You see, Knoxville is a truly unique place in that it is a college town while simultaneously also being big enough to stand on its own, meaning the general populace (and sketchy people from the surrounding hills looking for a night in the “big city”) mingle with college students in the downtown area. From the Old City to Cumberland Avenue, there are plenty of sketchy spots, so we did a little digging and found out where they are.
5.) The East Side: East Magnolia Avenue is home to Knoxville treasures such as Pizza Palace or ESPN-and-Bill Haslam-endorsed Chandler’s Deli. And a Boost Mobile store. It’s also home to Knoxville’s highest murder rate and hella prostitutes (don’t get any ideas, desperados). For all you civil engineering majors, this would be a great place to visit if you want to learn how to design burglar bars or areas with terrible lighting.
4.) Fort Sanders: The Fort is a federally-recognized historic battlefield that houses two hospitals, stores, bars, restaurants, and thousands of UT students despite only being a few square miles in area. It also has about three whole streetlights and bears witness to a preposterous amount of armed robberies, one after another. Walking through the Fort at night alone is like playing the lottery. For the robbers, except the odds are much, much better. Almost a sure thing, really. The Fort defies logic in that not one particular area is worse than the other – they’re all equally dangerous. From getting robbed on Laurel Avenue to being curb-stomped over by The Hill, you’re gambling your life away – literally. But hey, equality’s always good.
3.) Cumberland Avenue: In the past few years, there have been a few confirmed shootings on the Strip (always on weekends) and even more confirmed fatalities. It’s like a mini-Compton. From UT football players robbing a homeless guy at the Shell station in 2009 (the guy declined to press charges because he “wanted them to play because this is Tennessee”) to the various gun crimes at Studio X, the Strip just continues to get worse. The road construction resembling something from Syria doesn’t make things better, either.
2.) The Old City: The Old City is great for those of you who are actually old enough to be in bars … until you realize they’re full of weird hipsters and bands that are trendy at best. It’s also conveniently located close to the largest homeless shelter and Knoxville’s two biggest bus stops. The homeless people are always out and about, and they are AGGRESSIVE. They go 0-to-100 so quick that if they were running they could start in Neyland on Saturdays. But they’re not running; they’re yelling. At you. At themselves. At the demons inside of them.
1.) South Knoxville: Aside from the constant supply of dead bodies they find at Dickerson Park, South Knox is just generally sketchy. Locals call it “Soviet Knoxville” because it resembles a communist eastern bloc city in the 1970s. Seriously, if you went into half the businesses on Chapman Highway and asked them who the president was, they’d say Jimmy Carter. Once you cross the river, your mood changes. That’s your instinct telling you to turn the hell around.