Knoxville makes TravelMag's list of "The 30 Most Charming Small Cities in the USA.”

Every single town and city in USA has its own flavor. Each one presents a microcosm of community and character to the world, based on innumerable factors, with location, history and heritage all playing some of the most essential roles. When this balance of factors is just right, you get a uniquely charming place that can offer something to the visitor that’s well worth traveling for. But the United States has thousands of cities.

All 30 cities listed below received the most votes after we surveyed a broad number of professional writers, photographers and travel industry specialists. Each voter was asked to select their favorite five small cities – with a population between 10,000 and 250,000 – drawing their selection from at least three different states. According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2019, there were at least 780 cities with a population of 50,000 people or more in the country, and many more above 10,000. Naturally, many fantastic cities didn’t make the list, but amid stiff competition, here are the winners. Click to see the full list.

Knoxville, TN

Knoxville was put on the global map during the World’s Fair of 1982. A lot has changed in four decades, but the event marked a turning point for the city. The 266-ft (81m) Sunsphere is a landmark remnant of the fair, with the World’s Fair Park becoming a focal point for tourism. To the west of the park is Knoxville Museum of Art, with an excellent collection of 19th-century through to contemporary regional art. To the east of the park is Downtown, where you’ll find excellent Tennessean cuisine and plenty of Appalachian culture, particularly around Market Square. True Appalachia is due south of the city with the unmissable Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Source: TravelMag, by Paul Stafford

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit


Published April 9, 2021