For More Information

Retire Loudon County, TN
1075 Highway 321 North
Lenoir City, TN 37771
FAX: (865)458-1206

Cultural Amenities

East Tennessee’s rich history and cultural amenities are located only minutes from Loudon County. From art and music to the natural environment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the variety and quality of the area’s cultural resources are many and offers numerous opportunities for enjoyment. Below is a sample of the cultural venues within the area.

Historic Lyric Theatre ~ Downtown Loudon

The Lyric Theatre, built in Loudon around 1911–1912, was an important part of the community. Westerns with serial “cliffhangers” and other movies were only a part of the activities that took place at the theatre. Today the theatre provides a local gathering place for the community to enjoy the ambience of a turn of the century theatre that provides a variety of live entertainment and old run movies. The Rare Notes, a theatrical group from the Rarity Bay community call the theatre home. With a seating capacity of 132, every seat in the house provides a wonderful experience for all ages to enjoy the classic elements of this vintage theatre

Bijou Theatre ~ Downtown Knoxville

The Bijou Theatre opened March 8, 1909. Built in 1817 as a hotel and tavern, the Lamar House is the fourth oldest building in Knoxville. It now houses The Bistro restaurant and the theater’s offices. In addition to being housed in Knoxville’s fourth oldest building, the Bijou Theatre has an atmosphere that’s perfect for live music and the performing arts. Many performers and music fans consider the Bijou the best-sounding room in Knoxville and with a capacity of just over 700, every seat in the house is a great one.

Clarence Brown Theatre ~ University of Tennessee

Celebrating its 35th Anniversary, the Clarence Brown Theatre is home to the Clarence Brown Theatre Professional Company, the University Company and the undergraduate performance group. The University of Tennessee is one of only 27 universities nationwide that is affiliated with the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). This professional theatre affiliation allows students regular opportunities to work alongside professional actors, directors, designers, and production artists. The Clarence Brown Theatre Company presents a varied repertoire of plays featuring nationally and internationally known guest artists, making the Clarence Brown Theatre one of the finest theatres in the Southeastern region of the United States. Built in 1970 and dedicated to Clarence Brown, a University of Tennessee alumnus and distinguished film director, this 576-seat proscenium theatre presents a wide variety of theatrical and dance performances by faculty, students, and professional guest artists. Plays that are new or seldom produced are combined with favorite comedies, musicals, and dramas of the classical and contemporary theatre. Each year, our season is carefully selected to fulfill both our educational and entertainment missions.

Frank H. McClung Museum

The McClung Museum is a general museum with collections in anthropology, archaeology, decorative arts, local history, and natural history. The exhibits document ways of life, cultural trends, and technologies from prehistoric times to the present day, and showcase much of Tennessee's past -- its geology, history, art, and culture. The McClung Museum is a special place -- a place of discovery, a place to learn about the world around us. As a part of the University of Tennessee, the Museum supports and participates in the university's mission to serve the state, region, and nation through scholarship, teaching, artistic creation, professional practice, and public service. The professionalism and high caliber of the Museum are reflected in its accreditation by the American Association of Museums. The McClung Museum is one of only 12 museums in Tennessee to be so recognized.

Museum of East Tennessee History

Open 7 days a week, the Museum of East Tennessee History showcases the history of the region's 35 counties through the award-winning exhibition, Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee, the East Tennessee Streetscape, and regularly changing feature exhibitions.

Knoxville Museum of Art

The Knoxville Museum of Art collects works of art of the highest quality in all media from circa 1900 to the present with an emphasis on those representing the most significant recent developments and with greatest local and regional relevance. The Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, presents new art and new ideas, educates and serves a diverse community, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life. The Knoxville Museum of Art opened in its current 53,200 square-foot facility, designed by renowned museum architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. The exterior of the four-story steel and concrete building is sheathed in the pink Tennessee marble quarried near Knoxville.

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is a full symphonic orchestra, supporting a core of full-time professional musicians, led by talented conductors. The KSO performs more than 200 programs each season in traditional and non-traditional venues throughout East Tennessee. The KSO reaches more than 160,000 children and adults each year. Lucas Richman has served as Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra since 2003 and, beginning with the 2010-2011 season, will also serve as Music Director and Conductor for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

Historic Tennessee Theater

When you first walk into the glorious Tennessee Theatre, you are overwhelmed by its majestic beauty. From the gorgeous terrazzo tiles in the lobby, to the majestic domed ceiling of the auditorium, to the expanded backstage and dressing areas, Knoxville’s Grand Entertainment Palace takes you back to a time when the stars of the silver screen reigned. Events include a variety of live performances, summer movies and Broadway at the Tennessee Theater.

Knoxville Zoological Gardens

Knoxville Zoo has 53-acres of animal exhibits featuring animals from all over the world. You'll find animals from Australia, Africa, Asia, South America, North America and even animals native to East Tennessee. Some of Knoxville Zoo's newest exhibits have been rated the best in the country. Knoxville is proud to have some of the finest and most naturalistic exhibits providing our animals the best possible environment. Knoxville Zoo, which ranks as one of the top two zoos in the world in the breeding of endangered red pandas, Through education, conservation, exhibition, research and recreation, the zoo will tell the stories of the animals, the plants and the people who make up the communities of the earth. The zoo will develop positive attitudes and actions about nature and about conservation as a local and global issue.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With over 521,085 acres, between 8-10 million people visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year, making it the most visited national park in the country. Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian history. The mountains have had a long human history spanning thousands of years—from the prehistoric Paleo Indians to early European settlement in the 1800s to loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in the 20th century Whether you delight in the challenge of a strenuous hike to the crest of a mountain or prefer to sit quietly and watch the sun set, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of activities for you to enjoy. The hardest part may be choosing which auto tour, trail, waterfall, overlook, or historic area to explore. An auto tour of the park offers a chance to see panoramic vistas, rushing mountain streams, weathered historic buildings, and majestic forests stretching to the horizon. Or if you desire more challenging activities take a bike ride through Cades Cove on a misty summer morning for a truly memorable way to experience the park. Escape into the Smokies wilderness for a backpacking adventure or opt for a tamer excursion in one of the park's developed campgrounds. Anglers can match their skills against wily brook, brown, and rainbow trout on over 700 miles of fishable streams in the park. Probably the best way to enjoy what the park has to offer is to choose from over 800 miles of trails ranging from quiet walkways to multi-day backpacking treks through the backcountry. The park has one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Nearly 80 historic structures—homes, barns, churches, schools, and grist mills—have been preserved in the park. The park has hundreds of miles of horse trails and five drive-in horse camps. If you don't own a horse, four rental stables provide mounts and guides. Most visitors come to the Smokies hoping to see a bear. Some 1,500 bears live in the park. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, down to microscopic organisms, the Smokies have the most biological diversity of any area in the world's temperate zone. The park is a world-renowned preserve of wildflower diversity—over 1,660 kinds of flowering plants are found here, more than in any other North American national park.