Best Thing In/About Knoxville to Surprise Newcomers With & Best Place To Break Up: Market Square

Best Thing to Surprise Newcomers Runners Up: Downtown, Sundown in the City, the Sunsphere

Best Place to Break Up Runners Up: Facebook, Neyland Stadium, Sunsphere

A colorfully historical jumble of Victorian and early 20th-century architecture on a more personable scale than most of downtown, and 30-odd businesses, mostly local, mostly unusual, is a big part of the 156-year-old Square’s appeal. Market Square includes more outdoor cafes per square foot than anywhere else in East Tennessee, plus some novelties unknown elsewhere in the region, like the bakery-cum-nightclub-cum-restaurant Cafe 4; Knox Ivi, the city’s only Internet broadcast studio, where you can eat lunch and watch a live talk show; the mini-rock-festival known as Sundown, of course; and the ever-lively Farmer’s Market, which on a Saturday is somehow as nourishing to the soul as to the body. Lately Market Square’s surprise has been how many people come out on any ordinary evening; even a random Tuesday can look like the Boulevard du Montparnasse in 1923, or a set for a Frank Capra comedy, with lots of extras. As best place to break up, there’s no competition, and the reason may be obvious. Nowhere else is it so obvious that there are other fish in the sea. In fact, on Market Square your not-quite-so-beloved is probably having other ideas already. On Market Square, you may be disappointed that he or she isn’t more upset about the matter.

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