Everything You Need To Know About Neyland Stadium Parking For A University Of Tennessee Football Game – The Free, The Not Too Bad, And The Outrageously Expensive Parking Spots

You will find tons of options for parking for Neyland Stadium on a Volunteer home football game Saturday and they all work pretty similarly — the closer to the stadium, the more you pay out the wazoo.

Like everything else in Knoxville, the regular rules go out the window on Gameday. People living near the stadium will sell spots in their yard for $50. Parking garages that are usually $7 all day are now $40.

But Knoxville does maintain some free options not too far from UT’s campus if you know where to find them. As a born and raised Knoxvillian as well as a UT grad (I come by my orange blood honest), and being more interested in spending my money on other things besides parking, I know where all the good free and cheap spots are.

I will list all of my go-to parking spots, whether you want to park in downtown Knoxville or near campus (such as the Strip or in Fort Sanders).

The Gameday shuttle buses, how to walk to Neyland Stadium from our favorite parking spots, RV parking, where to eat nearby, and what sights to check out pre-game – it’s all here, people! I even have maps! Everything you wanted to know about parking for Neyland Stadium.

Parking is so easy, you don’t even have to go to the game to enjoy a UT Football Gameday. We often go just to enjoy the pre-game festivities and then drive home to watch the game.

Key Takeaways

There are NO public parking lots on campus anymore, free or paid! UT reserves all of its parking spots on campus for season ticket holders with parking passes or for people working at the stadium.

Free Parking For Neyland Stadium Is In Downtown Knoxville

  • 2 parking garages – Market Square and State Street Garages
  • 2 flat lots in the Old City – Old City Lot South and Old City Lot North

Best Paid Public Parking Spots

  • The Locust Street Garage is not far from the stadium, costs $20, and is a popular choice.
  • The garages at the Civic Coliseum cost $10 and have a Gameday Football Shuttle bus stop. You can also park RVs here.

Walking to the stadium from downtown is fairly easy at about 1-1.5 miles but there is also a pay-to-ride Gameday Football Shuttle from various points downtown (as well as from the outlying suburbs).

You can use a rideshare like Uber but make sure to use the appointed pickup/drop-off point as you can’t get close to the stadium. Detailed info about all of these options is in the blog.

Don’t let parking stop you from spending a really fun Saturday in downtown Knoxville. You don’t even have to go to the game to enjoy it as there is so much to see and do before the game even starts.

Between the Farmer’s Market in Market Square and all the free festivities on campus, a Volunteer Gameday is always one of my favorite days of the year and the kids love it. I’ll share what our family typically does so you can decide what will work best for yours.

See our blog “Things To Do With the Family On Game Day In Knoxville” for all the super fun activities you can do with kids on campus. It is not all beer drinking and tailgating, although that is certainly a popular option.

Aerial view of parking for Neyland Stadium in Knoxville
Aerial view of parking for Neyland Stadium. Photo by Neomrbungle, CC BY 3.0

Free Parking For Neyland Stadium In Downtown Knoxville

The city of Knoxville has 2 downtown garages and 2 flat lots in the Old City that are free on Game Day. Most of downtown is within walking distance of campus – Gay St is a little over a mile away from Neyland Stadium and the Old City is about 1.5 miles away.

The Free Downtown Parking Garages Are The Best Parking For University of Tennessee Football Games

The Market Square Parking Garage and the State Street Garage are both located in downtown Knoxville. On a normal day, all of the city- run garages are free all day on weekends and if you enter after 6pm on weekdays, but as with everything in Knoxville, football changes things.

The Market Square and State Street garages are the only ones that stay free even on a Volunteer football Gameday, whereas the other city garages convert to paid parking.

The State Street Garage is my parking lot of choice for University of Tennessee football parking. Why? Because it is convenient to the interstate and to downtown. Plus, you can hang out downtown before the game AND afterwards while the traffic clears.

Arriving 4-5 hours before kick-off, I haven’t had a problem finding parking in the State Street Garage, whereas the Market Square Garage tends to fill up faster because it is smaller. Plus, it is easier to exit from the State Street Garage onto a major road so that’s why I like it better.

We like to arrive early on a football Saturday and either explore the Farmer’s Market or have breakfast or lunch at one of the many restaurants on Gay Street and Market Square. After the game, we like to have a meal or maybe an ice cream treat at Cruz Farm Dairy while waiting for traffic to clear.

From the State Street Garage, it is a 1.1 mile walk to Neyland Stadium and takes 20-30 minutes depending on how speedy your kids are. The Market Square Garage is minimally closer at 1 mile.

From downtown, we like to walk over to the Sunsphere at World’s Fair Park and then get on the Second Creek Greenway to the stadium. There is also a kids playground across from the Museum of Art which is also by Worlds Fair Park. See the map below.

There is a Gameday Football shuttle service to the stadium from Krutch Park, located adjacent to Market Square, if you don’t want to walk. It is run by KAT, the public transit service in Knoxville. The $10 wristband (cash only!) includes a return trip after the game. There are more details about the different shuttle routes and when they run at the end of this blog.

If you are thinking of getting a hotel or vacation rental for the weekend and skip the driving all together – you should! This is my list of favorite places that we stay in or recommend to friends and family – A Local’s Opinion Of The Best Places To Stay Near Neyland Stadium Or Thompson- Boling Arena In Knoxville.

Map of downtown Knoxville showing free parking garages for parking for Neyland Stadium for a University of Tennessee football game.
Map showing the free parking garages in downtown Knoxville. Map courtesy of OpenStreetMaps with my own additions.
Map of parking for Neyland Stadium showing the walk to the stadium along Second Creek Greenway and also where some of the pregame festivities like the Vol Walk take place.
Map showing the Second Creek Greenway from the World’s Fair Park to Neyland Stadium. Map courtesy of OpenStreetMap with my own additions.

The Free Flat Lots In The Old City Are My Second Choice For Parking For Neyland Stadium

There are two lots under the James White Parkway in the Old City that are free 24/ 7, even on Game Day. They are oh-so-creatively called Old City Lot North and Old City Lot South. These lots are located in an underpass but they are well lit and pretty open. I park there for dinner in the Old City all the time.

There are several paid flat lots adjacent to these free lots, so make sure you park in the ones directly under James White Parkway. Look for the big sign out front that says Old City Lot North or South. They will not hesitate to tow in private lots belonging to the apartments around here.

The Old City Lots are nice if you want to eat in this part of town before or after the game. Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria is always a hit with the kids for their great pizza but we also like Good Golly Tamale and Fin Two Japanese Ale House.

Old City Java is an Old City stalwart, opened since 1991, which makes me feel so old because I was in 8th grade at the time and thought I was so cool and bohemian to go downtown and drink lattes here. Anyhoo, if you want some great coffee to fuel up your energy level for game time, go here.

It is a 1.5 mile walk to the stadium from the Old City and will take you 30-45 minutes depending on your kids walking ability. If that seems way too far, KAT runs shuttles to the game from the Old City for $10 round trip (cash only). More on that below under Gameday Football Shuttles.

Moderately Priced ($10-$25) Public Parking For Neyland Stadium

City-run Parking Garages

The city has a handy list of what it charges for all its parking garages and flat lots on a Volunteer Gameday.

Main Street Parking Garage, Locust Street Garage, and the City County Building Garage are city-run parking garages that are all decently close to Neyland Stadium so they would be my first choices. They cost $20 for parking on Game Day.

You can also park on the top-deck of the Civic Coliseum for $10. It is a bit farther of a walk to the stadium (about 1.5 miles), but you can ride the Gameday Football Shuttles from there. If you are bringing a party bus to the game, this is probably your best bet for parking and they will charge $40 for that. (I have friends that do that when coming in from Nashville – get a group together and split the cost.)

Metered street parking spots in Fort Sanders

The metered parking spots in the Fort Sanders neighbourhood located adjacent to UT’s campus cost $25. You pay by credit card only at the meter.

See the map of metered spots for detailed locations but it is basically White Avenue, Lake Avenue, and parts of 13th, 16th, 18th, and 19th streets.

You will need to go early and be prepared to cruise around a little bit to find an open spot. The Fort is fun but can also be a little loud and obnoxious for walking around with little kids (it is full of college kids drinking beer on their porches and sometimes shouting NSFW cheers).

Knoxville’s Civic Coliseum

The Civic Coliseum charges $10 to park in its parking garages. From there it is a 1.2- 1.3 mile walk to the stadium. Or you can take the KAT Shuttle for $10 (including return). More on that below under Gameday Football Shuttles.

Children’s Hospital in Fort Sanders

The hospital raises money by selling its parking places so at least this way you know your money is going to a good cause. It is located in the middle of the Fort Sanders neighbourhood adjacent to The Strip.

The hospital has several parking options at various prices ($15-40) and all are about a mile from the stadium so close enough to walk. See their website for map and prices of their lots.

Map showing moderately priced and expensive parking options as well as RV parking for a Tennessee Volunteer football game at Neyland Stadium.
Map of your paid parking and RV parking options near Neyland Stadium for a football game. This list is not all- encompassing, just the ones I think are best. Map courtesy of OpenStreetMap with my own annotations.

RV Parking For UT Football Games At Neyland Stadium

There are 2 places that I know of near Neyland Stadium that allow RV parking for non-parking pass holders. You can park an RV on campus if you are a UT season ticket holder and parking pass holder that has a permit for one of the special RV lots on UT’s campus.

1) The Knoxville Civic Coliseum allows RV parking.

You can bring RVs to the Civic Coliseum and park in their 2 big parking garages Wednesday – Sunday. They even have water/ sewer/ electrical hookups at some spots, while some are electric only, and others are plain parking spots.

You can buy a season pass for the garages for your RV that includes all the home games or you can buy individual games. The full hookup spots (water/ sewer/ electric) are reserved for people who buy a season- long RV pass to the Civic Coliseum’s garages. RV parking spots for an individual game are electric only or non- hookup.

Individual game RV parking spots are $150- $360 depending on the game. They use Ticketmaster to sell those spots and you can use a link through the Civic Coliseum’s parking page.

2) The Blackstock Lot has RV parking for Neyland Stadium

Located off of Blackstock Ave, the Blackstock Lot is a city- owned flat lot that is generally free to park in except on home football game Saturdays. Then it is $20 for a car and $50 per day for an RV.

You can walk to Neyland Stadium through the Worlds Fair Park from the Blackstock parking lot. It is about 1.5 miles and it is an easy walk and pretty flat – a rarity in Knoxville.

This isn’t my favorite parking lot as it is located under a bunch of overpasses in a non-commercial part of town – meaning there is no one around at night but it still has a ton of road noise. Also there can be a homeless problem. Honestly, I did not even know this was an option for RV parking so I will have to see if it looks different on a football weekend. I do not know anyone that has parked an RV here.

Outrageously Expensive Options ($40 and up) For University Of Tennessee Football Parking

Popular Street Parking Lot

The city-run Poplar Street Lot located at 906 Poplar St, behind Church Street Methodist, costs $40 and is pretty popular so get there early. It is just a hop, skip, and a jump on the Second Creek Greenway over to the stadium. But the Main Street Garage is only $20 and is just 2 blocks away so I don’t ever park here.

University Commons

The parking garage and top lot at University Commons (the shopping center with Publix and Fieldhouse Social) charges $40 on Gameday. Not sure why this is so expensive as it is still a mile to the stadium from here but you can tailgate and even pick up all your tailgating supplies at the handy Publix right there. I guess there is a lot to be said for bathroom facilities onsite too.

Private parking in Fort Sanders and along Cumberland Avenue

Suddenly everyone with a yard near the stadium becomes a budding entrepreneur on GameDay. People and small businesses around the Fort Sanders neighborhood (aka “The Fort”) and some on Cumberland Ave (aka “The Strip”) will sell parking spots for around $50. You can sometimes get this cheaper if you are willing to be blocked in.

Unless you really want to be on The Strip or in The Fort, this would be one of my last resorts. Traffic in these areas can be brutal and there are better and cheaper options.

*There is major construction going on The Strip with a student housing company buying up several blocks of businesses and tearing everything down in order to build new 5 story buildings. So the few parking spots along The Strip just got decidedly fewer this year. And your eating and drinking options got fewer as well.

Last But Not Least – Just Get A GameDay Parking Permit From UT

Simply donate thousands of dollars to UT to get on the waiting list for season tickets, then buy said tickets and parking passes for even more money and receive a convenient spot on campus. Then pack up the car with all the tailgating stuff and get to campus at least 4 hours before kick-off and be prepared to wait several hours after the game ends before you get home. Easy, right?

The benefit to a parking permit being everyone always comes to see you and a whole lot less walking is needed. So each to their own.

Crowds of people tailgating before a University of Tennessee football game
Tailgating at sunrise before the Florida game. Just kidding, it is at least 9am.

Public Transportation To A Volunteer Football Game

Gameday Shuttles And Buses To Neyland Stadium

KAT Football Shuttles To Neyland Stadium

KAT runs a Football Shuttle service using the downtown trolley buses along 3 routes in downtown Knoxville. The map on the website details the routes (scroll down until you see Football Shuttle Service).

  1. Market Square/ Krutch Park– the best option for the free parking garages downtown (State Street and Market Square)
  2. Old City (by Barley’s)- the best option for the free Old City lots under the James White Parkway
  3. Civic Coliseum– the best option for the $10 Civic Coliseum parking garage

Cost is $10 cash only (including return) and you get a wristband. If you lose your wristband at the game, it is $5 cash in the fare box to get on the shuttle.

You could potentially walk to the game and take the shuttle back to your car afterwards but I will tell you that the lines can get long waiting for the shuttle at the pick- up point near Neyland Stadium after the game.

Shuttles start running 3 hours before kick-off. Return service from the game starts in the 4th quarter and goes until an hour after the game ends.

Shuttle drop-off/pick- up is on Middle Drive in front of the Walters Life Sciences Building (near the corner of Philip Fulmer Way and Cumberland Avenue).

While I love riding public transportation normally, I haven’t used the shuttles for Gameday because a family of 4 costs $40. So we just walk. But this could be a worthwhile investment if you have really little kids or non-walkers in the group but you still want to park downtown in order to take advantage of the Farmer’s Market or the amazing restaurants before the game.

Football Shuttle From Farragut To Neyland Stadium

There is also a shuttle service to and from Farragut High School in West Knoxville for $20. Parking is free at the high school and the buses start 3 hours before kick-off and run every 20 minutes until 1 hour before kick-off. Return service starts in the 4th quarter until 60 min after the game ends.

KAT Gameday Bus Routes To Neyland Stadium

KAT has 5 set bus routes specifically for Game Day that either go directly along Cumberland Avenue near the stadium or connect to a route that does. It costs $2 for a day pass for adults and $1 kids. Gameday bus passes are cash only and you buy the pass on the bus.

Buses run every 30 minutes from 7 am until 1115 pm (915 pm for the Central St route). This is a great option if you want to park, say at West Town Mall, and then take the bus the rest of the way. See the website for route details.

Rideshares To Neyland Stadium

The number one rule here is be patient and don’t try to get a pickup anywhere near the stadium after the game. You might as well bring your sleeping bag and spend the night ’cause your driver will never make it if you do that. I once walked almost all the way back to Sequoyah Hills to retrieve a car because we couldn’t get a pickup on campus and we had a sprained ankle in the group. Good times!

UT has set pick-up and drop-off points for rideshares and they are different pre- game and post- game. The cops will not be happy with you if you try to stop and get out of your Uber anywhere else on a major campus thoroughfare.

Pre- game rideshare drop-off– In front of the Claxton Education building on Volunteer Blvd.

Post game rideshare pick-up – On Circle Drive up on The Hill (near Ayres Hall if you are unfamiliar with “The Hill” – you will know what I mean when you hike up it :). Police will start letting Ubers enter Circle Drive in the 4th quarter and will limit the number of vehicles allowed in. Drivers will have to enter from Cumberland Ave.

See UT Parking’s website for more information and a map detailing the rideshare protocols.

What We Do On Gameday With The Family (It’s a Easy 6 Step Program)

  1. Park in the free State Street Garage.
  2. Eat in downtown Knoxville and/or explore the Farmer’s Market.
  3. Walk to Neyland Stadium.
  4. Watch the Vols Win (of course). *Although sometimes we just walk to the stadium and watch all the pre-game festivities, then walk back downtown to watch the game at a restaurant.
  5. Walk back to downtown and have dinner or ice cream while waiting for traffic to clear.
  6. Drive home tired and happy after an excellent day.

Step 1 – We park in the State Street Garage. Second choice is the Market Square Garage or the free Old City Lots.

Step 2 – Eat in downtown Knoxville. We usually take an hour to explore the Farmer’s Market before the game, stocking up on produce and homemade goodies that we store in the car before heading to the game.

If we don’t grab food at the Farmer’s Market, then we enjoy brunch/lunch at one of the awesome restaurants like Tupelo Honey or Tomato Head on Market Square or the Downtown Grille and Brewery on Gay Street.

If we parked in the Old City, we eat at one of the great places in the Old City before heading to the game.

Step 3 – We walk to Neyland Stadium. The kids enjoy the walk to the game through downtown and the Worlds Fair Park and we take our time.

We generally like to get to campus about 2-3 hours before kick-off to enjoy the pregame festivities, especially seeing the boats in the Vol Navy and watching the UT band’s march through campus.

Step 4 – Watch the Vols win. This is a given since I am the one writing this blog so it’s my rules. Vols win, always.

Step 5 – Walk back to downtown Knoxville. After the game, the walk back is fun as well, especially if we win and the crowd sings “Rocky Top” the whole time, plus it is a good time killer while waiting for traffic to clear.

We often have snacks, ice cream, or drinks in a restaurant downtown after the game as well. I would rather sit in a restaurant than sit in my car staring at the car in front of me anyway.

Step 6 – Drive home. By the time we get in the car about 2 hours after the game is over, traffic is mostly gone and we breeze right on home with full bellies and tired but happy kiddos.

For more on how we do Game Day, check out our blog “Game Day In Knoxville- A Local’s Survival Guide.

If you want a list of our favorite hotels and VRBOs so you can make your trip to Knoxville last a little longer, then check out A Local’s Opinion Of The Best Places To Stay Near Neyland Stadium Or Thompson- Boling Arena In Knoxville.

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