Dragon Lights Festival Knoxville


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Who says you need to go to China to experience its popular dragon lights festival? If you are in Knoxville, Tennessee, you can encounter the light exhibition first-hand without too many troubles! 

Dragon Lights Festival Knoxville
Festival highlights

But before you go there, it is imperative to know a little background about Knoxville’s dragon lights festival

Your long search and wait are finally over with this guide! Are you ready? Fasten your seatbelt as we are about to take off! Enjoy! 

About the Festival 

Started in 2018, Knoxville’s festival of lights has become a much-awaited tourist destination for people of all ages. 

Who says any light exhibition is only for kids? Teens, adults, and seniors have fallen in love with this yearly event. 

Organized by Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., the light show is always a big success every year. Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. is a subsidiary of Sichuan Tianyu, a global design, and manufacturing company. Located in Zigong, China, Sichuan Tianyu specializes in organizing any Chinese cultural events of all sizes. 

Reputed for its ability to combine entertainment and Chinese folk culture, Sichuan Tianyu has hosted countless Chinese light festivals in China and other parts of the world. 

Usually, a lights festival only takes a few days. But Knoxville’s dragon light is different. It lasts for more than a month, allowing Chinese and people of other origins to know other cultures and relax at the same time. 

For more than five weeks of light displays, expect approximately 42 oversized lanterns. Each depicts animals and mythical creatures with a touch of famous landmarks of the city. 

The lanterns are made with thousands of fairy lights components. Each is assembled by Chinese artisans from Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. with precision and perfection to provide the best light display for millions of tourists in Tennessee and other places in the US. 

Festival Dates

The dragon light lantern festival is held from March 16 to April 22. Sometimes, the festival dates change. But it is usually from March to April. You can visit the festival’s official Facebook page for more information. You can also contact the organizer so that you won’t miss the highlights of the light exhibition.

Where It Is Located and How to Get There

The dragon light lantern festival is located in Knoxville, particularly Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center.

An 81-acre park, the facility includes picnic shelters, a 3-acre lake, arenas, bandstands, barns, 4500 seat amphitheater, and exhibition hall. It is vast and can accommodate millions of locals and other tourists every year.

But how to get there? Good question! If you are North of Knoxville, follow the direction below:

  • Merge to I-275 south twds Asheville
  • Go to Exit 3 twds Asheville 
  • Merge to I-640 East
  • Follow I-640 East
  • Merge onto I-40 West twds Nashville 
  • Go to Exit 3924A. 
  • Lastly, follow the signs to Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center. That’s it! 

Festival Hours

The festival will be open to the public from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Let’s pray the Covid-19 would end soon. Hopefully, the organizer will extend the festival hours to give everyone the best entertainment.

Cost to Visit the Festival

The dragon light lantern festival won’t cause you a fortune. Yes, the tickets are affordable and available in different price options.
For adults, it costs around $16. For children, 3 to 13 years old, tickets cost $10. Kids under three can get in without entrance fees.

Seniors and college students can enjoy some discounts. The tickets are available at $12. But you can only avail this promo from Mondays to Thursdays. Students are required to show their IDs.
If you are a college student, prepare your identification card to avoid hassles.
It is always fun to enjoy any light exhibition with a bunch of your closest friends and loved ones. So, expect more discounts along the way.

For a group of 15 or more, you will receive a discount rate of $12 for adults and $8 for children. Please feel free to contact Knoxville Civic Coliseum at 865-215-8999 for further details!
The light exhibition also provides a $45 season pass, which includes unlimited adult admission. So, hurry while there are available slots!

Where and how to purchase your tickets? Since there is a pandemic, we encourage everyone to buy tickets online thru Ticketmaster at the festival’s box office and the Civic Coliseum box office at the Midway.
But wait, there’s more! Parking is free. Yes, you read it right! To get to the designated parking space, just enter Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center on the Zoo Knoxville side.

Weather and What to Wear

Knoxville experiences four seasons. The spring and the fall are the best time to explore the city of Tennessee.
In March, Knoxville begins to warm up, which is still ideal and comfortable for travelers. Luckily, the dragon light lantern festival starts from March to April.

But what should you wear when you go to Chilhowee Park and Exhibition Center? Since the weather starts to get warm, do not forget to wear any light-colored clothing, opt for loose sleeves, avoid something tight, consider breathable fabrics, wear leather sandals, and minimize accessories.

Also, you have the leeway to choose what you want to wear. There is no rule to follow, after all. Plus, your comfort is what matters the most.

Hotels Near the Dragon Lights Festival

If you are staying in Knoxville for another whole week, here are the best accommodations we recommend:

Days Inn 

Days Inn lands the first spot. Close to the Interstate 40 Exit 394, Days Inn provides high-end amenities, including an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, a cable TV, a small refrigerator, and more.

It offers a free continental breakfast that will surely satisfy your taste buds and cravings. It is 11.2 km away from the University of Tennessee. It is a 42-minute drive from the Dollywood theme park. It is also open 24/7. Plus, free parking space is offered.

Crowne Plaza Knoxville Downtown University 

Located in Knoxville’s city center, Crowne Plaza is close to the University of Tennessee, World’s Fair Park, Knoxville Convention Center, and other popular attractions. Accommodation packages include premium cable channels, coffee makers, Wi-Fi access, a dining area, a minibar, and a separate living space.

It comes with a on-site restaurant that serves three meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For fitness enthusiasts, Crowne Plaza provides 15000 sq feet of meeting space. What’s more, the hotel is pet-friendly.

Graduate Knoxville 

For our third spot, we recommend Graduate Knoxville. The amenities are high-end. It provides an on-site restaurant, Saloon 16 bar, ideal for locals, tourists, and other guests in the city. Every room is intricate and stylish, making your stay convenient and incredible, too. It is close to public transportation, malls, commercial establishments, and world-class tourist destinations in Knoxville.

Restaurants Nearby

After a stressful and tiring week in the office, you deserve to treat yourself to a sumptuous and delicious feast. But where to eat in Knoxville, Tennessee? Here are the top three most visited restaurants in the city:

Altruda’s Italian Restaurant

Tired of burgers? Want some Italian foods like pizza, bottarga, lasagna, Fiorentina steak, Ribollita, Polenta, Ossobuco, Risotto, and Carbonara? Visit Altruda’s Italian Restaurant when you go to Knoxville for a vacation.

It is located at 125 North Peters Road, Knoxville, Tennessee. You can also call the restaurant at 865-690-6144 to make reservations.

Bistro At The Bijou 

Award-winning? World-class? One of the top restaurants in Knoxville? Bistro at The Bijou should be on top of your bucket list. It serves authentic cuisine for lunch and dinner. Aside from delicious and good foods, live jazz musicians perform in the evening. As you take a bite and talk with your friend, you can sing along with good singers. Located in a 206-year-old building, Bistro at the Bijou is in downtown Knoxville.

Brazeiros Churrascaria

Want to take a tour of the unique cuisine of Rio Grande do Sul of Brazil? You do not have to go to the Rio Grande to do that. Brazeiros Churrascaria can exceed and satisfy your cravings. Its roasted beef, lamb, chicken, and pork are one of the best. It is best paired with a glass of wine, and Brazeiros Churrascaria has various options to choose from. So, what are you waiting for? The best dining experience awaits you!

More Things to Do in the Area

The dragon light lantern festival is a good tourist destination for travelers who like to unwind. But do not end your travel with the light display alone. Make your escapade merrier with these destinations!

Knoxville Museum of Art

Nothing is more relaxing than exploring paintings and arts. Right? The Museum of Art in Knoxville can go beyond your expectations. It provides a gallery with a heap of art. There is no entrance fee, so visit the museum with your buddies!

Tennessee Theatre

Recognized as one of the unique buildings in Knoxville, Tennessee Theatre will leave you in amazement. The ceiling is magnificent. It is very peaceful with a long history you cannot afford to ignore as an adventurous traveler.

Arik Akunis
Arik Akunis

My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.

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