Knoxville is a city of nearly 200,000 people and is located in western Tennessee. It is the third-largest city in the state, behind Nashville and Memphis, and it is home to the University of Tennessee. The city got its start in the 1700s, and in its early years, it was the site of numerous skirmishes with local Native American tribes. It later became a way station for travelers heading West, and during the Civil War, it was a hotbed of Confederate activity. Over the years Knoxville has had a number of nicknames, including the Marble City, thanks to nearby quarries, and it was for a while known as the Underwear Capital of the World because of the large number of textile mills located here.
Today Knoxville is a very conservative city and receives mixed reviews. Since the 1980s, it has worked to revitalize itself, and in recent years, a regional history museum, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and a arts annex have come to town. The city is just 30 minutes from the Smokey Mountains, and with the Tennessee River flowing through it, riverfront parks and restaurants are in good supply.
The cost of living in Knoxville is 15% below the national average, and the median home price is $135,000, also below the national median. The median household income is below the national average, and the city has a poverty rate above the national average. Of the population, 32% is age 45 or better.
The arts scene in Knoxville has improved over the years, and it has a good music culture. It is home to numerous jazz and blues clubs, as well as an opera and a symphony. Festivals are many and include the Dogwood Arts Festival, the Rossini Festival and Autumn on the Square. There is a zoo, a museum of art and a botanic gardens.
KAT is the local public transit and operates buses, trolleys and a paratransit service.
Knoxville has six hospitals, three of which are award-winning. One, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, is a Level I Adult Trauma Center, accredited by the Joint Commission, and it accepts Medicaid and Medicare patients. It is fair to say that medical care in Knoxville is quite good.
Ethnically diverse, Knoxville city sits in a humid sub tropical climate, although its slight elevation of 900 feet above sea level helps keep it cooler than some surrounding areas. Still, summer temperatures reach the high 80s, and humidity is high. Winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. The sun shines 205 days of the year, and on the comfort index, a combination of temperature and humidity, Knoxville comes in below the national average ( it rains 4 to 5 inches per month).
This Tennessee city has a lot going for it, including very good medical facilities and an affordable cost of living, but several factors weigh against these positives. One is the high poverty rate. Two is that Knoxville has very bad air quality. And three, the city has a crime rate well above the national average. For these reasons, Knoxville may not be the best place to retire.