Have you ever wanted to live in a city where music and culture fill the streets? Then Memphis might be the perfect place for you! Not only is the second largest city in Tennessee the birthplace of rock and roll, but it also has affordable housing, great schools, some of the best barbecue, and much more. So if you’re thinking about moving to Memphis, here are 14 things you should know before you pack your bags!
Affordable Living in Memphis
One of the reasons why people find living in Memphis, TN, to be so great is the price of living. The city’s cost of living is 18% lower than the national average and has a 3.9% unemployment rate. Homes in this area have a median home price of $93,700 and median rent of $842, which makes living here perfect no matter your stage in life! Memphis is also home to several major employers and corporations, such as FedEx, AutoZone, ServiceMaster, International Paper, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, so job opportunities with good companies are widely available.
Great Schools to Choose From
Whether you’re planning to start a family or ready to look at colleges, Memphis has a school for you. There are a combined 290 private and public schools in the area with many ranking in the top 20 for the state! If you’re searching for private schools, St. Mary’s Episcopal School and Memphis University School both have an average graduation rate of 100%. There’s also White Station High School, an excellent public school option in the area. It’s ranked 7 out of 331 for best college prep public high schools in Tennessee. Ever wonder what it’s like to attend a college that not only excels in academics, but athletics as well? The University of Memphis (or the U of M, as most people call it) is home to the NCAA Division-1 Memphis Tigers and has over 200 areas of study that you can explore.
Activities for the Whole Family
Looking for something for your entire family to do? There are plenty of fun places to go and things to do in Memphis with kids! Enjoy both the indoor and outdoor exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Memphis, where you can take a ride on the newly-restored Grand Carousel or dig for dinosaur bones. If your family is full of history buffs, then you’ll want to check out Pink Palace Museum located in Midtown Memphis. Explore the history of the Mid-South and see the famous shrunken head that’s on display! Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or not, Bass Pro Shops at The Pyramid is one of many places in Memphis that everyone loves! Inside this 535,000-square-foot pyramid is an aquarium, interactive wetlands museum, archery range, bowling alley, nautical-themed restaurant, and 103-room hotel.
Spend the Day with Giant Pandas
As one of the only four U.S. zoos that house giant pandas, it’s no surprise that visiting Memphis Zoo is one of the best things to do in Memphis. There are over 4,500 animals and 17 exhibits for you to discover throughout the 70-acre zoo. Watch elephants raise their trunks high in the African Veldt, or observe two-toed sloths hang from branches in Animals of the Night. The zoo also offers several seasonal exhibits like Camel Excursion and Stingray Bay. And during the winter months, the zoo is draped with lights and an ice rink is built to put everyone in the festive spirit!
See the Infamous Peabody Duck March
A long-standing, internationally-known tradition at The Peabody Memphis, the Peabody Duck March is one of the top Memphis attractions to see! For more than 80 years now, visitors and spectators patiently wait as five mallard ducks descend from their penthouse, the Royal Duck Palace, to march the red carpet. At both 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., the Duck Master accompanies the sord to and from the hotel lobby to let these stars waddle through the fountain and greet their fans. These ducks have obtained quite the following over the years, appearing on both The Oprah Winfrey Show and Sesame Street!
Birthplace of Rock & Soul Music
When you’re living in Memphis, you’re living in the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and soul music. This city is home to many musical pioneers who blazed a trail for artists of all styles. Visit the location where music legends like Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Elvis Presley, and many more were discovered at Sun Studio. Want to see where Elvis stored his famous jumpsuits and spent time writing songs? Take a tour of Graceland and full immerse yourself in Elvis’s journey through life (which is considered a must do in Memphis). Or get a glimpse into the era when soul music started and how it has grown at Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Visit the National Civil Rights Museum
While Memphis is rich in music history, it’s also home to major moments in the American Civil Rights Movement. Located at the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the National Civil Rights Museum is one of the major things to see in Memphis. Visitors are taken back in time through five centuries of American history with 17 exhibits, interactive media displays, and hundreds of artifacts like the original lunch counter from a student sit-in. This museum is worth visiting, not only to learn about the history of the U.S., but also to see how the fight for change has lead to where we are today.
The City of BBQ
Music isn’t the only thing Bluff City is known for! The smoky aroma of barbecue fills the Memphis streets and neighborhoods everywhere you wander. Head over to Payne’s Original Bar-B-Q to try their delicious chopped pork sandwich, or grab Cornish hen and BBQ spaghetti at Cozy Corner. Central BBQ is all the rage among visitors and locals. Not only has it been featured on the Travel Channel and Food Network, but it’s considered to have the best BBQ in Memphis. Sink your teeth into their infamous Memphis-style ribs, 14-hour smoked pulled pork, or homemade chips and bleu cheese. There are over 100 Memphis BBQ places to choose from, so you’ll have to try them all to find your favorite!
Walk Along Iconic Beale Street
A National Historic Landmark and Home of the Blues, Beale Street is one of the most exciting Memphis attractions to experience! People from all over the world gather here to enjoy live entertainment, see where major stars got their start, and indulge in great food. Peak inside Alfred’s on Beale or Rum Boogie’s Cafe, and you’ll see local musicians putting on a show for everyone. Look down as you walk the area to find brass music notes lining the sidewalks with names of famous people from Memphis like Justin Timberlake, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Isaac Hayes. Discover amazing eats and drinks at one of the many Beale Street restaurants! Try the “best meal on Beale” at Blues City Cafe, or fill up on pulled pork tater tots at B.B. King’s Blues Club. If you want truly unique dining, head over to Silky O’Sullivan’s with a few friends and have their signature”Diver” while hanging out with the infamous Irish diving goats!
Experience Memphis in May
This event isn’t your average three-day music festival! Memphis in May International Festival is a month-long celebration of food, music, and diversity. Each week, there’s something new to try for locals and visitors, making it one of the most fun things to do in Memphis! The festivities begin with the Beale Street Music Festival, where you can listen to artists of every genre perform. The month of fun continues with the International Salute, where a different country is honored each year, allowing attendees to fully immerse themselves in a culture different from their own. And since Memphis is known for BBQ, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest has its own week! Enter your pulled pork sandwich to compete against some of the best barbecue in Memphis, or taste test some world-class rib tips. The month finishes off with a Memphis tribute at 901Fest and the Great American River Run.
Festivals for Your Taste Buds
Not sure where to eat in Memphis while enjoying the beautiful weather? Grab your friends and family and let your senses run wild at one of the many food and drink festivals! You can find a food journey like no other in Downtown Memphis, Memphis Medical District, and Overton Square. Fill your stomachs with bacon, eggs, and bloody marys throughout the entire day at the annual Breakfest. Try beers from over 30 breweries in the region at Cooper-Young Beerfest. Or if you want a true southern experience, Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival is the perfect place to dig into crawfish, enjoy a few cocktails, and take in all of the Cajun displays!
It’s All About Arts & Culture
In Memphis, all forms of art and culture are celebrated! As you walk through Memphis neighborhoods, you’ll see murals and paintings created by local artists sprawled on walls. Broad Avenue Art District is home to the some of the largest, most unique public art displays in the city, and the Water Tower mural is Memphis’ tallest piece of art. Art lovers should check out Dixon Gallery and Gardens, which is filled with French and American impressionist paintings, as well as thousands of German artifacts. Memphis is also a great place to enjoy all things performing arts, as the Orpheum Theatre and Cannon Center bring in major Broadway productions like Hamilton and Anastasia.
A Team for Any Sports Fan
The Memphis Redbirds (MiLB), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), and Memphis Tigers (NCAA) all call this city home. In fact, these Memphis sports teams all play within less than a mile of one an other. The Grizzlies and Tigers play at FedExForum, and the Redbirds swing away at AutoZone Park. If you’re feeling the need for speed, Memphis International Raceway has everything from drag racing to autocross. NASCAR fans have something to cheer about, too, when the NASCAR Memphis 150 returns! You can also be part of one of the biggest college rivalry football games by attending the Southern Heritage Classic. Every year, Memphis hosts this three-day event at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, where over 40,000 people come to tailgate, watch live performances, and enjoy some football!
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
No matter what season it is, the weather in Memphis is something to go out and enjoy! If you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids or pets, Shelby Farms Park is the perfect place to be. This 4500-acre park is one of the largest urban parks in the country with more than 40 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, paintball, and zip line. Take a stroll through Memphis Botanic Garden to see more than 30 unique gardens! Mud Island River Park is also a great place to enjoy the weather! Rent a peddleboat and take in the Memphis Skyline, or see an exact scale model of the Mississippi River at the Riverwalk. If you’re looking for an outdoor date idea, there’s always the option of a dinner cruise along the Mississippi River with Memphis Riverboat.
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