Staff Picks

  • Covered wagon and wood pile_September 2018

    Antiquing at the Days of the Pioneer

    Antique lovers, take note! On Friday, September 14, and Saturday, September 15, you’re invited to attend the 6th annual Days of the Pioneer Antique Show at the Museum of Appalachia....

    Located just 20 minutes by car from the Oliver Hotel, the Museum of Appalachia is a 65-acre living museum comprising about 30 restored buildings, fields, and pastures that show what life was like in the southern Appalachians during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. For the Days of the Pioneer Antique Show itself, over 60 of the nation's leading vendors of 18th- and 19th-century antiques will be on hand to give you the chance to purchase that perfect piece for your home or office. In addition to the many handcrafted art objects and other goods for sale, there will also be live Appalachian music performed by some of the region’s preeminent folk musicians.

    Address: 2819 Andersonville Hwy, Clinton, TN 37716 US

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  • Ax lodged in stump next to log cabin

    Back to the Past at the Marble Springs State Historic Site

    Have you ever wondered what life was like for Americans in the very early days of the United States? If so, then we recommend a trip down to the Marble Springs State Historic Site, just a quick 20-minute drive from our hotel....

    Marble Springs was once the home of Revolutionary War hero and first governor of Tennessee John Sevier. The Sevier Cabin, previously thought to have been inhabited by Sevier himself, is now known to date from the 1830s (Sevier died in 1815). Other late 18th- and early 19th-century buildings from around the state have been relocated to the site to give visitors an idea of how Sevier and his contemporaries would have lived. Such buildings include the Walker Cabin, which dates from 1828 and represents the kind of tavern once found on the frontier, and the McCall Smokehouse, which dates from around 1850. You’ll also get to tour a corn crib, loom house, springhouse, and various work areas. Finally, with your trip back in time complete, you can return to the luxurious comfort of the 21st century at the Oliver Hotel.

    Address: 1220 Governor John Sevier Highway, Knoxville, TN  37920

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  • the Tennessee Theater

    The Tennessee Theatre

    From the 1910s through WWII, movie palaces swept the nation. Cinema was the hot new medium for entertainment, with Hollywood stars like Clark Gable and Greta Garbo illuminating screens every night of the week from New York to San Francisco....

    In 1928 Knoxville opened its own movie palace, the Tennessee Theater, which was the most opulent in all the South, thanks in large part to the genius of famed Chicago architects Graven and Mayger. The interior is a breathtaking assemblage of the finest international aesthetics of the period, from the Czech crystals to the Louis Quatorze light fixtures. Today, the theater showcases a wide array of performances, including killer musical acts, classic film, the best of Broadway, high-flying circus feats, and much more. To find out what’s going up on stage during your stay, see the theatre's official website here.

    Address: 604 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902

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  • Tree obstacle course min

    Journey Through the Trees at Navitat Knoxville

    When it comes to having fun in the great outdoors, we here at the Oliver Hotel don’t monkey around. If you’re looking for an exciting outdoor adventure this summer, we highly recommend Navitat Knoxville, a one-of-a-kind park that lets you choose from six elevated trails at Ijams Nature Center....

    The trails range from very easy, with elevations kept to 15 feet or less, to very difficult, which will take you as high as 60 feet in the air. All the trails present unique challenges, including bridges, tunnels, swings, nets, and zip lines, to make the journey interesting. No need to bring any special equipment with you. Just dress for a casual romp through the woods, and Navitat will provide everything else you need, including friendly and expert staff to monitor your progress from start to finish. Kids are more than welcome to participate, of course, so this is a great outing for all, whether families, friends, or even co-workers on a corporate retreat.

    Navitat at Ijams Nature Center, 2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920

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  • Close up on white flowers in forest

    The Hiking Trails of Knox County

    The only thing better than a night out on the town in Knoxville is a hike through the unmatched majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Luckily, there’s no shortage of trails for you to follow. Here are three of our favorites....

    C. King Park - If you don’t have time to leave the city, C. King Park offers two excellent options: saunter leisurely along Flenniken Branch, an inlet of the Tennessee River, or get your heart pumping just a bit on one of the elevated trails.

    Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area - Acclaimed for its beautiful summertime blossoms, this trail promises eights miles of easy to moderately difficult hiking.

    House Mountain - This one is ten miles outside of Knoxville, so it takes a few minutes to get there, but believe us when we say it’s worth the extra effort. The main trail, which can be demanding at times, takes you to the tallest summit in the county, and the views are quite simply breathtaking.

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  • Illuminated Chinese dragon head lantern

    East Meets West at the Dragon Lights Chinese Lantern Festival

    One of the best aspects of life here in Knoxville is the stunning variety of international cultures that have made and continue to make their mark on this Smoky Mountain city’s thriving arts scene....

    In keeping with that cosmopolitan spirit, now through April 22, the Dragon Lights Chinese Lantern Festival is delighting residents and visitors with dazzling illuminated exhibits and epic performances. The almost four dozen massive lanterns, each of which comprises thousands of lights, combine authentic Chinese design and mythic motifs with imagery derived from famed Knoxville locales. Each evening guests will also be treated to Chinese folk art performances by globally acclaimed acrobats. Fun for the whole family, the Dragon Lights Chinese Lantern Festival invites you to join them at the Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center for good food, good drink, and the many thrilling arts of the far east.

    Address: 3301 East Magnolia Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37914

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  • Men practicing Capoeira on cobble stone street of Monmartre

    An Afro-Brazilian Blend of Martial Arts and Dance

    If you’re looking for a fun and novel way to stay in shape while also expanding your cultural horizons, consider trying Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian art form that blends dance and martial arts into a uniquely invigorating workout for the mind and body....

    Originating in the 16th century among Brazil’s Angolan slave population, Capoeira is characterized by powerful kicks, spins, and tumbles. Here in Knoxville, you can experience this innovative art form at the Annex Studio of the Emporium Center for Arts & Culture, where every Tuesday evening from 6-8 P.M., Capoeira Master Joe Williams leads a class for folks of all experience levels, from absolute beginner to advanced capoeirista. In addition, on Thursdays from 6-7 P.M., there’s a student-run session also appropriate for beginners, as long you’re ready to work up a sweat! For detailed directions to the Annex Studio, see this helpful site.

    Located at the 100 block at Gay St. and Jackson Ave.

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  • Stage performers wearing elaborate Chinese costumes

    Knoxville Celebrates the Chinese New Year

    At the Oliver Hotel, we love the thrill of a New Year’s celebration and the sense of new beginnings that it brings. So you can imagine how excited we are that Friday, February 16 marks the official Chinese New Year, when billions of people across China and around the world will join together to greet the Year of the Dog....

    Though Knoxville may not have a dedicated Chinatown as vibrant as, say, New York or San Francisco, we do have a whole range of Chinese organizations eager to come together to celebrate, entertain, and be entertained at the East Tennessee Chinese New Year Festival. The festivities, which run from 3:30 to 5:30 P.M. on Sunday, February 18, will feature elaborate costumes, martial arts, dance, and song. This year’s special guests, The Fabulous Chinese Acrobats, are an ensemble of high-flying performers who trained in China with the renowned Shanxi Changzhi Acrobatics Troupe. Come on down to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and ring in the New Year right!

    Address: Cox Auditorium, Alumni Memorial Building, 1408 Middle Drive, Knoxville, TN, 37916

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  • Two women facing each other laughing

    A Night of Laughter at Scruffy City Hall

    Scruffy City Hall, dubbed Knoxville’s “Cathedral of Entertainment and Libations,” hosts an eclectic mix of performances to spice up the city’s nightlife seven days a week....

    Though SCH is probably best known for bringing in all-star musical talent, we want to make sure you know about their many improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy offerings as well. For a hump day laugh, you can’t go wrong with the SCH Comedy Night, which showcases the best up-and-coming local stand-up and sketch comedy talent every Wednesday from 8 to 10 P.M. Not available on Wednesday? No problem. On Tuesdays, you can catch Einstein Simplified. It’s not just a sketch comedy troupe; it’s a Knoxville institution. Formed 23 years ago when ten Chicago improvisers decided to pack everything and set up shop in Tennessee, this venerable ensemble has matured from a no-name opening act to a regular headliner at some of the region’s most popular comedy festivals. You can join them at Scruffy City Hall every Tuesday at 8:15 for an evening of improv antics that’ll have you rolling on the floor.

    Address: 32 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902

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  • Christmas wreath with pinecones and red ribbon hung on turquoise colored door

    It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Scrooge

    The holiday season is a magical time here in Knoxville. The air is crisp, and folks on the street are all aglow with the Christmas spirit. Now through December 18, The Clarence Brown Theatre and Ula Love Doughty Carousel Theatre are performing two beloved Christmas shows, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. ...

    As Dickens’s classic Victorian tale unfolds on stage, you’ll witness the three Ghosts of Christmas help the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge revisit key scenes from his life and learn the true meaning of the holiday season. Though many of you have probably seen the film version of It’s a Wonderful Life, this production is something slightly different: a live radio play in which the many roles are voiced by just five actors. Witness the downtrodden George Bailey help an angel earn his wings as George learns how life in his little town would have differed had he never been born. Performances of A Christmas Carol will take place at the Clarence Brown Theatre, and performances of It’s a Wonderful Life will take place at the Carousel Theatre.

    Address: Clarence Brown Theatre, 1714 Andy Holt Ave., Knoxville, TN 37916

    Address: Ula Love Doughty Carousel Theatre, 1704 Andy Holt Ave., Knoxville, TN 37916

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  • Closeup on a row of orchestral violinists with only two hands and one violin in sharp focus

    The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: Innovators of the Arts

    The oldest continuously extant orchestra in the Southeast, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra has delighted audiences since 1935. Now under the baton of Maestro Aram Demirjian, the KSO is fast making a name for itself as a champion of new music and innovative concert formats....

    The oldest continuously extant orchestra in the Southeast, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra has delighted audiences since 1935. Under the baton of Maestro Aram Demirjian, who has led the ensemble since 2016, the KSO is already making a name for itself as a champion of new music and innovative concert formats, even as it continues to bring audiences the beloved classics that have long defined the orchestral canon. Upcoming concerts include Tchaikovsky’s Overture-Fantasy from Romeo & Juliet, Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration, and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Nov 16 and 17), A Classical Christmas (Nov 26), and the annual Clayton Holiday Concert: Music from the Movies (Dec 15 – 17). Smaller chamber ensembles of four to five musicians will also perform on December 13 as part of the KSO’s ongoing Q Series at the Square Room. For more information on the various performance venues, as well detailed concert listings for January through May 2018, see the KSO’s official online concert calendar.

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  • Silhouette of raven on tree branch in front of enormous ochre colored moon

    Scary Good Times in Tennessee

    The leaves are turning, the breeze is quickening, and things are getting just a tad spooky here in Knoxville. If you’re looking for some fun this Halloween season, consider checking out these annual October events....

    BOO! at the Zoo

    This Halloween bash at Zoo Knoxville is perfect for infants and kids up to about age 10. Children will enjoy trick-or-treating, dancing, a “haunted” carousel, and much more. Friday, Oct 13; Sunday, Oct 15; Thursday, Oct 19; Sunday, Oct 22; Thursday, Oct 26; and Sunday, Oct 29; from 5:30 – 8 P.M.

     Knoxville Horror Film Fest

    Showcasing a wide array of feature-length and short films, this festival will delight horror fans. The three-day event will include screenings of Dario Argento’s “Suspiria,” Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “Hausu,” Chris Peckover’s “Better Watch Out,” and Takashi Miike’s “Blade of the Immortal,” among many others. Friday, Oct 20, through Sunday, Oct 22, at Regal Cinemas Downtown West 8.

     Knoxville Zombie Walk/Thrill of the World

    The annual Zombie Walk, in which participants deck themselves out in creepily undead accoutrement, will commence at 5 P.M. at Scruffy City Hall. At 6 P.M. all undead walkers, and select others, will break into a special choreographed dance to the international hit “Thriller,” by the one and only King of Pop. Saturday, Oct 28.

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  • antique clocks

    Pioneers of Antiquing

    Do you delight in antiquing? If so, you’ll want to plan a short drive to attend the “Days of the Pioneer” Antique Show, which will take place September 15 and 16 in Clinton, just 20 minutes from the Oliver Hotel. ...

    During this 2-day event, some of the most renowned antique dealers from across the country will congregate in Clinton to present to you the beautiful, practical, and enchanting relics of 18th and 19th century America. Browse handmade furniture, jewelry, textiles, arts, crafts, clothing, and much more as you enjoy live, traditional Appalachian music and delicious “chuck wagon cooking.” Better still, this antique show takes place at the Museum of Appalachia, “a living history museum” comprising 65 gorgeous acres and an historically-accurate, reconstructed Appalachian village with 35 log cabins, churches, schools, livestock, and gardens. Travel back to the simplicity of the past, engage your imagination, and find that perfect antique piece you’ve been craving.

    Address: 2819 Andersonville Hwy, Clinton, TN 37716

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  • Tray of vegetables and jug with flowers on table outdoors

    History and Wholesome Eating at the Marble Springs State Historic Site

    In Knoxville we love old fashioned, hearty, healthy country food, and at the Marble Springs Farmer’s Market, open from 3 to 6 P.M. every Thursday through September 21, you’ll find some of the best locally-grown, organic produce anywhere in Tennessee....

    In addition to the fine fruits and vegetables, vendors also deal in specialty sauces, herbs, flowers, crafts, and much more, and since each week is a bit different, there’s always something new in store. Marble Springs isn’t just about food, though. As the former home of Revolutionary War hero and first ever Governor of Tennessee John Sevier, it’s a certified state historic site. On your tour, you’ll be transported back over 200 years to see firsthand what life was like for Sevier and others in the decades following the Revolution. The featured historic structures include the Smoke House, the Loom House, the Spring House, the Tavern, and the John Sevier Cabin (along with its detached kitchen, of course).

    Address: 1220 West Gov. John Sevier Highway, Knoxville, TN 37920

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  • Tennessee-Theatre-Knoxville.jpg

    The Tennessee Theater: A Performance Center Fit for a King

    One of our state’s most vibrant and variegated entertainment venues, the Tennessee Theatre, located right here in downtown Knoxville, opened in 1928 as the South’s most opulent “movie palace.” After some especially hard times in the 1970s, the theatre started to transition from singe-screen cinema to wide-ranging performance venue. ...

    Several years and a major renovation later, the theatre reopened as the internationally-renowned performing arts center we know today. The roster of shows at any given time promises something for everyone, from classical music ensembles to today’s hottest bands, from ballet to Broadway, from Old Hollywood films to cutting-edge live acrobatics. Plus, the interior design, a collaboration of famed Chicago architects Graven and Mayger, is breathtaking: among this bricolage of international stylings, you’ll find Louis Quatorze chandeliers and Tuscan terrazzo floors, Czech crystals and Far East tapestries. See the Tennessee Theater’s full summer schedule online .

    Address: 604 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902

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  • NavitatPark.jpg

    Navitat Knoxville: An Adventure in the Trees

    If you’re looking for an amazing outdoor activity this summer in Knoxville, consider Navitat, “a tree-based adventure park” located at Ijams Nature Center. ...

    This stunning park is made up of six unique elevated “adventure trails,” each emanating from the same central location out into the surrounding forest. You’ll choose your trail according to the difficulty level you want, from very easy to very difficult. The former will take you no more than 15-feet off the ground, while the latter rises up to 60-feet at some points. Whichever trail you choose, you’ll be confronted with about a dozen different obstacles to get through, over, or across; things like nets, swings, bridges, elevated tunnels, and even ziplines! Though your adventure is self-guided, staff are always on hand monitoring your progress and ready to help when necessary. Navitat Knoxville is great for groups of friends, families, or corporate retreats. You don’t have to bring any equipment either. Just dress for a walk in the woods, and Navitat’s friendly and experienced staff will provide everything you need.

    Navitat at Ijams Nature Center, 2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920

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  • Mountains.jpg

    Smoky Mountain Magic

    You may have heard that hiking is a year-round activity in Knoxville (and it is), and now that spring has arrived, the call of Smoky Mountains is just too sweet to ignore. With so many great hiking trails around, it can be difficult to choose, so here are a few of our favorites to get you started....

    Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area

    At easy to moderate difficulty, this trail stretches on for approximately 8 miles and is known for the beautiful flowers that bloom in summer.


    C. King Park

    This one is actually located in the city itself. So convenient! You can take an easy stroll along Flenniken Branch, an inlet of the Tennessee River, or opt for the elevated trails to get a more strenuous workout.


    House Mountain

    At 10 miles outside the city, it takes a little longer to get there, but it’s well worth the drive. As you hike along the main trail, lush forests give way to spectacular views on the highest peak in Knox County.

    When you’re too tired to go any farther, head back to the Oliver, where the comfort of your room, and Tennessee’s finest bourbons, will be waiting for you.

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  • McClung-58e06946b0245.jpg

    Knoxville Knows its Historic Culture

    It’s good to know, Knoxville ranks high among Tennessee’s most historic cities....

    Meanwhile a diverse community of cultural institutions has sprung up in Knoxville, which you’ll discover in the Arts District.

    The East Tennessee Historical Center

    An anchor of downtown Knoxville, the East Tennessee Historical Center is the crossroads of continually changing exhibits that seek to introduce the public to their shared heritage. Fascinating lectures and tours take place at all hours of the week.

    Knoxville Museum of Art

    Knoxville likes to thank its lucky stars for this fabulous museum of art dedicated to preserving the rich natural legacy of the region as well as art from abroad. Currently on view is Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee.

    McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee

    From its serene location on the University of Tennessee campus, the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture is a treasure trove of archeological digs, decorative art, carefully preserved specimens, and local lore.

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  • BalterBeerworks-58bcdbed2354f.jpg

    Knoxville Watering Holes Within a Stone's Throw

    Find out the source of Knoxville’s good humor....

    Put away that dowsing rod. To find the source of Knoxville’s good humor it’s as simple as checking out these recommendations.

    Balter Beerworks

    Balter refurbished a long neglected service station into the one-of-a-kind craft beer and dinner experience Knoxville locals know and love. This venue artfully combines an urban aesthetic with the original structure to create a place that is truly comfortable. Balter features a great selection of food and drink with its spacious front porch and a beer garden in the back.

    Bearden Beer Market

    Supporting an active community of friendly, beer-loving folks, the market is a solid bet for laid back vibes. Make new friends or bring your own to the expansive beer garden where there’s a few rounds of left cornhole to be played, while the retail section in the front is fully stocked with wine, delicate cheeses, and tasty snacks. And Bearden specializes in hard to find brews.

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  • TennesseeTheatre

    Sipping the Wine Away in Knoxville

    Knoxville has been named America’s most romantic city, again! For couples looking to strengthen the bonds of love that could only mean you’re already in the right place. Take a tip from a Knoxville local, these recommendations are great for date night....

    Wine and Canvas

    If you’ve never participated in an evening of paint-while-you-drink, then Wine and Canvas is where you’ll want to head. As the name implies this is a fun way for couples to create a masterpiece of their own while sipping the wine away.

    The Tennessee Theatre

    The Tennessee Theatre is an artistic staple in the city and a grandly entertaining venue, based in a 1920s-era movie palace. With an always interesting program of musicals, concerts, and shows, there’s something here for all tastes. Click here for the Tennessee Theatre’s event calendar.

    Knoxville Food Tours

    Don’t let your appetite direct you to just any old eatery. Find out how diverse the Knoxville restaurant scene really is with Knoxville Food Tours. They offer four different options to find you the perfect plate! This beat goes on rain or shine.

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    A Bear Hug for Tennessee Brunch

    Knoxville is a charmingly active city that rose in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains....

    Oliver Royale

    Chicken and biscuits, crab cake Benedict, chorizo and eggs? Check, check, check. And those are just three reasons Oliver Royale is Knoxville's new favorite for leisurely weekend brunching. Served from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

    Cafe 4

    One of the first establishments join the brunch train was Cafe 4, located in Market Square. Their heat-lamp equipped patio is your perfect breakfast spot this month, though the interior space is comfortably minimal, too. Enjoy lobster flatbread, tomato bisque, and plenty of unique breakfast fare here.

    Knox Mason

    If you’re in love with food then Chef Matt Gallaher is prepared to steal your heart with alarmingly good twists on brunch, using only local ingredients with some spicy inspiration from the southern kitchen. How does a griddled honey bun sound? Shrimp and grits, anyone?

    The Plaid Apron

    Drew and Bonnie McDonald are working hard to please their devoted breakfast fans, sourcing local ingredients whenever possible. Check out this treasure in the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood and prepare your taste buds for mood-altering sourdough French toast, fresh eggs Benedict, and Canadian bacon for starters.

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