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Memphis

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Skyline of Memphis as seen from the Hernando de Soto Bridge

Memphis is the largest city in the state of Tennessee. The state rests in the southeastern portion of the United States. Memphis, with a population totaling more than one million people, is also the county seat for Shelby County. The city's claims to fame include Graceland, the mansion Elvis Presley lived in during his later years. Maybe more importantly, Memphis is the considered by many to be the home of blues music.

Although downtown Memphis has experienced quite a rebirth and renewal in the last few years, the center of the city is unclean and rather dreary (but full of new development). In the past few years, the city has emerged to boast one of the largest downtown populations among US cities. Citizens once again have a vested interest in making downtown safe, exciting, and a great place to visit and relax after decades of abandonment.

A word of caution: Memphis is extremely hot in the summertime, and the humidity of the expansive Mississippi River can make you feel even hotter! Those who have trouble tolerating high heat and humidity may wish to avoid July and August; April through early June are the best times to visit.

Get in

Memphis is on the southwestern corner of Tennessee, with the Mississippi River and the state of Arkansas bordering it to the west and the state of Mississippi to the south.

By plane

Memphis International Airport (IATA: MEM), [1]. Memphis is the primary FedEx distribution center, and, as the world's busiest cargo airport, the air is always full of planes making your eBay purchase a glorious reality. Northwest Airlines [2] maintains a hub at the airport, providing regional service and a few international flights. If you are flying non-stop to Memphis, chances are it will be on Northwest - it controls nearly 90% of all the passenger flights. A few other airlines do squeeze passengers into town:

  • AirTran Airways, [3] Atlanta, Orlando.
  • American Airlines, [4] Chicago O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, St. Louis.
  • Continental Airlines, [5] Cleveland, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Newark.
  • Delta Airlines, [6] Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City.
  • United Airlines, [7] Chicago O'Hare, Denver.
  • US Airways, [8] Charlotte, Phoenix.

Southwest Airlines [9] does not serve Memphis; the nearest cities it serves are Little Rock (about 2 hours west) and Nashville (about 3 hours east).

There are also a few non-scheduled passenger services which provide transportation to vacation destinations on a sporadic basis:

  • Archers Direct Holidays, [10].

By car

  • Interstate 40 is a good route into town but doesn't go through Memphis; to get to the other side of 40 you take the north loop which is I-40, or the south loop, which is known is I-240 and is Memphis' beltway.
  • I-55 will take you right into town - just take the Riverside Drive exit from either direction to be at Beale Street in a minute.
  • Parking - Except for downtown, parking is usually free. If you're downtown, try the "Parking Can Be Fun" garage on Union Avenue. It's cheap, absolutely bizarre, and right where you want to be. Expect to hunt for cheaper parking if there's an event going on at the FedEx Forum, Beale Street or AutoZone Park. Parking vendors also appear to charge higher prices during these peak times.

By train

  • Amtrak, [11]. Service available from trains running up and down the Mississippi, as well as connections through major hubs. Great for a jaunt up to Chicago for world-class shopping or down to New Orleans for world-class drinking.

By bus

  • Greyhound, 203 Union Avenue, +1 800-231-2222, [12]. National bus service.
  • Megabus, [13]. Low-cost carrier offers twice-daily service to Memphis from Chicago and Champaign. Fares start at $1 each way when ordered well in advance. Buses stop on the south side of the MATA North End Terminal building, near the northeast corner of North Main Street and North Parkway; the terminal itself is accessible from North 2nd Street or Auction Avenue.

Get around

  • Driving - Travel by car is really the only way to get around Memphis if you want to do anything other than see Downtown.
  • Public Transit - Bus service provided by the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA)[14] is available across the city. Some routes are very poorly served in the evenings. At nights and weekends some buses take a different route than during the day which can be a trap for visitors.
    • A trolley operates downtown and into Midtown, mostly for the benefit of tourists.

Memphis is laid out in a more or less east/west fashion. Roads primarily go east/west and north/south. The expressway fortunately cuts directly through the city.

Downtown is on the west; it sits atop the bluffs, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. (It is referred to as Downtown, not as West Memphis, which is a town just across the river in Arkansas.) Moving east you'll come to Midtown, rather dreary and unsafe. Beyond that, you will find the suburbs of Germantown (Tennessee), Collierville, Cordova, and Bartlett. The area between downtown and Midtown is coming to life slowly but surely. There is a movement to turn it into an artist community. Members of this movement call the area "the Edge". However, most of the "art district" is on South Main.

See

Downtown

  • Downtown Memphis. Buy a ticket and take the trolley to get a good overview of the area.
  • Beale Street, [15]. "Home of the Blues". Dozens of bars and clubs, most of them featuring live music. At night the street is closed to vehicles and you can drink on the street, some bars have "drinks to go" windows where you can get a 32oz cup of beer for $5 and go bar-hopping, many bars have no cover charge. Peabody Place is largely a tourist trap of the same stores you see at any large mall.
  • Mississippi River. River tours available most days through a variety of providers. Tom Lee Park [16] is a nice place to view the river.
  • National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry St, [17]. M-Sat 9AM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM (closes an hour later Jun-Aug). Built out of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot in 1968. Near the Amtrak station. $12 for adults; free for Tennessee residents Mondays after 3pm.
  • Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art, 119 South Main St, [18]. Located downstairs from the Center for Southern Folklore, this wonderful museum holds a collection of over 900 Asian and Judaic artifacts. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for students. Children 12 and under are free.
  • Ornamental Metal Museum, 374 Metal Museum Drive, [19]. Tues-Sat 10AM-5PM, Sun 12PM-5PM. Displays art jewelry, architectural pieces and sculpture. The grounds are full of permanent installations and the Museum boasts one of the best views overlooking the Mississippi. They also have a working smithy. Adult $5.
  • Fire Museum of Memphis, 118 Adams Ave, [20]. M-Sat 9AM-5PM. An interactive museum designed to teach children and adults about fire safety. Also features a realistic room to show how much damage a dropped lit cigarette can do. Adult $6.
  • Mud Island River Park, 125 North Front St, [21]. Apr 14 – May 26 10AM-5PM, May 27 – Sep 4 10AM-6PM, Sept 5 – Oct 31 10AM-5PM. The park is accessible by monorail, made famous by a chase scene in the movie "The Firm". The park contains a museum of the Mississippi River and a scale model of the river. Visitors are welcome to remove their shoes and wade through the replica mighty Mississippi. The "Gulf of Mexico" is a large pool in which visitors may rent paddle boats. At the tip of the park is an excellent vantage point of the city and the river. The northern end of the island is occupied by HarborTown, a model community. Entry to the park is free. Adult $8 (Mississippi River Museum, Roundtrip Monorail Ride, Guided River Walk Tour).
  • Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, 191 Beale St (corner of Third St; on the plaza of FedExForum), [22]. Daily 10AM-7PM (last admission 6:15PM). A short video is shown at frequent intervals and then you are given a headset so that you can listen to commentary and numerous songs as you walk through the exhibits. Sponsored by the Smithsonian. Adult $10. The museum used to be housed in the Gibson guitar factory across the street, which puts visitors right on the factory floor. Famous musicians swing through periodically to pick up custom guitars or to play a set at the Gibson Lounge, in the west end of the building.

The Edge

  • Sun Studio, [23]. Numerous blues, rock 'n' roll and rockabilly recordings were made here, including Elvis's and Johnny Cash's first recordings. Tours are available, usually given by wallet-chained and mutton-chopped local musicians. Tour tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased at the cafe and gift shop inside the front door of the studio. Free parking is available in the back of the building.
  • Sleeping Cat Studio, 341 1/2 Monroe.

Midtown

  • Memphis Zoo, [24]. Pandas and other animals galore.
  • The Pink Palace, [25]. Built as a private residence by Clarence Saunders, the man who introduced Piggly Wiggly, the world's first self-service grocery store, the Pink Palace Mansion was later taken by the tax man and subsequently turned into a museum. (Saunders never actually lived in the house.) It is a very eclectic place, with everything from shrunken heads to animatronic dinosaurs with a life size copy of the first Piggly Wiggly in between. Also has an IMAX theater and a planetarium. Well worth a visit.
  • Overton Park. Encompasses the Memphis Zoo, Memphis College of Art (MCA), the Brooks art museum, the Overton Park Golf Course, and largest stand of old growth forest in a US city.
  • Cooper-Young. This neighborhood of restored homes is centered around the Cooper-Young intersection, known by some as the intersection of Memphis. This intersection has several cool bars and restaurants, as well as shops and the House of Mews cat adoption center. Be sure to come for the annual Cooper-Young festival in September. Also, just north of the Cooper-Young intersection is Black Lodge Video. This rental store, located in a house, has almost every video imaginable. Be sure to look for the "This is shit-the worst we could find" section.

East Memphis

  • Lichterman Nature Center, [26]. Part of the Pink Palace family of museums, its 65-acres of lakes, meadows, and forests feature lush gardens with native wildflowers and trees and provide a home to a wide variety of plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.
  • Memphis Botanic Garden, [27] with over 96 acres of natural woodlands and cultivated gardens, is also home to the seasonal outdoor concert series 'Live at the Garden' and the renowned Japanese Garden of Tranquility.

Around Town

Elvis' final resting place at Graceland. (His middle name was actually spelled with just one "A".)
  • Graceland, [28]. Home of Elvis Presley, "The King of Rock and Roll". It's no surprise that this is the number one tourist attraction in Memphis. Think "tacky tourist" trap but don't miss it--you might be pleasantly surprised. Although it is not advisable to venture in the suburbs surronding the site, there are lots and lots of Elvis stuff to see here - the house itself (note that the upper floor, with Elvis' bedroom and Lisa Marie's nursery, is not open to the public), customized private airplanes, an automobile collection, gold records, costumes, and more. Take note of Elvis Week (Death Week to the locals) in early August, culminating in the candlelight vigil on the anniversary of Elvis' death. It is a big deal, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. Check out the bizarre felt-pen scribblings on the fence, some hip-ironic, some of the psycho-lunatic-fan sort. If you happen to be in Memphis during Birth or Death Week - January and August, respectively - sit downtown for a few hours just to watch the Elvis fans. Not just on Halloween, but at any time of year, dress up like the King (or like Priscilla if you're a girl) and you'll instantly be a star in your own right!
  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music, 926 E. McLemore Ave, [29]. Mar-Oct M-Sat 9AM-4PM Sun 1PM-4PM, Nov-Feb M-Sat 10AM-4PM. The promotional material says "no backpacks" but this is not so. In any case, they can keep your backpack at the front desk, as with cameras which are not allowed. Adult $10.

Do

  • Walk to the river and touch the Mississippi's water with your fingers.
  • Check out some live music on Beale Street
  • The Memphis Redbirds [30] baseball team plays at AutoZone Park. They are the Triple-A affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • FedExForum, [31]. FedExForum is the largest public building construction project in Memphis history. Managed and operated by the Memphis Grizzlies, the facility is home to both the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA and the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team. FedExForum is located at 191 Beale Street and Third Street which traveling south becomes Highway 61, the historic Blues Highway.
    • Memphis Grizzlies, [32]. Top-level pro basketball.
  • Memphis in May Festival [33] including the Beale Street Music Festival
  • Take a carriage ride around downtown and see Beale Street, Court Square, Confederate Park, the Mississippi River, Hernando DeSoto bridge, several movie locations on Front Street, the original and the current Peabody Hotel, all while learning about the great city of Memphis! The best company to use is Carriage Tours of Memphis [34] since they actually care for their horses. Reservations are recommended but not required.
  • 4th of July Fireworks, Tom Lee Park, Mississippi River: These fireworks have improved immensely since two fireworks shows merged into one at the river in 2007. There is also food, music, and other entertainment.

Buy

Downtown

  • Peabody Place. Shopping Mall adjacent to the Peabody Hotel. Includes indoor psychedelic miniature golf and train themed movie theater.
  • A. Schwab, Beale Street. Dry goods store whose motto is "If we don't have it, you don't need it." It's the place for souvenirs. It's been here forever, and is a breath of fresh air from the bulk of the establishments on Bealse St, with live blues of its own during the day.

Midtown

  • Midtown Artist Market, [35]. A local artists' cooperative. Has been named Best of Memphis by readers of the Memphis Flyer at one time or another. -- Retail location is closed but the website and organization is still active.
  • Wizard's A fine gift shop with "smoking supplies" (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).
  • Midtown Books, [36]. An excellent selection of used books. Has been named Best of Memphis by readers of the Memphis Flyer at one time or another. -- Has moved downtown in the basement of Memphis Tobacco Bowl near the corner of Madison and Third Street. Has an excellent coffee shop as well as the selection at the Tobacco Bowl. Now known as Downtown Books.
  • Overton Square, [37]. A small shopping/entertainment district on Madison Avenue, near Cooper.
  • Burke's Books Small indie bookshop in the Cooper-Young district. John Grisham usually does his signings here when he's in town.

Out East

  • Collierville Town Center - Catch Poplar Ave. east to the town of Collierville and browse the interesting shops on the square. Very pretty in the holiday season. Small and quaint, this square boasts a setting and some shops that aren't found elsewhere in Memphis. A steam engine and a few private railcars are open to the public.

Graceland

Of all the places in the world one can buy Elvis souvenirs, none is better than Graceland.

Eat

Memphis is one of the cheapest places in the USA to live, and that includes going out to eat. Although the city's restaurant menu is quite limited, there ae a couple of inexpensive, yet tasty, food places in Memphis. The local BBQ is well-known.

Downtown

  • Automatic Slims, Adjacent to the Peabody Hotel on 2nd Street. Kind of trendy, but nice wait staff and good food.
  • Blues City Cafe, Beale and 2nd Street. Good ribs. The garlic pan seared shrimp is tasty, also. Prices from $6-$18. Jean Pauls Last Call is a small bar attached to Blues City. It attracts server staff crowd after hours.
  • Crepe Makers, 175 Peabody Place (almost on the corner with S Third St and one street from Beale St). A range of savory crepes in addition to the dessert crepes one most commonly thinks of when crepes are mentioned. The raspberry chicken crepe is delicious. Average price around $7.
  • Flying Saucer, One 2nd Street. 90 beers on tap and ~120 in the bottle. Good pub grub. Servers wear nice short skirts. Nonetheless, a chain bar. There are better.
  • Texas De Brazil, adjacent to the Peabody Hotel. Everything you expect in a Brazilian steakhouse. Expect $40-50 per person for supper, but it's worth it. Lunch is the most economical time. Formal attire, a dress shirt and slacks at the least, is strongly recommended.
  • The Rendezvous Excels at Memphis-style BBQ in a no-frills environment. Go early--this in-the-basement establishment has quite a following and a long wait is expected nearly every night. Pricey given the decor (and the fact that you're eating BBQ). Expect $15-20 per person.
  • The Arcade Classic old diner. Traditional diner food with the addition of pizza and hummus sandwiches. It's across the street from the train station at 540 South Main Street. Featured in several movies, including "Mystery Train".
  • Bluff City Coffee, In South Main's Art District. Try their signature cup "The Real Cappuccino".
  • Harry's Detour, 106 G.E. Patterson. Lunch Tu-Sa 11:30AM-2PM, Dinner W-Sa 5:30PM-10PM. An eclectic menue of delicious main courses, soups, salads and desserts served in an intimate setting. Private room and patio.
  • Westy's Bar/grill that occupies the sight of the old North End. The North End was destroyed by arson in 1998 and Westy's took its place. Known for fried pickles, tamales, a wide selection of wild rice dishes and a popular fudge pie. Expect $7-$12 pp, open late.
  • Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken. No restaurant guide to downtown would be complete without mentioning Gus's and the food is excellent. Purchase 40 oz. beers, Newport Menthols and eat fried chicken. Enough said..
  • Encore Restaurant and Bar. Provencal-style bistro owned/operated by award-winning Master Chef José Gutierrez (former Head Chef at the Peabody Hotel's Chez Phillippe).

Midtown

  • Young Ave. Deli Good place for bar food and/or rock shows. Try the fried dill pickles. Located in the Cooper-Young district of Midtown. One of the biggest beer selections in town.
  • Pho Saigon Super yummy Vietnamese soup less than $10 for a bowl as big as your head.
  • Molly's La Casita Very good Mexican food priced around $10 per entree.
  • Pho Hoa Binh, Madison Avenue - Hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese. $5-$10. Great tofu and wheat gluten dishes, so don't miss it if you're vegetarian.
  • Saigon Le, Cleveland Avenue - Another awesome Vietnamese restaurant. $5-$10.
  • Indochina, Cleveland Avenue - Another excellent Vietnamese restaurant. Famous for their homemade egg rolls. $5-$10.
  • Brother Junipers, U of M area - Open for breakfast and lunch. Great omelettes. Free-Trade Coffee. Strange hours. $5-$10. Associated with the Juniper Bakery, all proceeds going to drug rehab.
  • Bosco's, Overton Square The only locally brewed beer in Memphis (also a national award winner). Great pizza, entrees, etc. Excellent jazz brunch on Sundays. $10-$20.
  • Zinnie's East, On Madison near Belvedere intersection - Excellent and inexpensive food. If you want a local treat try the "Zinnie Loney," a truly large bologna sandwich for cheap. $6-15.
  • Huey's A Memphis landmark, the original Huey's offers one of the best burgers in town. $6-12.
  • Dino's, On Mclean near North Parkway intersection - Serves reliable versions of basic "American-style Italian food", being open for breakfast, lunch (offering sandwiches and plate lunches) and dinner six days a week. $6-20.
  • Corky's famous barbecue - One of the best barbecue places in Memphis. 3 or 4 locations within the city; locals strongly recommend it. Must visit; $6-$20 per person. You can purchase their barbeque sauce too. Excellent ribs!!!!!!
  • The BBQ Shop - Another of the best barbecue places in Memphis. One location on Madison Ave. Excellent barbecue and service; very personable and attentive. A sandwich with two sides will run you about $7.
  • Pho Vietnam - Vietnamese restaurant located on Poplar near Cleveland. Spring rolls with basil. Also serves bubble tea! Very fresh ingredients. Vegetarian options available. Per person about $8-12.
  • Hi-Tone - Famous Midtown music venue now with full kitchen for dinner. Great selection of "drunk" foods: barbecue chicken pizza, burgers, hot wings. But they also serve pasta, vegetable plates and offer vegetarian options. $5-$20.
  • Juicy Jim's - This is a great sandwich and pizza place near the University of Memphis on Highland Ave. The food is a bit expensive with sandwiches being about $12, but the quality is great and it is well worth it.


East Memphis

  • Belmont Grill, at Poplar and Mendenhall - Hole-in-the-wall bar and restaurant that serves great food. Try the shish kebobs. $10-$20.
  • Germantown Commissary, On Germantown Pkwy between Poplar and Poplar Pike (technically in Germantown) - Some of the best ribs Memphis has to offer. $10-$20.
  • The Half Shell, [38] Good seafood is hard to come by in Memphis, but Half Shell scores. Extensive menu, with a cajun tilt to most dishes. Fresh gulf oysters, King Crab, Champagne brunch on the weekends, and menu "front page" items that change frequently. The kitchen is open until 2AM (1AM on Sunday). Locations at Mendenhall/Poplar and Winchester/Centennial (near Southwind). There is also an abbreviated menu available at the Rhythms Cafe & Bar in Concourse B, near Gate 35 at the Memphis International Airport. Half Shell is also known for its live music on the weekends and its lively late-night bar crowd. Entrees $9 and up.

Elsewhere

  • Ellen's Soul Food and Bar-B-Q, 601 S. Parkway E. - Expect to hear the menu when you arrive to get down at this old-school soul food dream, though a hand-written paper copy is also available. Fried everything is their specialty, including okra, cornbread, chicken, and catfish that's worth a trip to Memphis by itself. The service is so good that the management will set you straight if you try to eat neck bones with a knife and fork. Entrees $7-9, including two side orders.
  • Coletta's, 1063 S. Parkway E., [39]. One of the oldest restaurants in Memphis, with excellent American-Italian food. Don't miss the barbecue spaghetti or pizza.
  • Jim Neely's Interstate Barbecue [40], 2265 S. Third Street. - No ambiance to speak of, but the barbecue is outstanding even by Memphis's high standards. The Interstate Barbecue in the B terminal of the Memphis airport is just as good. There's always a line, but it's worth it. There will be another plane later.

Pizza

  • Exline's - A Memphis chain serving up some big ol' round pizzas cut into square pieces. The toppings are huge (as in large bits). The cheese on the cheese fries is nacho and it comes from a can; super fantastic. ~$10.
  • Camy's, [41]. Want to just hang out in your hotel? Call Camy's for the best pizza delivery in town.
  • Pie In The Sky, tasty pizza joint formerly located at Cooper & Young, and now revived at Lou's Pizza Pie, LLC at 2158 Young Avenue. Lou is Back!!
  • Memphis Pizza Cafe, Overton Square, also on Park Av., and a couple in the 'burbs - Tasty Pizza (BBQ chicken is good). Cold beer. All you really need. $10-$15.
  • Garibaldi's, U of M area (back behind the YMCA). Great 70's atmosphere, great 70's style pizza. $5-$10.
  • Fox Ridge Pizza, 2 locations: Fox Meadows & Cordova, round pizza, square cut, unique sauce and cheese. Also excellent hamburgers. $10-$20

Variations of Quick

Memphis has a tradition of hiding its best food at the back of convenience stores. For instance:

  • Kwik Check, Madison Ave. near Overton Square. Best deli sandwiches in Memphis. Try the "Cheesy Muff" (vegetarian muffeletta) or "My Bleeding Heart" (spicy spicy hummus pita). $5-10.
  • Kwik Shop, Central Ave. and East Parkway - Big huge burgers. Super nice steak fries. Gyros are excellent. They have veggie burgers just as big as the meat ones, but they only have one grill. $4-$6.

Listen

Soul, R&B, and rock 'n' roll have deep roots in Memphis, and destinations abound for good music today.

  • Beale Street in downtown Memphis makes sense as a first destination. A dozen clubs pipe their music onto the street, and each night a single wristband buys entrance to them all.
  • Hi-Tone Cafe, [42]. Featured musical acts could be anybody, from reggae to country-western acts--all of them party bands, to be sure. Make sure you show up ready to move a little, drink a little and even eat little.
  • Wild Bill's Lounge, 1580 Vollintine Ave. It sits unassumingly in a strip mall three miles northeast of Beale Street, where, as if out of an old movie, the boisterous Memphis Soul Survivors, led by the boisterous Miss Nicki, play to a boisterous crowd. Night hours on F-Su. As they pay the $10 cover, patrons are greeted at the door by Wild Bill himself.

Drink

  • Wine is sold in dedicated, licensed liquor stores in Memphis. Most grocery stores may have an "independent" liquor store conveniently next to the grocery store. Apparently this regulation discourages alcohol use by forcing you to walk a few extra feet to buy your booze. High alcohol content beers are sold in liquor stores. Traditional brands such as Budweiser are sold in grocery and convenient store only. Liquor stores are open from ~8AM usually 10AM-11PM, M-Sa. (Beer can be sold before noon on Su in restaurants.)
  • Joe's Liquor Speaking of booze, if you need packaged goods and you're in midtown, head to Joe's (Poplar and Belvedere) as much to see Sputnik (the vintage, spinning, twisting and working neon star) as for the beverages. Go at dusk for maximum effect.
  • Buster's Wine on Highland at Poplar, near the University of Memphis. This is where most of the locals go for wine. Also has a good selection of harder liquor.
  • Great Wine And Spirits is out east. Probably has one of more extensive wine stocks in Memphis liquor stores.
  • Bosco's, Overton Square. Brew pub and food. Featured on many "Best Of" lists.
  • Newby's, Highland Street (called the Highland Strip, near The University of Memphis). "Playboy" magazine rated Newby's the "Best place to party like a Rock Star!"
  • "The High Point", Madison Avenue. Swing dancing, the best live bands and any libation you crave.
  • Bluff City Coffee, 505 S. Main. The latest addition to the Art District of Downtown Memphis. Specializing in Italian style espresso based coffee. The coffee shop features comfort and conference style seating for meetings, free wireless internet, and print/copy/scan/fax capabilities to keep you productive throughout your day. Make sure to bring your laptop and stay a while. This coffee shop also feature a collection of Don Newman's vintage black and white photographs from the 30's, 40's, and 50's.
  • The Buccaneer, Midtown. This bar converted from a house has music of all types every night, with a counter culture twist. A penchant for chaos and tolerance to listen to an hour of feedback while the band fights are a plus. Ramones tshirt optional.
  • Otherlands, Cooper st. at Cowden. A social hub for Memphis' art and music community. Espresso by day and beers at night when the coffee shop hosts intimate folk/rock shows.
  • The Blue Worm, 1405 Airways Blvd (Midtown), +1 901 327-7947, [43]. If Beale Street isn't doing it for you, and you want authentic, look for this middle-of-nowhere neighborhood juke joint. Live blues and plenty of dancing every F-Sa in the evening.
  • Wild Bill's.
  • RP Tracks This is a nice and moderately priced bar/restaurant near the University of Memphis on Walker Ave. It's a good place to start the evening on the Highland strip. They have many types of beer at reasonable prices (about 7 bucks for a pitcher).
  • The University Lounge A great place to come relax and have a cup of coffee and enjoy a nice hookah. This is a private club due to the smoking factor so be prepared to pay a $5 membership fee and to be carded (this is an 18 and up establishment). It's got a very nice atmosphere and also has free Wi-Fi. Located on South Highland next to McDonald's. This is coffee shop and there is no alcohol on premises.

Sleep

There is limited choice but the city offers some affordable a good lodging.


Budget

  • Pilgrim House Hostel, 1000 South Cooper St, +1 901 273-8341, [44]. Dorm beds at $15 per night. Private rooms at $25 per night for one person or $40 per night for two and $55 for three. Bunk rooms at $10 per person per night (must have a group of 6 or more).

A clean and beautiful place to stay in midtown Memphis!

Mid-range

  • Hampton Inn, Beale Street, 175 Peabody Place, +1 901 260-4000 (fax: +1 901 260-4012), [45]. This is right on Beale Street - as opposed to the Holiday Inn and the Peabody which are a few blocks away. The room prices are average but beware - it is noisy. If you want to party then this is the place but for a quieter get-away, stay a few blocks away.
  • Doubletree Downtown Memphis 185 Union Ave, +1 901 528-1800, [46]. Located only a few minutes from exciting Beale Street; a relaxing accommodation in a convenient location.
  • Red Roof Inn offers good, clean and affordable mid-range lodging,42 S.Camilla St, Memphis, TN 38104, phone 901-526-1050 (the hotel is located in Mid-Town close to Interstate 240).
  • Gen X Inn, 1177 Madison Ave., Memphis TN 38104, 1-901-692-9136, [47]. Downtown near Memphis Medical Center, Union Avenue attractions, and 10 miles from the airport.
  • Wingate Inn Memphis, 2270 N Germantown Parkway, Memphis, TN 38016, 901-386-1110, [48].

Splurge

  • Peabody Hotel [49], downtown near Beale Street - Historic. Don't miss the ducks! It is Memphis' oldest and most luxurious hotel, and is located in Downtown at 149 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103, phone 901-529-4000.
  • River Inn of Harbor Town [50], overlooks the Mississippi River, offering luxury in a delightful boutique hotel atmosphere. Located at 50 Harbor Town Square, experience the warm hospitality and unmatched service, phone 1-877-222-1531.

Not categorized by price

  • Best Western Benchmark Hotel, 164 Union Avenue, +1 901 527-4100, Toll-free: +1 800 380-3236, Fax: +1 901 525-1747, [51].
  • Best Western Executive Inn, 3105 Millbranch Road, +1 901 312-7000, Fax: +1 901 312-7001, [52].
  • Best Western Suites, 6045 Macon Cove, +1 901 385-1999, Fax: +1 901 385-1999, [53].
  • Best Western Travelers Inn, 5024 US Highway 78, +1 901 363-8430, Fax: +1 901 360-9593, [54].
  • Courtyard Memphis Airport, 1780 Nonconnah Boulevard, +1 901 396-3600, Toll-free: +1 800 834-1031, Fax: +1 901 332-0706, [55].
  • Courtyard Memphis East/Lenox Corporate Park, 3076 Kirby Parkway, +1 901 365-6400, Toll-free: +1 800 335-9243, Fax: +1 901 368-9865, [56].
  • Courtyard Memphis East/Park Avenue, 6015 Park Avenue, +1 901 761-0330, Toll-free: +1 800 834-0548, Fax: +1 901 682-8422, [57].
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Memphis, 6010 Macon Cove, +1 901 384-0010, Fax: +1 901 937-8263, [58].
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Memphis East, 8489 Highway 64, +1 901 381-0085, Fax: +1 901 381-0085, [59].
  • Fairfield Inn Memphis I-240 & Perkins, 4760 Showcase Blvd., +1 901 795-1900, Fax: +1 901 795-1967, [60].
  • Holiday Inn Not very flashy, but Memphis is its home.
    • Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Avenue, +1 901 678-8200, [61].
    • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 4225 American Way, +1 901 369-8005, [62].
    • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 4068 Stansell Court, +1 901 309-6474, [63].
    • Holiday Inn Select Memphis Airport, 2240 Democrat Rd., +1 901 332-1130, [64].
    • Holiday Inn Select, 160 Union Ave, +1 901 525-5491, [65].
    • Holiday Inn Select, 5795 Poplar Ave, +1 901 682-7881, [66].
  • Memphis Marriott, 2625 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, +1 901 362-6200, Fax: +1 901 360-8836, [67].
  • Memphis Marriott Downtown, 250 North Main Street, +1 901 527-7300, Toll-free: +1 888 557-8740, Fax: +1 901 526-1561, [68].
  • Motel 6, 4000 US 78, +1 901 365-7999, Fax: +1 901 365-8883, [69].
  • Motel 6, 4300 American Way, +1 901 366-9333, Fax: +1 901 366-7835, [70].
  • Motel 6 Memphis East, 1321 Sycamore View Road, +1 901 382-8572, Fax: +1 901 385-0814, [71].
  • Ramada Memphis, 1585 Sycamore View Road, +1 901-388-4881, [72].
  • Residence Inn Memphis Downtown, 110 Monroe Avenue, +1 901 578-3700, Fax: +1 901 578-3999, [73].
  • Residence Inn Memphis East, 6141 Old Poplar Pike, +1 901 685-9595, Fax: +1 901 685-1636, [74].
  • SpringHill Suites Memphis Downtown, 21 North Main Street, +1 901 522-2100, Toll-free: +1 800 593-6415, Fax: +1 901 522-2110, [75].
  • SpringHill Suites Memphis East/Galleria, 2800 New Brunswick Road, +1 901 380-9700, Fax: +1 901 380-9700, [76].
  • Staybridge Suites, 1070 Ridge Lake Blvd., +1 901 682-1722, [77].
  • Wyndham Garden Hotel, 300 N 2nd St, +1 901 525-1800, fax +1 901 524-1859, [78]. Just minutes from Cook Convention Center and the Pyramid Arena's sporting events, concerts and shows.

Contact

Newspapers

  • The Commercial Appeal, [79]. A daily newspaper.
  • Memphis Flyer, [80]. An alternative newspaper.

Stay Safe

  • While in the downtown area keep close to the tourist areas such as Beale Street. Even in these areas you will be acosted by numerous panhandlers. Most of them are harmless but you will be persistently harassed if you look like a tourist. Don't venture out of the downtown core on foot, especially at night (dangerous). Downtown Memphis is rather safe during the day and has tripled the police force of the other parts of town. Just don't be stupid. Stay out of North & South Memphis and you won't get shot up or jacked.

Get Out

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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