Experience gifts are all the rage and for good reason. When you look back on life, it won’t be the toys, clothes, and gadgets you remember. Let’s be honest. Most of those things are just lying around your house creating clutter, as you read this.
What you will remember is the laughs, the songs, and the love you felt when spending time with family and friends. You’ll remember the sense of accomplishment after mastering a new skill. You’ll remember the tranquil calm that sets in as you step into nature.
When you give experiences, you’re really gifting memories that will last for years to come. Of course, you have a ton of different people to shop for, so you’re looking for variety and affordability.
This is why the ideas on this list include great experience gifts for men and women. Many of the activities are kid-friendly as well.
There are also a variety of options for every budget. Prices range from FREE to over $200, with most being $50 and under.
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Let them satisfy their inner Viking with a few rounds of skilled axe throwing. Most axe throwing locations are set up competition style, where participants compete head to head to score the most points.
While a partner isn’t required, it may be a fun gift to split with a friend. Most companies even allow responsible kids to participate. The average per-person cost is $20 for 1 hour of throwing.
- Smoky Mountain Axe House, Alcoa
- Civil Axe Throwing, Chattanooga
- Axe House, Pigeon Forge
- Badl Axe, Johnson City
Ninja Warrior Session
If you know anyone who dreams of becoming the next American Ninja Warrior, these gym sessions are for them. They can climb, crawl, and jump their way to a fun-filled day! As an added bonus, all these kid-friendly ninja gyms are inside trampoline parks, and admission prices include access to both!
The average cost is about $16 per person for an hour-long session.
- Defy, Knoxville
- Defy, Chattanooga
- Sevier Air, Sevierville
Fly fishing is a lost art that’s in the midst of a BIG comeback. Compared to more common spin fishing, fly fishing can take a little more time to master. Help a newbie out by gifting them an introductory lesson. Many spin fishing lessons are offered as well.
Depending on the class, prices range from FREE to $250.
- 3 Rivers Angler, Knoxville
- Little River Outfitters, Townsend
- Eastern Fly Outfitters, Elizabethton
- Hiwassee Angler, Charleston
If the person you’re buying for prefers to learn on their own, you may be interested in this fly fishing starter kit instead!
If they love fire or knives, this will be the ultimate experience gift for them. With a knife forging class, they can create their very own knives using fire and recycled metal like old horseshoes, railroad stakes, and nails. The knife they will leave with is fully functional and able to be used.
Prices rage from $15 – $100
- Iron Mountain Metal Craft, Pigeon Forge (knife making)
- Clinch River Blacksmith’s Guild, Clinton (varied skills)
- Choo Choo Forge, Chattanooga (varied skills)
- Bristol Forge, Piney Flats (varied skills)
Glass blowing is another great way to get fired up. The danger factor is real with this one, which only adds to the excitement.
Newbies can learn how to make simple glass objects. Of course there are more advanced classes as well. The per person cost for a group lesson is around $50 per person.
- Pretentious Glass Company, Knoxville
- iGNis Glass Studio, Chattanooga
- The Firehall Glass Studio, Greeneville
Beer or Wine Tasting
Sampling artisan wine and beer is a great gift for the foodie in your life! There are so many options available for this, it’s unreal.
Most of the wine tastings are free, which leaves plenty of money for you to purchase a bottle of wine and take it home for a nice dinner in.
The average cost of a beer tasting tour is $40. But, you can order a sampler selection at any local brewery to create your own tasting experience!
- Knox Brew Tours, Knoxville
- ChattaBrew Tour, Chattanooga
- Bristol Station Brews and Taproom
For a cheaper alternative, you set set up your own tasting event at home!
Not just for women, these artsy paint and sip parties are perfect for anyone who wants to try learning a new skill! Some of the painting subjects are even “manly” things like antique pickup trucks.
If you don’t drink, don’t worry. It’s not a requirement! The average cost of attending a paint party is about $30 per person.
- Painting with a Twist, Knoxville
- Artsy U, Chattanooga
- Masterpiece Mixers, Johnson City
Archery sessions are a great way to practice hunting and survival skills, without actually having to kill anything. Newbies can be gifted a one-on-one skills lesson, while more experienced archers can be gifted with range hours.
Find lessons at any of the following locations for $60 or less.
- The Olympic Arrow, Knoxville
- Outdoor Chattanooga (FREE!)
- Parks and Rec, Kingsport
Get off road and into the wilderness with these fast pace adventure tours. The tours offer a variety of rental options and experience packages in a variety of price ranges.
- Mountain Riders, Pigeon Forge
- Off the Grid Mountain Adventures, Elizabethton
There is perhaps no better present than the gift of wellness and tranquility. Whether your loved ones spend long days at the office or out in the field, a massage is a great way to release that work week tension! While traditionally a “girly” activity, massages can help heal both the mind and the body, which anyone can appreciate!
The average cot is around $60 for a 30 minute massage.
- Longevity Massage Specialists, Knoxville
- Solues Massage, Johnson City
- Focus 4 Massage, Chattanooga
For a cheaper option, give the gift of an at-home massage.
Whether your loved one is new to woodworking or an old pro, you’ll definitely be able to find a class on their level. From learning the basics to advanced concepts like ornate scroll sawing, the perfect class is only a few clicks away.
Prices vary greatly based on the project you choose. Projects start as low as $20-$40.
Comedy Club Tickets
Of all the many shows we have locally, comedy acts tend to be the most affordable. If you know someone who loves to laugh, this budget-friendly option may be right up thier alley!
Ticket prices start as low as $20 per person.
- The Comedy Catch, Chattanooga
- Comedy Barn, Pigeon Forge
Not only is this a great way to learn and connect with nature, but these programs are usually very inexpensive, and totally kid-friendly.
Prices range from FREE to $7 per person.
- IJAMS Nature Center, Knoxville
- Reflection Riding Nature Center, Chattanooga
- Steel Creek Nature Center, Bristol
Complete the experience with a pair of beginners binoculars.
If they’re still reenacting scenes from Top Gun, perhaps a flying lesson should be in their future! While full course packages are pretty pricey, most schools offer a single introduction lesson at a more affordable rate.
Introductory prices are as low as $80.
- Knox Flight, Knoxville
- Hixson Aviation, Hixson
Romantic Dinner in With Couples Board Game
When the budget is tight, a romantic night in might be in order. Make his favorite meal, rent a movie, and play a fun couples game. These printable date night questions make great conversation starters, even for married couples. Or if you’re feeling a little more frisky, you can try one of these sexy couple’s games to spice up your night:
Class topics range from basic wilderness survival to more specialized interests like foraging for food and medicinal plants, advanced navigation, and more! Almost all the classes allow kids to join.
Classes start as low as $60.
- Big Pig Outdoors, Knoxville
- REI, Chattanooga
- Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute, Erwin
No wilderness class is complete with out the famous SAS Survival Handbook. Click the photo to view the most up to date price.
For those that like a good puzzle or mystery, an escape room is just what the doctor ordered. This family-friendly experience makes a great group gift!
Prices are as low as $30 per adult and $13 for children.
- Breakout Games, Knoxville
- Escape Experience, Chattanooga
- Perplexodus Escapes, Johnson City
Indoor Sky Diving
If real skydiving is a bit over the top, they might enjoy a fun indoor session with all of the thrill but significantly less risk!
Prices begin at $34 per person.
- Fly Away, Pigeon Forge
Whether new to cooking or a seasoned pro, there are cooking lessons available for every experience level. From macaroon making to gourmet-themed meals, there is something to fit every taste. There are even many classes specifically geared towards kids.
Prices Average Around $80 per class.
- The Cutting Edge Classroom, Knoxville
- Sweet and Savory Classroom, Chattanooga
- Serenity Knoll Farm, Jonesborough
Indoor or Outdoor Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is another popular outdoor activity that has been transformed into a convenient indoor wonderland. Newbies can try their hands at climbing, while more experienced climbers can hone their skills.
- On Sight Rock Gym, Knoxville
- High Point Climbing, Chattanooga
On a helicopter tour, your family can enjoy stunning views with a little rest and relaxation!
Prices start as low as $29 per person.
- Scenic Helicopter Tours, Sevierville
- Helicopter Charters, Chattanooga
- East Tennessee Helicopters, Butler
Car Racing Experience
If you know a speed demon, a racing session might be just the ticket. They may never be in NASCAR, but at least they can pretend for the day!
depending on how grand of an experience you want, prices range from $50 to over $2,000!
- NASCAR Racing Experience, Bristol
- Race with Rusty, Nashville
- Xtreme Xperience, Atlanta, GA
Stained Glass Lessons
This is another lost art that is becoming trendy once again. Staining glass is a relaxing way to create unique and gorgeous works of art.
Prices vary greatly based on the size of the project.
- Fountain City Stained Glass, Knoxville
- The Glass Peacock, Abingdon, VA
- Reflections Gallery, Chattanooga
Photography classes are available both in-person and online for every topic imaginable. Whether they are interested in landscape photography, wildlife photography, portrait photography, or anything else, a variety of classes are offered at all skill levels.
Online courses run about $50 for a 12 lesson class.
Shultz Photography School, Online
A universally loved attraction, ziplining is popular with both kids and adults alike. Click here to view our full post on zipline attractions throughout East Tennessee.
This fun winter favorite is actually available indoors all season long. Local rinks typically offer open skate times as well as birthday parties and private lessons.
Open skate admission cost averages around $8 per person, with an additional cost for skate rentals.
- Ice Chalet, Knoxville
- Ice on the Landing, Chattanooga (winter only)
- Speedway in Lights, Bristol (winter only)
A Day at the Museum
From science centers and art galleries to children’s museums, the possibilities are endless. Many museums are totally free, so you can save your hard-earned cash to pay for a nice lunch out or a treasured souvenir. Click here to view our full post on museums throughout East Tennessee.