A Local’s Guide to Memphis Neighborhoods

Memphis is a city with a soul that manifests itself in its diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. Each district offers a distinct mix of food, music, culture, and activities, providing a rich tapestry of experiences. From the historic heart of Downtown to the suburban charm of East Memphis, this guide will take you on a journey through the unique worlds within the city. Whether you’re a visitor or a local looking to rediscover your hometown, these neighborhoods are must-visit destinations, each with its own story to tell and treasures to uncover.

Key Takeaways

  • Memphis neighborhoods offer a diverse array of experiences, from the bustling nightlife of Beale Street to the tranquil Riverside.
  • Midtown is the cultural heartbeat of Memphis, with a plethora of arts, entertainment, and dining options set amidst historic districts.
  • South Memphis is steeped in soul, home to iconic music landmarks like Stax Museum and Graceland, and authentic Southern cuisine.
  • East Memphis provides a mix of upscale amenities and outdoor adventures, making it a family-friendly area with suburban appeal.
  • Each neighborhood in Memphis, including the artsy South Main District and the revitalized Crosstown Concourse, has its own unique charm and attractions.

Downtown Memphis: The Heart of the City

Downtown Memphis: The Heart of the City

Downtown Memphis is the pulsing heart of this historic city, where the past and present merge to create an experience unlike any other. Here, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and history that Memphis is renowned for.

Beale Street Nightlife

Beale Street is synonymous with the Memphis music scene. It’s a place where the blues still echo through the air, and live music is a staple. From jazz to rock ‘n’ roll, the street’s lively bars and clubs offer an unforgettable night out.

Historic Landmarks & Museums

Downtown is rich with history, from the National Civil Rights Museum to the iconic Memphis Pyramid. Explore the Mississippi Riverfront, visit the Mud Island Park, and honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a reflective walk through history.

Riverside Relaxation and Activities

The Mississippi River is a central feature of Downtown Memphis, offering a serene escape from the urban hustle. Memphis offers vibrant urban green spaces for community events, sports, and relaxation. Join the active living community with fitness groups, outdoor yoga, and biking trails.

Downtown Memphis is not just a place, but a journey through American heritage, a celebration of diversity, and a hub for entertainment and relaxation.

Midtown: The Cultural Hub

Midtown: The Cultural Hub

Midtown Memphis is where the city’s creative pulse beats the strongest, a true cultural hub teeming with artistic expression and eclectic vibes. Here, the streets are lined with a mix of historic charm and modern flair, making it a favorite for locals and visitors alike.

Arts and Entertainment

Discover the heart of Midtown’s arts scene at venues like the historic Levitt Shell, where music legends have performed under the stars. The neighborhood’s crown jewel, Overton Park, not only offers lush greenery but also houses a world-class art museum and an outdoor music venue that’s perfect for those warm, Southern nights.

Eclectic Dining Experiences

Midtown’s dining scene is as diverse as its residents. From farm-to-table eateries like Bounty on Broad to the unique flavors found in the Cooper-Young Historic District, your taste buds are in for a treat. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in a brunch that showcases the best of local produce.

Charming Historic Districts

Stroll through Midtown’s historic districts, where the past and present merge seamlessly. The Broad Avenue Arts District has transformed from a forsaken street to a vibrant community hub, complete with locally owned shops and restaurants. At night, witness the water tower’s light show, a beacon of the area’s revitalization.

Midtown Memphis is not just a place to visit; it’s a vibrant community that invites you to be part of its story, to live and breathe its artistic spirit, and to create memories that will last a lifetime.

South Memphis: Soulful Streets

South Memphis: Soulful Streets

South Memphis is a treasure trove of soul and history, where the echoes of musical legends resonate through the streets. Here, you can immerse yourself in the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, a testament to the rich musical heritage that defines this vibrant community. Just a short drive away, you’ll find yourself at the gates of Graceland, the iconic home of Elvis Presley, a pilgrimage site for fans from around the world. And no visit to South Memphis would be complete without savoring the flavors of authentic Southern cuisine, where each dish tells a story of tradition and heart.

  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music: Dive into the roots of soul music and discover the stories behind the hits.
  • Graceland: Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll at his beloved mansion.
  • Authentic Southern Eateries: Indulge in culinary delights that are as rich in history as they are in taste.

South Memphis is not just a place to visit, but an experience to be felt with all the senses. It’s where the city’s history & heritage come alive, inviting you to see yourself in the story of Memphis.

East Memphis: Suburban Charm

East Memphis: Suburban Charm

East Memphis is a haven for those seeking a suburban retreat with plenty of activities for the whole family. Shelby Farms Park stands out as a jewel in the city, offering a myriad of outdoor adventures. Whether you’re into horseback riding, hiking, or simply enjoying a picnic by the lake, this urban park caters to all ages and interests.

East Memphis isn’t just about the great outdoors; it’s a cultural hotspot too. With attractions like the Dixon Gallery & Gardens and the Memphis Botanic Garden, art and nature enthusiasts will find themselves immersed in beauty and creativity.

For those who love to shop and dine, East Memphis does not disappoint. Here’s a quick list of must-visit spots:

  • Novel, the city’s cherished independent bookstore
  • A selection of cinemas for movie buffs
  • Upscale shopping centers and restaurants

Memphis’s BBQ culture shines with top joints like Central BBQ, Leonard’s Pit Barbecue, Blues City Cafe, Cozy Corner, and A&R Bar-B-Que offering unique flavors and experiences.

The South Main Arts District: Creativity Afoot

The South Main Arts District: Creativity Afoot

The South Main Arts District is where creativity and community converge. With a reawakened Main Street, this district is celebrated for its vibrant artisan shopping and unique dining experiences. Stroll along the historic streets and you’ll find an array of art galleries and studios, each offering a glimpse into the local talent that thrives here.

Art Galleries and Studios

Art enthusiasts will revel in the district’s numerous galleries and studios. Whether you’re looking to admire or purchase, there’s a diverse selection of art to explore. Here’s a quick guide to some of the standout spaces:

  • Art Village Gallery: A multicultural hub for diverse artistic expressions.
  • South Main Artspace Lofts: Live/work spaces for artists that also host community events.
  • D’Edge Art & Unique Treasures: Where local art meets eclectic collectibles.

Trendy Boutiques and Cafes

The district’s boutiques and cafes are as much about the experience as they are about the goods. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon sipping coffee at a sidewalk cafe or searching for one-of-a-kind items in the trendy boutiques. Notable spots include:

  • Bluff City Coffee & Bakery: Indulge in freshly baked treats and robust coffee blends.
  • Walking Pants Curiosities: A quirky shop filled with unique gifts and local art.

Monthly Art Walks

Join the community during the monthly art walks, where the streets come alive with music, performances, and open gallery nights. It’s a perfect opportunity to mingle with artists and art lovers alike.

The South Main Arts District is not just a place to see art—it’s a place to experience the pulse of Memphis’s creative heart.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, the South Main Arts District offers a slice of Memphis’s artistic soul that’s not to be missed.

Crosstown Concourse: A Community Revived

Crosstown Concourse: A Community Revived

Crosstown Concourse, once a Sears Distribution Center, has been transformed into a vibrant community hub on a 12-acre site. With a staggering 1,500,000-square-foot space, it encapsulates a full neighborhood within its historic walls.

Innovative Living Spaces

The Concourse is home to a dynamic mix of apartments catering to young professionals, creating a bustling atmosphere of creativity and community living.

Local Markets and Craftsmanship

Residents and visitors can enjoy a variety of over a dozen restaurants, from farm-to-table options to a delightful popsicle bar. The presence of a gym, places of worship, a health care center, and a farmers market enriches the local lifestyle.

  • Farm-to-table dining
  • Popsicle bar
  • Gym and wellness facilities
  • Farmers market

Health and Wellness Centers

The addition of a brewery that not only makes but also distributes beer onsite is a testament to the innovative spirit of Crosstown Concourse. Regular community events and celebrations foster a strong sense of togetherness.

Crosstown Concourse is not just a place to live or work; it’s a community that celebrates the spirit of Memphis with every event and gathering.

The Edge District: The Cutting Edge of Cool

Nestled between two of Memphis’ most popular boroughs, the Edge District is a vibrant tapestry of history and modernity. Here, the echoes of the roaring 20s blend with the pulse of contemporary culture, creating an atmosphere that’s both nostalgic and electric.

Breweries and Distilleries

Savor the local flavors at High Cotton Brewing Co., where the rustic charm of a former carriage house meets the innovation of craft beer. Just a stone’s throw away, you can continue your taste adventure at Edge Alley, a multi-use hub that’s not just a coffee shop and restaurant, but also a brunch favorite among locals.

Live Music Venues

The Edge District strikes a chord with music lovers too. It’s the proud home of Sun Studio, a cornerstone of Memphis history where legendary tracks were laid down. The area’s industrial vibe provides a unique backdrop for live performances that resonate through the streets.

Creative Eateries and Shops

Explore the Shab Chic Marketplace, a colorful ensemble of shipping containers turned pop-up retail market. This innovative space captures the district’s spirit of creativity and community. And when hunger strikes, the area’s eateries offer a feast for the senses, with menus as diverse as the neighborhood itself.

The Edge District is a place where the past and present converge, offering an array of hangouts that embody the soul of Memphis. From the hum of machinery turned art installations to the aroma of fresh brews and bites, every corner tells a story waiting to be discovered.

Cooper-Young: Where History Meets Hip

Cooper-Young: Where History Meets Hip

Bohemian Vibes and Nightlife

The Cooper-Young neighborhood is the epitome of bohemian charm and a nightlife destination that’s both historically hip and undeniably vibrant. With a plethora of bars, restaurants, and cultural hotspots, it’s the perfect place for a night out. Locals and visitors alike flock here to experience the unique atmosphere and community spirit that make Cooper-Young a Memphis treasure.

Annual Cooper-Young Festival

The Annual Cooper-Young Festival is a highlight of the Memphis cultural calendar, bringing together music, art, and community in a celebration of the neighborhood’s eclectic spirit. This event showcases local talent and invites everyone to enjoy the creativity and camaraderie that define Cooper-Young.

Vintage Shopping

Vintage enthusiasts rejoice! Cooper-Young is a haven for those seeking one-of-a-kind finds. From clothing to accessories, the neighborhood’s vintage shops offer treasures from various eras, ensuring that every visit yields a new discovery.

Cooper-Young is not just a neighborhood; it’s a vibrant community where history and modernity dance in the streets, creating an experience that’s uniquely Memphis.

Overton Square: The Theatrical Thoroughfare

Overton Square: The Theatrical Thoroughfare

Performing Arts and Theaters

Overton Square is the heartbeat of Memphis’s performing arts scene. With venues like Playhouse on the Square and the historic Orpheum Theatre, the area is a magnet for theater enthusiasts and those seeking a touch of Broadway. Ballet Memphis adds a graceful note to the district, with their new headquarters inviting passersby to glimpse rehearsals.

Al Fresco Dining and Bars

The culinary landscape of Overton Square is as vibrant as its theaters. Babalu’s patio is the perfect spot for guacamole and margaritas, while Bayou Bar & Grill offers a taste of Memphis-style cajun cuisine. Whether you’re craving Spanish tapas or Cajun-Creole dishes, you’ll find an eatery to satisfy your palate.

Seasonal Events and Festivities

The square isn’t just a daily destination; it’s also the stage for various seasonal events that bring the community together. From live music at Lafayette’s Music Room to film festivals at Malco Studio on the Square, there’s always something to celebrate in this lively arts district.

Overton Square has re-emerged as a Memphis hot spot for live music, food, and dancing, boasting a rich array of live performance venues and dining options for every taste.

Broad Avenue Arts District: The Artistic Alley

Broad Avenue Arts District: The Artistic Alley

Once a forgotten stretch of road, Broad Avenue has transformed into a vibrant arts district that pulses with creativity. Here, you’ll find a unique blend of artisanal shops, galleries, and eateries that embody the spirit of Memphis.

Murals and Public Art

Broad Avenue is a canvas for local artists, with murals that bring life to the streets. The iconic water tower, adorned with a colorful mural, becomes a beacon of light at night, showcasing the area’s artistic flair.

Artisanal Workshops and Classes

Embrace your inner artist with workshops and classes offered by the talented locals. Whether you’re interested in painting, pottery, or jewelry making, there’s a creative space for you to explore your passions.

Boutique Shopping

Discover one-of-a-kind items at the district’s boutique shops. From fashion-forward pieces at 20twelve to the farm-to-table delights of Bounty on Broad, each store offers a unique slice of Memphis culture.

Broad Avenue is not just a street; it’s a celebration of art, community, and local entrepreneurship that captures the essence of Memphis.

  • Local Art: Murals and installations that transform the district.
  • Community Events: Festivals and performances at the Water Tower Pavilion.
  • Unique Shopping: One-of-a-kind items from locally owned shops.
  • Culinary Delights: Farm-to-table dining experiences.

Broad Avenue is a testament to the city’s resilience and creativity, a place where art is not just observed but lived and breathed. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this district invites you to be part of the Memphis renaissance.

Germantown: The Upscale Getaway

Germantown: The Upscale Getaway

Germantown, nestled to the east of Memphis, is the epitome of suburban luxury and charm. With its affluent atmosphere, it’s a place where you can indulge in the finer things in life. Explore the shops of Saddle Creek for high fashion finds, or take a romantic stroll through the quaint streets that boast a blend of modern amenities and serene landscapes.

Luxury Accommodations

Germantown offers a variety of upscale accommodations that cater to those seeking comfort and elegance. Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, you’ll find a perfect place to rest and rejuvenate.

Fine Dining and Wine Bars

Southern Social is the go-to spot for a twist on southern favorites, making it an ideal setting for a romantic evening. For those who appreciate a good BBQ, Commissary serves up some of the city’s best ribs, ensuring a delightful culinary experience.

Equestrian Events and Parks

The town is not just about upscale living; it’s also a haven for nature and animal lovers. With numerous biking and hiking trails along the Wolf River, you’re likely to encounter wildlife from blue herons to graceful deer.

Germantown is a harmonious blend of natural beauty and refined living, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while still being close enough to enjoy all that Memphis has to offer.

Collierville: Old Town Charm

Collierville: Old Town Charm

Historic Town Square

Step back in time as you stroll through the Historic Town Square of Collierville, where tradition and community come together. Main Street Collierville encapsulates the essence of small-town charm with its array of antique shops, local dining, and a calendar full of community events.

Family Recreation and Parks

Collierville is a haven for families, offering numerous parks and recreational areas. Whether it’s a picnic, a game of frisbee, or a leisurely walk, there’s a space for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.

Antique Shops and Local Dining

Discover unique treasures in the quaint antique shops dotted around town. After a day of exploration, indulge in the local cuisine that boasts a mix of traditional Southern flavors and innovative culinary creations.

Collierville is a community that prides itself on preserving its rich history while fostering a welcoming atmosphere for all who visit.


As we wrap up our journey through the vibrant neighborhoods of Memphis, we hope this guide has illuminated the unique character and soul of each community. From the historic beats of Downtown to the artistic pulse of Midtown, the cultural richness of South Memphis, and the suburban charm of East Memphis and beyond, there’s a Memphis neighborhood that resonates with every visitor. Remember, the true spirit of Memphis is best experienced on foot, exploring the nooks and crannies that give this city its authentic flavor. So lace up your walking shoes, dive into the local scene, and let the diverse tapestry of Memphis neighborhoods enchant you. Whether you’re here for the music, the food, or the sheer joy of exploration, you’re sure to leave with memories as warm as a Tennessee sunset.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes each Memphis neighborhood unique?

Memphis is celebrated for its diversity, with each neighborhood offering distinct food, music, atmosphere, and activities. From the historic charm of Downtown to the cultural vibrancy of Midtown and the soulful streets of South Memphis, every area presents a new world of experiences.

What are some must-visit places in Downtown Memphis?

Downtown Memphis is known for the Beale Street Entertainment District, the ‘Mighty’ Mississippi Riverfront, Grizzlies games at FedExForum, and iconic landmarks like Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid and Mud Island Park.

Where can I experience the arts in Memphis?

Midtown is the cultural hub with venues like Crosstown Concourse and Overton Square Performing Arts District. The South Main Arts District and Broad Avenue Arts District are also key areas for art galleries, live music, and artisanal workshops.

What is special about South Memphis?

South Memphis is famed for its rich musical heritage, featuring the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. It’s also a place to savor authentic Southern cuisine.

Can you recommend outdoor activities in Memphis?

Shelby Farms Park in East Memphis offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including hiking, biking, and water activities. The city also boasts numerous parks and green spaces for family recreation.

What type of nightlife can I find in Memphis?

Beale Street in Downtown is the epicenter of Memphis nightlife with its vibrant array of bars, clubs, and live music venues. The Cooper-Young and Overton Square districts also offer a lively mix of nightlife options.

Where should I go for shopping in Memphis?

East Memphis provides upscale shopping experiences, while the South Main Arts District and Broad Avenue Arts District feature trendy boutiques and unique shops. For a more historic setting, Collierville’s Town Square offers antique shopping and local stores.

Are there any annual festivals or events in Memphis neighborhoods?

Yes, Memphis hosts various annual events such as the Cooper-Young Festival, seasonal festivities in Overton Square, and monthly art walks in the South Main Arts District, celebrating the city’s vibrant culture and community spirit.

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