Downtown Knoxville

Live. Work. Play. Explore.

Downtown Knoxville continues to grow and change every day. But one thing is constant, it’s a place that buzzes with activity.

Festivals, concerts, world-class entertainment, and cultural attractions fill Market Square, the historic Old City, Volunteer Landing and World’s Fair Park year round. Downtown Knoxville is also a place where business gets done in East Tennessee. With nearly 6.2 million square feet of downtown office space, it’s the home to many of the region’s top corporate leaders, as well as hundreds of service, entertainment, retail, financial and professional businesses.


A Valley Sustainable Platinum Community


The Valley Sustainable Communities Program is one of TVA's community preparedness offerings. It assists communities in identifying and cataloging their sustainable assets and increasing their sustainability commitments. The economic development focus is to increase the community's competitiveness when companies are looking to invest in new or expanded locations in the Valley. Boyette Strategic Advisors developed and is administering the program.

Sustainable economic development balances the need for economic growth with environmental and societal accountability. It ultimately offers benefits across a triple bottom line to ensure a healthy environment, a thriving community, and economic prosperity.  



Knoxville has been designated as a Valley Sustainable Platinum Community. This signifies that Knoxville has made a significant and comprehensive commitment to sustainability and also has thoroughly integrated economic development into its sustainability efforts.

Highlights Include:

  • Knoxville's Office of Sustainability oversees the city's sustainable vision and goals.
  • Knoxville currently has more than 50 miles of greenway paths.
  • The Knoxville Chamber of Commerce markets two business parks with sustainable features: The Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus and Pellissippi Place.
  • The University of Tennessee's Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) promotes the development of plicies, technologies and programs responding to worldwide environmental issues.
  • The city has been identified by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a Solar America City.
  • IBM selected Knoxville to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant, providing recommendations to residents on weatherization and energy education services.

Diversity Champions

Where Everyone is Embraced & Empowered

Where Everyone is Embraced & Empowered

Diversity Champions is the resource destination for promoting inclusion of all people and businesses into the fabric of economic and social life within the greater Knoxville area.

Diversity Champions Resource Group is a team of 60 Knoxville-area business leaders focused on communicating the importance of a diversity/inclusion in the workplace and marketplace.

They are also charged with being a resource to businesses and other agencies who work to improve the notions of diversity/inclusion so that all residents within the Innovation Valley see the area as a place “where everyone is embraced and empowered to excel.”

This program is part of the PROPEL small business initiative to promote economic development within the business community of Innovation Valley.

Mission Statement

Diversity Champions is the resource destination for promoting inclusion of all people and businesses into the fabric of economic and social life within the greater Knoxville area.

Values and Beliefs
  • We believe collaboration with groups and organizations that share our mission is essential for total inclusion.
  • We believe promoting business and personal professional development around the subject of diversity and inclusion improves community relations.
  • We believe Knoxville should reflect the diverse fabric of our social and economic make-up.
  • We believe change is inevitable and necessary for global competitiveness.

Their strategy to further the desired outcomes is centered around the creation of reports, community engagement, and providing resources directly and indirectly through our community partnerships. Additionally they:

  • Challenge the definition of diversity and inclusion within local businesses as more than race and gender.
  • Hold our elected officials accountable to diversity and inclusion policies that have substance and enforceability.
  • Engage and communicate diversity and inclusion as core values.
  • Communicate diversity success stories to the media.
  • Seek to ensure procurement spending that exceeds goals with minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned firms.
  • Publicly support the notion that diversity and inclusion are key to the economic development of our region.
  • Develop a written strategic plan, measure the results, and recognize those who are excelling in diversity practices.
  • To support others groups and organizations in their efforts to promote diversity/inclusion.

For more information, contact Doug Minter at (865) 246-2662.

To view the first Diversity Champions report, released in March 2012, click here.

Quality of Life

The Best Place in the World to Call Home

Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley offers a quality of life that is second to none. Its growing population demonstrates that people from all over are attracted to its vibrant cities and suburbs and serene rural areas. From those just getting started in their carreer to retirees who are drawn to its moderate climate, lower cost of living, affordable housing, and numerous cultural and recreational activities, there is something for everyone in Innovation Valley.


The climate is comfortable and moderate, with four distinct seasons:

  • Average annual temperature: 58° F
  • Average high temperature:
    January: 49° F & July: 86° F
  • Average low temperature:
    January: 28° F & July: 69° F

Living Costs

Innovation Valley residents enjoy a moderate cost of living, with average expenses for necessities well below the national average:

  • Cost of living: 12.8% lower than the national average
  • Housing: 20% lower than the national average
  • Healthcare: 11.5% lower than the national average

Educational Institutions

Educational Excellence at Every Level

Educational institutions throughout Innovation Valley provide students with a first-class preparation for a career and for life.

Post-Secondary Education

Committed to quality education, the Innovation Valley region offers a top-notch education for everyone. Our region is home to:

  • The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee
  • 13 additional four-year institutions
  • 5 two-year and community colleges
  • 5 Colleges of Applied Technology
Drive To 55

Governor Haslam has challenged our state with a critical new mission: the Drive to 55 – the Drive to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by the year 2025.

  • Tennessee Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program focused on increasing the number of students that attend college in our state. It provides students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the scholarship will cover tuition and fees not covered by the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or state student assistance funds. Students may use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate’s degree program.
  • Tennessee Reconnect is Governor Bill Haslam’s initiative to help adults enter higher education so that they may gain new skills, advance in the workplace, and fulfill lifelong dreams of completing a degree or credential. As part of Tennessee Reconnect, all Tennessee adults can now attend and earn a diploma or certificate at any of the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) completely free of tuition and fees.
  • Tennessee LEAP will help ensure that postsecondary institutions are producing the skills and credentials that Tennessee employers actually need. The objective of Tennessee LEAP (Labor Education Alignment Program) is to eliminate skills gaps across the state in a proactive, data-driven, and coordinated manner by encouraging collaboration across education and industry and by utilizing regional workforce data to identify and then fill skills gaps across the state.
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development:
  • Career Centers are a network of centers across the state where employers can go to find the workers they need and job seekers can get assistance and career information using computerized labor market information in addition to job placement, recruitment, and training referrals.
  • Incumbent Worker Training Program provides grant funding for customized training for existing businesses 
Other programs:
  • Teach Tennessee encourages mid-career professionals to become teachers in subjects such as math, science, and foreign language.
  • Books from Birth provides books monthly to children in Tennessee before they enter kindergarten at no cost.

K-12 Education

The Tennessee Department of Education is helping build a highly skilled workforce and labor base with programs, and a strong foundation for students through service, accountability, partnerships and innovation. The Knoxville-Innovation Valley region offers a variety of private K-12 options for both religious and non-religious affiliations.

High Standards and Assessments:
  • Tennessee Report Card is a comprehensive showcase of state, district and school-level data for each school year. The Report Card includes demographics, achievement results, accountability progress, value-added data, attendance figures, graduation rate and more.
  • Expect More, Achieve More, led by SCORE in which we are a partner, builds engagement, support, and awareness of Tennessee’s efforts to raise the bar in the classroom
  • Technology: Tennessee is committed to providing the best access to technology in the classroom. Specifically, in Knox County, eleven schools will be participating in a 1:1 technology initiative. This will provide each student and teacher with a device, will facilitate personalized learning and will transform teacher instruction.
  • TNReady TNReady is Tennessee’s new and improved TCAP test for English, language arts, and math in grades 3-11, and it replaces the old TCAP tests for those subjects starting in the 2015-16 school year. The TNReady TCAP will provide educators, parents, and students with better information about students’ progress toward college and career readiness. - See more at:

Sports & Recreation

Celebrating the Outdoor Lifestyle

The Innovation Valley region is a mecca for people with a passion for sports and the outdoors.

Whether you like golf, football, hiking in pristine wilderness, or any other outdoor pursuit, you’ll find endless opportunities here.

Encompassing 500,000 wilderness acres, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park, is a treasure trove of hiking trails, campsites, waterfalls and streams, picnic areas, historical buildings, wildlife, and wildflowers. There are 850 miles of trails and unpaved roads in the park for hiking, including seventy miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Outdoor Knoxville is provided by Legacy Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization which works to assure that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces. Legacy Parks Foundation, launched the Outdoor Knoxville initiative to promote outdoor recreation as an integral component to the health and economic vitality of the community. It begins with the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, the Outdoor Knoxville website, and the annual Outdoor KnoxFest. Innovation Valley also boasts minor league baseball, the Tennessee Smokies, and the Southern Professional Hockey League's Knoxville Ice Bears.

Only three miles from Downtown Knoxville, the Urban Wilderness presents a unique urban playground for hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners! The Urban Wilderness offers 42 miles of natural surface trails connecting five parks and natural areas along with public and private lands creating an unparalleled outdoor venue. A 12.5 mile loop connects Ijams Nature Center, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, William Hastie Natural Area and Marie Myers Park with trailheads and parking along the route. The main loop offers easy to moderate trails for all users and the additional 30 miles of secondary trails accommodate users from beginner to advanced on dozens of trails of varying terrain. 

Two national forests, nine state parks, and over 75 golf courses also provide ample recreation opportunities. Seven TVA reservoirs provide a vast water playground for boating, fishing, and shoreline recreation. Numerous mountain streams and rivers offer excellent trout fishing. Challenging whitewater abounds, especially at the Olympic whitewater course at the nearby Ocoee River. To call sports a regional passion is an understatement. Attendance at University of Tennessee football games averages 105,000, and the UT women’s basketball team has won eight NCAA championships. UT also fields first-class teams in women's softball, men’s basketball, baseball, track and field, and many other sports.

Arts, Culture & Music

A Thriving Arts, Culture, and Music Scene

A Thriving Arts, Culture, and Music Scene

The Innovation Valley region has a vibrant cultural life, with music and performing arts events, museums, visual arts and crafts, art exhibits, festivals, and galleries.

  • The area is home to WDVX radio station, a regional music station that has won wide recognition for its programming in bluegrass, Americana, alternative country, and old-time mountain music. It was named Bluegrass Station of the Year three times by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music.
  • The Dogwood Arts Festival has been helping East Tennesseans usher in the spring for nearly 50 years. It’s a celebration of the region’s natural beauty that also showcases the work of performing and visual artists.
  • The Knoxville Museum of Art has both permanent and rotating collections emphasizing emerging artists, regional artists, and fine crafts.
  • The Museum of Appalachia is a living history presentation of pioneer and mountain life in the Southern Appalachians.
  • The American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge houses exhibits and presentations on atomic energy, the history of science, World War II, robotics, and other scientific and technology subject.
  • The Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is a nationally know children’s museum that specializes in nontraditional interactive exhibits.
  • The Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville serves and supports a diverse community of artists, arts organizations, and cultural institutions from across the region. It's website also provides a calendar of arts and clutural happenings across the area.