Knoxville Market Square: The Downtown Hotspot Locals Love

With its gorgeous, historic architecture, award-winning restaurants, quaint shops, and fabulous events, the downtown area is the vibrant heart of Knoxville. Market Square, one of downtown’s most walkable areas, is the city’s most popular destination.

Neighboring exciting Gay Street, Market Square brings a charming small-town vibe to big-city life, acting as a central hub for all the best that Knoxville has to offer.

Whether you live locally or are just visiting for the day, this comprehensive guide will help you find the perfect places to eat, stay, and have fun!

Storefronts with twinkling lights in Market Square at night.

Knoxville Market Square Restaurants

No matter your reason for visiting Market Square, it almost always involves food. Some of the city’s most popular eateries line the square, and boast a wide variety of cuisine, including Mexican, fusion, traditional American, southern classics, and more!

With so many choices, you’re sure to find something the whole family will love!

Tommy Trent’s Sports Saloon

  • Food: wings, gourmet hot dogs, and gourmet fry baskets
  • Average Entree Cost: $9
The outdoor patio space of a populat restaurant in Knoxville's Market Square.

Scruffy City Hall

  • Food: this quirky bar atmosphere boasts subs, pizza, nachos, and more
  • Average Entree Cost: $10

Soccer Taco

  • Food: all of your Tex-Mex favorites including, tacos, burritos, fajitas, salads, and more
  • Average Entree Cost: $11

Tomato Head

  • Food: from-scratch soups, salads, sandwiches, and pizza
  • Average Entree Cost: $12

Myrtle’s Chicken and Beer

  • Food: southern favorites like chicken pot pie, fried chicken, soups, salads, sandwiches, and more
  • Average Entree Cost: $12

The Stock and Barrell

  • Food: burgers, salads, shakes, bourbon, and beer
  • Average Entree Cost: $12


  • Food: Asian fusion sushi, noodle bowls, Hibachi, soup, and salad
  • Average Entree Cost: $13 ($5/sushi roll)

Not Watsons

  • Food: burgers, salads, and eclectic platters
  • Average Entree Cost: $13

Ruby Sunshine

  • Food: New Orleans-style brunch food, all day long
  • Average Entree Cost: $14


  • Food: from-scratch, upscale Italian favorites
  • Average Entree Cost: $18

Tupelo Honey

  • Food: farm-fresh, Southern-American favorites like fried chicken, biscuits, shrimp and grits, salads, sandwiches, catfish, and much more
  • Average Entree Cost: $18

Oliver Royale

  • Food: upscale, farm-fresh American including chicken, ribs, lamb, veal, duck, steak, pasta, salads, and more
  • Average Entree Cost: $28

Knoxville Market Square Events

Market Square is a hot spot for events all throughout the year, including food festivals, music festivals, craft fairs, free outdoor movies, and more. All of the festivals on the square have free admission, which means you’ll have plenty of cash to buy a tasty treat or souvenir.

Market Square Farmers Market

The Knoxville Farmers Market is one of the highlights of Market Square. Each Saturday morning, from May through November, the entire area is lined with vendors of all types.

You can find a variety of traditional and organic produce, farm-fresh meat vendors, arts and crafts vendors, bakeries, food trucks, buskers, specialty vendors, and more!

During the market, the restaurants surrounding the square welcome dogs in their patio seating areas. They also offer delicious breakfast and brunch menus.

Mardi Growl

This fun dog-friendly event is a fundraiser for the Young Williams Animal Center. It boasts an adorable doggy costume parade and a variety of dog and pet-related vendors including gourmet dog treat vendors, custom pet apparel, rescues, and much more!

Of course, there are also a variety of food trucks for hungry people.

a colorful chalk drawing of a black-haired mermaid holding a shell.

Chalk Walk

This quirky chalk art competition allows visitors to determine the winner by voting for your favorite drawings. The artists in the competition are of all ages and abilities, with many creating absolutely breathtaking works of art.

There will also be plenty of buskers and food trucks on site.

Dogwood Arts Festival

This fabulous artisan event coincides with the annual blooming of the Dogwood tress, which adds a stunning landscape of blossoms throughout the square.

The event boasts tons of live demonstrations and artisan crafts, including blown glass, pottery, metalwork, painting, fiber arts, and much, much more! There will also be live entertainment and a variety of food vendors.

Rossini Festival

This food and opera festival is one of the most popular events in all of Knoxville.

The festival boasts a variety of both local and out-of-state food vendors with all types of fare, including brick oven pizza, BBQ, craft beer, baked goods, homemade ice cream, and tons of creative foodie creations.

There will also be multiple stages filled with various opera performances.

For a Full Listing of Festivals See the Links Below

A stylish hotel room with crisp white linens.

Hotels Near Market Square

Downtown Knoxville is a popular destination for both business travelers and tourists. Lucky for you, this means there’s a large selection of hotels within walking distance of Market Square.

The Oliver Hotel

407 Union Ave, Knoxville, TN

The Oliver is a trendy and upscale hotel popular with travelers of all ages. The lobby door is just around the corner from Market Square, but you can access their restaurant directly from the square. Free parking and wifi are included.

Crowne Plaza

401 W. Summit Hill Dr, Knoxville, TN

The Crowne Plaza is just a short 1 minute walk away and offers an indoor pool, free wifi, and free parking.

Hyatt Place

530 Gay Street, Knoxville, TN

If you want a short walk and an affordable price, this is the hotel for you. It is just 3 minutes away and includes free wifi and free parking.

The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel

531 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN

The Tennessean is just a 7-minute walk from Market Square and offers a serene outdoor pool, free parking, and free wifi.

Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park

525 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN

Of all the hotels, this is the most affordable option. The best part is, it is still only a 6-minute walk from the square. It also offers free wifi, free parking, and an indoor pool.

Knoxville Market Square Parking

Free Parking

There are 3 parking garages near Market Square that are totally FREE on nights (after 6 PM) and weekends. These are the perfect places to park if you are coming to visit the Farmers Market, attend an event, or grab a bite to eat.

  • The Market Square Garage is located right next to the square.
  • The Locust Street Garage is about a 5-minute walk away.
  • The State Street Garage is about a 7-minute walk away.

During football season, the garages at State Street and Locust Street charge $20 per day for parking, when there is a UT home game. The price is for full-day parking and applies to all cars, even if you aren’t going to the game.

Of course, the Market Square garage fills up quickly on these days, and it is super hard to find a spot. So if you are going to an event or to the market on game day, plan to arrive in the early morning, to score free parking.

Paid Parking

If you are downtown during work hours, or the free parking is full. You will have to pay to park.

There are paid parking garages and lots every couple blocks throughout downtown. The average daily rate is between $5-$10 a day. Monthly rates are available for residents and employees of downtown businesses. Again during UT home games, parking will jump up to $20 a day, unless you are a pass holder.

In addition to garages and lots, there are also parking meters sprinkled all throughout the downtown area.

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