Tailgating in Knoxville for the Tennessee Volunteer Game
GatorTailgating.com is doing a series of articles on where and how to tailgate at all of the Gator Football away games. This is the first part of our series detailing where and what to look out for in Knoxville, Tennessee. Go Gators!
The Rock on Homecoming
1. Where are the best areas of town for motels to stay in the night before/after the game?
I would stick to the downtown area, and if those hotels are full, try the west side of town for easy in/easy out of knoxville. Motels inside of Knoxville are pretty sparse. You really need to reserve these well in advance. If full, look for hotels by the interstate 20-30 miles out of town.
2. What are some attractions in Knoxville that a visitor shouldn't miss?
Downtown Brewery (downtownbrewery.com) , The Old City, and Worlds Fair Park (worldsfairpark.com) are all nice things to see. The Smokey Mountain National Park (great.smoky.mountains.national-park.com/) is about an hour drive away. You can take an 11 mile drive around Cades Cove (discovercadescove.com) which is one of the most scenic drives in America. You will see tons of wildlife such as deer, black bears, and others. Those are more family-themed spots. For the groups looking for a place to party at night, The Strip and Old Town have plenty of fun bars. Old City has a somewhat older crowd, while the Strip is the heart of the college nightlife scene.
If you like Country bars, try the Cotton Eyed Joe (cottoneyedjoe.com). That is where Rusty and the GT crew have made a tradition of going on Friday nights before the big game to enjoy the full-spectacle that is the epitome of a Knoxville bar. There are always a good number of Gator fans there and they play the Gator fight song for us (followed by Rocky Top, unfortunately...)
The Vol Navy
3. Where should a visitor go to eat before leaving Rocky Top?
Downtown Brewery (downtownbrewery.com), Copper Cellar (coppercellar.com), Calhoun's on the river (calhouns.com), or various good places in the Old City. As far as a little cheaper food, try a steamed hoagie at Granny Greve grocery in Greve Hall on campus or a Vol Burger at Sam & Andy's in Ft. Sanders.
4. Where is the best area to park close to the stadium yet still have room to tailgate?
ONE MAJOR HINT: Get parked EARLY! Parking is extremely limited around campus, due to the size of Neyland stadium (107,000 seats) and the fact that the river limits the campus size. There are more than 150,000 people competing for parking every gameday. The best bet is to show up as early as possible and try to find a pay spot on campus first. If that fails, head to the Fort Sanders area. The issue with Fort Sanders is that it is predominately rental houses divided up into apartments which students live in. therefore, most students don't want to sell spots to visitor fans, especially Gators. Beware, because it gets rowdy over there pretty often. Seriously.
Knoxville Gator Club is setting up at the Methodist Church on Church Street, and GT will be joining them for the tailgate this year if you want to tailgate with fellow Gators.
5. How much should we expect to pay for a parking spot near the stadium?
Depending on location and time, between $25-40 dollars. Some places will charge you for two parking spots to tailgate if you start taking out a lot of stuff, so make sure to ask first.
6. Are there any special rules we should know about tailgating on or off campus, open-container policies we should be forewarned about, or anything of the sort?
Keep drinks in a cup and if you are mixing drinks, keep the liquor bottle out of sight. Watch out for lots that are restricted. They have a strict open container policy that may even be stricter than Gainesville’s - especially wearing Orange and Blue.
The Vol Walk
7. Any gameday traditions we should not miss while in Knoxville? (i.e. we have the Gator Walk, Auburn has Toomer's corner, etc.)
The Vol walk is incredible. It’s been done for many more years than the Gator walk and has really become an event most people don’t miss. Definitely make an effort to walk over to the river and see the Vol Navy too. No one else in college football has anything like the Vol Navy due to the stadium’s location on the river. It's amazing. Also, just cruising the strip area of campus is good for people watching and general pre-game hysteria.
8. Is there anything else you would advise fans of before heading to Knoxville to tailgate?
If you arrive on Friday, try to drive around and get a feel for the area. It’s very confusing on gameday to figure out where you are going, so if you have the ability to explore a bit during daylight on Friday, do it.
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