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For other places with the same name, see Memphis (disambiguation).

Memphis is the second largest city in the state of Tennessee and the second largest metropolitan area in the state after Nashville. The state rests in the southeastern portion of the United States. Memphis, with a population totaling more than 653,350 as of 2013, 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 considered by many to be the home of blues music.

Memphis is an older city that has been through a lot. With that said, the city has developed a rugged yet, colorful sense of character that locals identify with. A lovely mix of old and new, Memphians have worked hard to build a vibrant community while keeping the city's old-time charm. Memphis has much more to offer than just Graceland with its lively neighborhoods and constant renewal.

Although downtown Memphis has experienced quite a rebirth and renewal in the last few years, the center of the city is older and while new development is hard to find, revitalization of old areas is beginning to take shape. Areas such as Beale Street and Mud Island have become relatively safe and citizens once again have a vested interest in making downtown safe, exciting, and a great place to visit and relax after decades of abandonment.

Whether visiting or moving to the area, from May to October make it well worth your while to visit the Memphis Farmers Market which formed and began in 2006 - it is one of the brightest shining stars of the early Spring, Summer, and through Mid-Autumn.

A word of caution: Memphis is extremely hot in the summertime, and the humidity can make you feel even hotter! Those who have trouble tolerating high heat and humidity may wish to avoid visiting during July or August.

Get in[edit]

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[edit]

Memphis International Airport (IATA: MEM), [8]. Memphis is the primary FedEx distribution center, and, as the world's second busiest cargo airport, the air is always full of planes making your eBay purchase a glorious reality. Delta Air Lines once maintained a hub at Memphis International, but dropped the hub in 2012 resulting in a steep 22% decrease in air traffic. Nashville International as of 2015 is the largest airport in Tennessee, but A few other airlines do squeeze passengers into town:

  • Air Canada, [9] Toronto-Pearson
  • American Airlines, [10] Charlotte, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, New York Laguardia, Philadelphia, Washington-National
  • Allegiant Air, [11] (weekly flights only) Austin, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Oakland
  • Delta Air Lines [12] Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles
  • Frontier Airlines, [13] Denver.
  • Southwest Airlines, [14] Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Houston–Hobby, Orlando, Tampa.
  • United Airlines, [15] Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Newark.

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

  • Archers Direct Holidays, [16].

The airport is served by the #64 airport shuttle to the Airways Transit Hub, which offers bus service to various parts of Memphis.

By car[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • Amtrak, [17]. 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. However international visitors should remember Amtrak connections to other cities usually take at least two days, and the only example of intercity rail in the state of Tennessee is in Nashville with the Music City Star commuter rail with one line. If you want to travel around town, like many other USA cities you have to rent a car.

The station is just south of Downtown Memphis and is served by the #12, #13, and #39 buses.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound, 3033 Airways Blvd, +1 901 395-8770, [18].

The bus station is located right next to the Airways Transit Center, which has service on the #2, 4, 28, 30, 32, and 99 bus routes.

Get around[edit]

Skyline of Memphis as seen from the Hernando de Soto Bridge
  • 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)[19] 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 to 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, a charming part of the city thought by some as the best part of Memphis. Beyond that, you will find East Memphis, and then the suburbs of Germantown, Collierville, Cordova, and Bartlett. The area between downtown and Midtown, referred to by locals as "Crosstown," 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[edit][add listing]


Night on Beale Street

Downtown houses a large portion of Memphis' population. As a result, many commute to work in greater parts of the city. Much of the downtown area, with exception to Beale Street, is at its liveliest after work hours and especially on weekends. Stroll down the Main Street Promenade at dinner time or the riverfront at sunset to see downtowners enjoying their neighborhood. -Buy a ticket and take the trolley to get a good overview of the area.

  • Beale Street, [20]. "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 wasteland, as nearly all the stores inside have closed. The FedEx Forum sits just around the corner and hosts many events- NBA Grizzlies games in particular, which consume most of Beale Street before and after tip off.
  • Mississippi River. River tours available most days through a variety of providers. Tom Lee Park [21] is a nice place to view the river. Also, the newly constucted Beale Street Landing hosts a park, playground, and a bar and restaurant with breathtaking views of the river and skyline. It is a great place to relax, have a drink, and enjoy the magnitude of the mighty Mississippi.
  • South Main. [22] This historic, charming neighborhood south of Beale Street has undergone major renewal over the past years. Considered the arts district of Memphis, it is home to trendy shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Some of the oldest buildings of the city still stand today and have been renovated to claim much of downtown's population. Attractions include the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Farmer's Market, River Arts Festival, and South Main Trolley Night.
  • National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry St, [23]. 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, [24]. 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, [25]. 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, [26]. 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/Harbor Town, 125 North Front St, [27]. 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. Entry to the park is free. Adult $8 (Mississippi River Museum, Roundtrip Monorail Ride, Guided River Walk Tour). 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 with charming, beach-style homes and a colorful town center complete with shops and nice restaurants. Start at the town center and wander the shady streets.
  • Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, 191 Beale St (corner of Third St; on the plaza of FedExForum), [28]. 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 periodically visit to pick up custom guitars or to play a set at the Gibson Lounge, in the west end of the building.

The Edge[edit]

  • Sun Studio, [29]. 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 $12.00 + tax 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.
  • Victorian Village, A collection of large Victorian homes built during Memphis' early period of growth. Today several of the homes remain as museums while one- the Mollie Fontaine Taylor House has been converted into a unique bar and restaurant lounge. [30]


No trip to Memphis is complete without a stop in midtown. Many locals would say that you have not truly seen the city without exploring Overton Square, Cooper-Young, Overton Park, or Broad Avenue- all of which make up the vibrant midtown community.

  • Memphis Zoo, [31]. Pandas and other animals galore. Lots to do for children and adults. Seasonal events include numerous educational events, Zoo Lights in wintertime for all ages, annual Zoo Brews beer-tasting from around the world and Thursdays Unplugged at the Lodge, drinks and music in the Yellowstone-inspired Teton Trek Lodge for adults.
  • The Pink Palace, [32]. 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. Historic neighborhood of restored homes 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. Allie Cat Arts[33] features fine art, pottery, jewelry, and gifts by 80+ local Memphis artists. Be sure to come for the annual Cooper-Young festival[34] 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. Coffee shops include Otherlands, Tart, Muddy's Grind House, and Java Cabana.
  • Overton Square, [35]. Overton Square has undergone many changes over the years but was recently revitalized with new restaurants and shops. Located in midtown Memphis at the intersection of Madison and Cooper, Overton Square has arguably become the epicenter of entertainment for locals.
  • Broad Avenue Arts District, [36]. Art galleries, bars, antique shops, and more align Broad Avenue and host many events year-round. The Watertower Pavilion hosts live music frequently along with art and dance shows.

East Memphis[edit]

  • University, Neighborhood surrounding the University of Memphis campus. The Highland Strip on Highland Ave is the center of the area's entertainment where students flock to have fun. The strip is currently under rennovation and will host many new bars, restaurants, and shops.
  • Summer Avenue, Starting in midtown and ending at the city's east edge, Summer Avenue is the street to find anything imaginable. With a high concentration of thrift stores, antique shops, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, the street makes for perfect cheap shopping.
  • Lichterman Nature Center, [37]. 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, [38] 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. New to MBG is 'My Big Backyard", a 2.5 acre children's garden with a larger-than-life birdhouse, a tunneling adventure, a teaching pond, "leaping lawn", "critter creek", and many other spaces that cater to children of all ages. [39]
  • Shelby Farms Park, [40] One of the United States' largest urban parks, Shelby Farms is over five times the size of New York's Central Park. Visitors enjoy walking, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, sailing, canoeing, paddle-boating, disc-golf, and bird-watching and in Fall 2010 Shelby Farms will open its new Woodland Discovery Playground which will include a large treehouse, sand area, nets to climb and activities for children of all ages. The Park is also home to a herd of American Bison.
  • Dixon Gallery and Gardens, [41]. Founded in 1976 by Hugo and Margaret Dixon, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a fine art museum and public garden distinguished by its diverse and innovative programs in the arts and horticulture. The Dixon features a permanent collection of over 2,000 objects, including French and American Impressionist paintings and significant holdings of German and English porcelain. The Dixon’s seventeen acre campus is highly regarded public garden that includes formal spaces, woodland tracts, and cutting gardens.

Around Town[edit]

Elvis' final resting place at Graceland. His middle name was usually spelled with just one "A", but legally had two
  • Graceland, [42]. 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 surrounding the site, there is 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, [43]. 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[edit][add listing]

  • Walk to the river and touch the Mississippi's water with your fingers.
  • Check out some live music on Beale Street
  • The Memphis Redbirds [44] baseball team plays at AutoZone Park. They are the Triple-A affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • FedExForum, [45]. 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, [46]. Top-level pro basketball.
  • Memphis Tigers [47] — Teams representing the University of Memphis, which participate in NCAA competition as members of the American Athletic Conference (the football-sponsoring portion of the former Big East Conference). The most visible Tigers team by far is the men's basketball team, regularly a conference contender and occasionally a national contender as well. As noted above, the men's basketball team plays at FedExForum (though not the women's team, which plays on campus). The football team also plays off campus at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on the Mid-South Fairgrounds.
  • Mississippi Riverkings [48]. Minor league hockey team near Memphis
  • 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! * 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.
  • Memphis in May International Festival [49]. Annual festival featuring the Beale Street Music Festival which showcases over 40 musicians on multiple stages for three days the first weekend in May, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest where hundreds of teams compete for over $100,000 in prizes and ultimate bragging rights and visitors can taste championship barbecue, and closing the festival with the Sunset Symphony, a day of entertainment on the banks of the Mississippi River with local musicians, air show with vintage and concept aircrafts, and as the sun is setting, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra performs. After dark, as the symphony (and in 2010 KC & the Sunshine Band) begin their last set the sky fills with fireworks.
  • Ghost River Brewing 827 S. Main Street TEL: 901-278-0087 Check out this great beer producer. You can tour the facility for free on any Saturday, but you must make reservations. Tours start at 1pm.
  • Allie Cat Arts, 961 S. Cooper, 901-722-0094, [1]. Take a piece of Memphis home! The largest and most diverse selection of local art in Memphis. Currently featuring 80+ artists. Visit their facebook page for more info and current business hours. $1 to $1500.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Memphis Backbeat Mojo Tour, Picks up at Elvis Presley Plaza on Beale, (800) 979-3370, [2]. You can see most of Memphis' historic musical attractions on this fun, funky, educational bus tour. It's the only tour in town to put Memphis' musical heritage in the hands of real musicians, who will combine story, comedy, and live music in a one-of-a-kind show on wheels. Audience participation is encouraged with drums and other percussion pieces provided on the restored 1959 transit bus. Tour is 90 minutes., but if time allows, go for the extended 2.5 hour version. Well worth the time and money. Tours sell out, so reserve online in advance. $25.  edit


  • 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 Beale St, with live blues of its own during the day.


  • Allie Cat Arts [50]Eclectic art gallery/gift shop featuring local artists
  • Midtown Books, [51]. 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, [52]. A small shopping/entertainment district on Madison Avenue, near Cooper.
  • Burke's Books [53]. 936 S. Cooper St. Memphis, TN 38104, HOURS OF OPERATION:Monday - Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. One of the oldest independent book stores in the country, Burke's has been selling new, used and rare books since 1875. A popular stop along book signing tours for authors ranging from John Grisham to Archie Manning and Anne Rice, Burke's has also been visited by celebrities such as Benecio Del Toro, Michael Jackson, Gene Hackman, REM, and Matt Dillon, to name a few.

Out East[edit]

  • 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.


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

Eat[edit][add listing]

Memphis is one of the cheapest places in the USA to live, and that includes going out to eat. Memphis is famous for two things: music and food. The local BBQ is well-known, and you can sample it "wet" (with spicy, tangy sauce) or "dry" (rubbed with spices before cooking). Other options abound across the city, from Southern home cooking to international fare. You won't go wrong with famous names, but the adventurous will find real treasures in modest hole-in-the-wall joints that make up for their shabby appearance with fabulous flavor.


  • Earnestine and Hazel's, 531 S. Main St., Memphis, TN 38103. (901)523-9754.Open Hours: Mo to Th from 05:00 PM to 02:00 AM,Fr to Sa from 05:00 PM to 03:00 AM,Su from 07:00 PM to 02:00 AM. Ecclectic, unique atmosphere, a staff that defined cool and of course the Soul Burger. Visitors can request a special ghost tour upstairs of the one time brothel and then enjoy the best burger in Memphis. With a juke box loaded with classic hits and a staff full of colorful stories of it's history, even Cameron Crowe couldn't resist including Earnestine and Hazel's in his film "Elizabethtown".
  • Little Tea Shop, Open for lunch Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., 69 Monroe Ave. (901) 525-6000. Memphis' oldest eatery (1918). Boasts "Healthy Home Cooking." Family-owned, fast, friendly service. Traditional Southern "meat & three" with daily specials. Don't miss dessert! (Featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.)
  • Pearl's Oyster House, 299 S. Main (522-9070), 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays. Excellent New Orleans/Florida Panhandle influenced seafood. Variety of oyster styles, po' boys, gumbo, shrimp, crawfish, grouper, fried pickles. Two bars and patio out back. Atmosphere is casual. On the trolley line.
  • Automatic Slims, Adjacent to the Peabody Hotel on 2nd Street. Kind of trendy, but nice wait staff and good food. Expect $25-35/person.
  • Blues City Cafe, Beale and 2nd Street. Good ribs. The garlic pan seared shrimp is tasty, also. Prices from $6-$18. Jean Paul's Last Call is a small bar attached to Blues City. It attracts server staff crowd after hours.
  • 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 [54]. A Memphis legend. Excels at Memphis-style BBQ in a no-frills environment where some of the crusty wait staff have logged more than 30 years. Go early--this in-the-basement establishment has quite a following and a long wait is expected nearly every night. Dry rub ribs are the trademark, but also give the sausage plate and BBQ nachos a try. 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' World Famous Fried Chicken. No restaurant guide to downtown would be complete without mentioning Gus', and the food is excellent. 40 oz. beers, Newport Menthols, and fried chicken. Enough said.
  • Dyer's, This retro diner is on Beale Street almost directly North of the FedEx Forum and next to Alfred's. It's got great burgers at a reasonable price. Only catch is that they are deep fried. It's definitely worth trying. Another recommendation is their chili cheese fries.
  • Huey's [55] Blues, Brews & Burgers since 1970. Casual tavern with a custom of blowing toothpicks into the ceiling through straws. Burgers any way you can imagine earn it a perennial "best burger" win in local reader polls. Several locations, including 77 S. 2nd. Come on Sundays for jazz afternoons and blues evenings.
  • Bardog Tavern [56] at 73 Monroe Avenue. Great bar scene with awesome food that is a cut above your average bar grub. It's also a bit cheaper than the touristy places, as you can eat here for under $10 easily.

Midtown / Cooper-Young[edit]

  • 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, 51 N Cleveland Street - Another awesome Vietnamese restaurant. $5-$10.
  • Indochina, Cleveland Avenue - Another excellent Vietnamese restaurant. Famous for their homemade egg rolls. $5-$10.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bayou Bar and Grill, Great Cajun food at moderate prices located near Studio on the Square. Tuesday is $3 pint night. The Gumbo and spicy chicken sandwich is great.
  • Central BBQ - 2249 Central Ave. (901)272-9377 or 4375 Summer Ave. (901)767-4672 This is yet another great BBQ place. Try the BBQ sandwich with coleslaw or the BBQ nachos. There are two locations, but the original on Central Ave. (Cooper-Young district) is said to be the best by locals.
  • The Beauty Shop [] Restaurant in former 1960's beauty salon. Rumor is that Pricilla Presley used to have her hair done there. Located in the historic Cooper Young district.
  • 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.

University of Memphis[edit]

  • 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.
  • Juicy Jim's - 551 S. Highland St Memphis, Tn 38111 901-458-4448 This is a great sandwich place near the University of Memphis on Highland Ave. The food is a bit expensive with sandwiches being about $8-$12, but the quality is great and it is well worth it. The best sandwich shop in Memphis and has great pizza too.

East Memphis[edit]

  • Belmont Grill- 4970 Poplar at Mendenhall. Hole-in-the-wall bar and restaurant that serves great food. Try the shish kebobs. $10-$20.
  • Corky's famous barbecue - 5259 Poplar Ave. [57] 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.
  • Germantown Commissary - 2290 S. Germantown (between Poplar and Poplar Pike in Germantown). [58] Some of the best ribs Memphis has to offer. $10-$20.
  • The Half Shell - 688 S. Mendenhall and 7825 Winchester Rd #122. [59] 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). 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.
  • Buckley's - 5355 Poplar Ave. [60] For the best steak in all of Memphis, you must head to Buckley's on Poplar. Wonderful food, exceptionally friendly staff, and affordable prices!
  • Edo - 4792 Summer Ave., (901)767-7096. [61] Great Japanese home style cooking. This is about as close to real Japanese food as you can get without being in Japan. Expect to pay about 9 or 10 dollars for a very tasty meal. They also have reasonably priced Japanese beers.
  • Muddy's Bake Shop - 5101 Sanderlin #114 and 585 S. Cooper. [62] Delightful neighborhood bakery with delicious baked goods--don't miss the cupcakes, with names as creative as the cupcakes are delicious--and wonderful, welcoming staff. Light lunch served as well, menu changes weekly. Voted best birthday cake in memphis by Nickelodeon Parents Connect. Lunch Items $6 and under. Cupcakes $1.50.
  • Sekisui [63], 50 Humphreys Center. Best Japanese food in Memphis. Although there are many locations around Memphis, the Humphreys location is the original and still the best. If you're lucky, your waitress will be Japanese, and the head sushi chef is Japanese. Jimmy Ishii, the owner, is also Japanese.


  • Jack Magoo's Sports Bar [64] - 2583 Broad Avenue (901) 746-9612 Located in the historic Broad Avenue Arts District, Jack Magoo's has a full menu and TV's galore to watch the game. 21 and up. Check the website for live music schedule.
  • Jerry's Sno Cones, at the corner of Wells Station and Reed Ave, Jerry's has some of the best Sno Cones you'll find anywhere, with a huge selection of flavors. They also have a hot food menu featuring Burgers, and fried bologna sandwiches. You can get a full meal sandwich, fries, drink, and dessert all for under $10., [65]
  • 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., [66]. 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 [67], 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.
  • Tycoon 3309 Kirby Parkway. (901)362-8788 This is a great Asian restaurant that specializes in noodles. They offer a variety of Asian cuisine ranging from China to Vietnam to Malaysia. Prices average at about 7-8 dollars.
  • Eat Well, 2965 N Germantown Rd. (901) 388-8178. Called a "modern Japanese buffet," this place has a healthy variety of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food, perhaps with an emphasis on Japanese. Lunch buffet is $12 with sushi, dinner buffet has sashimi and is $20. They also have great Japanese-style pan-friend gyoza. It's a great and refreshing buffet, and much of the clientele is Asian (Japanese, Chinese, and Korean) at any given time.
  • Mi Pueblo, 3750 Hacks Cross Road. (901) 751-8896. This is a great Mexican buffet with a nice selection of Mexican food. Clientele is mostly Mexican, and prices are reasonable ($7 - $15)


  • 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, [68]. 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
  • Mellow Mushroom Brilliant! Finally a real pizza place in Memphis (Germantown). This place also has and extensive craft brew beer menu. $10-30
  • Juicy Jim's Pizzeria 551 S. Highland Street TEL: (901)435-6243 Hours: 3pm - 3am. Owned and run by Juicy Jim and located across the street from the old sandwich shop of the same name. This place has great pizza and subs at reasonable prices. Expect to spend about $10 - 20 for a nice sized pie with a couple toppings. The sandwiches are equally great and inexpensive considering the quality and size. Also has very reasonable beer prices: around $3 for a pint.

Variations of Quick[edit]

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.


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, [69]. 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.
  • Minglewood Hall, [70] 1555 Madison Ave. Memphis' newest music venue, located in Midtown at the former location of Strings n Things.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • 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.)
  • 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 and high-test beer. This place is very popular and always packed on the weekends, but has a fantastic, efficient staff that get you in and out quickly. Open every hour it's legal: 8AM to 11PM, Monday thru Saturday.
  • 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.
  • 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.  edit
  • The Blue Worm, 1405 Airways Blvd (Midtown), +1 901 327-7947, [3]. 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.  edit
  • Wild Bill's.  edit
  • 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 Oasis Lounge 663 S. Highland Ave. 901-405-3011 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 $6 membership fee and to be carded (this is an 18 and up establishment). It's got a very nice, laid back 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. A DJ plays there on Saturday nights.
  • Mollie Fontaine Lounge [71], Victorian mansion-turned lounge featuring potent drinks and an innovative, varried menu in a hip, chic atmosphere. Explore all the rooms, each unique in theme and decor, full bars upstair and downstairs, and a piano bar with amazing jazz singer weekend nights. Make sure not to miss the mac n' cheese, chocolate brioche sandwiches for dessert and the delightful mojitos. 679 Adams Avenue, p901.524.1886. Wednesday- Saturday 5pm- 'til the spirits go to sleep.
  • Wine Market, 4734 Spottswood Ave. Widest selection of wines, especially French and Australian with a knowledgeable and helpful staff. Every whisky from America and Scotland you can think of.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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


  • Hostel Memphis (formerly known as Pilgrim House Hostel), 1000 S Cooper St, +1 901 273-8341, [4]. Memphis' only hostel, located in the Cooper-Young neighborhood in Midtown. Guests are asked to perform a small daily chore, which usually shouldn't take more than five minutes. There is also a Retreat Center in the same building for groups of 10 or more. Dorm beds $25, private rooms are $55 despite number of guests (up to three guests max), retreat center bunk beds $10.  edit


  • Clarion Hotel, 6101 Shelby Oaks Drive, +1 901 388-7050 (fax: +1 901 386-1882), [72]. Offers guests free wireless high-speed Internet access and a fitness center.
  • Hampton Inn, Beale Street, 175 Peabody Place, +1 901 260-4000 (fax: +1 901 260-4012), [73]. 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 newly renovated and some have balconies. Guests should be aware that this is a noisy part of the city. East Memphis has quieter hotels.
  • Doubletree Downtown Memphis 185 Union Ave, +1 901 528-1800, [74]. Located only a few blocks within walking distance from exciting Beale Street; a relaxing accommodation in a convenient location.
  • Hilton Memphis 939 Ridge Lake Boulevard, +1 901 684-6664, [75]. Located in the heart of the East Memphis business district. The Memphis International Airport is a convenient 15-minute drive from the hotel; ride the hotel’s complimentary airport shuttle to the airport. Also offers a complimentary guest shuttle within up to a 5-mile radius of the hotel.
  • Hyatt Place Memphis/Wolfchase Galleria, 7905 Giacosa Place, +1 901 371-0010 (fax: +1 901 371-9988), [76]. Hotel located adjacent to the Wolfchase Galleria Mall and Offers guests free wireless high-speed Internet access, free breakfast, and a fitness center.
  • 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 in Mid-Town close to Interstate 240).
  • Gen X Inn, 1177 Madison Ave., Memphis TN 38104, 1-901-692-9136, [5]. Downtown near Memphis Medical Center, Union Avenue attractions, and 10 miles from the airport.  edit
  • Wingate Inn Memphis, 2270 N Germantown Parkway, Memphis, TN 38016, 901-386-1110, [6].  edit
  • Econo Lodge Inn & Suites 604 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN, 38134 +1 901 385-2522, [77]. Located off Interstate 40 in the heart of East Memphis, easy access to Liberty Bowl and Beale Street. Free guest Wi-Fi and parking on premises.


  • Peabody Hotel, 149 Union Avenue (downtown near Beale Street), [7]. Don't miss the ducks in the lobby fountain, and their daily procession (11am and 5pm), you don't have to stay to see them. Luxury extras, sheets and service in a historically and architecturally significant hotel.  edit
  • River Inn of Harbor Town [78], 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.
  • The Madison Hotel [79], 79 Madison Ave, located downtown near the river, is a modern boutique hotel with a clean lines, contemporary vibe and stylish luxury. The Madison Hotel was awarded 1st Small Luxury Four Diamond Hotel in Memphis. Make sure not to miss Grill 83, located at the street level, with its excellent seafood, steaks, and martini lounge, and the sweeping roof-top garden with breathtaking views of downtown and the Mississippi River. p 901.333.1200 - f 901.333.1299

Not categorized by price[edit]

  • Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Avenue, +1 901 678-8200, [80]. Not very flashy, but Memphis is its home
  • Memphis Marriott Downtown, 250 North Main Street, +1 901 527-7300, Toll-free: +1 888 557-8740, Fax: +1 901 526-1561, [81].
  • Motel 6, 4300 American Way, +1 901 366-9333, Fax: +1 901 366-7835, [82].
  • Residence Inn Memphis Downtown, 110 Monroe Avenue, +1 901 578-3700, Fax: +1 901 578-3999, [83].
  • SpringHill Suites Memphis Downtown, 21 North Main Street, +1 901 522-2100, Toll-free: +1 800 593-6415, Fax: +1 901 522-2110, [84].
  • Staybridge Suites, 1070 Ridge Lake Blvd., +1 901 682-1722, [85].
  • Heartbreak Hotel, 3677 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, TN 38116 [86]. Owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises



  • The Commercial Appeal, [87]. A daily newspaper.
  • Memphis Flyer, [88]. An alternative newspaper.

Stay safe[edit]

Memphis is considered a not-so-safe city for tourists in the US. It was ranked 4th in 2018 for violent crimes (2,003 per 100,000 residents). However most tourists will likely experience no problems if they take some basic precautions.

Pickpockets and panhandlers are usually the only thing that tourist should protect themselves from. Always be careful of your personal belongings in crowded areas of the downtown. If you’re walking on or around Beale street, you’re likely to encounter panhandlers asking for money. There are signs in the downtown area requesting that you do not give money or change to panhandlers. However, if you do feel inclined to give, don’t take out your wallet to do so. Most panhandlers are harmless but there are thieves that will snatch your wallet if you bring it out. It’s safer to give loose change from your pocket or avoid giving money to panhandlers entirely. Driving is also a less problematic issue and you always need to drive with caution if you’re unfamiliar with the area and the local road rules. Keep your eyes open for drivers who run red lights, or who drive too slowly in the fast lane of the interstate. Staying aware of what other drivers are doing can help you avoid accidents.

Finally there are some areas where tourists should be careful:

  • Beale Street - As mentioned earlier always have an eye on your personal belongings and avoid the panhandlers if you can.
  • Downtown - The attractions in the downtown are all close to each other to make it practical to walk. However, it’s safer to use a cab or trolley at night rather than walk too far through the downtown area, especially if you’re alone. There is a spike in crime in the city center after dark.
  • Graceland - Graceland is a must-visit site for Elvis fans and history buffs, but the area can be dangerous. Don't stray too far from the tourist attractions especially at night and take proper precautions when visiting such as making sure to lock your car doors and not to leave any valuables in plain sight inside your car while it’s parked (car break-ins are not uncommon). If you walk, be aware of your surroundings. If you have traveling companions, it’s always safer to go walking with a friend than by yourself.
  • Suburbs - Most violent crimes in Memphis happens in suburban areas far away from the downtown and Beale Street. Always do good research if you intend to stay in suburbs as safe and unsafe areas can be separated even by a few blocks. In general East Memphis is the safest with North and South Memphis suffering from the worst crime.

Stay healthy[edit]

Memphis has some of the best hospitals in the region. Methodist, Baptist, and Saint Francis are the main hospitals in the city. Regional One (formerly known as "The Regional Medical Center at Memphis", aka: The Med), a city owned hospital, has one of the best trauma and burn centers in the Mid-South. There are many clinics in the area as well, many of which are operated by the hospital systems. Some of the hospitals in the city, though, can have long lines in emergency rooms. If you are not seriously injured, it would be best to go to one of the minor medical clinics or to drive to one of the hospitals in the suburbs of Memphis such as Methodist Germantown, Baptist East, or Saint Francis Bartlett.

Get out[edit]

Routes through Memphis
END  NW noframe SE  Olive Branch (Via US-78.png) → Birmingham
Little RockWest Memphis  W noframe E  Jackson, TNNashville
St. LouisWest Memphis  N noframe S  Jackson, MS
Cape GirardeauWest Memphis  N noframe S  TunicaClarksdale

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