Where can I park?
Contrary to rumor, there’s plenty of cheap or free parking downtown. See the city’s parking page or the CBID parking guide. Most tours start from the middle of the map near the corner of Gay & Clinch. Generally, the municipal garages are your best bet, particularly the State Street Garage. After 6pm all municipal garage and street parking is free as are most commercial loading zones. Read the signs and watch out for bus stops and the two-hour meters in the area around Gay St.
DO NOT park in surface parking lots, particularly Premiere, at ANY time. They have started hiding around corners and booting cars while the drivers go for change, charging $85 to free them. Don’t risk it. Stick to the on-street parking and municipal garages.
What if it rains?
We try not to let a little rain get us down, but if it’s enough that walking around won’t be any fun we’ll cancel the tour. Check the forecast and give us a call at 865-309-4522 for a status report. For meteorological reasons beyond our ken, storms that seem to be bearing down on our fair city frequently part and leave downtown dry, but occasionally we get a gully washer like anyplace else.
How long are the tours?
Scheduled tours are 90 minutes give or take depending on walking speed and questions. The Civil War tour is a bit longer and tends to run closer to two hours.
How far will we walk?
Most tours are less than a mile, which isn’t as much as it sounds like spread over 90 minutes with more time spent stopping to look and hear stories than actual walking. This is a stroll, not a force march and reasonably healthy people of all ages will do fine.
What if I’m on wheels or just can’t walk that far?
Let us know. We may be able to alter a tour for mobility restrictions and we can work around your needs so there’s more pointing and less walking. Give us a call at 865-309-4522 and we’ll be happy to put something together for you.
Where does the tour start?
- Civil War, Early Years, and Literary Heritage tours meet in front of The East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street.
- Gunslingers and Musical History tours meet at the Knoxville Visitor Center, 301 S Gay Street.
- Shadow Side Ghost Tours start one block north at The Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain, 418 S Gay St between Downtown Grill & Brewery and Mast General Store.