I just finished my ugrad in Knoxville, so I know quite a bit about the area. The campus is very close to downtown and there is plenty of housing within a few miles. The majority of students live in the Fort, which is the hilly residential neighborhood directly to the west of the campus. There are some nice places to live, but there are some shady parts as well as some big party places. Downtown has some newly built/renovated lofts that are nice, and about a 5 minute drive. If you don't want to live on-campus, try the West Hills area (West Knoxville, by the mall), there are nice apts and houses around there. If you want a taste of what the school is like, you have to first see Neyland Stadium (3 minute walk from the LS), because football is what the area revolves around. Note: Students get free football tickets, something you won't find many places (especially ones with a top program). There is a new student rec center on campus, it's pretty nice. I don't know exactly what you'd be interested in, but I'll answer any questions I can!