Oak Ridge is a city in Tennessee. Oak Ridge was created as secret city during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project. In Oak Ridge, thousands worked in secrecy to enrich the uranium used in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan. The city is no longer secret, but it has a rich history worth exploring, and a strong bent toward science and technology. Oak Ridge is Appalachia and the nuclear age rolled into one, a great city to check out.
The closest municipal airport is McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS), which is served by:
A taxi from the airport to Oak Ridge might cost $70. Renting a car is a better idea, particularly because Oak Ridge has little public transit.
When Oak Ridge was first built by the U.S. government, there were only two entries and exits from the city due to the desired isolation of the secret Manhattan Project. In later years, several other entrances were built, but Oak Ridge is still fairly disconnected from surrounding towns.
By the Interstate, Southbound I-75 and westbound I-40 converge in the middle of Knoxville. Continuing on I-40, proceed west until the northbound Pellissippi Parkway exit. Pellissippi merges into Illinois Avenue, which leads into downtown Oak Ridge.
- Greyhound, 100 East Magnolia Avenue, +1 800 231-2222. A taxi from downtown Knoxville to Oak Ridge will also be expensive, about $70.
Oak Ridge was designed by the government, so the layout of the town is fairly simple, almost utilitarian - in some neighbourhoods, the streets are even in alphabetical order. Having a car is almost necessary, as the city is quite sparsely laid-out. There is virtually no public transportation.
- 1 American Museum of Science and Energy, 300 South Tulane Ave, ☏ . Monday-Saturday 9:00-17:00, Sunday 13:00-17:00. This museum has several exhibits. Primarily it is dedicated to explaining Oak Ridge's role in furthering the WWII-era Manhattan Project. There are also various scientific toy puzzles and a gift shop. Offers three-hour tours of the Clinton Engineer Works (now Oak Ridge Reservation), the headquarters of the Manhattan Project.
- The Children's Museum, 461 West Outer Drive, ☏ . Monday-Friday 9:00-17:00, seasonal Saturday hours.
- 2 [formerly dead link] International Friendship Bell, Badger Avenue (About half a mile west of the American Museum of Science and Energy.). 24/7. The first monument between a U.S. Manhattan Project city and Japan, the bell serves as an expression of hope for everlasting peace. Free.
- 3 Images Studio, 109 Towne Road (Located in Greenwich Village Mall, a small strip mall. Next to Locally Grown.), ☏ . Monday 10:00-16:00, Tuesday-Friday 10:00-17:50, Saturday 10:00-14:00. This small art gallery has various paintings, post cards, and other locally-produced arts, crafts, and jewelry.
- [formerly dead link] Centennial Golf Course, 101 Centennial Blvd, ☏ . Beautiful publicly-owned golf course designed by Billy Casper. Centennial offers 18 challenging holes. Collared shirt required to play.
- Oak Ridge Playhouse, Historic Jackson Square. Largest theater venue in Oak Ridge
- Big Ed's Pizza, 101 Broadway, ☏ . Monday-Saturday 11:00-23:30. One of Oak Ridge's strongest traditions. At Big Ed's the pizzas are made out front of the customers. The pizza slices are thin, floppy, gooey and hot, served on paper plates. The only restroom is in the basement, which is inconvenient for handicapped customers.
- Buffalo Mountain Grill, 205 Oak Ridge Turnpike, ☏ . Standard American restaurant and bar. Small selection of beers and liquors.
Oak Ridge has been a dry town since consumption of alcoholic beverages was banned in 1946, shortly after becoming chartered. Therefore, one would not find any bars in this town.
Most of the hotels in the area cater to scientists visiting Oak Ridge National Laboratory on their expense accounts, so rates are generally higher. There are few "no-frills" motels.
- A half-hour drive will take you to downtown Knoxville.
- An hour-and-a-half drive will take you to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.