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 one million persons, 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. Maybe more importantly, Memphis is the considered by many to be the home of blues music.
Downtown Memphis has experienced quite a rebirth and renewal in the last few years. The center of the city is clean, full of new development, and a great place to spend a day. 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 safe, exciting, and a great place to visit and relax.
A word of caution: Memphis is extremely hot in the summertime, and the humidity of the expansive Mississippi River can make you feel even hotter! Those who have trouble tolerating high heat and humidity may wish to avoid July and August; April through early June are the best times to visit.
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.
Memphis International Airport (IATA: MEM), . Memphis is the primary FedEx distribution center, and, as the world's busiest cargo airport, the air is always full of planes making your eBay purchase a glorious reality. Northwest Airlines maintains a hub at the airport, providing regional service and a few international flights. If you are flying non-stop to Memphis, chances are it will be on Northwest - it controls nearly 90% of all the passenger flights. A few other airlines do squeeze passengers into town:
AirTran Airways, Atlanta, Orlando.
American Airlines, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, St. Louis.
Continental Airlines, Cleveland, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Newark.
Delta Airlines, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City.
Frontier Airlines, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale.
United Airlines, Chicago O'Hare, Denver.
US Airways, Charlotte, Phoenix.
There are also a few non-scheduled passenger services which provide transportation to vacation destinations on a sporadic basis:
Archers Direct Holidays, .
Interstate 40 is a good route into town but doesn't go through Memphis; to get to the other side of 40 you have to take the North or the South loop, as they're called by locals.
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.
Parking - Except for downtown, parking is usually free. If you're downtown, try the "Parking Can Be Fun" garage on Union Avenue. It's cheap, absolutely bizarre, and right where you want to be.
Amtrak, . Service available from trains running up and down the Mississippi, as well as connections through major hubs. Great for a jaunt up to Chicago for world-class shopping or down to New Orleans for world-class drinking.
Greyhound, 203 Union Avenue, +1 800-231-2222, . National bus service.
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 operates downtown and into Midtown, mostly for the benefit of tourists.
Memphis is laid out in a more or less east/west fashion. Roads primarily go east/west and north/south. The expressway fortunately does not cut 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 happenin' place where locals and tourists go. Beyond that, you will find the suburbs of Germantown (Tennessee), Collierville, Cordova, and Bartlett. The area between downtown and Midtown 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.
Downtown Memphis. Buy a ticket and take the trolley to get a good overview of the area.
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 32oz cup of beer for $5 and go bar-hopping, many bars have no cover charge. Peabody Place is largely a tourist trap of the same stores you see at any large mall.
Mississippi River. River tours available most days through a variety of providers. Tom Lee Park is a nice place to view the river.
National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry St,