Courtesy Visit Knoxville

Key Info

604 S Gay St.


Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend


  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

When the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928, it was considered the "South's most beautiful theatre." Now on the National Register of Historic Places and honored as the Official State Theatre of Tennessee, the venue hosts classical music performances, vintage film screenings, dance performances and touring Broadway shows. Local organzations, such as the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Knoxville Opera, also regularly use the theater for shows. 

Recent theatergoers raved about the gorgeous architecture and history of the venue and say it is like stepping back in time. The building was designed by Chicago architectural firm Graven & Mayger and features globally inspired motifs. It boasts a Spanish-Moorish style interior with French-style chandeliers and Italian terrazzo flooring in the lobby. What's more, it was one of the first public places in Knoxville to have air conditioning.

If you can't catch a show, you can still tour the interiors during one of the venue's open house events, which give a sneak peek into the dressing room and stage. Open house events are held several times a year. You'll find the theater within walking distance of Market Square. Visit the theater's website for information on shows and tours.

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#1 Knoxville's Market Square

Since the 1860s, Market Square has been a community center of Knoxville, with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars drawing a large number of locals and visitors. Recent travelers said it's a lively and fun place to walk around, with plenty of places to eat or just hang out. From outdoor concerts and movies to Shakespeare on the Square and other live entertainment, the area is usually bustling. There are also two water play fountains, a magnet for kids in warm weather.

From May through November on Wednesday and Saturday, the open-air Market Square Farmers Market offers products grown or made by vendors in the East Tennessee region. Products, which vary by the seasons, include eggs, honey, herbs, pasture-raised meat, baked goods, coffee, crafts and much more.

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Courtesy Visit Knoxville
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