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Knoxville, TN (Population: 180,130)

The “Gateway to the Smokies,” Knoxville, Tennessee is a city best know for its livability and its rockabilly style. Once deemed “Austin without the hype” in regards to its music scene, there is a booming local community of jazz, blues and rock musicians and wealth of of venues to see them in. Well-known historical venues such as the Bijou Theater and the Tennessee Theater are still open in the downtown Knoxville area. With the Smoky Mountains at your door, it's also a great place to enjoy camping, hiking or whitewater rafting.

Knoxville's location in the high-tech Tennessee Corridor means that the job market is always active for those working in the technological field. The economy is supported largely by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as the University of Tennessee. These are some of the best opportunities in the U.S. for those who work in this quickly growing field. For this reason, Knoxville has been recognized by the Economic Research Institute and Forbes magazine as a great place to live based on affordability and career and business options, respectively.

It's not all work and no play in Knoxville, though. There are numerous art festivals that take place in Knoxville, including the Dogwood Arts Festival, the Rossini Festival, Autumn on the Square, the Kuumba Festival, Cherokee Heritage Day as well as the American Indian Celebration Powwow. On Labor Day, the biggest firework display in the United States takes place here. From Italian to African to Native American history and culture, the ethnic background of Knoxville's natives is celebrated. Much of the culture found here is unique to the Smoky Mountains as well. Traditions of storytelling and native crafts have been passed down through generations and are now part of this wonderful mountain culture.