Cross the Gay Street Bridge from downtown and turn left along Sevier Avenue and the south bank of the Tennessee River and you’ll find an often forgotten district that is enjoying an exciting period of economic development if not a full-blown renaissance. For years, there were few restaurants or cafes in South Knoxville, particularly beyond Chapman Highway. The Roundup Restaurant on Sevierville Pike was practically the only exception. New breweries, coffee shops, restaurants, and outdoor retail outlets along Sevier Avenue have led to the areas hip new moniker, SoKno.
Although hoped for by past City administrations, much of the change is due to the vision of the mountain bike community and Legacy Parks Foundation for creating Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Add to that the growth of Ijams Nature Center, and Visit Knoxville and others’ championing of all things outdoors, are luring thousands more residents and visitors to venture in to South Knoxville.
A key development in all this has been the addition of a new riverside park. Suttree Landing Park looks nautical, with little pocket lookouts for picnics or contemplation almost like jetties. Stand at one of these promontories on a Saturday afternoon and you can hear beery-sounding laughter from half a mile away, across the river, from the marina or the apartments on the bluff.
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