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Old City, Knoxville

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#8 of 11 in Neighborhoods in Tennessee
The Old City is a neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States, located at the northeast corner of the city's downtown area. Originally part of a raucous and vice-ridden section of town known as "The Bowery," the Old City has since been revitalized through extensive redevelopment efforts carried out during the 1980s through the present. Currently, the Old City is an offbeat urban neighborhood, home to several unique restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops.In spite of its name, the Old City is not the oldest section of Knoxville. Most of the neighborhood was not part of the city until the 1850s, when the arrival of the railroad encouraged the city to annex the areas north of Vine Avenue. The railroad brought an influx of Irish immigrants, who established the Old City's first saloons and shops. After the Civil War, Knoxville developed into one of the southeast's largest wholesaling centers. Wholesalers built large warehouses, such as the ones along Jackson Avenue, where rural East Tennessee merchants came to buy the goods with which they stocked their general stores.By the early 1900s, Central Street was lined with saloons and brothels. Violent crime and prostitution continued to be a problem into the 1960s, causing many of the neighborhood's businesses to flee the area. Beginning in the 1970s, successful redevelopment efforts led by Kristopher Kendrick (who coined the name "Old City") and Peter Calandruccio revitalized the neighborhood. In 1985, most of the neighborhood's historic buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Southern Terminal and Warehouse Historic District.LocationThe Old City is concentrated around the intersection of Central Street and Jackson Avenue, adjacent to the Southern Terminal tracks and railyard (now part of the Norfolk Southern system). The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Magnolia Avenue on the north, Gay Street on the west, Summit Hill Drive on the south, and the interstate overpasses on the east. Interstate 40 passes just north of the Old City, and is accessible via the Downtown Loop from Summit Hill Drive.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
130 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • July 27, 2017
    I enjoyed taking several minutes to walk through part of Old City Knoxville on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. But, although the area contains a variety of restaurants and shops, much of the area seems eith...  more »
  • July 11, 2017
    Old City is my husband and I's favorite part of Knoxville. We love to visit here and explore all the old pubs in the area.  more »
  • July 2, 2017
    I've read some of the reviews of old city and feel they are embellished and overly critical. In fact the best two restaurants in the city are here (lonesome Dove and melting pot - read my write ups). ...  more »

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Where to stay in Knoxville

A high concentration of popular hotel chains are grouped downtown. These are all located within walking distance of the city's major attractions. A handful of quirky hostels offer economy lodging with character, as do the bed and breakfasts located in the Old City. The city's website provides a comprehensive list of all the city's lodging options, along with their locations and contact information.
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