Quick Facts

Place Type


Administrative Entity

Shelby County

Time Zone


Area Codes



Jan. 1, 1419


103.0 meters


845.184288 square kilometers

FIPS 55-3 Code




US National Archive Codes


Twin Cities

Varna, Mazkeret Batya, Kanifing District, Kaolack

Coordinates Latitude: 35.1495343 Longitude: -90.0489801

Demographics & Economic Data

Median Age
Number Of Companies
Percent High School Grad Or Higher
Total Housing Units
Median Household Income
Foreign Born Population
Percent Below Poverty Level



Period High F° Low F° High C° Low C°
January 50 33 9.9 0.3
February 55 36 12.6 2.4
March 64 44 17.7 6.7
April 73 53 22.8 11.6
May 81 62 27.3 16.8
June 89 70 31.6 21.3
July 92 74 33.1 23.2
August 91 73 32.9 22.6
September 85 65 29.5 18.4
October 74 54 23.6 12.1
November 63 44 17 6.5
December 52 35 11.2 1.7
Annual Avg. 72.4 53.6 22.4 12


Period Inch mm
January 3.98 101
February 4.41 112
March 5.16 131
April 5.51 140
May 5.24 133
June 3.62 92
July 74 23.2
August 73 22.6
September 65 18.4
October 54 12.1
November 44 6.5
December 35 1.7
Annual 53.67 1363





Memphis is the second largest city in the state of Tennessee, after Nashville. The state rests in the southeastern portion of the United States. Memphis, with a population of more than 670,000, 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. Perhaps more importantly, Memphis is considered by many to be the home of blues music.


Early history

Occupying a substantial bluff rising from the Mississippi River, the site of Memphis has been a natural location for human settlement by varying cultures over thousands of years. The area was known to be settled in the first millennium A.D. by people of the Mississippian Culture, who had a network of communities throughout the Mississippi River Valley and its tributaries. They built complexes with large earthwork ceremonial and burial mounds as expressions of their sophisticated culture. The historic Chickasaw Indian tribe, believed to be their descendants, later occupied the site.French explorers led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto encountered the Chickasaw tribe in that area in the 16th century.
J.D.L. Holmes, writing in Hudson's Four Centuries of Southern Indians (2007), notes that this site was a third strategic point in the late 18th century through which European powers could control United States encroachment and their interference with Indian matters—after Fort Nogales (present day Vicksburg) and Fort Confederación (present day Epes, Alabama): "...Chickasaw Bluffs, located on the Mississippi River at the present-day location of Memphis. Spain and the United States vied for control of this site, which was a favorite of the Chickasaws."In 1795 the Spanish Governor-General of Louisiana, Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet sent his Lieutenant Governor, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, to negotiate and secure consent from the local Chickasaw so that a Spanish fort could be erected on the bluff; Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas was the result. Holmes notes that consent was reached despite opposition from "disappointed Americans and a pro-American faction of the Chickasaws", when the "pro-Spanish faction signed the Chickasaw Bluffs Cession and Spain provided the Chickasaws with a trading post…".Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas remained a focal point of Spanish activity until, as Holmes summarizes:

[T]he Treaty of San Lorenzo or Pinckney's Treaty of 1795 [implemented in March 1797], [had as its result that] all of the careful, diplomatic work by Spanish officials in Louisiana and West Florida, which has succeeded for a decade in controlling the Indians [e.g., the Choctaws], was undone. The United States gained the right to navigate the Mississippi River and won control over the Yazoo Strip north of the thirty-first parallel.
The Spanish dismantled the fort, shipping its lumber and iron to their locations in Arkansas.In 1796, the site became the westernmost point of the newly admitted state of Tennessee, located in what was then called the Southwest United States. The area was still largely occupied and controlled by the Chickasaw nation. Captain Isaac Guion led an American force down the Ohio River to claim the land, arriving on July 20, 1797. By this time, the Spanish had departed. The fort's ruins went unnoticed twenty years later when Memphis was laid out as a city, after the United States government paid the Chickasaw for land.

19th century

The city of Memphis was founded on May 22, 1819 (incorporated December 19, 1826) by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson. They named it after the ancient capital of Egypt on the Nile River. Memphis developed as a trade and transportation center in the 19th century because of its flood-free location high above the Mississippi River. Located in the low-lying delta region along the river, its outlying areas were developed as cotton plantations, and the city became a major cotton market and brokerage center.
The cotton economy of the antebellum South depended on the forced labor of large numbers of African-American slaves, and Memphis also developed as a major slave market for the domestic slave trade. Through the early 19th century, one million slaves were transported from the Upper South, in a huge forced migration to newly developed plantation areas in the Deep South. Many were transported by steamboats along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. In 1857, the Memphis and Charleston Railroad was completed, connecting the Atlantic Coast of South Carolina and this major Mississippi River port; it was the only east-west railroad constructed across the southern states prior to the Civil War. This gave planters and cotton brokers access to the Atlantic Coast for shipping cotton to England, a major market.
The city's demographics changed dramatically in the 1850s and 1860s under waves of immigration and domestic migration. Due to increased immigration since the 1840s and the Great Famine, ethnic Irish made up 9.9 percent of the population in 1850, but 23.2 percent in 1860, when the total population was 22,623. They had encountered considerable discrimination in the city but by 1860, the Irish constituted most of the police force. They also gained many elected and patronage positions in the Democratic Party city government, and an Irish man was elected as mayor before the Civil War. At that time, representatives were elected to the city council from 30 wards. The elite were worried about corruption in this system and that so many saloonkeepers were active in the wards. German immigrants also made this city a destination following the 1848 revolutions; both the Irish and German immigrants were mostly Catholic, adding another element to demographic change in this formerly Protestant city.

Tennessee seceded from the Union in June 1861, and Memphis briefly became a Confederate stronghold. Union ironclad gunboats captured the city in the naval Battle of Memphis on June 6, 1862, and the city and state were occupied by the Union Army for the duration of the war. The Union Army commanders allowed the city to maintain its civil government during most of this period but excluded Confederate veterans from office, which shifted political dynamics in the city as the war went on. As Memphis was used as a Union supply base, associated with nearby Fort Pickering, it continued to prosper economically throughout the war. Meanwhile, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest harassed Union forces in the area.
The war years contributed to additional dramatic changes in city population. The presence of the Union Army attracted many fugitive slaves who escaped from surrounding rural plantations. So many sought protection behind Union lines that the Army set up contraband camps to accommodate them. The black population of Memphis increased from 3,000 in 1860, when the total population was 22,623, to nearly 20,000 in 1865, with most settling south of what was then the city limits. The white population was also increasing, but not to the same degree. After race riots against the blacks in 1866, thousands left the city. The total population in 1870 was 40,220; the number of blacks had declined to 15,000 that year, or 37.4% of the total.(See census table in Demographics section.)

Postwar years, Reconstruction and Democratic control

The rapid demographic changes, added to the stress of war and occupation, and uncertainty about who was in charge, resulted in growing tensions between the Irish policemen and black Union soldiers following the war. In three days of rioting in early May 1866, the Memphis Riot erupted, in which white mobs made up of policemen, firemen, and other mostly ethnic Irish Americans, attacked and killed 46 blacks, wounding 75 and injuring 100 persons; raped several women, and destroyed nearly 100 houses while severely damaging churches and schools in South Memphis. Much of the black settlement was left in ruins. Two whites were killed in the riot. Many blacks permanently fled Memphis after the riot, especially as the Freedmen's Bureau continued to have difficulty in protecting them. Their population fell to about 15,000 by 1870, or 37.4% of the city, which then had a total population of 40,226.(See census table in Demographics section.)

Historian Barrington Walker suggests that the Irish rioted against blacks because of their relatively recent arrival as immigrants and the uncertain nature of their own claim to "whiteness"; they were trying to separate themselves from blacks in the underclass. The main fighting participants were ethnic Irish, decommissioned black Union soldiers, and newly emancipated freedmen from the African-American community. Walker suggests that most of the mob were not in direct economic conflict with the blacks, as by then the Irish had attained better jobs, but the Irish were establishing dominance over the freedmen.In Memphis, unlike disturbances in some other cities, ex-Confederate veterans were generally not part of the attacks against blacks. The outrages of the riot in Memphis and a similar one in New Orleans in September (the latter did include Confederate veterans) resulted in support in the North for Congress to pass the Reconstruction Act and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Yellow Jack

In the 1870s, a series of yellow fever epidemics devastated Memphis, with the disease being carried by river passengers along the waterways. During the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, more than 5000 people were listed in the official register of deaths between July 26 and November 27. The vast majority died of yellow fever, making the epidemic in the city of 40,000 people one of the most traumatic and severe in urban United States' history. Within four days of the Memphis Board of Health's declaration of a yellow fever outbreak, 20,000 residents had fled the city. The panic ensuing left the poverty-stricken, the working classes, and the African-American community at most risk from the epidemic. Those who remained in Memphis relied on volunteers from religious and physician organizations to tend to the sick. By the end of the year, more than 5,000 were confirmed dead in Memphis. The New Orleans health board listed "not less than 4,600" dead. The Mississippi Valley recorded 120,000 cases of yellow fever, with 20,000 deaths. The $15 million in losses caused by the epidemic bankrupted the city of Memphis, and as a result its charter was revoked by the state legislature.

By 1870, Memphis's population of 40,000 was almost double that of Nashville and Atlanta, and it ranked as the second-largest city in the South after New Orleans. The population of Memphis continued to grow after 1870, even when the Panic of 1873 hit the US hard, particularly in the South. The Panic of 1873 resulted in expanding Memphis's underclasses amidst the poverty and hardship wrought by the panic, giving further credence to Memphis as a rough, shiftless city. Leading up to the outbreak in 1878, it had suffered two yellow fever epidemics, cholera, and malaria, which gave Memphis a reputation as a sickly city and a filthy one. It was unheard of for a city with a population as large as that of Memphis not to have any waterworks; the city still relied for supplies entirely on collecting water from the river and rain cisterns, and it had no way to remove sewage. The combination of a swelling population, especially of lower and working classes, and the abysmal health and sanitary conditions of Memphis, made the city ripe for a serious epidemic.
The first case recorded for the public was when Mrs. Kate Bionda, an owner of an Italian "snack house", died of the fever on August 13. Hers was officially reported by the Board of Health, on August 14, as the first case of yellow fever in the city. A massive panic ensued. The same trains and steamboats that brought thousands into Memphis now in five days carried away over 25,000 Memphians, more than half of the population. On August 23, the Board of Health finally declared a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis, and the city collapsed, hemorrhaging its population. In July of that year, the city boasted a population of 47,000. By September, 19,000 remained and 17,000 of them had yellow fever. The only people left in the city were the lower classes, such as German and Irish immigrant workers, and African Americans. None had the means to flee the city, as did the middle and upper class whites of Memphis, and thus they were subjected to a city of death.
Immediately following the Board of Health's declaration, a Citizen's Relief Committee was formed by Charles G. Fisher. It organized the city into refugee camps. The committee's main priority was separating the poor from the city and isolating them into refugee camps. Also, the Howard Association, formed specifically for yellow fever epidemics in New Orleans and Memphis, organized nurses and doctors within Memphis and throughout the country in response to the outbreak. They stayed at the Peabody Hotel, the only hotel to keep its doors open during the epidemic (Crosby 60). From there they were assigned to their respective districts. Physicians of the epidemic reported seeing as many as 100 to 150 patients daily.The sisters of St. Mary's Hospital played an important role during the epidemic in caring for the lower classes. Already supporting a girls' school and church orphanage, the sisters of St. Mary's also sought to provide care for the Canfield Asylum, a home for black children. Each day, the sisters alternated caring for the orphans at St. Mary's, delivering children to the Canfield Asylum, and taking soup and medicine on house calls to patients. Between September 9 and October 4, Sister Constance and three other Sisters fell victim themselves to the epidemic and died. They later became known as "The Martyrs of Memphis".At long last, on October 28, a killing frost struck. The city sent out word to Memphians scattered all over the country to come home. Though yellow fever cases were recorded in the pages of Elmwood Cemetery's burial record as late as February 29, 1874, the epidemic seemed quieted. The Board of Health declared the epidemic, which caused over 20,000 deaths and financial losses of nearly $200 million, at an end. On November 27, a general citizen's meeting was called at the Greenlaw Opera House to offer thanks to those who had stayed behind to serve, of whom many died. Over the next year property tax revenues collapsed, and the city could not make payments on its municipal debts. As a result of this crisis, Memphis temporarily lost its city charter and was reclassified by the state legislature as a Taxing District from 1878–1893. Although Memphis lost its charter and 75% of its population, a new era of sanitation was developed in the city. A new municipal government in 1879 helped form the first regional health organization and during the 1880s led the nation in sanitary reform and improvements.Perhaps the most significant effect of the yellow fever on Memphis was in demographic changes. Nearly all of Memphis's upper and middle classes vanished, depriving the city of its general leadership and class structure that dictated everyday life, similar to other large Southern cities such as New Orleans, Charleston, and Atlanta. In Memphis, the poorer whites and blacks fundamentally made up the city and played the greatest role in rebuilding it. The epidemic had resulted in Memphis being a less cosmopolitan place, with an economy that served the cotton trade and a population drawn increasingly from poor white and black Southerners.

Late 19th century

The 1890 election was strongly contested, resulting in opponents of the D. P. Hadden faction working to deprive them of votes by disenfranchising blacks. The state had enacted several laws, including the requirement of poll taxes, that served to disenfranchise many blacks. Although political party factions in the future sometimes paid poll taxes to enable blacks to vote, African Americans lost their last positions on the city council in this election and were forced out of the police force. (They did not recover the ability to exercise the franchise until after passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.) Historian L. B. Wrenn suggests the heightened political hostility of the Democratic contest and related social tensions contributed to a white mob lynching three black grocers in Memphis in 1892.Journalist Ida B. Wells of Memphis investigated the lynchings, as one of the men killed was a friend of hers. She demonstrated that these and other lynchings were more often due to economic and social competition than any criminal offenses by black men. Her findings were considered so controversial and aroused so much anger that she was forced to move away from the city. But she continued to investigate and publish the abuses of lynching.Businessmen were eager to increase city population after the losses of 1878–79, and supported annexation of new areas to the city; this was passed in 1890 before the census. The annexation measure was finally approved by the state legislature through a compromise achieved with real estate magnates, and the area annexed was slightly smaller than first proposed.In 1893 the city was rechartered with home rule, which restored its ability to enact taxes. The state legislature established a cap rate. Although commission government was retained and enlarged to five commissioners, Democratic politicians regained control from the business elite. The commission form of government was believed effective in getting things done, but because all positions were elected at-large, requiring them to gain majority votes, this practice reduced representation by candidates representing significant minority political interests.

20th century

In terms of its economy, Memphis developed as the world's largest spot cotton market and the world's largest hardwood lumber market, both commodity products of the Mississippi Delta. Into the 1950s, it was the world's largest mule market. Attracting workers from rural areas as well as new immigrants, from 1900 to 1950 the city increased nearly fourfold in population, from 102,350 to 396,000 residents.From the 1910s to the 1950s, Memphis was a place of machine politics under the direction of E. H. "Boss" Crump. He gained a state law in 1911 to establish a small commission to manage the city. The city retained a form of commission government until 1967 and patronage flourished under Crump. Per the publisher's summary of L.B. Wrenn's study of the period, "This centralization of political power in a small commission aided the efficient transaction of municipal business, but the public policies that resulted from it tended to benefit upper-class Memphians while neglecting the less affluent residents and neighborhoods." The city installed a revolutionary sewer system and upgraded sanitation and drainage to prevent another epidemic. Pure water from an artesian well was discovered in the 1880s, securing the city's water supply. The commissioners developed an extensive network of parks and public works as part of the national City Beautiful movement, but did not encourage heavy industry, which might have provided substantial employment for the working-class population. The lack of representation in city government resulted in the poor and minorities being underrepresented. The majority controlled the election of all the at-large positions.Memphis did not become a home rule city until 1963, although the state legislature had amended the constitution in 1953 to provide home rule for cities and counties. Before that, the city had to get state bills approved in order to change its charter and for other policies and programs. Since 1963, it can change the charter by popular approval of the electorate.During the 1960s, the city was at the center of the Civil Rights Movement, as its large African-American population had been affected by state segregation practices and disenfranchisement in the early 20th century. African-American residents drew from the civil rights movement to improve their lives. In 1968, the Memphis sanitation strike began for living wages and better working conditions; the workers were overwhelmingly African American. They marched to gain public awareness and support for their plight: the danger of their work, and the struggles to support families with their low pay. Their drive for better pay had been met with resistance by the city government.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, known for his leadership in the non-violent movement, came to lend his support to the workers' cause. King stayed at the Lorraine Motel in the city, and was assassinated by a sniper on April 4, 1968, the day after giving his prophetic I've Been to the Mountaintop speech at the Mason Temple.
Grief-stricken and enraged after learning of King's murder, many African Americans in the city rioted, looting and destroying businesses and other facilities, some by arson. The governor ordered Tennessee National Guardsmen into the city within hours, where small, roving bands of rioters continued to be active. Fearing the violence, more of the middle-class began to leave the city for the suburbs.
In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Memphis's population as 60.8% white and 38.9% black. Suburbanization was attracting wealthier residents to newer housing outside the city. After the riots and court-ordered busing in 1973 to achieve desegregation of public schools, "about 40,000 of the system's 71,000 white students abandon[ed] the system in four years." The city now has a majority-black population; the larger metropolitan area is narrowly majority white.
Memphis is well known for its cultural contributions to the identity of the American South. Many renowned musicians grew up in and around Memphis and moved to Chicago and other areas from the Mississippi Delta, carrying their music with them to influence other cities and listeners over radio airwaves. These included musicians such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, W. C. Handy, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Eric Gales, Al Green, Alex Chilton, Justin Timberlake, Three 6 Mafia, the Sylvers, Jay Reatard, Zach Myers, Aretha Franklin, and many others.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 324.0 square miles (839.2 km2), of which 315.1 square miles (816.0 km2) is land and 9.0 square miles (23.2 km2), or 2.76%, is water.


Downtown Memphis rises from a bluff along the Mississippi River. The city and metro area spread out through suburbanization, and encompass southwest Tennessee, northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas. Several large parks were founded in the city in the early 20th century, notably Overton Park in Midtown and the 4,500-acre (18 km2) Shelby Farms. The city is a national transportation hub and Mississippi River crossing for Interstate 40, (east-west), Interstate 55 (north-south), barge traffic, Memphis International Airport (FedEx's "SuperHub" facility) and numerous freight railroads that serve the city.
In both 2011 and 2012, the magazine Travel + Leisure ranked Memphis among the top ten "America's Dirtiest City", for widespread visibly littered public spaces, with unremoved trash, based on surveys by both readership and local citizens.On a more positive note, in 2013 Forbes magazine ranked Memphis as one of the top 15 cities in the United States with an "emerging downtown" area.


The Memphis Riverfront stretches along the Mississippi River from the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park in the north, to the T. O. Fuller State Park in the south. The River Walk is a park system that connects downtown Memphis from Mississippi River Greenbelt Park in the north, to Tom Lee Park in the south.


Shelby County is located over four natural aquifers, one of which is recognized as the "Memphis Sand Aquifer" or simply as the "Memphis Aquifer". Located 350 to 1,100 feet (110 to 340 m) underground, this artesian water source is considered soft and estimated by Memphis Light, Gas and Water to contain more than 100 trillion US gallons (380 km3) of water.


Memphis has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons, and is located in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7b. Winter weather comes alternately from the upper Great Plains and the Gulf of Mexico, which can lead to drastic swings in temperature. Summer weather may come from Texas (very hot and humid) or the Gulf (hot and very humid). July has a daily average temperature of 82.7 °F (28.2 °C), with high levels of humidity due to moisture encroaching from the Gulf of Mexico. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are frequent during summer, but usually brief, lasting no longer than an hour. Early autumn is pleasantly drier and mild, but can be hot until late October. Late autumn is rainy and cooler; precipitation peaks again in November and December. Winters are mild to chilly, with a January daily average temperature of 41.2 °F (5.1 °C). Snow occurs sporadically in winter, with an average seasonal snowfall of 3.9 inches (9.9 cm). Ice storms and freezing rain pose greater danger, as they can often pull tree limbs down on power lines and make driving hazardous. Severe thunderstorms can occur at any time of the year though mainly during the spring months. Large hail, strong winds, flooding and frequent lightning can accompany these storms. Some storms spawn tornadoes.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Memphis was −13 °F (−25 °C) on December 24, 1963, and the highest temperature ever was 108 °F (42 °C) on July 13, 1980. Over the course of a year, there is an average of 4.4 days of highs below freezing, 6.9 nights of lows below 20 °F (−7 °C), 43 nights of lows below freezing, 64 days of highs above 90 °F (32 °C)+, and 2.1 days of highs above 100 °F (38 °C)+.
Annual precipitation is high (53.68 inches (1,360 mm)) and is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, though the period August through October tends to be drier. Average monthly rainfall is especially high in March through May, November and December.


For historical population data, see: History of Memphis, Tennessee. According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, the racial composition of the city of Memphis was:

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 652,078 people and 245,836 households in the city. The population density was 2,327.4 people per sq mi (898.6/km2). There were 271,552 housing units at an average density of 972.2 per sq mi (375.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 63.33% African American, 29.39% White, 1.46% Asian American, 1.57% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.45% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.49% of the population.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,285, and the median income for a family was $37,767. Males had a median income of $31,236 versus $25,183 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,838. About 17.2% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.1% of those under age 18, and 15.4% of those age 65 or over. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the Memphis area as the poorest large metro area in the country. Dr. Jeff Wallace of the University of Memphis noted that the problem was related to decades of segregation in government and schools. He said that it was a low-cost job market, but other places in the world could offer cheaper labor, and the workforce was undereducated for today's challenges.The Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the 42nd largest in the United States, has a 2010 population of 1,316,100 and includes the Tennessee counties of Shelby, Tipton and Fayette; as well as the northern Mississippi counties of DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica; and Crittenden County, Arkansas, all part of the Mississippi Delta.
The total metropolitan area has a higher proportion of whites and a higher per capita income than the population in the city. The 2010 census shows that the Memphis metro area is close to a majority-minority population:

the white population is 47.9 percent of the eight-county area's 1,316,100 residents. The non-Hispanic white population, a designation frequently used in census reports, was 46.2 percent of the total. The African American percentage was 45.7. For several decades, the Memphis metro area has had the highest percentage of black population among the nation's large metropolitan areas. The area has seemed on a path to become the nation's first metro area of one million or more with a majority black population.
In a reverse trend of the Great Migration, numerous African Americans and other minorities have moved into DeSoto County, and blacks have followed suburban trends, moving into the suburbs of Shelby County.


An 1870 map of Memphis shows religious buildings of the Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, and other Christian denominations, and a Jewish congregation. In 2009, places of worship exist for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims.
The international headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States, is located in Memphis. Its Mason Temple was named after the denomination's founder, Charles Harrison Mason. This auditorium is where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his noted "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in April 1968, the night before he was assassinated at his motel. The National Civil Rights Museum, located in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel and other buildings, has an annual ceremony at Mason's Temple of Deliverance where it honors persons with Freedom Awards.
Bellevue Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist megachurch in Memphis that was founded in 1903. Its current membership is around 30,000. For many years, it was led by Adrian Rogers, a three-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Other notable and/or large churches in Memphis include Second Presbyterian Church (EPC), Highpoint Church (SBC), Hope Presbyterian Church (EPC), Evergreen Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Colonial Park United Methodist Church, Christ United Methodist Church, Idlewild Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the Pentecostal Church (UPCI), First Baptist Broad, Temple of Deliverance, Calvary Episcopal Church, the Church of the River (First Unitarian Church of Memphis), and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
Memphis is home to two cathedrals. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Memphis, and St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee.
Memphis is home to Temple Israel, a Reform synagogue that has approximately 7,000 members, making it one of the largest Reform synagogues in the country. Baron Hirsch Synagogue is the largest Orthodox shul in the United States. Jewish residents were part of the city before the Civil War, but more Jewish immigrants came from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Memphis is home to an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims of various cultures and ethnicities.A number of seminaries are located in Memphis and the metropolitan area. Memphis is home to Memphis Theological Seminary and Harding School of Theology. Suburban Cordova is home to Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.


In the 21st century, Memphis has struggled to reduce crime. In 2001, it ranked as the second-most dangerous city, and in 2002 as most dangerous by the Morgan Quitno rankings. In 2004, violent crime in Memphis reached a decade record low. However, that trend changed and in 2005, Memphis was ranked the fourth-most dangerous city with a population of 500,000 or higher in the U.S. Crime increased again in the first half of 2006. By 2014, Memphis crime had substantially decreased, bringing the city's ranking up to eleventh in violent crime. Nationally, cities follow similar trends, and crime numbers tend to be cyclical. Nationally, other moderate-sized cities were also suffering large rises in crime, although crime in the largest cities continued to decrease or increased much less.In the first half of 2006, robbery of businesses increased 52.5%, robbery of individuals increased 28.5%, and homicides increased 18% over the same period of 2005. The Memphis Police Department responded with the initiation of Operation Blue C.R.U.S.H. (Crime Reduction Using Statistical History), which targets crime hotspots and repeat offenders.Memphis ended 2005 with 154 murders, and 2006 ended with 160; in 2007 there were 164 murders, 2008 had 138, and 2009 had 132. Violent crimes dropped from 12,939 in 2008 to 12,047. Robbery dropped from 4,788 in 2008 to 4,137 in 2009. Aggravated assault dropped 53,870 in 2008 to 47,158 in 2009 (FBI's UCR). In 2006 and 2007, the Memphis metropolitan area ranked second-most dangerous in the nation among cities with a population over 500,000. In 2006, the Memphis metropolitan area ranked number one in violent crimes for major cities around the U.S., according to the FBI's annual crime rankings, whereas it had ranked second in 2005.Since 2006, serious crime has dropped in Memphis. Between 2006 and 2008, the crime rate fell by 16%, while the first half of 2009 saw a reduction in serious crime of more than 10% from the previous year. The Memphis Police Department's use of the FBI National Incident Based Reporting System, which is a more detailed method of reporting crimes than what is used in many other major cities, has been cited as a reason for Memphis's frequent appearance on lists of most dangerous U.S. cities.
With regard to homicide statistics released by the city in more recent years, they show another dramatic rise in murders committed in Memphis. There were 140 homicides in the city in 2014 and 161 the following year. Then, in 2016, police officials recorded 228 murders, a total that marked a 63% increase in homicides since 2014. According to Michael Rallings, the director of the Memphis Police Department, investigations determined that one third of the murder victims in 2016 had been involved in gang activity.


The city's central geographic location has been strategic to its business development. Located on the Mississippi River and intersected by five major freight railroads and two Interstate Highways, I-40 and I-55, Memphis is ideally located for commerce in the transportation and shipping industry. Its access by water was key to its initial development, with steamboats plying the Mississippi river. Railroad construction strengthened its connection to other markets to the east and west.
Since the second half of the 20th century, highways and interstates have played major roles as transportation corridors. A third interstate, I-69, is under construction, and a fourth, I-22, has recently been designated from the former High Priority Corridor X. River barges are unloaded onto trucks and trains. The city is home to Memphis International Airport, the world's second busiest cargo airport (following Hong Kong). Memphis serves as a primary hub for FedEx Express shipping.
As of 2014, Memphis was the home of three Fortune 500 companies: FedEx (no. 63), International Paper (no. 107), and AutoZone (no. 306).Other major corporations based in Memphis include Allenberg Cotton, American Residential Services (also known as ARS/Rescue Rooter); Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Cargill Cotton, City Gear, First Horizon National Corporation, Fred's, GTx, Lenny's Sub Shop, Mid-America Apartments, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, ServiceMaster, True Temper Sports, Varsity Brands, and Verso Paper. Corporations with major operations based in Memphis include Gibson guitars (based in Nashville), and Smith & Nephew.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis also has a branch in Memphis.
The entertainment and film industries have discovered Memphis in recent years. Several major motion pictures, most of which were recruited and assisted by the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission, have been filmed in Memphis, including Making the Grade (1984), Elvis and Me (1988), Great Balls of Fire! (1988), Heart of Dixie (1989), Mystery Train (1989), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Trespass (1991), The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag (1992), The Firm (1993), The Delta (1996), The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996), The Rainmaker (1997), Cast Away (2000), 21 Grams (2002), A Painted House (2002), Hustle & Flow (2005), Forty Shades of Blue (2005), Walk the Line (2005), Black Snake Moan (2007), Nothing But the Truth (2008), Soul Men (2008), and The Grace Card (2011). The Blind Side (2009) was set in Memphis but filmed in Atlanta. The 1992 television movie Memphis, starring Memphis native Cybill Shepherd, who also served as executive producer and writer, was also filmed in Memphis.

Arts and culture

Cultural events

One of the largest celebrations of the city is Memphis in May. The month-long series of events promotes Memphis's heritage and outreach of its people far beyond the city's borders. The four main events are the Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Great River Run. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is the largest pork barbecue-cooking contest in the world.
In April, downtown Memphis celebrates "Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival", or simply Africa in April. The festival was designed to celebrate the arts, history, culture, and diversity of the African diaspora. Africa in April is a three-day festival with vendors' markets, fashion showcases, blues showcases, and an international diversity parade.During late May-early June, Memphis is home to the Memphis Italian Festival at Marquette Park. The 2019 festival will be its 30th and has hosted musical acts, local artisans, and Italian cooking competitions. It also presents chef demonstrations, the Coors Light Competitive Bocce Tournament, the Galtelli Cup Recreational Bocce Tournament, a volleyball tournament, and pizza tossing demonstrations. This festival was started by Holy Rosary School and Parish and began inside the School parking lot in 1989. The Memphis Italian Festival is run almost completely by former and current Holy Rosary School and Church members and begins with a 5K run each year.
Carnival Memphis, formerly known as the Memphis Cotton Carnival, is an annual series of parties and festivities in June that salutes various aspects of Memphis and its industries. An annual King and Queen of Carnival are secretly selected to reign over Carnival activities. From 1935 to 1982, the African-American community staged the Cotton Makers Jubilee; it has merged with Carnival Memphis.A market and arts festival, the Cooper-Young Festival, is held annually in September in the Cooper-Young district of Midtown Memphis. The event draws artists from all over North America and includes local music, art sales, contests, and displays.
Memphis sponsors several film festivals: the Indie Memphis Film Festival, Outflix, and the Memphis International Film and Music Festival. The Indie Memphis Film Festival is in its 14th year and was held April 27–28, 2013.
Recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of 25 "Coolest Film Festivals" (2009) and one of 25 "Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" (2011), Indie Memphis offers Memphis year-round independent film programming, including the Global Lens international film series, IM Student Shorts student films, and an outdoor concert film series at the historic Levitt Shell. The Outflix Film Festival, also in its 15th year, was held September 7–13, 2013. Outflix features a full week of LGBT cinema, including short films, features, and documentaries. The Memphis International Film and Music Festival is held in April; it is in its 11th year and takes place at Malco's Ridgeway Four.
On the weekend before Thanksgiving, the Memphis International Jazz Festival is held in the South Main Historic Arts District in Downtown Memphis. This festival promotes the important role Memphis has played in shaping Jazz nationally and internationally. Acts such as George Coleman, Herman Green, Kirk Whalum and Marvin Stamm all come out of the rich musical heritage in Memphis.
Formerly titled the W. C. Handy Awards, the International Blues Awards are presented by the Blues Foundation (headquartered in Memphis) for Blues music achievement. Weeklong playing competitions are held, as well as an awards banquet including a night of performance and celebration.


Memphis is the home of founders and pioneers of various American music genres, including Memphis soul, Memphis blues, gospel, rock n' roll, Memphis rap, Buck, crunk, and "sharecropper" country music (in contrast to the "rhinestone" country sound of Nashville).
Many musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Shawn Lane, Al Green, Rance Allen, Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, William Bell, Sam & Dave and B.B. King, got their start in Memphis in the 1950s and 1960s.
Beale Street is a national historical landmark, and shows the impact Memphis has had on American blues, particularly after World War II as electric guitars took precedence. Sam Phillips' Sun Studio, the most seminal recording studio in American popular music, still stands, and is open for tours. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison all made their first recordings there, and were "discovered" by Phillips. Many great blues artists recorded there, such as W. C. Handy, Father of the Blues.
Stax Records created a classic 1960s soul music sound, much grittier and horn-based than Motown. Booker T. and the M.G.s were the label's backing band for most of the classic hits that came out of Stax, by Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and many more. The sound still lives on in the Blues Brothers movie, in which many of the musicians starred as themselves.
Memphis is noted for its influence on the power pop musical genre in the 1970s. Notable bands and musicians include Big Star, Chris Bell, Alex Chilton, Tommy Hoehn, The Scruffs, and Prix.Several notable singers are from the Memphis area, including Justin Timberlake, Kirk Whalum, Three 6 Mafia, Ruth Welting and Kallen Esperian. The Metropolitan Opera of New York had its first tour in Memphis in 1906; in the 1990s it decided to tour only larger cities. Metropolitan Opera performances are now broadcast in HD at local movie theaters across the country.

Visual art

In addition to the Brooks Museum and Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis plays host to two burgeoning visual art areas, one city-sanctioned, and the other organically formed.
The South Main Arts District is an arts neighborhood in south downtown. Over the past 20 years, the area has morphed from a derelict brothel and juke joint neighborhood to a gentrified, well-lit area sponsoring "Trolley Night", when arts patrons stroll down the street to see fire spinners, DJs playing in front of clubs, specialty shops and galleries.Another developing arts district in Memphis is Broad Avenue. This east-west avenue is undergoing neighborhood revitalization from the influx of craft and visual artists taking up residence and studios in the area. An art professor from Rhodes College holds small openings on the first floor of his home for local students and professional artists. Odessa, another art space on Broad Avenue, hosts student art shows and local electronic music. Other gallery spaces spring up for semi-annual artwalks.Memphis also has non-commercial visual arts organizations and spaces, including local painter Pinkney Herbert's Marshall Arts gallery, on Marshall Avenue near Sun Studios, another arts neighborhood characterized by affordable rent.


Well-known writers from Memphis include Shelby Foote, the noted Civil War historian. Novelist John Grisham grew up in nearby DeSoto County, Mississippi, and sets many of his books in Memphis.
Many works of fiction and literature are set in Memphis. These include The Reivers by William Faulkner (1962), September, September by Shelby Foote (1977); Peter Taylor's The Old Forest and Other Stories (1985), and his Pulitzer Prize-winning A Summons to Memphis (1986); The Firm (1991) and The Client (1993), both by John Grisham; Memphis Afternoons: a Memoir by James Conaway (1993), Plague of Dreamers by Steve Stern (1997); Cassina Gambrel Was Missing by William Watkins (1999); The Guardian by Beecher Smith (1999), "We are Billion-Year-Old Carbon" by Corey Mesler (2005), The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, and The Architect by James Williamson (2007).

Points of interest

Beale Street - a significant location in the city's history, as well as in the history of the blues. Street performers play live music, and bars and clubs feature live entertainment.
Graceland - The private residence of Elvis Presley
Memphis Zoo - features exhibits of mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians.
Peabody Hotel - known for the "Peabody Ducks" on the hotel rooftop.
Sun Studio - a recording studio opened in 1950; it now also contains a museum.
Orpheum Theatre - features Broadway shows, Ballet Memphis and Opera Memphis.
The New Daisy Theatre - concert venue located on Beale Street.
Mud Island Amphitheatre - concert venue.
Memphis Pyramid - location of the largest Bass Pro Shops in the world, an observation deck, restaurants, bowling alley, aquarium, and hotel.Other Memphis attractions include the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, FedExForum, and Mississippi riverboat day cruises.

Museums and art collections

Media related to Memphis, Tennessee at Wikimedia Commons

National Civil Rights Museum - located in the Lorraine Motel and related buildings, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. It includes a historical overview of the American civil rights movement and interpretation of historic and current issues.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art - the oldest and largest fine art museum in Tennessee; the collection includes Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and 20th century artists.
Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art - contains a large collection of Asian jade art, Asian art, and Judaic art.
Dixon Gallery and Gardens - focuses on French and American impressionism, and contains the Stout Collection of 18th-century German porcelain, as well as a 17-acre (6.9 ha) public garden.
Children's Museum of Memphis - exhibits interactive and educational activities for children.
Graceland - the home of Elvis Presley, it attracts over 600,000 visitors annually, and features two of Presley's airplanes, his automobile and motorcycle collection, and other memorabilia. Graceland is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium - a science and historical museum; it includes the third largest planetarium in the United States and an IMAX theater.
Beale Street - a public exhibit honoring Memphis musicians, singers, writers and composers.
Mud Island - a park with a walking trail featuring a scale model of the Mississippi River.
Victorian Village - a historic district featuring Victorian-era mansions, some of which are open to the public as museums.
The Cotton Museum - located on the old trading floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange.
Stax Museum - the former location of Stax Records.
Chucalissa Indian Village - a Walls Phase mound and plaza complex operated by the University of Memphis. The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a National Historic Landmark. The Southeast Indian Heritage Festival is held there annually.
Burkle Estate - a historic home now used as a museum of slavery and the anti-slavery movement.


Media related to Cemeteries in Memphis, Tennessee at Wikimedia Commons
The Memphis National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located in northeastern Memphis.
Historic Elmwood Cemetery is one of the oldest rural garden cemeteries in the South, and contains the Carlisle S. Page Arboretum. Memorial Park Cemetery is noted for its sculptures by Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez.
Elvis Presley was originally buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, the resting place of his backing band's bassist, Bill Black. After an attempted grave robbing, his body was moved and reinterred at the grounds of Graceland.


The Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association is the only team from one of the "big four" major sports leagues in Memphis. The Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League is a Triple-A baseball farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The University of Memphis college basketball team, the Memphis Tigers, has a strong following in the city due to a history of competitive success. The Tigers have competed in three NCAA Final Fours (1973, 1985, 2008), with the latter two appearances being vacated. The current coach of the Memphis Tigers is Anfernee Hardaway. Memphis is home to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the site of University of Memphis football, the Liberty Bowl and the Southern Heritage Classic.
The annual St. Jude Classic, a regular part of the PGA Tour, is also held in the city. Each February the city hosts the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships and the Cellular South Cup, which are men's ATP World Tour 500 series and WTA events, respectively.
Memphis has a significant history in pro wrestling. Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jimmy "The Mouth of the South" Hart are among the sport's most well-known figures who came out of the city. Sputnik Monroe, a wrestler of the 1950s, like Lawler, promoted racial integration in the city. Ric Flair also noted Memphis as his birthplace.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, the former WFL franchise Memphis Southmen / Memphis Grizzlies sued the NFL in an attempt to be accepted as an expansion franchise. In 1993, the Memphis Hound Dogs was a proposed NFL expansion that was passed over in favor of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. The Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium also served as the temporary home of the former Tennessee Oilers while the city of Nashville worked out stadium issues.

Parks and recreation

Media related to Parks in Memphis, Tennessee at Wikimedia Commons
Major Memphis parks include W.C. Handy Park, Tom Lee Park, Audubon Park, Overton Park including the Old Forest Arboretum, the Lichterman Nature Center (a nature learning center), the Memphis Botanic Garden, and Jesse H Turner Park.
Shelby Farms park, located at the eastern edge of the city, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States.

Law and government

Beginning in 1963, Memphis adopted a mayor-council form of government, with 13 City Council members, six elected at-large from throughout the city and seven elected from geographic districts. Following passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, civil rights activists challenged the at-large is electoral system in court because it made it more difficult for the minority to elect candidates of their choice; at-large voting favored candidates who could command a majority across the city. In 1995, the city adopted a new plan. The 13 Council positions are elected from nine geographic districts: seven are single-member districts and two elect three members each.
Jim Strickland is the city's current mayor, elected on October 8, 2015. He is a former Memphis city councilman. The previous mayor of the city of Memphis was A C Wharton.
Since the late 20th century, regional discussions have recurred on the concept of consolidating unincorporated Shelby County and Memphis into a metropolitan government, as Nashville-Davidson County did in 1963. Consolidation was a referendum item on the 2010 ballots in both the city of Memphis and Shelby County, under the state law for dual-voting on such measures. The referendum was controversial in both jurisdictions. Black leaders, including then-Shelby County Commissioner Joe Ford and national civil rights leader Al Sharpton, opposed the consolidation. According to the plaintiffs' expert, Marcus Pohlmann, these leaders "tried to turn that referendum into a civil rights issue, suggesting that for blacks to vote for consolidation was to give up hard-won civil rights victories of the past".In October 2010 before the vote, eight Shelby County citizens had filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state and the Shelby County Elections Commission against the dual-voting requirement. Plaintiffs argued that total votes for the referendum should have been counted together, rather than as separate elections. City voters narrowly supported the measure for consolidation with 50.8% in favor; county voters overwhelmingly voted against the measure with 85% against. The state argued that with the election decided, the lawsuit should be dismissed, but the federal court disagreed.By late 2013, in pre-trial actions, both sides were trying to disqualify the other's experts, in discussions of whether regional voting revealed racial polarization, and whether voting on the referendum demonstrated racial bloc voting. "The experts for both sides have clashed on whether racial bloc voting is inevitable in local elections and whether that would require some kind of court remedy."The defendants' expert, Todd Donovan, did not think that polarized voting as revealed for political candidates meant that "African-American voters and white voters have polarized interests when it comes to referendum choices on government administration, taxation, service provision and other policy questions." He noted, "In the absence of distinct political interests that create polarized blocs of referendum voters defined by race, there is no cohesive racial minority voting interest that can be diluted by a referendum."In 2014, the federal district court dismissed the lawsuit, on the grounds that the referendum would have failed when both jurisdictions' votes were counted together. (In total voting, 64% of voters opposed the consolidation.) In the last week of December 2014, the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals upheld that decision, ruling that, ""In this election, the referendum for consolidation did not pass and would not have passed even if there had been no dual-majority vote requirement (with the vote counts combined)."Before the referendum, the decision was made by the city and county to exclude public school management and operations from the proposed consolidation. As noted below, in 2011 the Memphis city council voted to dissolve its city school board and consolidate with the Shelby County School System, without the collaboration or agreement of Shelby County. The city had authority for this action under Tennessee state laws that differentiate between city and county powers.


The city of Memphis has an extensive railroad network. The main railroad of Memphis is a class 1 railroad operated by CSX. Other class 1 railroads in Memphis include BNSF railway, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, and Canadian National. Railroads previously in Memphis include Illinois Central (now owned by CN), the Memphis and Charleston, Southern Pacific, and the Rock Island.


The city is served by Shelby County Schools. On March 8, 2011, residents voted to dissolve the charter for Memphis City Schools, effectively merging it with the Shelby County School District. After issues with state law and court challenges, the merger took effect the start of the 2013–14 school year. In Shelby County, six incorporated cities voted to establish separate school systems in 2013.
The Shelby County School System operates more than 200 elementary, middle, and high schools.
The Memphis area is also home to many private, college-prep schools: Briarcrest Christian School (co-ed), Christian Brothers High School (boys), Evangelical Christian School (co-ed), First Assembly Christian School (co-ed), St. Mary's Episcopal School (girls), Hutchison School (girls), Lausanne Collegiate School (co-ed), Memphis University School (boys), Saint Benedict at Auburndale (co-ed), St. Agnes Academy (girls), Immaculate Conception Cathedral School (girls), and Elliston Baptist Academy (co-ed). Also included in this list is Memphis Harding Academy, a co-ed school affiliated with the Churches of Christ.
Colleges and universities located in the city include the University of Memphis, including University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Rhodes College, Christian Brothers University, Memphis College of Art, LeMoyne–Owen College, Baptist College of Health Sciences, Memphis Theological Seminary, Harding School of Theology, Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide (Memphis Campus), Reformed Theological Seminary (satellite campus), William R. Moore College of Technology, Southern College of Optometry, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis, Visible Music College, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Memphis also has campuses of several for-profit post-secondary institutions, including Concorde Career College, ITT Technical Institute, Remington College, Vatterott College, and University of Phoenix.
The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry was founded in 1878, making it the oldest dental college in the South, and the third oldest public college of dentistry in the United States.The Christian Brothers High School Band is the oldest high school band in America, founded in 1872.Examples of Colleges and Universities in Memphis, Tennessee

University of Memphis
Rhodes College
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Christian Brothers University
LeMoyne- Owen College
University of Tennessee Health Science
Memphis College of Art
Southern College of Optometry



Major broadcast television affiliate stations in the Memphis area include, but are not limited to:


Terrestrial broadcast radio stations in the Memphis area include, but are not limited to:

WQOX – 88.5 FM, Shelby County Schools (Grades K – 12)
WYPL – 89.3 FM, Other
WEVL – 89.9 FM, Variety
WKNO – 91.1 FM, Public Radio
WUMR – 91.7 FM, University of Memphis (Jazz)
WHRK – 97.1 FM, Hip Hop
WXMX - 98.1 FM, Rock Radio
WMC – 99.7 FM a.k.a. FM 100, Top 40, American Contemporary
WHBQ – 560 AM, Sports

Cultural references

Memphis is the subject of numerous pop and country songs, including "The Memphis Blues" by W. C. Handy, "Memphis, Tennessee" by Chuck Berry, "Night Train to Memphis" by Roy Acuff, "Goin' to Memphis" by Paul Revere and the Raiders, "Queen of Memphis" by Confederate Railroad, "Memphis Soul Stew" by King Curtis, "Maybe It Was Memphis" by Pam Tillis, "Graceland" by Paul Simon, "Memphis Train" by Rufus Thomas, "All the Way from Memphis" by Mott the Hoople, "Wrong Side of Memphis" by Trisha Yearwood, "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" by Bob Dylan, "Memphis Skyline" by Rufus Wainwright, "Sequestered in Memphis" by The Hold Steady and "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn.
In addition, Memphis is mentioned in scores of other songs, including "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones, "Dixie Chicken" by Little Feat, "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" by George Jones, "Daisy Jane" by America, "Life Is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane, "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles, "Cities" by Talking Heads, "Crazed Country Rebel" by Hank Williams III, "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2, "M.E.M.P.H.I.S." by the Disco Biscuits, "New New Minglewood Blues" and "Candyman" by the Grateful Dead, "You Should Be Glad" by Widespread Panic, "Roll With Me" by 8Ball & MJG, "Someday" by Steve Earle and popularly recorded by Shawn Colvin, and many others.
More than 1,000 commercial recordings of over 800 distinct songs contain "Memphis" in them. The Memphis Rock N' Soul Museum maintains an ever updated list of these on their website.

Film and television

Many films are set in the American city including, Black Snake Moan, The Blind Side, Cast Away, Choices: The Movie, The Client, The Firm, Forty Shades of Blue, Great Balls of Fire!, Hustle & Flow, Kill Switch, Making the Grade, Memphis Belle, Mississippi Grind, Mystery Train, N-Secure, The Rainmaker, The Silence of the Lambs, Soul Men, and Walk the Line.
Many of those and other films have also been filmed in Memphis including, Black Snake Moan, Walk the Line, Hustle & Flow, Forty Shades of Blue, 21 Grams, A Painted House, American Saint, The Poor and Hungry, Cast Away, Woman's Story, The Big Muddy, The Rainmaker, Finding Graceland, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Delta, Teenage Tupelo, A Family Thing, Without Air, The Firm, The Client, The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag, Trespass, The Silence of the Lambs, Great Balls of Fire!, Elvis and Me, Mystery Train, Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Heart of Dixie, The Contemporary Gladiator, U2: Rattle and Hum, Making the Grade, The River Rat, The River, Hallelujah!, Elizabethtown, 3000 Miles to Graceland, A Face in the Crowd, Undefeated, Man on the Moon, Nothing But the Truth, Sore Losers, Soul Men, I Was a Zombie for the F.B.I., I'm From Hollywood, The Grace Card, This is Elvis, Cookie's Fortune, Open Five, The Open Road, In the Valley of Elah, Walk Hard, My Blueberry Nights, Savage Country, and Two-Lane Blacktop.The television series Greenleaf, Memphis Beat, and Quarry are set in the city.
Many works of fiction and literature are set in Memphis. These include The Reivers by William Faulkner (1962), September, September by Shelby Foote (1977); Peter Taylor's The Old Forest and Other Stories (1985), and his Pulitzer Prize-winning A Summons to Memphis (1986); The Firm (1991) and The Client (1993), both by John Grisham; Memphis Afternoons: a Memoir by James Conaway (1993), Plague of Dreamers by Steve Stern (1997); Cassina Gambrel Was Missing by William Watkins (1999); The Guardian by Beecher Smith (1999), "We are Billion-Year-Old Carbon" by Corey Mesler (2005), The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, and The Architect by James Williamson (2007).



Interstate 40, Interstate 55, Interstate 22, Interstate 240, Interstate 269, are the main expressways in the Memphis area. Interstates 40 and 55 cross the Mississippi River at Memphis from the state of Arkansas. Interstate 69 is a future interstate that, upon completion, will connect Memphis to Canada and Mexico.
Interstate 40 is a coast-to-coast freeway that connects Memphis to Nashville, Tennessee and on to North Carolina to the east, and Little Rock, Arkansas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the Greater Los Angeles Area to the west.
Interstate 55 connects Memphis to Saint Louis, Missouri and Chicago to the north, and Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana to the south.
Interstate 240 is the inner beltway which serves areas including Downtown, Midtown, South Memphis, Memphis International Airport, East Memphis, and North Memphis.
Interstate 269 is the nearly completed, larger, outer interstate loop immediately serving the suburbs of Millington, Eads, Arlington, Collierville, and Hernando, Mississippi. It is expected to be completed in 2018.
Interstate 22 connects Memphis with Birmingham, Alabama, via northern Mississippi (including Tupelo) and northwestern Alabama. While technically not entering the city of Memphis proper, I-22 ends at I-269 in Byhalia, Mississippi, connecting it to the rest of the Memphis interstate system.
Interstate 69 will follow Interstate 55 and Interstate 240 through the city of Memphis. Once completed, I-69 will link Memphis with Port Huron, Michigan via Indianapolis, Indiana, and Brownsville, Texas via Shreveport, Louisiana and Houston, Texas.
A new spur, Interstate 555, also serves the Memphis metro area connecting it to Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Other important federal highways though Memphis include the east-west U.S. Route 70, U.S. Route 64, and U.S. Route 72; and the north-south U.S. Route 51 and U.S. Route 61. The former is the historic highway north to Chicago via Cairo, Illinois, while the latter roughly parallels the Mississippi River for most of its course and crosses the Mississippi Delta region to the south, with the Delta also legendary for Blues music.


A large volume of railroad freight moves through Memphis, because of its two heavy-duty Mississippi River railroad crossings, which carry several major east-west railroad freight lines, and also because of the major north-south railroad lines through Memphis which connect with such major cities as Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Louisville, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, Mobile, and Birmingham.
By the early 20th century, Memphis had two major passenger railroad stations, which made the city a regional hub for trains coming from the north, east, south and west. After passenger railroad service declined heavily through the middle of the 20th century, the Memphis Union Station was demolished in 1969. The Memphis Central Station was eventually renovated, and it still serves the city.
The only inter-city passenger railroad service to Memphis is the daily City of New Orleans train, operated by Amtrak, which has one train northbound and one train southbound each day between Chicago and New Orleans.


Memphis International Airport is the global "SuperHub" of FedEx Express, and has the second largest cargo operations by volume of any airport worldwide, surpassed only by Hong Kong International Airport.Memphis International ranks as the 41st busiest passenger airport in the US and served as a hub for Northwest Airlines (later Delta Air Lines) until September 3, 2013. and had 4.39 million boarding passengers (enplanements) in 2011, an 11.9% decrease over the previous year. Delta has reduced its flights at Memphis by approximately 65% since its 2008 merger with Northwest Airlines and operates an average of 30 daily flights as of December 2013, with only one seasonal international destination (Cancún). Delta Air Lines announced the closing of its Memphis pilot and crew base in 2012. Other airlines providing passenger service are: Southwest Airlines; American Airlines; SeaPort Airlines and United Airlines.There are also general aviation airports in the Memphis Metropolitan Area, including the Millington Regional Jetport, located at the former Naval Air Station in Millington, Tennessee.

River port

Memphis has the second-busiest cargo port on the Mississippi River, which is also the fourth-busiest inland port in the United States. The International Port of Memphis covers both the Tennessee and Arkansas sides of the Mississippi River from river mile 725 (km 1167) to mile 740 (km 1191). A focal point of the river port is the industrial park on President's Island, just south of Downtown Memphis.


Four railroad and highway bridges cross the Mississippi River at Memphis. In order of their opening years, these are the Frisco Bridge (1892, single-track rail), the Harahan Bridge (1916, a road-rail bridge until 1949, currently carries double-track rail), the Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge (Highway, 1949; later incorporated into Interstate 55), and the Hernando de Soto Bridge (Interstate 40, 1973). A bicycle/pedestrian walkway opened along the Harahan Bridge in late 2016, utilizing the former westbound roadway.


Memphis's primary utility provider is the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW). This is the largest three-service municipal utility in the United States, providing electricity, natural gas, and pure water service to all residents of Shelby County. Prior to that, Memphis was served by two primary electric companies, which were merged into the Memphis Power Company. The City of Memphis bought the private company in 1939 to form MLGW, which was an early customer of electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
MLGW still buys most of its power from TVA, and the company pumps its own fresh water from the Memphis Aquifer, using more than 180 water wells.

Health care

The Memphis and Shelby County region supports numerous hospitals, including the Methodist and Baptist Memorial health systems, two of the largest private hospitals in the country.
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, the largest healthcare provider in the Mid-South, operates seven hospitals and several rural clinics. Modern Healthcare magazine ranked Methodist Healthcare in the top 100 integrated healthcare networks in the United States. Methodist Healthcare operates, among others, the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, which offers primary level 1 pediatric trauma care, as well as a nationally recognized pediatric brain tumor program.
Baptist Memorial Healthcare operates fifteen hospitals (three in Memphis), including Baptist Memorial Hospital. According to Health Care Market Guide's annual studies, Mid-Southerners have named Baptist Memorial their "preferred hospital choice for quality".
The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, leading pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children's catastrophic diseases, resides in Memphis. The institution was conceived and built byentertainer Danny Thomas in 1962 as a tribute to St. Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of impossible, hopeless, and difficult causes.
Memphis is also home to Regional One Healthcare, which is locally referred to as "The Med". In recent years, the hospital has experienced severe funding difficulties that nearly led to a reduction or elimination of emergency room services. In July 2010, The Med received approximately $40.6 million in federal and local funding to keep the Elvis Presley Trauma Center operational.
Memphis is home to Delta Medical Center of Memphis, which is the only employee-owned medical facility in North America.

Twin towns – sister cities

Memphis has three sister cities, as per Sister Cities International:
– Kanifing (Gambia)
– Kaolack (Senegal)
– Shoham (Israel)



Although downtown Memphis has experienced quite a rebirth and renewal in the last few years, the center of the city is older; it is full of new development, teeming with change and coming into its own. In the past few years, the city has emerged to boast one of the largest downtown populations among US cities. Citizens again have a vested interest in making downtown a safe, exciting place to visit and relax in after decades of abandonment.
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 in July and August.

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

1 Memphis International Airport (MEM IATA). Memphis is the primary FedEx distribution center and the world's second busiest cargo airport, making the sky full of planes to make your eBay purchases a glorious reality. Passenger service at Memphis has shrunk as Delta no longer maintains a hub here. Cargo and passengers who have been loaded into FedEx packages can get to anywhere in the world within 24-48 hours.
Allegiant Air: Austin, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford
American Airlines: Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-National.
Delta Air Lines: Atlanta, Cancun, Cincinnati, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, Orlando, Salt Lake City
Frontier Airlines: Denver, Washington-Dulles
Southern Airways Express: Destin, Florida; Harrison, Arkansas; Jackson, Missouri; and Nashville
Southwest Airlines: Austin, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love, Houston-Hobby, Orlando, Tampa.
United Airlines: Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark.

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 as 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.
Highway 72 Comes from Alabama, through Mississippi, and ends in Memphis.
Parking - Except for downtown, parking is usually free. If you're downtown, try a garage on Union Avenue or Front Street for around $2/hr, $7/day. 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

Running along the Mississippi River, Amtrak's overnight City of New Orleans between Chicago and New Orleans, serves Memphis once daily. The 2 Memphis Central Station is on South Main St, which is just south of downtown.

By bus

Delta Bus Lines, (Greyhound bus depot) 3033 Airways Blvd (same location as Greyhound and the MATA Airways Blvd Transit Center at Brooks Rd & Airways Blvd, south of town and northwest of the airport), ☎ +1 662 335-2144, fax: +1 662 335-2174. Goes south along US Hwy 278 towards Cleveland, MS via Robinsonville, Shelby, Tunica and Clarksdale. Passengers transfer in Cleveland to continue towards Indianola, Greeneville, Jackson and other places in Mississippi and onwards to Baton Rouge, LA.
3 Greyhound, (bus depot) 3033 Airways Blvd (same location as the MATA Airways Blvd Transit Center at Brooks Rd & Airways Blvd, south of town and northwest of the airport), ☎ +1 901 395-8770, toll-free: 1 800 231-2222. Travels primarily on Interstate 22/US Hwy 78 (Memphis - Tupelo - Birmingham AL); I-40 (Oklahoma City - Little Rock - Memphis - Nashville), with some variations of the route diverging from Little Rock to Dallas Ft Worth on I-30); I-55 (St Louis - Memphis and Memphis - Baton Rouge on two separate routes); and I-55/57 (Memphis - Effingham (Illinois) - Chicago). Passengers can transfer buses in Birmingham, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Dallas-Ft Worth, St Louis, Nashville or Oklahoma City to continue to other destinations. MATA bus routes 2 and 4 will take you downtown while route 64 (airport shuttle) takes you to the airport.
4 Megabus, (bus stop) MATA American Way Transit Center @ 3921 American Way (American Way and Getwell Rd). Low-cost carrier offers service to Memphis from Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Little Rock, and Dallas. Fares start at $1 each way when reserved well in advance. Buses stop at the American Way Transit Center, at the southwest corner of American Way and Getwell Road. This location is several miles southeast of downtown, and public transit service is infrequent; MATA bus routes 36 and 56 will take you downtown while route 64 takes you to the airport.
5 Turimex Internacional, (Bus stop & ticket agency) El Rancherito Market @ 5070 Raleigh LaGrange Rd (Strip mall NE of intersection of Raleigh LaGrange Rd & Covington Pike), toll-free: +1 800 733-7330. I-30/40/55 (Chicago - Memphis - Little Rock - Dallas). Passengers transfer to their other buses in Dallas to continue to other destinations in the US and Mexico.

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) 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 service used to operate in Downtown and into Midtown, but has been suspended indefinitely following a fire in 2014. Parts of the service have been replaced by buses.Memphis is laid out in a more or less east/west fashion. Roads primarily go east/west and north/south. The expressway 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, 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.


1 The Cotton Museum.


Downtown Memphis. Buy a ticket and take the trolley to get a good overview of the area.
2 Beale Street. "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 32-ounce 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.
Mississippi River. River tours available most days through a variety of providers. Tom Lee Park is a nice place to view the river.
3 National Civil Rights Museum (Lorraine Motel), 450 Mulberry St (Near the Amtrak station.), ☎ +1 901 521-9699. W-M 9AM-5PM (closed Tu). The museum was built out of the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, and out of the boarding house across the street, from which came James Earl Ray's shot. The museum features exhibitions on the whole civil rights movement, segregation and slavery in American History from the 1800s to the 1960s including the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. amongst others in the civil rights movements. (ages-0-3) Free; (ages 4-17) $12; (ages 18+) $15 or $14 student discount with valid student ID.
4 Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art, 119 South Main St, ☎ +1 901 523 ARTS (2787). Tu-F 10:30AM-5:30PM; Sa Su noon-5PM. Downstairs from the Center for Southern Folklore, this wonderful museum holds a collection of over 900 Asian and Judaic artifacts. $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for students, free for children 12 and under.
5 Ornamental Metal Museum, 374 Metal Museum Drive. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-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 River. They also have a working smithy. Adults $5.
6 Fire Museum of Memphis, 118 Adams Ave. M-Sa 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. Adults $6.
7 Mud Island River Park, 125 North Front St. 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).
8 Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, 191 Beale St (corner of Third St; on the plaza of FedExForum). 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. 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. Adults $10.
9 The Arcade Restaurant, 540 South Main Street. The oldest restaurant in Memphis, this is one of the most Memphis-cultured places in town. Speros Zepatos founded the diner in 1919 after immigrating from Cephalonia, Greece. Situated at the corner of South Main Street and G.E. Patterson, the restaurant serves tasty food in the heart of downtown.

The Edge

10 Sun Studio, 706 Union Ave (Union and Marshall, a block west of the Health Sciences Park), toll-free: +1 800 441-6249. 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 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, 341½ Monroe..


11 Memphis Zoo, ☎ +1 901 333-6500. Pandas and other animals galore - consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the country. 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.
12 The Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central Ave (Central Ave & Lafayette Ave), ☎ +1 901 636-2362. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 12PM-5PM. 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. Exhibit only $9 (ages 3-12); $12.25 (age 60+); $12.75 (ages 13-59); More for planetarium and/or CTI 3D Theater presentation.
13 Overton Park. Encompasses the Memphis Zoo, Memphis College of Art (MCA), the Brooks Art Museum, the Overton Park Golf Course, and the largest stand of old growth forest in a US city.
14 Cooper-Young. This neighborhood of restored homes is centered around the intersection of Cooper Street and Young Avenue, known by some as "the intersection of Memphis." This intersection has several cool bars and restaurants, as well as numerous shops. Be sure to come for the free annual Cooper-Young festival in September. Also, just north of the Cooper-Young intersection is Black Lodge Video. This rental store in a house, has almost every video imaginable. Be sure to look for the "This is s••t--the worst we could find" section.
Overton Square. Overton Square has undergone many changes over the years but is still the hottest place in midtown Memphis for locals and tourists who are looking for somewhere to eat, shop, or be entertained.

East Memphis

15 Lichterman Nature Center. 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.
16 Memphis Botanic Garden. 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 2½ 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.
17 Shelby Farms Park, ☎ +1 901 222-7275. 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. Its Woodland Discovery Playground includes a large treehouse, sand area, climbing nets and activities for children of all ages. The park is also home to a herd of American Bison.

South Memphis

18 Stax Museum of American Soul Music, 926 E. McLemore Ave. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. 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. Adults $13.

Around town

19 Graceland. 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 (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. Elvis Week ("Death Week" to the locals) in early August, culminating in the candlelight vigil on the anniversary of Elvis' death. 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!


Walk to the river and touch the Mississippi's water with your fingers.
Ride a trolley around the downtown area. Loads of fun, these are a great way to go places downtown, but in midtown and further you might want to rent a car. There are busses for you penny pinchers, though.
Check out some live music on Beale Street
Memphis Redbirds, 200 Union Ave, ☎ +1 901-721-6000. Minor League Baseball team that plays at 1 AutoZone Park, in the middle of downtown. They are the Triple-A affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals. $9-75.
2 FedExForum, 191 Beale Street at Third Stree. FedExForum is the largest public building construction project in Memphis history. Managed and operated by the Memphis Grizzlies, the facility is home to the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA and the University of Memphis Tigers men's basketball team.
Memphis Grizzlies. NBA team.
Memphis Tigers. Teams representing the University of Memphis, which participate in NCAA competition as members of the American Athletic 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.
Memphis 901 FC, ☎ +1 901 721-6000, e-mail: [email protected] The city's newest sports attraction is this men's soccer team, which begins play in 2019 in the second-level USL Championship. The team will share AutoZone Park with the Redbirds.
3 Memphis Hustle. The Grizzlies' affiliate in the NBA G League, playing at Landers Center on the Mississippi side of the border in Southaven.
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
Fourth 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. Month-long festival featuring:Beale Street Music Festival - a showcase of over 40 national, regional, and local artists on multiple stages for three days, occurring the first weekend in May.
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest - hundreds of teams compete for over $100,000 in prizes and bragging rights, and visitors can taste the country's best barbecue.
Sunset Symphony, a day of entertainment on the banks of the Mississippi River with local musicians, an air show with vintage and concept aircraft, and as the sun is setting, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra performs. After dark, as the symphony begins their last set, the sky fills with fireworks, thus marking the close of Memphis in May.
4 Ghost River Brewing, 827 S. Main Street, ☎ +1 901-278-0087. 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.,
5 Sky Zone Memphis. - in Memphis


Memphis Backbeat Mojo Tour, Picks up at Elvis Presley Plaza on Beale, toll-free: +1-800-979-3370. 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 2½ hour version. Well worth the time and money. Tours sell out, so reserve online in advance. $25.


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 there 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. Most family friendly store on Beale.


Wizard's A fine gift shop with "smoking supplies" (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).
Overton Square. A small shopping/entertainment district on Madison Avenue, near Cooper.
1 Burke's Books, 936 S. Cooper St (S Cooper & Young Ave in the Cooper Young District). M-Th 10AM-6PM, F Sa 10AM-8PM, Su noon-5PM. 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.

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.


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


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.


1 Waffle Shop (Calvary Episcopal Church Waffle Shop), 102 N. 2nd St. Memphis TN (Enter from the awning or through the front doors; parking can be tricky.), ☎ +1 901 525 6602. Lunch Tuesday-Friday 11am-1:30pm during Lent. Probably the oldest pop-up restaurant in the South. Serving waffles since 1928. The only place you can get Tomato Aspic, Fish Pudding, Boston Cream Pie, or Chicken Hash for lunch. A la carte, $2-$10.
2 Earnestine and Hazel's, 531 S. Main St, ☎ +1 901 523-9754. M-Th 5PM-2AM, F Sa 5PM-3AM, Su 7PM-2AM. Eclectic, unique atmosphere, a staff that defines 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 jukebox loaded with classic hits and a staff full of colorful stories of its history, even Cameron Crowe couldn't resist including Earnestine and Hazel's in his film Elizabethtown.
Little Tea Shop, 69 Monroe Ave., ☎ +1 901 525-6000. M-F 11AM-2PM. 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), 11AM Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays. Excellent New Orleans/Florida Panhandle-influenced seafood. Variety of oyster styles, po' boys, gumbo, shrimp, crawfish, grouper, and fried pickles. Two bars and a 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, as well. 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. Best beer selection in town. Serves typical bar food which is decent quality despite the Flying Saucer being a small chain.
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. Dressy attire--a dress shirt and slacks for men at the least--is strongly recommended.
3 The Rendezvous. 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 Jim Jarmusch's "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 menu of delicious main courses, soups, salads and desserts served in an intimate setting. Private room and patio.
Westy's Bar/grill that occupies the site of the old North End restaurant. 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.
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. The only catch is that they are deep fried. It's definitely worth trying. Another recommendation is their chili cheese fries.
Huey's. Blues, brews & burgers since 1970. Casual tavern with a custom of blowing toothpicks into the ceiling through straws. Burgers any way you can imagine earns 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.
4 Bardog Tavern, 73 Monroe Avenue. At 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.
5 Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken (Gus's fried Chicken), 310 S Front St (on Front, a few blocks south of Beale St), ☎ +1 901 527-4877. Su–Th 11AM-9PM; F Sa 11AM-10PM. Fried chicken.


Young Ave. Deli Good place for bar food and/or rock shows. Try the fried dill pickles and of course the sweet potato fries. It's 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, with the best margaritas as voted by Memphis residents.
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. Fair-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.
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 - One of the most well known barbecue places in Memphis. 3 or 4 locations within the city; $6-$20 per person. You can purchase their barbeque sauce too and have ribs shipped.
The BBQ Shop - Another of the best barbecue places in Memphis. One location on Madison Ave. Popular barbecue with good service. A sandwich with two sides will run you about $7.
Bayou Bar and Grill, Great Cajun food at moderate prices near Studio on the Square. Tuesday is $3 pint night. The Gumbo and spicy chicken sandwich is great.
6 Central BBQ, 2249 Central Ave or 4375 Summer Ave., ☎ +1 901 272-9377, +1 901 767-4672. This is yet another great BBQ place. There are two locations, but the original on Central Ave. is said to be the best by locals. BBQ nachos and ribs are must-haves.
7 Jack Magoo's Sports Bar, 2583 Broad Avenue, ☎ +1 901 746-9612. It's 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.

East Memphis

8 Folk's Folly, 551 South Mendenhall Rd. Consistently voted "Best Steak," by readers of all four major Memphis publications, Folk's Folly pairs fine dining with a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. This Memphis landmark embodies an unwavering commitment to quality by offering corn-fed prime steaks, and fresh seafood. From $100.
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 Road between Poplar and Poplar Pike (which is in Germantown) - some of the best ribs Memphis has to offer. $10-20.
The Half Shell. 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.
Buckley's-- Steakhouse.
9 Juicy Jim's, 546 S. Highland St, ☎ +1 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. The shop will be moving across the street to the pizzeria in about 3 months.
10 Edo, 4792 Summer Ave, ☎ +1 901 767-7096. 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 for a very tasty meal. They also have reasonably priced Japanese beers.
Muddy's Bake Shop. 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.
11 Sekisui, 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.


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. [1]
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.. One of the oldest restaurants in Memphis, with excellent American-Italian food. Don't miss the barbecue spaghetti or pizza.
12 Jim Neely's Interstate Barbecue, 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.
13 Tycoon, 3309 Kirby Parkway, ☎ +1 901 362-8788. 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.
Eat Well, 2965 N Germantown Rd, ☎ +1 901 388-8178. 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-fried gyoza. It's a great and refreshing buffet, and much of the clientele is Asian (Japanese, Chinese, and Korean) at any given time.
14 Mi Pueblo, 3750 Hacks Cross Road, ☎ +1 901 751-8896. This is a great Mexican buffet with a nice selection of Mexican food. Clientele is mostly Mexican (so you know it's good), and prices are reasonable ($7-15).


Aldo's Pizza- Midtown at Cooper/Central; Downtown on Main. Big slices, round pies, tender crust; Brooklyn style pizza. "The Memphis" features pulled pork, onions, and coleslaw from nearby Central BBQ. Rooftop seating with fans and shade.
Broadway Pizza- local pizza and beer joint in a classic location on Broad ave.
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.
15 Camy's. Want to just hang out in your hotel? Call Camy's for the best pizza delivery in town.Only delivery.
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 70s atmosphere, great 70s 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! 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, ☎ +1 901 435-6243. 3PM-3AM. Owned and run by Juicy Jim 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

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.
901 Grill and Market, 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.
Hi-Tone Cafe, 412-414 N. Cleveland. 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, and drink a 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, [2] 1555 Madison Ave. Memphis' newest music venue, in Midtown at the former location of Strings 'n' Things.


Wine is sold in grocery stores, and liquor stores.
Beer can be found in grocery stores, liquor stores, and gas stations.
Buster's Wine on Highland at Poplar, near the University of Memphis. 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: M-Sa 8AM-11PM.
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 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.
1 Boscos, Overton Square, 2120 Madison Ave, ☎ +1 901-432-2222. 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 30s, 40s, and 50s.
The Buccaneer, Midtown. This bar converted from a house has music of all types every night, with a counterculture twist. A penchant for chaos and tolerance to listen to an hour of feedback while the band fights is a plus. Ramones t-shirt optional.
2 Otherlands, 641 Cooper St, ☎ +1 901-278-4994. 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.
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) and have some veggie-friendly selections on their menu.
3 The Oasis Lounge, 663 S Highland St, ☎ +1 901-729-6960. 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. It's on South Highland next to McDonald's. This is a coffee shop, and there is no alcohol on premises. A DJ plays there on Saturday nights.
4 Mollie Fontaine Lounge, 679 Adams Ave, ☎ +1 901-524-1886. Wednesday- Saturday 5pm 'til the spirits go to sleep. Victorian mansion-turned-lounge featuring potent drinks and an innovative, varied menu in a chic atmosphere. Explore all the rooms, each unique in theme and decor, full bars upstairs 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.


There is limited choice but the city offers some affordable and decent lodging.


1 Hostel Memphis, 1000 South Cooper St (Along Cooper at Felix in SE part of town.), ☎ +1 901 273-8341.


2 Garden Tree Hotels, 6101 Shelby Oaks Drive (Sycamore View Dr & Shelby Oaks. Off of I-40 at Sycamore View Dr (Exit #12)), ☎ +1 901 937-0503. Offers guests free Wi-Fi and a fitness center.
3 Doubletree Downtown Memphis, 185 Union Ave, ☎ +1 901 528-1800. A few blocks from Beale Street; a relaxing accommodation.
4 Best Western Gen X Inn, 1177 Madison Ave. (Madison Ave & N Bellevue, east of I-240 from the downtown medical complex.), ☎ +1 901 692-9136. Downtown near Memphis Medical Center.
5 Hampton Inn, Beale Street, 175 Peabody Place (SW of Peabody Pl and B.B King Blvd in the historic Beale Street District.), ☎ +1 901 260-4000, fax: +1 901 260-4012. This is right on Beale Street--as opposed to the Holiday Inn and the Peabody, both of 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 getaway, stay a few blocks away.
6 Hyatt Place Memphis/Wolfchase Galleria, 7905 Giacosa Place (Off of the Germantown Pkwy exit from I-40 (Exit 16A from the eastbound lanes an 16B from the westbound lanes)), ☎ +1 901 371-0010, toll-free: +1 901 371 9988. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: Nnoon. A hotel adjacent to Wolfchase Galleria Mall. Offers a pool, 24-hour fitness center, on-site dining and free wifi.
7 Marriott Memphis East, 5795 Poplar Avenue (Off of the Poplar Ave exit from I-240 (Exit 15A, follow signs for Poplar Ave EAST)), ☎ +1 901-682-0080. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Offers indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, a restaurant and lounge.
8 Quality Inn, 42 S.Camilla St (Midtown, close to Interstate 240 at S Camillia St & Union St (US Hwy 51)), ☎ +1 901 526-1050, fax: +1 901 525-3219. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Offers good, clean mid-range lodging.
9 Country Inn & Suites, 2270 N Germantown Parkway (Along Germantown Pkwy south of I-40, south of Ikea Way/Varnavas Dr), ☎ +1 901 386-1110, toll-free: +1 800 830-5222, fax: +1 901 386-8801.


10 Peabody Hotel, 149 Union Avenue (Along Union between S 2nd & B.B. King, a couple blocks east of AutoZone Stadium in downtown.). 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.
11 River Inn of Harbor Town, 50 Harbor Town Square (NE of the A.W. Willis Bridge and Island Dr roundabout at west end of A.W. Willis Bridge on Harbor Town Island), ☎ +1 901 260-3333, toll-free: +1-877-222-1531. Overlooks the Mississippi River, offering luxury in a delightful boutique hotel atmosphere.
12 The Madison Hotel, 79 Madison Ave (Madison & S Center Ln in downtown), ☎ +1 901 333-1200. Downtown near the river, it is a modern boutique hotel with a clean lines, contemporary vibe and stylish luxury. The Madison Hotel was awarded Number One Small Luxury Four Diamond Hotel in Memphis. Make sure not to miss Grill 83--at street level--with its excellent seafood, steaks, and martini lounge, and the sweeping rooftop garden with breathtaking views of downtown and the Mississippi River.

Not categorized by price

13 Holiday Inn - Downtown, 169 Union Avenue (Union and 2nd Ave), ☎ +1 901 525-5491. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Not flashy, but a decent place to stay. Holiday Inn was founded in Memphis in 1952.
14 Holiday Inn - University of Memphis, 3700 Central Avenue (Central Ave & Deloach St north of the University of Memphis campus), ☎ +1 901 678-8200. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM.
15 Memphis Sheraton, 250 North Main Street (N Main St & Exchange St north of downtown), ☎ +1 901 527-7300, toll-free: +1 866 716-8134.
16 Motel 6, 210 S Pauline St (S Pauline St and Union. South of the medical complex), ☎ +1 901 528-0650.
17 Residence Inn Memphis Downtown, 110 Monroe Avenue (Monroe & Main St in downtown), ☎ +1 901 578-3700, fax: +1 901 578-3999.
18 SpringHill Suites Memphis Downtown, 21 North Main Street (SW of the Court Square), ☎ +1 901 522-2100, toll-free: +1-800-593-6415, fax: +1 901 522-2110.
19 Staybridge Suites, 1070 Ridge Lake Blvd, ☎ +1 901 682-1722.



The Commercial Appeal. A daily newspaper.
Memphis Flyer. An alternative newspaper free.


Memphis Public Library (MPL).

Stay safe

Safety in downtown Memphis has greatly improved in the last few years. Throughout the day, especially at night, there is usually a large police presence downtown, especially in the area around Beale Street. Use common sense when traveling in Memphis, just as you would anywhere else. Leave no valuables in plain sight in your car, and be mindful of where you are, especially at night. It is also wise to stay away from areas in North and South Memphis, as these areas have very high rates of crime.

Stay healthy

Memphis has some of the best hospitals in the region. Methodist, Baptist, and Saint Francis are the main hospitals in the city. The Regional Medical Center at Memphis (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. The Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital is world-renowned for its treatment of children's cancers.

Go next

West Memphis, Arkansas
Oxford (Mississippi).


Educational Institutions

Online Resources

Official Website