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Knoxville
  • $450   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $870   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1395   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

52% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
parking during any athletic event
summer sports, water recreation, few traffic jams, love of Christmas, love of Dolly 6
lots of beer and coffee, craft beer, frat bro territory, cyclists & beer, college housing/parties, highschool dropouts, and grad students are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Knoxville roommate rundown:

Knoxville is the third largest city in Tennessee, after Nashville and Memphis . . . and that's the way many who've spent time in Tennessee but not in Knoxville tend to think of it.

All 3 Tennessee metros share hot and humid summers, cooler winters, and an enthusiasm for local music and sports. But Knoxville has its own vibe and culture to recommend it that's all Knoxville and nobody else, no matter what Nashville and Memphis have to say about it.

Dolly Parton began her career here, and you can still visit Dollywood in nearby Pigeon Forge. And Quentin Tarantino references Knoxville in all his movies. Are you really going to argue with both of them?

Considered the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, as it's about half an hour from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it's a bit of an understatement to say Knoxvillians have access to great hiking trails. GSMNP for the less experienced, the Appalachian Trail for the very serious. On both the mineral-rich springs and fresh mountain air are thought to invigorate health.

Knoxville is one of the largest cities in the Appalachian region, and a proud repository of Appalachian culture, including music, literature, food, folklore, history and scholarship.

Knoxville is also extremely proud of Big Orange, otherwise known as the "Volunteers" or the "Vols" (the telephone area code for Knox County is 865 or VOL) or the University of Tennessee Volunteers football and basketball teams. Most athletics at UT are incredibly popular and attended by extremely enthusiastic fans. Big Orange has some of the largest on-campus stadiums in the entire world.

The University of Tennessee, with about 25,000 students, is within walking distance of downtown. But the love of Big Orange reaches a lot farther than that. Over 100,000 have attended a single game in Neyland Stadium.

Along with supporting their more mainstream local sports, many Knoxvillians are into some alternative athleticism as well. Like bass fishing, motorcycling, and craft ax throwing?

Nearby Kentucky Lake basin is legendary for largemouth bass fishing. And "America's Motorcycle Road," the "Tail of the Dragon," featurs a severely badass 318 curves over 11 miles. But you can motorcycle a lot of lower key loops as well. Local bikers love just riding through Smoky Mountain National Park or along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

And ax throwing kinda speaks for itself, right? If you're feeling completely horrified, you are intended to receive some preparatory instruction, then throw axes only at agreed upon targets within an approved facility. Let's hope everyone's listening to those instructions.

Knoxvillians also really love Christmas. Well, they love their local special events and festivals overall, but one of their longest and most attended is Christmas in the City. Many popular Christmas events take place at historical sites of interest all over the city, and it's eight entire weeks long, just one event after another, including: Big Ears Festival, Boo at the Zoo, Fantasy of Trees, International Biscuit Festival, Knoxville Hardcore Fest, Rhythm & Blooms Festival, and Volapalooza.

There's also a Singing Christmas Tree. That's a large tree-shaped object with platforms stacked with real human singers! Who sing at all of Knoxville! Because Christmas!

And you and your roommates could enjoy all that's uniquely Knoxvillian inside a diversified economy, with low roommate rent and a low cost of living.

The rest of the Knoxville roommate lowdown:

  • Knoxville is on the Tennessee River between the Cumberland Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains, in the Great Appalachian Valley. The Tennessee River slices through the downtown area.
  • almost 200,000 in the city, Knoxville greater metro is about 880,000
  • Humid subtropical climate, hot and humid summer, much cooler winters with infrequent snow flurries. It's rarely below freezing, and precipitation is moderate year round. Summers are long, but the mountains ranges shelter it from extreme winter temperatures, and it's sunny about 200 days a year.
  • home to Maryville College and the University of Tennessee
  • Boaters love the Tennessee River, overall and that it runs right through Knoxville. If you're super stylish you could sail past traffic right up to Neyland Stadium for a big game.
  • Knoxville's industries have historically been agriculture, mining, timber, some manufacturing, but in the last few decades tourism and second homes have assumed much larger roles.
  • If you live someplace with a basement or another area that can collect moisture, you have to watch out for mold. There's also a lot going on for allergy sufferers. If one of your roommates suffers from dampness-related allergies, they might need to stock up on medication plus keep an eye on the basement.
  • Parking is easy most of the time, only ever a problem around huge athletic events or right around the University of Tennessee. Pedestrians feel fine downtown, but anywhere else isn't amenable to walking or biking. There is a bus service (Knoxville Area Transit, or KAT) with a beautiful downtown terminal, which often offers special routes for downtown special events. There's also a free trolley that can take you around downtown and the U, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

    But overall, bus service is infrequent, and sidewalks outside downtown are also mostly non-existent. You and your roommates will need a car to "find your place on Rocky Top."



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Knoxville's:

  • Market Square: Historic downtown square featuring popular local shops and restaurants, fountains, live music, and a statue commemorating Tennessee's fight for women's suffrage
  • Volunteer Landing: Knoxville's riverwalk along the Tennessee River, complete with fountains you and your roommates can actually play in. Yes, we know many dream of playing in human-sized fountains, but so very often that's so disappointingly discouraged! But not at Volunteer Landing!
  • Kentucky Lake basin: Do you like to fish? How about bass? This lake is the most legendary for largemouth bass fishing.
  • Museum of East Tennessee History: History of Knoxville, including Native Americans through Davy Crockett and the Revolutionary War, then the Civil War
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Knoxville is a half hour away from one of the largest parks in the country, featuring hiking on 800 miles of nature trail, plus camping, fishing, horseback riding, and bicycling.
  • University of Tennessee Botanical Gardens: Over 1000 woody and 2000 herbaceous plants over 12 acres. Free since 1982, over 50,000 folks visit every year.
  • Knoxville Urban Wilderness: Over 60 miles of greenway, a nature center, wildlife area, fishing, lakes, quarries, playgrounds, hiking, ziplining, biking, climbing, paddling or just walking around in a 1500-acre outdoor adventure center . . . right in Knoxville.
  • Greenways: Knoxville is in the process of expanding their paved greenways connecting the suburbs with downtown, the University, and the stadiums. These have various names, including: Neyland, Sequoyah, Jean Teague, and Cavet Station.
  • Women's Basketball Hall of Fame: Uniquely dedicated to all levels of women's basketball
  • Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: Since 1935, the oldest orchestra in the southeast, performing hundreds of times a year
  • Grindhouse Video: It's a video store! It's still there! Not only is it "still" there as a video store, but they actually moved to Knoxville in 2022. Because this place has its own cult following. New and used blu-ray, DVD, VHS, laserdiscs, and vinyl - also because when you're such a horror movie buff you require constant access to your favorites, you might have to go with some physical media after all. You can't necessarily rely on streaming services to keep everything constantly available, and more obscure titles possibly aren't available at all.
  • Zoo Knoxville: More red pandas born here than any other zoo in the entire world. They've also got Tonka, the largest African bull elephant in the US, and a 525-pound 150-year-old Aldabra tortoise they call Al.


Here's the city of Knoxville's official .gov for city departments and offices, including community safety, area transit, and parks and recreation.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.