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Holiday magic returns to Downtown Knoxville from Nov. 24-Jan. 7

November 20, 2023

Jingle all the way to Downtown Knoxville for this year’s holiday happenings. The festive fun includes the much-anticipated return of The Elf on the Shelf® Adventure scavenger hunt, delectable Peppermint Trail, ice skating, shopping and more. It all begins Nov. 24 and continues through Jan. 7.

Elves dangle on the handles of Cruze Farm’s milk fridge for The Elf on the Shelf Adventure scavenger hunt.

“It’s that time of year when Downtown Knoxville transforms into a winter wonderland,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “Celebrate the season with us and discover the magic of our city center. With a sleigh full of seasonal activities and memory-making experiences, there is something for all ages.”

Santa Claus has sent his magic elves on a special downtown mission for the eighth annual The Elf on the Shelf® Adventure. These mischievous elves are hiding in dozens of our beloved local businesses, giving you the perfect excuse to explore our downtown shops and restaurants.

North Pole Passes for the family-friendly tradition are available at Mast General Store and the Knoxville Visitors Center. The first 5,000 people to pick up a Pass at either location will get a free holiday stamp for the self-guided elf-xtravaganza. Find elves at 20 or more locations and return to Mast General Store to register for prizes. Participants can share photos via social media using the hashtag #ElvesInKnox and tagging @downtownknox. The scavenger hunt ends Jan. 7.

Look for sidewalk decals across downtown to find businesses and shops participating in the Peppermint Trail.

As you spot elves downtown, indulge your tastebuds along the Peppermint Trail with holiday-themed coffees, candies, cocktails and other creations. You will find more than peppermint on the trail as well. Holiday flavors and scents, including gingerbread, eggnog, milk ‘n cookies and more, will be featured. More than 75 merchants are participating. Explore all the delightful offerings at downtownknoxville.org/peppermint.

That’s not all! Downtown Knoxville Alliance and partners have planned these holiday activities:

  • Downtown Knoxville is helping Santa by collecting children’s letters in Market Square. Drop off your letters in a holiday-inspired mailbox designed and painted by local artist Paris Woodhull before Christmas Eve to ensure they make it on time!
  • Experience the magic of the City of Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice, an open-air ice skating rink in the heart of Downtown Knoxville. The Market Square pop-up is open daily and nightly, seven days a week, for children and adults from Nov. 24-Jan. 2.
  • Capture the spirit of the season at Downtown Knoxville’s holiday photo ops! Peppermint Grove in Market Square is back with trees wrapped in peppermint lighting. Plus, merchant windows will be beautifully decorated, local artist Megan Lingerfelt is adding a new seasonal mural in Strong Alley, a special photo op has been added to the Knoxville Chamber and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and festive artwork adorns the ice rink. Tag photos with #lovedowntownknox on social media to spread holiday cheer. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Plan your day in Downtown Knoxville at downtownknoxville.org/holiday and create lasting memories this holiday season!

“Special thanks to the City of Knoxville, Christmas Décor Plus More, Dogwood Arts and all the incredible businesses that help us sprinkle holiday magic throughout Downtown Knoxville, and to the residents and visitors who support them year-round,” Hummel said. “We send warm holiday wishes to all and hope to see you downtown celebrating this joyous season!”

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 downtownknoxville.org.