Portfolio.com Says Knoxville's No Fun

You might think that Knoxville these days is a sort of fun place to be, what with its festivals and its Vestivals and its Kathy Griffin concerts and such. But you’d be wrong, at least according to Portfolio.com. The online business magazine ranked America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas on something they call a “Fun Index”—because who knows more about fun than an online business magazine? Knoxville finished 83rd, just behind San Antonio and ahead of Baton Rouge.

Here are the seven categories Portfolio evaluated, and Knoxville’s rank in each:

• Shopping (“Retail trade establishments”): 24th

• Culture (“Performing arts companies, museums and historical sites”): 40th

• Low-Impact Sports (“Golf courses and country clubs, marinas and bowling centers”): 68th

• Popular entertainment (movie theaters, sports arenas, amusement parks): 79th

• Food and Drink (“Full-service restaurants and drinking places”): 82nd

• High-Impact Sports (“Skiing facilities, fitness centers and recreational sports centers”): 90th

• Gambling: 92nd

Honestly, we’re not qualified to say whether Knoxville is really a worse eat-and-drink town than, say, Sacramento (48th overall), or whether there are really that many more golf courses and bowling alleys in Boise (73rd). But on the gambling front, we think casting a ballot in Knox County elections should boost our ranking considerably.

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Comments » 5

DanaNutter writes:

Portfolio.com is right! I've lived out here for 10 years, and they have been the 10 most boring years of my entire life. Plans are already in the works to move, and I won't miss Knoxvegas one bit.

shank_ri_la writes:

83 is slightly better than being 86'ed.

johndominicphoto#204720 writes:

Unfortunately, Portfolio.com is already non-print media. It would be nice to see it go the way of Newsweek. Ranking when there are so many cities and so much time becomes nothing more than a keyboard jacking session. Now, when it comes to fun we all know that it is the stuff that cannot be printed that would certainly skew results. One thing that is certain, all the best clothes at the mall are always available at third mark-down due to a certain conservative hold. You know those clothes that make you look like a money-spending liberal? God bless Knoxville for its ways.

dkgalyon01 writes:

I also have to disagree. The fun in Knoxville is not found in the papers, or on TV. It is found by going down a different street, trying a new store, or finally checking out that old club on the corner that you pass every day. The best shopping, music, festivals, and events of all kinds are the ones you see listed on flyers in the second-hand cd stores. We have a great and diverse culture here, but it is hidden underneath the mainstream advertisements.

cturczyn writes:

These comments are from Harry Keiser at UT, who gives speeches about the city to incoming freshmen:

Culture: 40th
40th in Performing Arts isn't too bad considering Knoxville's size
compared to say Los Angeles or New York City. Still, Jay Leno, Bill
Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Goo Goo Dolls, and Barenaked Ladies
have all done big shows within a few blocks of my Downtown Knoxville Loft in a one-year period...

Low-Impact Sports: 73rd
Since the bulk of that count is Golf & Boating, it's no surprise.
Arguably half of Knoxville's year is bad golfing weather, and better for swimming, hiking or the movies. And regardless of city planning and revenue, the Tennessee River/Loudon Lake, can't compete with the Sea, hahaha.

Popular entertainment (movie theaters, sports arenas, amusement
parks): 79th
This one's really a head scratcher. Sports Illustrated says Knoxville is the #1 college football city in the world. We have the #1
winningest college athletics team in history (Summit's Lady Vols). And we're the home of Regal Cinemas (their International Headquarters are in North Knoxville).

Not to mention our tributary Micropolitan area is home to a full-service Amusement Park. Dollywood might not rival Disney or Universal, but how many Metros have any amusement parks? 79th is almost shocking, because with all of those #1 national rankings, you'd think Knoxville would at least make the top 10 or 20...

Food and Drink: 82nd
While I find Knoxville's restaurants to be great, I can understand not making the top 25. Somewhere between 25 and 82 might be more reasonable unless we're talking about diversity of choices. The Mexican & Chinese restaurants here are pretty bad (chain establishments not withstanding). But for an upper-middle American meal (steakhouses, etc.), you'd be hard-pressed to do better anywhere in America.

High-Impact Sports: 90th
Under scrutiny this is another confusing one. As the article says, we have the Smoky Mountains, the #1 most visited American National Park where hiking and a bit of rock-climbing & skiing are par for the course. Additionally, the Princeton Review says that Knoxville has the #5 Best Athletics facilities in America. How do we get a #90 ranking with the #1 National Park and the #5 Athletics Facilities?

Gambling: 92nd
Gambling's illegal here so I don't know why we wouldn't be last
on the list. No racetracks, casinos, or bookies, as they're outlawed, so how did we beat out eight cities?

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