Knoxville, Tennessee: The Sunsphere

Opened on May 1, 1982 as part of the Knoxville World's Fair. Abandoned in 1999, restored and reopened in 2007. Its tower was originally painted blue so that the gold ball on top would appear more sunlike.

The Sunsphere

810 Clinch Ave., Knoxville, TN
Downtown. I-40 exit 388. Take Henley St. south, and either follow signs or your eyes. Less than a mile.
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Visitor Tips and News About The Sunsphere

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.



We love towers. Towers of all shapes and sizes. However, there are very few free rides to visit the observation decks of most towers. Remarkably, the ride up to the observation deck of the Sunsphere is free. Just don't forget to bring the binoculars and the camera!

The exterior of the tower, with its glass windows layered in 24-karat gold dust, is uniquely beautiful. For those with kids, there are interactive fountains and a really great playground within the park complex. To top it all off, free parking is available.

[Gary Epperson, 09/05/2011]



Visited in the morning 11/19/2010, but could not find any information about being able to go up to the top.... Was still a fun stop and great view!

[Kim V, 11/29/2010]
The Sunsphere

I rode to Knoxville on an IronButt motorcycle ride (1000+ miles in < 24 hours) but I had to make time for the Sunsphere! Free parking is close by, and the observation deck is open and free all day long! There's lots of info about the Fair on colorful displays, also historical info on the city and Tennessee in general. Extra special for me since my last visit was 1982!

[Skyler1967, 08/31/2010]
The Sunsphere

My daughter held her wedding reception in the now closed Sunsphere. It held a restaurant open to the public until June, 2010. The restaurant is now closed and so far no plans have been made to do anything else with it. It made a unique place for a wedding reception. I am sure the city will come up with something, but with the economy being the way it is, it may take a while.

[Pat Kerschieter, 07/10/2010]



The Sunsphere reopened to the public on July 5th. Earlier today, my wife packed some salads in the cooler and we took our son downtown for a picnic in World's Fair Park and a ride up to the observation deck of the Sunsphere. I was happy to see it all cleaned up and looking nice. They had the air-conditioning cranked up, which was great on a hot day. Afterward we got a dark chocolate-covered pretzel rod for dessert at The South's Finest Chocolate Factory.

[Frank Murphy,, 07/12/2007]

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Largest Rubik's CubeWorld's Largest Rubik's Cube, Knoxville, TN - < 1 mi.
World's Only Statue of RachmaninoffWorld's Only Statue of Rachmaninoff, Knoxville, TN - < 1 mi.
Rowing Man Sculpture - OarsmanRowing Man Sculpture - Oarsman, Knoxville, TN - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Airplane Barber Shop, Powell, TN - 7 mi.

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