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Sunsphere, Knoxville

4.0
#2 of 13 in Sightseeing in Knoxville
Observation Deck Tourist Spot
The Sunsphere, in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a 266ft high hexagonal steel truss structure, topped with a 75ft gold-colored glass sphere that served as the symbol of the 1982 World's Fair.DesignDesigned by the Knoxville architectural firm Community Tectonics, the Sunsphere was created as the theme structure for the 1982 World's Fair. It was noted for its unique design in several engineering publications.The World's Fair site later became a public park alongside Knoxville's official convention center and adjacent to the University of Tennessee's main campus. The Sunsphere remains standing directly across a man-made pond from the Tennessee Amphitheater, the only structure other than the Sunsphere that still remains from the 1982 World's Fair.In its original design, the sphere portion was to have had a diameter of 86.5ft to represent symbolically the 865000mi diameter sun. The tower's window glass panels are layered in 24-karat gold dust and cut to seven different shapes. It weighs 600 tons and features six double steel truss columns in supporting the seven-story sphere. The tower has a volume of 203689cuft and a surface of 16742sqft.HistoryDuring the fair it cost $2 to take the elevator to its observation deck. The tower served as a restaurant and featured food items such as the Sunburger and a rum and fruit juice cocktail called the Sunburst. In the early morning hours on May 12, 1982, a shot was fired from outside the fair site and shattered one of the sphere's windows. No one was ever arrested for the incident.
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3 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Knoxville & Gatlinburg BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 6 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in Knoxville & Gatlinburg BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, teens, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, teens, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Nashville, Knoxville & Great Smoky Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Asheville & Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Asheville & Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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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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Google
4.4
  • Build for the World's Fair in 1982 the Sun sphere tower gives you a great view of downtown Knoxville and the beautiful fountains. As you walk, the descriptions of what you see are printed on the wall....  more »
  • We went up and we really enjoyed the view and the history. It has an elevator and it is free. The only problem is parking is a little bit of a problem.  more »
  • There is a restaurant at the top of the Sunsphere Tower with great views of the City. This was a counterpoint of the World's Fair that was held in Knoxville several years ago.  more »
Google
  • We loved it!!! Reasonable prices, nice place for a date or share a drink with friends. Staff was excellent. Wonderful view. We will definitely visit again.
  • Beautiful view of Knoxville and vicinity from the top and a nice elevator ride up. It gets better every year I go when I visit my friend Sam. Last visit was back in September 2015. Great scenery!
  • The view was incredible here, and it was completely free. I enjoyed myself up there, but there was only one floor available to us for the attraction. The rest was all businesses, restaurants, and gift shops or something. There were times where it wasn't crowded at all, but also times where it was very noisy. For the most part, I didn't mind these negative qualities. Rank A.
  • World's Fair Park is a wonderful place to spend the day from the rail Museum to the top of the sunsphere you'll have a great time little kids will love wadding in the fountain at the North End of the lake
  • This place offers amazing views of downtown Knoxville and the UT campus. Worth a visit.