Market Square, Knoxville

Market Square, Knoxville (must see)

A local newspaper once dubbed Market Square in Knoxville "the most democratic place on earth" where "the rich and the poor, the white and the black, jostle each other in perfect equality."

The square was built in 1854 as a market venue for regional farmers; the bell from the old Market House, found on the Union Avenue side of the square, serves as a reminder of those days. From 1868 to 1924, the place was home to Knoxville's City Hall.

Over the years, Market Square has witnessed many different events, from concerts to political rallies, and been a popular gathering spot for artists, street performers, veterans, and activists of various sorts. Attesting to this is the Women's Suffrage Memorial which commemorates Tennessee's role in achieving Women's suffrage in the United States.

In the 20th century, if you're a country music fan, Market Square was also the place to come and listen to gospel singers and fiddlers playing on the corner. A small store in the northeastern part of Market Square was a notable destination on the country music map. Here, opened by Sam Morrison, was a record shop that used to spin hits before they made it on the radio.

The most notable artist ever promoted by Morrison was Elvis Presley. The legend has it that he played Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” on the store's loudspeakers right out into the square. That record sold hundreds of copies, including two to an RCA talent scout who came in search of a country music star. And that's how the King was born!

Currently, Market Square is a year-round venue for special outdoor events, such as a seasonal farmer's market, the "Sundown in the City" concert series, and community band concerts. During the winter, it also plays host to an open-air ice skating rink.

In 1984, the square was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Knoxville. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Market Square on Map

Sight Name: Market Square
Sight Location: Knoxville, USA (See walking tours in Knoxville)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Knoxville, Tennessee

Create Your Own Walk in Knoxville

Create Your Own Walk in Knoxville

Creating your own self-guided walk in Knoxville is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Downtown Knoxville Walking Tour

Downtown Knoxville Walking Tour

A small town with big-city amenities and a vibrant music scene (a mix of country, bluegrass, and rock), Knoxville, or K-Town as it's popularly shortened by locals, is also often referred to as “the Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains,” for its proximity to the national park area, whose marble quarries, in the past, gave it another moniker, The Marble City.

Knoxville was founded in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
University of Tennessee Walking Tour

University of Tennessee Walking Tour

Founded in 1794 as William Blount College, The University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Nowadays, the UT flagship institution features a mix of historic and modern sites which draw many a visitor to the city.

The campus covers nearly 600 acres in downtown’s west end, including over 200 buildings and a faculty of more than 1,700...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Knoxville’s Historical Buildings

Knoxville’s Historical Buildings

Knoxville is often referred to as "The Marble City" for the abundant supply of high-quality marble used in many of its buildings. Noting the wealth of well-preserved historic homes in the city, prominent American architect John Russell Pope even coined his own moniker for it – the "City of Houses".

Indeed, Knoxville's eventful and sometimes turbulent past, dating from...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles