Knoxville Market Square: Guide to Restaurants, Events, Hotels, & More

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

Knoxville Market Square: The Ultimate Guide

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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
Knoxville Market Square Restaurants

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 Lost Tavern

  • Food: upscale bar food including, sliders, chicken, BBQ, fish and chips, brunch selections, and more
  • Average Entree Cost: $12

The Stock and Barrell

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

Kabuki

  • 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

Emilia

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

Cafe 4

  • Food: comfort food including soups, salads, sandwiches, grit bowls, gourmet mac-n-cheese, fried chicken, steak, and more
  • 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, pastas, 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

  • Date: March, TBA

This fun dog-friendly event is a fund raiser 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.

Knoxville Market Square Annual Events

Chalk Walk

  • Date: April 4, 2020

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

  • Date: April 24 – 26, 2020

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, metal work, painting, fiber arts, and much, much more! There will also be live entertainment and a variety of food vendors.

Rossini Festival

  • Date: August, TBA

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.

Hola Festival

  • Date: September, TBA

Celebrate Latino culture with a variety of entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and more!

For a Full Listing of Festivals See the Links Below

Knoxville Market Square Hotels

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.

All the hotels below are highly rated on every review site. For your convenience I have listed them from most expensive to least expensive.

The Oliver Hotel

  • Average Room Cost: $285/night
  • Location: 407 Union Ave, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 1 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, parking included

Crowne Plaza

  • Average Room Cost: $229
  • Location: 401 W. Summit Hill Dr, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 5 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, indoor pool, parking included

The Tennesean Personal Luxury Hotel

  • Average Room Cost: $210/night
  • Location: 531 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 7 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, outdoor pool, parking included

Hilton Knoxville

  • Average Room Cost: $183/night
  • Location: 501 W. Church Ave, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 5 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, outdoor pool, parking included

Courtyard by Marriot

  • Average Room Cost: $170
  • Location: 210 W. Church Ave, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 5 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, parking included

Hyatt Place

  • Average Room Cost: $160/night
  • Location: 530 Gay Street, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 3 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, parking included

Hampton Inn and Suites

  • Average Room Cost: $130/night
  • Location: 618 W. Main Street, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 9 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, outdoor pool, free breakfast, parking included

Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park

  • Average Room Cost: $125
  • Location: 525 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN
  • Distance From Market Square: 6 minute walk
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, indoor pool, parking included

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, located right on the square
  • the Locust Street Garage, about a 5 minute walk
  • the State Street Garage, about a 7 minute walk

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 passholder.

In addition to garages and lots, there are also parking meters sprinkled all throughout the downtown area. Short term meters charge $1.50 an hour, while long-term meters charge 30 cents an hour.

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