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Knoxville, Tennessee doesn't have quite the same national name recognition as fellow Volunteer State cities Nashville and Memphis. Still, the city frequently earns spots on best places to live lists, including U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list of the nation's top 125 metro areas—Knoxville clocked in at 149.
There's a lot to love about this east Tennessee city, not the least of which is the University of Tennessee, whose flagship campus is in town. UT's teams, the Volunteers and the Lady Volunteers (women's basketball), compete in the Southeastern Conference's (SEC) Eastern Division, and draw huge crowds to support Big Orange.
Knoxville is home to a portion of the Tennessee River, which runs along the city's east side into downtown and provides some picturesque views. The city's also surrounded by seven lakes, and is a short drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is the most-visited national park in the country.
Some other highlights: Dollywood is only about a 45-minute minute drive from Knoxville, if you love Dolly Parton and amusement parks (and you should). The downtown area has been subject to some revitalization projects over the years, and is now a thriving retail and restaurant hub. There's some great food in Knoxville—biscuits here are so good and plentiful there was briefly an annual International Biscuit Festival in town. Though the festival appears to be on hiatus for now, you can still procure delectable biscuits at spots like Matt Robbs Biscuits and Brew, Maple Street Biscuit Company, and Blackberry Farm, which is about 30 miles south of Knoxville but absolutely worth a visit.
Knoxville also has a fairly low cost of living as compared to the nation at large and has a median listing price of $239,900 according to Zillow, which is slightly below the national average of $282,000. If this sounds appealing to you, here's a taste of what's out there.
1015 Gratz St., Fourth & Gill
This two-bedroom, two-bath Craftsman, also pictured up top, is located in Knoxville's historic Fourth & Gill neighborhood, which is close both to downtown and to the University of Tennessee campus. Like much of the neighborhood's vintage housing stock, this property was built in 1905, and features classic touches like original trim work, fireplaces with Craftsman mantels, high ceilings, and a claw tub in one of the baths. Other highlights include a renovated kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances, and a backyard with space for grilling. The house is priced at $225,000.
3413 Kingston Pike, Marble City
The Marble City neighborhood, located west of the University of Tennessee, is popular with young professionals and families, as well as college students looking to live close to campus. This five-bedroom, three-bath house and its 1.9 acres is tucked off of Kingston Pike, a major thruway that connects downtown and West Knoxville, and has hardwood floors, an impressive-looking kitchen, and a marble fireplace in the living room. Other highlights include a walkout basement and an outdoor pool with a Jacuzzi tub. The house is priced at $675,000.
2118 Cecil Ave., Belle Morris
This three-bedroom, one-bath house was built in 1920 and has original hardwood flooring, a brick fireplace in the living room, and a rustic covered wooden porch. Other highlights include a spacious-looking kitchen outfitted with white cabinetry and countertops, and a big backyard. Its neighborhood, Belle Morris, is an artsy spot full of recently-restored properties, in addition to young professionals and families. The house is priced at $145,000.
324 East Emerald Ave., Oakwood
Oakwood is one of Knoxville's most desirable neighborhoods, thanks to its robust and affordable housing stock, ample green space, and noted neighborly spirit. This three-bedroom, one-bath property was built in 1899 but has been updated with new appliances, flooring, and HVAC. Highlights include a handsome kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances, a new bathroom with a shower/tub combo, and lots of big windows throughout. The house is priced at $169,900.
440 Walnut St., Unit 306., Downtown
Downtown Knoxville is fairly walkable, and full of great restaurants, nightlife spots, and shops, including Market Square, which is a major pedestrian mall. This two-bedroom, two-bath corner unit is located right downtown, and has a walk-in closet, a massive master bath with a glass-door shower and a separate tub, and a big kitchen with hip-looking exposed industrial fixtures, stainless steel appliances, and a wine fridge. There's also a washer/dryer in-unit and a separate built-in bar. The unit is priced at $650,000.
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