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

Memphis is the largest city in the state of Tennessee. The state rests in the southeastern portion of the United States. Memphis, with a population totaling more than 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.


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 once again have a vested interest in making downtown a safe, exciting place to visit and relax in after decades of abandonment.

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

Get in

Overview map of Memphis

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

By plane

  Memphis International Airport (IATA: MEM). Memphis is the primary FedEx distribution center, and, with the world's second busiest cargo airport, the sky is always full of planes making your eBay purchase a glorious reality. Passenger service at Memphis has shrunk in recent years as Delta no longer maintains a hub here. In fact, in spite of the airport's name, the only international flight still serving Memphis is a seasonal service from Cancun.

By car

By train

Blues in neon on Beale Street

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

By bus

Get around

Skyline of Memphis as seen from the Hernando de Soto Bridge

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.



The Edge

A wreathe marking the spot where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, Lorraine Motel, National Civil Rights Museum


East Memphis

South Memphis

Around town

Elvis' final resting place at Graceland. His middle name was usually spelled with just one "A", but legally had two




Protester statue at the National Civil Rights Museum


Out East


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.


Beef ribs at Interstate BBQ


An empty Beale Street after the bars have closed

East Memphis

Evolution on display at the Pink Palace Museum



The Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Variations of Quick

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


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


Beale Street coming to life at dusk


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



The famous Peabody Hotel ducks enjoying their afternoon dip


Not categorized by price



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

Routes through Memphis

Champaign Carbondale  N  S  Greenwood Jackson
Little Rock West Memphis  W  E  Bartlett Nashville
St. Louis West Memphis  N  S  Southaven Jackson
Cape Girardeau West Memphis  N  S  Tunica Clarksdale
Searcy West Memphis  W  E  Bartlett Chattanooga
Little Rock West Memphis  W  E  Bartlett Nashville
END  W  E  Corinth Huntsville
Clarksville Bartlett  N  S  West Memphis Pine Bluff

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 17, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.