There originally was a timber industry in Knivsta. At the location of the former sawmill, there are plans (as of 2007[update]) to erect new apartment and business buildings. Knivsta has a small centre, where there is a library, some banks, shops, restaurants, cafés and the Knivsta railway station. In nearby areas there is also a sport and swimming hall. The Knivsta Municipality is often thought as expansive, because of the frequent immigration, mostly to the nearby town of Alsike. Many residents commute to Uppsala, Stockholm, or Arlanda.
Knivsta's old church, or Saint Stephen's Church, was built in the 14th century and is located south of the town centre.
Famous residents of Knivsta include artist Carl Milles (born at Örby Gård Lagga, his father was Emil "mille" Andersson). Milles's statue by the Lagga church represents angels playing at his mother's grave. Other famous residents include composer Emil Sjögren, and artist Olof Thunman, whom Knivsta's largest school has been named after. Thunman's works include, for example, Vi gå över daggstänkta berg. The sportsman Gösta "Knivsta" Sandberg is from Knivsta, and has played for the Swedish national league in bandy, football and ice hockey in the 1950s and 1960s. In later years, many ice hockey players from Knivsta IK have become successful players both in Sweden and abroad. Former child actress Julia Winter currently resides here with her family.