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The Torchbearer with a hazy winter sky, lit from behind.

Winter Break Activities: From Home and In Knoxville

Whether you plan to leave Knoxville during the winter break or not, there are a ton of fun activities to do here!

On Visit Knoxville’s website, there is a list of all events happening in the area for every month of the year. You can also filter it by dates to see the events happening within a specific time frame.

During the month of December, Knoxville is buzzing with holiday-themed events each week. Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice is a skating rink in Historic Market Square that is open until January 2. Tickets are $12 for adults (ages 12 and over) and $9 for children.

There are multiple parks around Knoxville for hiking, with trails paved for safety purposes. Whether you’re looking to hike to a pretty view or take your dog to a dog park, there is a long list of places to go.

Dollywood is also a great place to go with friends or family, especially around the holidays. They have a Christmas light show every day of the year that is ranked one of the best in the state of Tennessee. Tickets can be purchased with a student discount via the Student Life page.

There are great lights and fun activities all around the Gatlinburg area, including shopping, good restaurants, and the Great Smokey Mountains.

The Elf on the Shelf Adventure is a scavenger hunt where participants can go around Knoxville on a Christmas-themed excursion.

All of the farmer’s markets in Market Square also have holiday-themed market days. They are open every Wednesday and Saturday year-round and are open-air markets featuring local artisans and chefs from around Knoxville.

If you are staying near campus for winter-term purposes, these are great options to get a quick break from studying or being in a classroom. And if you’re a Knoxville native going home for the holidays, tell your family about some of the events nearby!

Activities if you’re not in Knoxville

If you are leaving Knoxville for the break, there are also many fun things to do while staying at home:

  1. Watch all the holiday episodes of your favorite TV show – Pick a streaming service and grab some popcorn for a trip down memory lane with our favorite classics. Michael Scott and Jess Day may not have experienced a pandemic, but they’ve seen a holiday season or seven.
  2. Invest in self-care – We all relieve stress in different ways. Take some time for yourself over the break and schedule your favorite things. It’s important, now more than ever, to care for your health physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  3. Rest – This past semester was a marathon; be proud of yourself for finishing it. Kick back, sleep in, and take all the naps over the break. You’ve earned it.
  4. Cheer on the Vols – Basketball season is here and, boy, it’s great to be a Tennessee Vol! Student tickets are available online, and you can always watch games on TV as well. Keep up with the teams by following @Vol_Hoops and @LadyVol_Hoops on social media.

For a full list of fun events coming up in Knoxville, visit the holiday events list on the Downtown Knoxville website. And if you aren’t in Knoxville during this time, we are looking forward to seeing you back here soon!

Elizabeth McCarthyElizabeth is a senior from Philadelphia, PA, majoring in public relations with a minor in business management. She has a passion for graphic design, social media and writing, and her favorite thing to do at UT is attending football games with her friends. She plans to move to Nashville after her graduation in May to pursue public relations and marketing.