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.

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.


Mayor Bill Haslam announced that the city would open the fourth floor observation deck of the Sunsphere to the public beginning Thursday, July 5, 2007. There is no admission charge and the observation deck can be accessed from elevators at the base of the Sunsphere and at the convention center level. It's open daily from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.

[Tammy, 07/12/2007]
The Sunsphere

The Sunsphere looks like it will be reopened to the public! The city council recently voted to renovate the big gold ball and the amphitheater, another hold over from the 1982 World's Fair. It could be finished as soon as the Fall of 2007 (although that's not likely).

[Dan, 02/03/2007]

The Sunsphere was constructed for the 1982 World's Fair. Fans of "The Simpsons" will probably recall an episode where Bart and his friends go to Knoxville, and the Sunsphere falls over onto their car. Some Knoxvillians wish that had really happened, but I love the Sunsphere. It's a continually changing work of art because of the way it catches light.

Access to the top of the Sunsphere is prohibited. There is no climate control system up there (yet another '82 World's Fair disaster!). However, it's worth a turn off the interstate, because our brand-new convention center is right next door. Waterfalls, comfy chairs, and contemporary art, all in the shadow of the sphere!

[Joyce Harrison, 01/21/2003]

The Sunsphere

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.
Save to My Sights

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:
Killed by a Yankee in Her Vegetable Patch, Knoxville, TN - 3 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the US and Canada are our special obsession. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

March 30, 2015

My Sights

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Tennessee Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Wentworth Museum: Petrified Cat, Pensacola, Florida (Mar 30-Apr 5, 2015)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from Subscribe now! Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Book Online Now