What is Open Streets?
Open Streets Knoxville brings together community groups and local businesses, giving people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to walk, ride bikes, hula hoop, and much more--all in a street setting that is fun and safe! More than a street festival, Open Streets Knoxville lets residents explore their neighborhood in a safe, fun, and family-friendly way. It encourages active transportation and healthy living, and inspires residents to think of our streets as public spaces for all, not just for car travel. Our goal is for different neighborhoods to host each event.
The event is presented annually by Bike Walk Knoxville, with support from the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization and the City of Knoxville. Please visit our Sponsorship page to see a listing of our other sponsors that help make the event possible! For more information about Open Streets, check out the Open Streets Project.
What’s the route?
Our goal is to change the route with each event (however this is becoming more and more difficult as we have now hosted 10 events). Make sure to check the specific event page to find out where the next route will be. The most important thing about the route is there will not be cars allowed on it!
What are some “greener” ways to get to Open Streets?
Carpooling is a great concept – share the ride – but the logistics can sometimes be difficult. Want to fill up the car, but don’t know who to ride with? Smart Trips has a one-time ride matching feature for special events to help pair you up with someone nearby! All you have to do is enter your origin, destination, date and trip preferences, and you can be matched up with those looking to go to Open Streets Knoxville.
Transit: Leave the driving to KAT! Ride the bus and you won’t have to worry about where to park. It’s even easier to navigate now that KAT has paired up with Google Trips. Just go to Google maps on your computer or smartphone, enter your destination and choose the transit icon to explore your options. You can find out which bus stop is closest to your house. Once you’re at Open Streets, look for the KAT booth and grab a voucher for a free ride home!
Biking: Want to bike? Check out our bike map and find a safe and easy way to get there from your starting location. Whether you’re riding all the way from home or are starting from a central spot, our maps can help you find the best way. If you’re interested in riding from a more convenient location, please note the marked parking lots on our map. There are lots of great options, no matter where you’re coming from – often multiple parking lots are available, and more. Interested in riding at the event, but don’t have a bike? Most events have bike rental available.
How long will the streets be closed?
The route will be closed to motorized traffic for the entire duration of the event. We create an easy-to-read map, including free public parking and detour routes. The map will be available several weeks ahead of time on our website and on social media.
How much does it cost?
Nothing! Everything except food and beverages (and anything you find at stores along the route that you absolutely must have) is free!
Do I have to register in advance?
No, there is no registration. Just show up and have fun!
What should I bring?
Bring your bike, rollerblades, non-motorized scooter, skateboard or balance bike if your feet aren’t enough. A reminder to bring your lock as well, as you’ll definitely want take part in all the other exciting activities. Bikes will be available to rent at a few locations, which will be noted on our event map. Reminder! Per TN law, anyone under age 16 MUST wear a helmet if riding a bike, though we do encourage helmet use for riders of all ages. You should also wear comfortable clothes for exercising.
Let’s get real: Will there be bathrooms available?
Yes! There will be portable toilets along the route, but businesses will also be open all along the corridor and may open their restrooms to the public for the event.
What about food and drinks?
Local restaurants along the route will be open and there will be food trucks in between. Don’t worry, we won’t let you go hungry!
Is there a “beginning” and “end” to the route?
Nope, just hop into Open Streets wherever you want! Start at one end and work your way down, or just show up and mill around. To make the most of Open Streets, we challenge you to check out every business and organization along the route!
This isn’t a race, is it?
Nope, it’s not a race or a ride. Just a chance to hang out and have fun in the street without fear of traffic!
Will my kids enjoy this?
They will LOVE it! There will be kids’ activities, arts and crafts, exercise classes, street performers, music and more.
Is the event pet-friendly?
Dogs on leashes are welcome. We ask that you clean up after your dog.
Is the event handicapped accessible?
Individuals requiring handicapped access should be able to enjoy the entire event. Specific handicapped parking areas will be available.
How is Open Streets Knoxville different from a festival or a street fair?
We’re glad you asked. The core objectives are fundamentally different. Open Streets events are typically part of a broader city or organizational effort to encourage regular physical activity, increase community engagement and build support for more and safer transportation choices. Also, we are focused on promoting local businesses along and close to the corridor. The businesses on the route are always very excited to welcome lots of new faces!