Make holiday memories in Downtown Knoxville during school break, family travel

The final countdown to Christmas has started, and Downtown Knoxville has family-friendly activities for all to “unwrap” as schools dismiss and relatives return home for the holidays.

“Spend your holiday break or gathering in Downtown Knoxville,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “With so many wonderful experiences, our city center sparkles brightest this season. Whether you’re skating under the stars or embarking on The Elf on the Shelf® Adventure, we hope your holidays are filled with joy, laughter and unforgettable moments.”

The festive fun lasts for a limited time! Activities organized by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance and other partners include:

  • The Elf on the Shelf® Adventure: Santa’s magical elves are staying in Knoxville a little longer than those who visit children at home. Pick up a North Pole Pass at Mast General Store or the Knoxville Visitors Center and search for elves inside dozens of participating businesses – and finish holiday shopping while you’re there. The scavenger hunt ends Jan. 7.
  • Peppermint Trail: Follow the trail of peppermints on Downtown Knoxville sidewalks for holiday-themed coffees, candies, cocktails and other creations from more than 75 merchants. Other flavors and scents, including gingerbread, eggnog, milk ’n cookies and more, can be found around almost every corner. Specials continue through Jan. 7.
  • Santa’s magical mailbox: Children can drop off their letter to Santa at the Market Square mailbox, designed and painted by local artist Paris Woodhull. The North Pole Postal Service is delivering letters dropped in the box by Christmas Eve, so don’t miss the deadline!
  • Holidays on Ice: The City of Knoxville’s open-air ice-skating rink in Market Square is open daily and nightly, seven days a week, for children and adults through Jan. 2.
  • Peppermint Grove and other winter photo ops: Snap photos in Market Square’s Peppermint Grove, outside decorated business windows, at the Knoxville Chamber and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the ice rink and in front of local artist Megan Lingerfelt’s latest mural in Strong Alley while exploring Downtown Knoxville during the holidays. Share your photos on social media with #lovedowntownknox.

For more information about these and other holiday happenings in Downtown Knoxville, visit

“Downtown Knoxville’s holiday spirit is high thanks to our local businesses’ involvement and the support of their patrons,” Hummel said. “We wish everyone happy holidays and invite them to celebrate this special time of year at their favorite spot or discovering new ones. Downtown Knoxville is where the fa-la-la-fun happens during the holidays!”

About the Downtown Knoxville Alliance

Ensuring a vibrant, flourishing downtown is the primary mission of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance (DKA). Formed in 1993 as a Central Business Improvement District (CBID), the district encompasses a 0.67-square-mile area and is supported by a special assessment to property owners that is used to make improvements, enhance services and promote downtown. The DKA continually focuses on attracting and retaining a thriving community of residents, businesses and visitors in Downtown Knoxville. For more information, visit