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Living a Mountain Lifestyle in Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Oak Ridge is west of Knoxville in eastern Tennessee, a town of about 27,000 people. Oak Ridge is famous for being home to the Manhattan Project in WWII.  The Oak Ridge National Laboratories are a major employer in the region. Residents here enjoy terrific recreational opportunities in the nearby mountains, including the Blue Bluff Cliff. A reflection of the community is the fact that 18% of the adult population has an advanced degree.

Photo of the Peace Bell at the Civic Center courtesy of and license per Wikipedia and Brian Stansberry.

Where to Retire in Oak Ridge and Home Prices

There are active adult communities in the area (see link at top right). Average home prices have come down recently. reported the median home value was $220,037 in late 2021, up over 28% during the past year.

What Is Special about Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge National Laboratories, which is where materials for WWII's Manhattan Project were produced in great secrecy.  Nearby  mountains and rivers.  Close enough (24 miles) to Knoxville and the University of Tennessee.

What Is Not Special about Oak Ridge

There was a major mercury spill discovered in the latter part of the 20th century. Some people might get the willies being this close to major nuclear facilities..

Climate and Physical Environment

Oak Ridge is on the Clinch River (which feeds into the Tennessee River nearby) in a system of mountain ridges. Knoxville is to the east and south, about 25 miles. Median January temperature is about 38 degrees.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The University of Tennessee Arboretum, the American Museum of Science and Energy, and the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge are big parts of Oak Ridge culture. Tours of the original parts of Oak Ridge National Laboratories are extremely popular.


The crime rate in Oak Ridge is a little above the national average.

Medical Facilities

Methodist Medical Center is the local hospital in Oak Ridge.  The University medical facilities in Knoxville are also nearby.


McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville is about 28 miles.

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