Certain two dimensional topological field theories can be interpreted as string theory backgrounds in which the usual decoupling of ghosts and matter does not hold. Like ordinary string models, these can sometimes be given space-time interpretations. For instance, three-dimensional Chern-Simons gauge theory can arise as a string theory. The world-sheet model in this case involves a topological sigma model. Instanton contributions to the sigma model give rise to Wilson line insertions in the space-time Chern-Simons theory. A certain holomorphic analog of Chern-Simons theory can also arise as a string theory.