Spirits of Summer
Spirits of Summer with the Nashville Symphony’s Crescendo Club The Nashville Symphony’s young professionals group, Crescendo Club, is hosting its second
Boasting (arguably) the greatest song in all of college football, a 102,455-seat stadium, and a sea of orange and white, the University of Tennessee makes the SEC game day experience tip-top. Rocky Top, that is.
School: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Stadium: Neyland Stadium
Mascot: Smokey the Bluetick Coonhound
Battle cry: “Go Vols!”
4 p.m. Pull into town and make your way to the Oliver Hotel, an 1876 building that houses Knoxville’s only boutique stay. After you’ve gotten settled in one of the 28 well-appointed rooms, kick off your weekend with a cocktail at the hidden speakeasy-style bar downstairs, Peter Kern Library.
7 p.m. Enjoy the pleasant fall weather with a plate of wings and a brew in the recently renovated canopied beer garden at Sweet P’s Downtown Dive. Be sure to pack a blanket or lawn chair so you have a perch for the weekly Movies on Market Square (Friday nights through October 16).
10 p.m. If you’re looking for late-night action, meander down to the Old City, where you can kick up your heels with a little dancing at Hanna’s Cafe, catch a live show at Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, or keep tabs on other games from a spot at the English-inspired gastropub Crown & Goose.
9 a.m. Order a shot of caffeine at Three Bears Coffee Company from the weekly Market Square Farmers’ Market, then take your time perusing the other wares. The market offers much more than just food (though there’s plenty of that, too): Stress the Seams sells license plates repurposed into items like birdhouses, Sarah Brobst Designs makes jewelry and more out of upcycled materials, and Sassy Glass Studios creates glass works of art, from bobby pins to cheese plates made from old wine bottles.
1 p.m. Since you’re already in the area, you might as well grab a calzone at The Tomato Head’s recently expanded Market Square location before jumping aboard a Knox Brew Tour. This hop-on, hop-off beer shuttle will transport you to the city’s best bars and tasting rooms as you acquaint yourself with the booming craft beer scene.
4 p.m. Just be sure you’re on the campus and near Volunteer Boulevard before the 330-member Pride of the Southland, Knoxville’s famed marching band, makes its musical procession to the stadium, signaling that the game is about to start.
8 p.m. Have dinner high above town at Icon—the restaurant on the fifth floor of the glimmering World’s Fair monument, the Sunsphere—and celebrate a game well played as you look out over the city.
10 p.m. It’s time to get rowdy. The Strip (aka Cumberland Avenue) is always bustling after a game, while the over-college-aged set often gravitates to the more, ahem, grown-up bars of Gay Street, like Downtown Grill & Brewery and Sapphire, a jewelry store turned cocktail lounge.
10 a.m. Knox Mason chef-owner Matt Gallaher’s brunch fare runs the gamut of savory and sweet, breakfast and lunch, with regular fixtures like fresh pork rinds, eggs Monroe, a pork belly sandwich, catfish and grits, and funnel cake with cinnamon sugar on the menu.
Noon Take advantage of the last remaining warm days of fall: Go for a drive in the Smokies, try your hand at kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding in the safety of a historic quarry with Billy Lush Board Shop, or hit the open waters of the Tennessee River with a kayak rented from River Sports Outfitters. Both companies also offer group outings and guided tours.