Knoxville, Tennessee, is a great place to shop. While small strip malls are scattered throughout the city, three malls dominate the shopping scene. Knoxville Center (previously known as East Town Mall) is on the east end of town. West Town Mall, is more like in the middle of town, and Turkey Creek is a uncovered mall on the far west end of Knox County. And does Brad Paisley really shop at West Town Mall?
Knoxville Center: Knoxville Center opened back in the 1980s and it was previously known as East Town Mall.For many years, it was the area’s premier shopping centers and some locals still call it by that name. To be honest, the mall has had some bad press lately. Last year, a disgruntled shopper shot a clerk when offered an exchanged but no refund. The clerk died, and the shopper went to prison. On Friday and Saturday night, a lot of teenagers congregate in the mall’s food court and theater area, but I have never felt unsafe or threatened while shopping there. With that said, I’ll move on to the shopping details.
Knoxville Center is located on I-640. If you’re coming from the East, it’s the first exit. From the West, it’s the last exit, Mall Road. The exit is built around the mall, so it is easy to get in and out. A nearby strip mall includes a Target, Kohls, Ross’, Marshall’s, Lifeway Christian Bookstore and a few other stores. The mall has an unusual set-up in that Toys R Us is not in the mall, but is only accessible from the mall parking lot. The property is a Simon mall, so you can use any Simon gift certificate there. The mall’s office is (865) 544-1500. The shopping mall is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12-6 p.m. on Sunday.
Stores inside the shopping mall include: J.C. Penney, Sears, Belk, Gymboree, Children’s Place, Aeropostle, American Eagle, Bath & Body, Bon Worth, Lane Bryant, Victoria’s Secret, and FYE. The mall also features a Regal Cinema. Restaurants inside the mall is mostly limited to a large food court offering six choices. (Petros is my favorite.) Sharing the mall’s parking lot are a Wendy’s and a couple of sit down, casual dining restaurants including Don Pablo’s, Applebee’s and a Texas Road House.
A complete directory is here.
West Town Mall: West Town Mall is in what used to be West Knoxville, but now it’s more like middle Knoxville. That explains the shopping mall’s name. The shopping mall has achieved some fame recently through the Brad Paisley song waiting on a woman. Here’s the first lines of the 2009 hit:
Sittin’ on a bench at West Town Mall
He sat down in his overalls and asked me
”You waitin’ on a woman?”
I nodded yeah and said, ”How ’bout you?”
He said, ”Son since nineteen fifty-two I’ve been
Waitin’ on a woman.”
Well, I happened to hear Brad talking about the song on Knoxville radio station WIVK. He didn’t write the song, but acknowledge that the writers are referring to the Knoxville West Town Mall. (Of course, for all I know, he may be saying that in every town with a West Town Mall.) Anyway, the video was not filmed at West Town Mall. Like East Town, West Town is a traditional mall with no outdoor patios or fountains like the one featured. West Town was recently remodeled. It is the rare, one-floor mall, with the exception of the theater. A parking garage is located to the south of the building, adjacent to the theater. This is a good place to park if you’re going to the movies. Otherwise, parking is usually available near stores. The theater is great with stadium seating. It also has a nice arcade with games that give tokens kids can trade in for small prizes like Chuck E. Cheese.
The highlight of West Town Mall? It has an Apple Store!
O.K….the basics. This mall is also a Simon property. It’s on Kingston Pike and is very accessible to I-40, just take the West Hills exit. It’s in the middle of a shopping mecca, which can cause traffic problems. If you’ve got all day, though, there’s a Target down the road. To the left of the mall is another huge complex with a Border’s, Old Navy Bed, Bath and Beyond and much more. Inside the mall, you’ll find just about every store, including: J.C. Penney, Sears, Belk, Dillards, Sephora, Lucky, Victoria’s Secret, the Body Shop, The Gap, The Gap for Kids, Christopher Banks, Banana Republic, and dozens more.
A complete directory is located here. The mall is open the same hours as Knoxville Center. The phone number is (865) 693-0292.
Turkey Creek: Now, some might differ with my definition of this shopping area as a mall, but few would argue that it’s currently the hot shopping spot in Knoxville. Unlike Knoxville Center and West Town Mall, Turkey Creek is not an enclosed mall. You’ll probably need to change your parking space four or five times to cover the entire area. It’s a bit uncomfortable on rainy days, but otherwise it’s fine. It has a lot of stores that aren’t usually in regular shopping malls, like a Target and a Starbucks. Other retailers are common to malls: Old Navy, Shoe Show, Bath & Body, Ann Tyler Loft, Jones New York and Lane Bryant. (And, just in case you shop too much, Mercy Hospital is located at the entrance to Turkey Creek. A complete directory is here.
In my opinion, the real thing that sets Turkey Creek ahead of the other two shopping malls are the restaurants, some of Knoxville’s finest. Lots of casual dining like Panera Bread, the Olive Garden and O’Charley’s. There’s even a Five Guys Burger place! Knoxville’s finest is also here, including Bonefish Grill, Connor’s Restaurant and the Stir Fry Cafe. The place also has lots of fast food restaurants and plenty of places to stop for a dessert or a snack…including both Baskin Robbins and Marbleslab Creamery.
Turkey Creek Shopping Center is very conveniently located for Interstate travel…it has its own exit on the very west end of Knox County. Most stores are open from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12-6 p.m. on Sunday. Here’s another difference from the mall…many stores have different hours. A few stores are closed on Sunday. A few are open overnight. Turkey Creek doesn’t have a phone number, but you can get answers to any questions by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.