Downtowns Not to Miss during the Holiday Season
Downtowns and Main Streets are the heart and soul of both urban and rural communities. During the holiday season, rediscover those simple sights and sounds of the season by visiting a main street to see the festive displays and decorations. COVID may have limited our ability to be together, but it cannot limit the cheer to be found in charming shop windows and colorful lights.
Find your inner holiday spirit in these three downtown communities that need to be on your day tripping list when visiting the region: Sweetwater, Townsend, and Knoxville.
Sweetwater- Sweetwater is one of the “sweetest” communities in East Tennessee. A certified Main Street Community, the downtown combines the charm of historic buildings, eclectic shopping, a town gazebo, year round downtown market, and family friendly events. On November 28 from 5 to 8 pm, their Annual Small Town Christmas is an opportunity to enjoy hayrides, Christmas caroling, and the festive holiday decorations. Santa will be onsite to greet children. Your pet is welcome to participate in the Christmas Critter Pageant.
Townsend- A gateway community to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, this small community along the Little River was originally home for Cherokee people and then as a major logging camp community. During this holiday season, Townsend will be hosting several family friendly holiday events. The Little River Railroad and Lumber Museum will be hosting a Smoky Mountain Christmas on the Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas from 5:00 to 7 PM. Come to see authentic artisan demonstrators. Shop, stroll, visit with Santa. Admission is free.
Nearby in Townsend is the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center which will be hosting their first annual Townsend Christmas in the Village. On December 11, troubadour and Grammy award winning singer/ writer, Billy Dean will perform in the outdoor pavilion. Come for the day to enjoy all of the activities and sounds of the season.
At the center of the 9 Lakes Region is the City of Knoxville. This vibrant art loving, food focused, and walkable city needs to be on your list for finding holiday cheer. Join in on the annual Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt. Walk the city, see the lights, and find the elves in shop window displays. Stop by Market Square and Krutch Park to see a “forest” of fairy lights and the photo worthy 42 foot Christmas tree.
In the 60’s, popular music culture urged us to go downtown. Almost 60 years later, downtown is still where the sights and sounds bring people to dance, celebrate, and gather. This year, travel safely by practicing social distancing and wearing masks.