As you might expect, the area around Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport is a good place to get a hotel room for the night and a bite to eat, especially after being cramped in a middle plane seat behind a screaming toddler.
McGhee Tyson Airport is actually located in Alcoa in Blount County, rather than in Knoxville. Its location is approximately 12 miles south of downtown Knoxville and roughly eight miles north of Maryville. The airport is positioned alongside Alcoa Highway, which can easily get you to both of those cities. Interstate 140/Pellissippi Parkway also connects with Alcoa Highway, so if your ultimate destination is Oak Ridge or West Knoxville, this is a good place to rest your head for the night.
Being the site of the airport, there’s a good chance you’ll reach the area from above the ground. McGhee Tyson Airport flies eight major airlines and goes to 19 nonstop destinations, including Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Washington D.C. The airport got a $70 million renovation a few years ago. The expansion added new gates, ticket counters, elevators and escalators, and a 115-foot indoor stream.
The area around McGhee Tyson presents the weary with several hotels of varying amenities. The Days Inn, for example, has airport shuttle, free “daybreak” breakfast, free high speed Internet, meeting space and a swimming pool. A room will set you back as little as $55.
At the other end of the spectrum is a hotel like the Hilton, which is connected to the airport by a covered walkway. Complimentary shuttle service will take you to local businesses and restaurants within a five-mile radius. Other services and amenities include a complimentary business center, an on-site health and fitness center, guest laundry, complimentary high speed Internet and complimentary “USA Today” newspaper. A room should set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $130 to $170.
Other hotels in the area include Family Inn, Comfort Suites, Fairfield Inn, Marriott and Mainstay Suites. Most of the hotels have the basics, like cable, free breakfast and airport shuttle service, but you’ll want to check individual hotels for rates and amenities.
Those who weren’t filled up by that giant bag of airline peanuts will find plenty of chain offerings in the immediate vicinity of the airport. Much of it is fast food, ranging from the golden arches to Starbucks to Captain D’s to Krystal (it’s like White Castle, only tasty). There are also a few Chinese restaurants and casual dine-in fare like Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday.
If you’re looking for entertainment immediately near the airport, you won’t find much. Those wanting to go out for the night may prefer to sleep closer to Knoxville. That said, the airport is just a few miles from Lambert Acres Golf Course, Pine Lakes Golf Course and Egwani Farms Golf Course. Several public parks are also nearby. The University of Tennessee is about 10 miles to the north. And if you came for the mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is less than an hour to the south. Don’t feed the bears.
Shoppers are less than six miles from Foothills Mall in Maryville. The indoor mall is just under 500,000 square feet of retail bliss. There are more than 55 stores, including Belk, Goody’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and T.J. Maxx. Closer to the airport on Alcoa Highway is Green Acres Flea Market, a large indoor and outdoor market with several hundred dealers selling antiques, collectibles, memorabilia, vintage clothing and things you’ll love that your significant other will call junk. The airport is also near several new and used car dealerships, so if you flew into town but would rather buy a car than rent one, then you’re in luck, Oprah.
© 2008, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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