On Oct. 9, South Carolina football will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to take on the University of Tennessee. Fan support is crucial to the success of South Carolina football, so if you plan on traveling to the game, these are some things you need to know to make the most of your trip to the Marble City.
The drive to Knoxville is pretty simple and takes about four hours to complete. You'll mainly stay on two highways: I-26 and I-40. One thing to take into account is the mountain driving as you get closer to campus, so be prepared for the roads to get windy and drive accordingly to make the trip safe. Just like in South Carolina, traffic to the stadium on game days is heavy.
“Game days are probably the biggest event in Knoxville,” according to Josh Lane, a third-year journalism student at Tennessee and sports editor for the UT Daily Beacon. “There’s always a ton of traffic — parking’s always a huge thing.”
There’s plenty of parking around Neyland Stadium, both lots and garages, and Parkopedia will be your lifeline to find open spots. Walk times to the stadium average at around 20 to 30 minutes from most parking lots, so plan ahead to beat traffic and for the walk.
If you want to get your day started early and also find easy parking, Maddy Muschek, fourth-year English student and city news editor for Daily Beacon, recommended parking in downtown Knoxville for food and walking to the stadium from there.
“Park downtown somewhere; like, get brunch or lunch or drinks,” Muschek said. “Then, just walk to the game, and that way you don’t have to worry about parking.”
Once you get to the stadium, get ready for an electric college football experience.
“I’ve never been to a place as loud,” said Ethan Stone, a fourth-year journalism and electronic media student at Tennessee, and assistant sports editor for Daily Beacon. “It’s kind of unlike anything sports-related that I have ever seen.”
Postgame, there are plenty of things to do. Just a 25-minute walk from the stadium, downtown Knoxville is full of great restaurants and lively bars. Within downtown Knoxville, there’s an area called Market Square that has garnered a good reputation for postgame activity.
“[Market Square] is in the middle of downtown Knoxville,” Lane said. “It’s another place that's got a ton of restaurants, ton of bars there; so, definitely plenty to do.”
If you wanted to make a weekend out of the trip, there are great things to do in the Knoxville area. Pigeon Forge, a mountain town just about an hour out from Knoxville, is a perfect place to spend a day.
“They’ve got all sorts of fun shops,” Stone said.
The main road running through Pigeon Forge is packed on both sides with bars, restaurants and shops. The West Prong Little Pigeon River also runs through town, so you could decompress after the busy college game day with a scenic river walk.
As for finding a place to stay, there are plenty of hotels and Airbnb rentals in and around the University of Tennessee campus. Visitknoxville.com is your go-to site for finding a hotel, and a simple search of “Knoxville, Tennessee,” on Airbnb's website or any accommodation booking website will bring you a plethora of spots to come back to once your day has wound down.