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What's the best neighborhood in Memphis for a first time visitor?

I've never been to Memphis and I'm a little overwhelmed by all the hotel options. I'd like to stay in a hotel that is central and gives me good sense of what Memphis is like. I'd love to know where locals tell their friends to stay when they visit, and why those areas and hotels are special. thanks!

5 Answers

top answer by
Karen from Memphis, Tn

I've only lived here 4 years (moved from Chicago) but think the Downtown area would be your best bet. You'd be able to walk to a few places though parking in Memphis is usually not an issue. I live in Midtown and can't think of any hotels in this area yet. Overton Square in Midtown has been booming lately with restaurants and stores but the old vacant hotels are still in the works for construction. Walking downtown is a bit depressing with all the closed up shops on Main St. There are the touristy things to do like Beale St. Peabody Hotel is gorgeous and you have the Peobody ducks that come out morning and stay until 5pm I think. Places to check out would be Cooper-Young neighborhood for places to eat and a few shops. Overton Square is buzzing with energy now that it has been revitalized. Stax Museum is impressive (I didn't have high expectations when I took a musician friend from San Diego). National Civil Rights Museum. Over on Mud Island there is a water area with a scaled down version of the Mississippi River from beginning to end. More for kids but still fun to see and get your feet wet on a hot day. South Main has some nice businesses:

Here is a good website to check out:

Every Friday she posts 5 things to do on the weekend. I prefer the more urban areas so going out east to the burbs is not really my thing. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown (attraction)
  2. Midtown (attraction)
  3. Overton Square (attraction)
  4. Peabody Hotel (hotel)
  5. Cooper-Young (neighborhood)
  6. Stax Museum (attraction)
  7. National Civil Rights Museum (attraction)
  8. Mud Island (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Kimble from Memphis, Tennessee

Midtown is where most of the historic neighborhoods are, though downtown's revival has seen a lot of adaptive reuse of warehouses into condos, etc.  However there are almost no hotels. I'm an airbnb host and recommend you try it, HomeAway, or Flipkey.  My neighborhood, Central Gardens, is just a jewel, with beautiful historic architecture, incredible landscape and many guest houses situated behind main houses.  

Those websites will offer a room with a host, or your own private rental and many of them at the cost of the avg hotel.  Beside Central Gardens, also look for rentals in Cooper-Young (if you are south of Central Ave, stay east of Mclane) and Evergreen.  You'll be 10 minutes from downtown and 10 minutes from all of midtown's fun, including the Levitt Shell, multiple breweries, Overton Park, Memphis Zoo, Overton Square, the theater district, Broad Ave, Crosstown and Cooper-Young.  

If you prefer a hotel there are many good ones downtown and one right by I-240 in midtown, I believe it's a Holiday Inn Express, it's on Union Ave.  

Hope you have a blast!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Midtown (attraction)
  2. Central Gardens (attraction)
  3. Cooper-Young (neighborhood)
  4. Evergreen (attraction)
  5. Levitt Shell (attraction)
  6. Overton Park (attraction)
  7. Memphis Zoo (attraction)
  8. Overton Square (attraction)
  9. Crosstown (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Johnny from Las Vegas

I'm not a local but locals drove me around the Germantown (Tennessee) area and I really liked it.  Lots of Southern Plantation type of homes and mansions in general.  You might also want to consider seeing Graceland while you're there!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Germantown (Tennessee) (city)
  2. Graceland (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Geneva from Santa Barbara

I'm live in California too, but my husband's family is in Memphis and I look forward to visiting them every year. I can't speak to hotel options (ah, the joys of family), but I love the Cooper-Young neighborhood. It is young, bright and friendly, with lots of walkable shopping, restaurants and nightlife. I like to visit Goner RecordsBar DKDC and Tart - while I'm there. It's also pretty easy to get from here to other areas, like the Memphis Zoo and downtown. 

There is so much good food in Memphis! (Let me know if you need any recommendations, like Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken and Hog & Hominy.) And live music. You're going to have a blast!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cooper-Young (neighborhood)
  2. Goner Records (attraction)
  3. Bar DKDC (restaurant)
  4. Tart - (restaurant)
  5. Memphis Zoo (attraction)
  6. Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken (restaurant)
  7. Hog & Hominy (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Marie from Lethbridge

The Crowne Plaza Downtown is reasonably priced and the staff is very friendly. It's less than a block away from the Memphis Cook Convention Center and within 6 or 7 blocks of Beale Street, Front Street, Mud Island River Park, the Peabody Hotel, the Bass Pro Shops and lots of museums. After a long day exploring, hop the Main Street bus and be back at the hotel in minutes.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Crowne Plaza (hotel)
  2. Memphis Cook Convention Center (attraction)
  3. Mud Island River Park (attraction)
  4. Peabody Hotel (hotel)
  5. Bass Pro Shops (attraction)
1 thanks

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