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Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Fort Myers, Florida
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606 posts
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Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

We plan to arrive Sept 23 for 2 nights and will be out exploring the woods during the day. Like to be near some nightlife (live music) and good local food/microbrews at night but beginning to wonder if it's worth 2-3 times the price to stay in downtown Knoxville. There are some decent hotels in Cedar Bluff and just north of downtown off 275/75 (Merchants Dr) - any suggestions for which is better to access downtown and getting out of town during the day (not sure where we're going at this point)? Is Cedar Bluff fairly commercial (i.e. chain restaurants) or would there be some nightlife there? I saw one jazz club advertised but it closed at 10:30. Thanks for your help.

Blue Slip Winery
Wineries & Vineyards, Wine Tours & Tastings , Wine Bars
East Tennessee
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638 posts
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1. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Cedar Bluff area is as much commercial as downtown, if not more so for dining and entertainment. It is relative to what you hope to accomplish or do while in the area. I would usually always choose the outside areas unless I really needed to be downtown. Cedar Bluff will be close to the Parkway to the Maryville area to access the Great Smoky Mountain National Park or the Cherokee National Forest.

North Knoxville is not as commercially developed but it is closer the Big South Fork National area. There are dining and entertainment venues in North Knoxville, but not nearly as many as West Knoxville in the Cedar Bluff area.

Both areas have easy interstate access to downtown for whatever reasons that you may wish to visit downtown Knoxville.

Hope this helps and welcome to East Tennessee.

Fort Myers, Florida
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2. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Thanks, Cheapseater, that does help. Is there a website or list of restaurants and entertainment options at Cedar Bluff? I can't find any via Google or TA. And just to clarify, we don't want the chain restaurants, so I was afraid Cedar Bluff would just be your typical conglomerate of the same ol', same ol'. Sounds like there are a few local options though.

Tennessee
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3. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

If you are looking for night life (bars and music/bands) then downtown is where you want to go. You are really not going to find much of that around Merchants Dr or Cedar Bluff. They do have place downtown where you can park for free on the weekends so you could get a hotel in Cedar Bluff and take a short drive to downtown. I do know of two places that have had bands play in the past around the Cedar Bluff which are Smokey Mtn Brewery and Wild Wing Café.

coppercellar.com/Restaurant-SmokyMountainBre…

wildwingcafe.com/our-locations/knoxville-tn.…

Some places to check downtown are:

Downtown grill and Brewery

www.downtownbrewery.com/

Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria (bands play at night)

www.barleystaproom.com/knoxville

The Crown & Goose

www.thecrownandgoose.com/

Or you can check out market square.

knoxvillemarketsquare.com/

Also there are a few places along Cumberland AVE around UT.

Knoxville, TN
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for Interlaken
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4. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

You guessed correctly...Cedar Bluff is where you'll find the fast food restaurant chains and non-fastfood chains, too. There is a Puleos which is a local place, but I've never been too impressed with it.

Downtown you'll find a fastfood Subways, but most other places are local and unique. The Hampton Inn downtown is fairly new and gets great reviews. They have a good location, free breakfast and I think even free parking.

There's really no other "semi-interesting" area of Knoxvile to stay other than downtown.

Fort Myers, Florida
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5. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Thanks for the input. I just booked the Marriott downtown for a lot cheaper rate than were listed a few days ago. I know the hotel is not the best of the bunch but the others weren't available at the rate code we use. May try a bidding website on the day of our arrival to see if we can move a little more central.

Knoxville, TN
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for Interlaken
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6. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Marriott is not right in the middle of downtown, but you can walk from it to Market Square in a pleasant 20 minute stroll or you can hoof it in about 10 minutes.

Maryville, Tennessee
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7. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

I think you will be happy downtown and made the right choice. What type of night life or type of food are you looking for? Maybe we can recommend some local favorites. Near downtown for a quick and close outdoor experience try Ijams Nature Center. Townsend & GSMNP wil not be too far from downtown.

Fort Myers, Florida
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8. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Food: anything unique, non-chain from vegetarian to bbq. Music: rock, folk, blues, world. Not into newer country, punk, metal. Thanks!

Tennessee
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9. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Cafe 4 is pretty good and is in market square.

www.cafe4ms.com/

Fort Myers, Florida
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10. Re: Stay downtown for $$$ or just outside for $?

Thanks for all the suggestions. We were able to have dinner at Downtown Brewery and breakfast at Cafe 4, both of which were great. Didn't get a chance to go to the nature center but it sounds interesting - maybe next time.