Knoxville’s  historic theaters are something special. In 1928 the Tennessee Theatre (604 S. Gay St., 865/684-1200, www.tennesseetheatre.com ) opened its doors on Gay Street . The theater operated nearly uninterrupted for 50 years as a movie house and concert hall. After being shuttered for a few years, the theater operated during the 1980s and 1990s, although the venue was showing its age. Thankfully, in 2001, plans were announced for a full-fledged restoration that would bring the Tennessee back to its former glory.
Since 2005, when the Tennessee Theatre reopened to praise from concert-goers and performers alike, it has become Knoxville’s  favorite venue for music, theater, and film. Its interior is awash with ornate detail including plush fabric, intricate details work, and glistening chandeliers—all reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties when the theater was built. The theater’s 1928 original Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ is also a showstopper.
Check the theater’s website for upcoming performances for an opportunity to experience entertainment at its finest. You can also call to request a tour of the theater, if no show is in the offing.
Knoxville’s  best-sounding concert hall is also located on Gay Street . The Bijou Theater (803 S. Gay St., 865/522-0832, www.knoxbijou.com ) opened in 1909 as part of the Lamar Hotel. Since then, it has been a venue for concerts and other performances. With a capacity of 700, it is more intimate than the Tennessee Theatre; it is also far less ornate and upscale. The Bijou underwent restoration in 2005, which resulted in a brand-new sound and stage system, better seats, and a new heating and air-conditioning system.
Other Knoxville  concert and theater venues include the Knoxville Civic Auditorium (500 E. Church Ave., 865/544-5399), which seats 2,500, and the Thompson-Boling Arena (1600 Phillip Fulmer Way, 865/974-0953), with a capacity of almost 25,000.