Collected by Lance Wiedower , AFAR Local Expert
Memphis is a city with character and plenty of soul. It can be found in its beloved blues and soul music, the rock 'n' roll that was born there, and the food that feeds it all. And the best part? It's all Downtown, where plenty of fun can be reached by foot.
Beale St, Memphis, TN, USA
Where the historic cobblestone landing meets Tom Lee Park, and the tip of Mud Island joins the Wolf River Harbor and the Mississippi River, you'll find Beale St Landing. This modern river dock is home of the Mother of all riverboats. Longer than a...
3905, 203 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The Orpheum Theatre features touring Broadway musicals, the shows of big-name bands, and performances by local companies. The Orpheum has recently hosted national musicals, including Jersey Boys, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Les Miserables,...
200 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
When AutoZone Park opened in the spring of 2000, it was widely considered to be the best ballpark below the Major League Baseball level. Fourteen years after that first season for the Redbirds’ home ballpark, it remains one of the best minor...
567 S Front St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
From April through October, much of Downtown Memphis’ residents—not to mention those who live throughout the region—can be found at the Memphis Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. Farmers and producers from around the Mid-South region bring...
288 S 4th St, Memphis, TN 38126, USA
One of the city’s more obscure and geographically isolated restaurants is also one of its best. Lunchbox Eats, located a block south of FedExForum at 288 S. Fourth St. near Pontotoc Avenue, serves good down-home cooking in a nondescript building....
100 S Main St #101, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Memphis is known for barbecue and good Southern cooking, but a number of pizza restaurants have come on the scene recently to add to the mix. Aldo’s was opened in the summer of 2012 by Aldo Dean, the man who brought Bardog Tavern to Downtown and...
361 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
South of Beale is the city's first gastropub, a title the restaurant's owners earned when they opened for business in 2009. Since then, the establishment has become one of Downtown's go-to spots for great food and drinks. Located just a couple...
122 Gayoso Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
There's no reason to decide if you're in the mood for coffee or beer before settling on Tamp & Tap. Downtown's newest bar offers coffee and tea as well as plenty of beer options. Tamp & Tap opened in the summer of 2013 and has quickly grown into a...
95 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
One of Downtown Memphis' sexy nightspots is Local Gastropub located along the Main Street Trolley line. Whether it's for happy hour, cocktail hour, dinner, or late-night drinks, Local fits the bill. The Downtown spot is the original; a newer...
191 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
It's said that Elvis recorded the first rock 'n' roll song nearby at Sun Studio. But to understand why Memphis was the perfect spot for Sam Phillips and Elvis to make that first rock record, a visit to the Rock 'n' Soul Museum is a must. The...
145 Lt. George W Lee Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Ever wonder about the instruments your favorite musicians play on stage? At the Gibson Beale Street Showcase in Downtown Memphis, you can learn about the famous guitar and see where it’s made. Lasting about 45 minutes, tours take visitors into the...
450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The site of everything from lunch counter sit-ins to the sanitation workers’ strike of 1968 that inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have been to the mountaintop” speech, Memphis occupies an important place in the history...
83 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Automatic Slim’s Restaurant was one of the trendy dining spots in Downtown Memphis before the neighborhood had fully begun making its resurgence in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The restaurant is in a funky and eclectic space filled with works...
160 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Belle Diner is a new lunch spot on the Downtown dining scene, but it's already making its mark, winning top honors in the October 2013 Battledish Memphis contest. Chef David Johnson has created several inventive menu items. Daily lunch plate...
113 E GE Patterson Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The Cheesecake Corner is a small, eclectic spot in the South Main Historic Arts District. It serves perfection on a plate. Well, perfection if the word means a slice of rich goodness sprinkled with sugar, chocolate, and whipped cream. The...
163 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Of course you need a hula skirt, along with Elvis sunglasses, sideburns, and a ukulele. A. Schwab's, the dry goods store that has been operating on Beale Street since 1876, sells all of it. Honestly, the store sells a lot of stuff. Need a hat,...
409 S Main St 3rd floor, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Visiting Memphis on the last Friday of the month? Head to the South Main Historic Arts District, where from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the South Main Art Trolley Tour makes the neighborhood jump. The historic warehouse district's resurgence began with...
517 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Don't get confused by the name. Memphis's Midtown Bike Co. is, in fact, located in Downtown. But according to the city's former cycling reputation, it's a wonder the store is located anywhere in the city. Just a few years ago, Memphis was...
149 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Remember all the cool black and pink clothes Elvis Presley wore in his early rock 'n' roll days? If you need a refresher, just head over to Lansky Brothers, a historic apparel store located at The Peabody Memphis. Current owner Hal Lansky's...
251 Riverside Dr, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Memphis Riverboats has been offering sightseeing and dinner cruises on the Mississippi River since 1955. The family-owned business operates the cruises from the historic Cobblestone Landing as well as the new Beale Street Landing facility nearby....
149 Union Ave #9, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Lansky 126 is the cool and more accessible sibling to the granddaddy of cool, Lansky's. Both stores—along with two other Lansky specialty stores—are located off the lobby of The Peabody Memphis. Lansky 126 is filled with women's fashions, trendy...
525 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
When it opened a few years ago in the heart of the South Main Historic Arts District, Sachë immediately began making a splash with its cool T-shirts designed in the back of the store. Some of those styles include ripped material, often...
147 E Butler Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Want to witness a "heated discussion" among Memphians? Ask five people for a favorite barbecue joint, and the answers are sure to be five different restaurants. But there is one spot most Memphians agree is at least on their list of finalists, and...
Riverside Dr, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The river is the city's greatest asset, but surprisingly, Memphis doesn't have many vantage points to truly enjoy the Mississippi. Tom Lee Park, at the foot of Beale Street, is one of the few spots. The long swath of open space adjacent to the...
735 North Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38105, USA
Don't let the nondescript exterior fool you. Cozy Corner, located near the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital campus in Uptown, has some of the city's best barbecue. This little shop gets busy at lunch for good reason; the barbecue bologna...
221 South B.B. King Boulevard, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Bleu Restaurant and Lounge isn't the type of eatery sports fans might consider for a pregame meal. But its location off the lobby of the Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel across the street from FedExForum makes Bleu the perfect spot to serve...
531 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Memphis is blessed with some great dive bars and burger joints, but no place combines the two concepts better than Earnestine & Hazel’s, an iconic spot on the edge of downtown, just a short walk from the debauchery of Beale Street. An...
125 N Front St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Mud Island River Park gives visitors the opportunity to get close to the Mississippi River while getting their toes wet along every inch of the Big Muddy. The park's Riverwalk is an exact replica of the entire length of the river from its...
251 Riverside Dr, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Beale Street Landing has taken years to come to fruition, but the riverboat docking facility is a welcome sight for those wanting to photograph the beautiful Mississippi River. In the planning and construction phases for about 10 years, the...
4458, 505 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Looking for a quiet spot Downtown to relax with a hot cup of coffee, maybe work on the Great American Novel? Bluff City Coffee is a shop frequented by residents and employees of the hip South Main neighborhood. The coffee is good; the setting is...
540 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
When downtown, Memphians looking for a good breakfast or meat-and-two lunch go straight to the Arcade, the landmark restaurant located in the heart of the South Main Historic Arts District. The city's oldest cafe has been serving quality food...
Riverwalk, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Looking for a place to walk or run with views of the Mississippi River? The Riverwalk along the top of the bluff might be the solution. The Riverwalk is a paved trail/sidewalk that begins where Riverside Drive heads downhill toward the river on...
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