At the very heart of downtown Knoxville Market Square is a one-stop destination for shopping, eating, Christmas lights and decor, and family fun. It’s a great place to visit just about any time of year, but during the Regal Celebration of Lights it becomes a Christmas wonderland. When I spent a week in Knoxville in December one year I would end every evening at Market Square. Here are some of the things I discovered during my adventures.
Note: This story is a part of the Christmas in Knoxville series of blog posts.
Disclosure: This travel blog story was made possible because I was hosted free of charge by Visit Knoxville. This in no way influenced the content of my blog posts, and Visit Knoxville did not receive an advance copy or editor privileges to anything I have written here.
Regal Celebration of Lights
The Friday after Thanksgiving the annual Regal Celebration of Lights event begins with the tree lighting ceremony. Throughout the rest of the year thousands of lights wrapped around trees throughout Market Square and Kutcher Park light up the night. It makes a beautiful way to end a day exploring, shopping, and eating throughout Market Square.
The Market Square Holiday Market
My favorite part of Christmas in Market Square is the Holiday Market. The weekly farmers’ market is replaced with a Christmas-themed market each Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dozens of local artists set up tents and tables and put out their arts, crafts, and baked goods for sale. It’s a great way to find a unique gift idea you can’t buy on Amazon.
Along with the arts and crafts there are carolers singing in a corner of the square, food trucks on the side streets with hot coca and fried apple pies, and families window shopping the vendors.
Holidays on Ice
I don’t ice skate. Well actually I don’t know how to ice skate; maybe if I did I would give it a try. But all those who are adept at skating on ice there is a giant covered ice skating rink in Market Square during Christmas. It looks simple enough so I’m just gonna have to defer judgement to anyone who has ever skated before. All I can say is that the children and even adults were having a great time skating beneath the decorative tent to the tune of some great Christmas music.
Aside from the Market Square Holiday Market there are several other places in the square for doing some local shopping. You have a few boutique shops like Bluetique and Fizz, the Earth to Old City shop with some unique gifts, and my favorite: Knoxville Chocolate.
There isn’t a really high turnover rate of shops in Market Square but every once in awhile a new shop does come in. Be sure to check with Visit Knoxville when you arrive (their visitor center is just a couple blocks away) to see what’s new in the square.
I guarantee you won’t go hungry from a lack of options in Market Square. From breakfast through lunch to dinner there are plenty of great local places to enjoy in the square.
One of the staples of a Knoxville visit is to eat at The Tomato Head and try one of their delicious sandwiches or creative salads. Soccer Taco is a great place to get some tacos while watching a sports game on one of their massive televisions. Not Watson’s Kitchen + Bar was the first place I ever tried chicken and waffles, and I’ve been thinking about that amazing meal ever since.