The Coolest Neighborhoods in Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee / (c) dconvertini / Flickr
Memphis, Tennessee / (c) dconvertini / Flickr
Leena Kollar

Whether you’re visiting Memphis or you’re house hunting, there are certain parts of town you should be sure to check out. Here are some of the coolest places to go for food, drinks, meeting new friends and getting a strong grasp on what Memphis is all about.

Downtown

Home to the Beale Street Entertainment District, downtown Memphis is popular with tourists and locals. With bustling nightlife, iconic restaurants and picturesque landmarks, the downtown area sits in stark contrast to the more central, slower-paced neighborhoods. Many young professionals live downtown to take advantage of the condo lifestyle. Some of the most frequented bars and blues clubs include B.B. King’s Blues Club, Silky O’Sullivan’s, Rum Boogie Cafe and Club 152. Beale Street Landing offers a river cruise boat dock with sweeping views of the Mississippi River and has the only public playground in the area.

Downton Memphis, TN, USA

Beale Street in Memphis

Cooper-Young is a mostly residential neighborhood with a diverse mix of progressive families, artists and LGBTQ residents. The area features 1920s-style bungalows, as well as mom-and-pop coffee shops and trendy restaurants that give Cooper-Young a laid-back, relaxed vibe. Restaurants include the popular Imagine Vegan Cafe and Young Avenue Deli, which serves award-winning French fries. Be sure to stop by artist Jill Turman’s Cooper Young Trestle, a 150-ft. steel sculpture, created in 2000, that sits along an abandoned rail track and features tiny homes based on actual houses in the neighborhood.
Cooper-Young, Memphis, TN, USA

1. Crosstown

Bar, Grocery Store, Grocery Store

This up-and-coming arts district expanded in August 2017 when the Sears Crosstown building underwent renovations. Known as the Crosstown Concourse, the mixed-use development comprises commercial, residential and retail partners, including restaurants, a grocery store, an art center and a charter high school. You’ll also find Memphis’ only hula-hooping fitness studio and Midtown Crossing, a local bar that hosts art shows and comedy nights. Catch nightly punk music shows at Hi Tone with your new neighbors, mostly young professionals and lower-income families.
Crosstown, Memphis, TN, USA

South Main

Wealthy millennials are flocking to South Main, also known as the South Main Arts District. The area features boutiques, galleries, upscale restaurants and Memphis’ largest farmers’ market, as well as eateries, such as Max’s Sports Bar, Spindini and Japanese-fusion burger joint Oshi. A few blocks from South Main Street is Loflin Yard, a rustic outdoor bar with a waterfall. The last Friday of every month is South Main Trolley Night, when shops and galleries stay open late and host special public events.
South Main, Memphis, TN, USA

South Main Street

2. Binghampton

Many low-income families and young millennials call Binghampton home, where rent is cheap and the community is tightly-knit. Residents enjoy the Broad Avenue Arts District, the Hampline bicycle path and the eateries along Broad Avenue. Caritas Village, the community center, was established to break down hostility among people of different backgrounds. Wiseacre Brewing Co., one of Memphis’ main breweries, is not far from the arts district and features a taproom, rec room, an adult arcade and vintage gaming consoles.
Binghampton, Memphis, TN, USA

East Memphis

Filled with 1950s ranch homes, East Memphis is a mostly conservative, quiet neighborhood, where middle- and high-income families live. You’ll find the only Whole Foods in the city here, as well as upscale restaurants, such as Hog & Hominy, Acre, Windjammer and Patrick’s. The Shelby Farms Greenline, a 10.65-mile bike and pedestrian path, runs through East Memphis and connects to Shelby Farms Park and Cordova.
East Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA

3. Harbor Town

Cafe, Cafe

Harbor Town is on the Northern edge of downtown on Mud Island. The area features upscale townhomes and condos overlooking the Mississippi River. Empty-nesters and upper-class families make-up a large portion of the residents in this relatively small area that is somewhat isolated from downtown. Food and drink offerings are a bit lacking, but you will find coffee shop Cafe Eclectic, and Miss Cordelia’s grocery. Residents enjoy Mud Island River Park, a free public park with a river walk that is an exact scale model of the lower Mississippi River, where visitors can wade in the water or ride pedal boats.
Harbor Town, Memphis, TN, USA

Mud Island River Park | © Lindsey Turner/Flickr

4. Midtown

Midtown is where artistic folks gather. Hipsters and political progressives make up most of the residents in the historic homes with wraparound porches, as well as the rundown apartments just blocks away. The area is home to Overton Square, which has bars and restaurants with incredibly diverse food options. Some of the hot spots include Bayou Bar & Grill, Bar Louie, The Crazy Noodle and Bari Ristorante. Overton Park has 342-acres with running trails, natural forests, a dog park, a lake, the Levitt Shell amphitheater and plenty of space to enjoy picnics or a game of Frisbee.
Midtown, Memphis, TN, USA

5. Cordova

Apartment

You’ll find middle-class families in Cordova’s range of homes from midsized to massive, as well as some apartment complexes. The two-story shopping mall, Wolfchase Galleria, includes most major retailers. Eateries include locally owned restaurants and chains, such as the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Casbah Restaurant and Chang’s Bubble Tea Cafe, as well as the mainstays Chili’s, Applebee’s and On The Border.

Cordova, Memphis, TN, USA

6. University District

University

University of Memphis
©Alex Vranas/Flickr
The University District is home to the University of Memphis, so you’ll find college students and recent graduates here. Highland Row is where the action happens, including Newby’s, which has been dubbed “The college bar you never graduate from.” Brother Juniper’s is a popular brunch spot, and residents get their caffeine fix at Avenue Coffee.
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