the stage in Knoxville. Vibrant murals play hide-and-seek throughout the town, popping up unexpectedly in the strangest places.

"Nothing Too Fancy" Mural

We visited the Greetings from Knoxville mural, which is one of the most well-known, but there are many more if you look hard.

"Greetings From Knoxville" Mural

The Greenway, one of Knoxville’s many features, is a paved, smooth walkway stretching across the town. It reaches from Rainbow Mountain to the river. A creek slices through the walkway, separating it from the college campus nearby.


Along its banks, we met a group of volunteers dragging litter out from the middle of the creek. Knee-deep in freezing water, young adults heaved all sorts of discarded furniture and trash out from the sullied creek. They were busy hauling out a large couch, its cover torn off, displaying gnarly, rusted over innards. The amount of garbage dumped in that creek was astounding! When we returned later that day, they had already filled 5 garbage bags with trash. This didn’t even include all the furniture that had been thrown into the creek!


On our way out of Knoxville, we passed by a corner shop called Glitterville, which had giant windows filled with… unicorns! It was another reminder of the fanciful aura that surrounds Knoxville.

We left Knoxville with a sense of its unique quality, a bright daub of color in the land of drab skyscrapers and dusty highways.

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