Where to Stay in Memphis – Neighborhoods & Area Guide

The city of Memphis can be found on a curve of the Mississippi River in the southwest of Tennessee. A city famed for being the home of blues music, Memphis has a lot of modern history and culture to explore. Memphis is the city where world-famous blue artists like B.B King, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash produced music. With thanks to these phenomenal artists, the humble Sun Studio gained legendary status. It is fair to say that no trip to Memphis would be complete without a trip to Sun Studio on Union Avenue

Memphis may have a lure for music lovers but there is more to this city than the sultry sound of blues. Memphis played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement and visitors can learn more about pioneers of black civil rights like Martin Luther King Jr at the National Civil Rights Museum. In fact, Memphis’ National Civil Rights Museum can be found on the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

From music to the civil rights movement and beyond, there is so much to see, do and explore in Memphis. Although it is a rather small city, the neighborhoods in Memphis vary greatly in their atmosphere and amenities.

Let’s explore where to stay in Memphis

Downtown

Downtown Memphis

Source: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Downtown Memphis

Downtown Memphis is where the action is. The beating heart of Downtown – in fact, the beating heart of all of Memphis – is Beale Street Entertainment District. For whistle-stop travelers who want to experience the essence of Memphis, Beale Street is the first and only place to visit.

This iconic street is lined with music venues and blues bars aplenty. Beale Street is paradise on earth for lovers of the blues genre. Running for 1.8-miles from East Street down to the Mississippi River, Beale Street is the place where lifelong memories are made in Memphis.

In the center of Beale Street, visitors will find a statue of the king of rock and roll himself, Elvis Presley.

Another important, must-visit destination in Downtown Memphis is the National Civil Rights Museum. Not only is this the site of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination in 1968, but the museum guides visitors through the fight for black liberation that dates back to the 17th Century.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Music Lovers, Sightseers Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Beale Street Entertainment District, National Civil Rights Museum, Sun Studio, Statue of Elvis Presley, Memphis Rock’n’Soul Museum, Orpheum Theater, Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum, Mallory-Neely House, Morris Park, Withers Collection Museum & Gallery, W C Handy House Museum, Robert R. Church Park

Hotel Recommendations:

  • La Quinta Inn & Suites – La Quinta Inn & Suites is a superb hotel in Downtown Memphis. There is a fitness center and an indoor swimming pool that guests are welcome to use on a complimentary basis. La Quinta Inn & Suites offers free parking on site and free WiFi throughout the hotel. The rooms are generous in size.
  • Residence Inn – Residence Inn is a fabulous hotel in Monroe Avenue in the heart of Downtown Memphis. All rooms are spacious and have a kitchen and a living area. All rooms have a private ensuite bathroom complete with shower unit. Guests are welcome to hang out in the billiards room.
  • SpringHill Suites – SpringHill Suites features an outdoor swimming pool and a sun terrace. The rooms are studio sized and all feature a refrigerator and a microwave for preparing basic meals. There are tea and coffee-making facilities in every room. SpringHill Suites offers guests use of their gym and business center.

Midtown

Best Western Plus Gen X Inn

Source: booking.com

Best Western Plus Gen X Inn

Set just back from the Mississippi River and the bustling Downtown neighborhood is the slightly quieter district of Midtown. Encompassing the tail end of iconic Beale Street and spanning all the way up to Brooks Museum and beyond, there is a lot to explore in Midtown.

Brooks Museum is a Memphis attraction that is often overlooked in favor of the National Civil Rights Museum or Beale Street Entertainment District. Brooks Museum on Poplar Avenue is home to an expansive collection of European and American art. Featuring all manner of art forms, Brooks Museum’s collection includes both sculptures and paintings. Some of their collection dates back as far as the 18th Century.

Brooks Museum backs on to Overton Park. This vast, inner city parkland is a real oasis. Overton Park features two adventure playgrounds for children, a nine-hole golf course, and a 126-acre forest. A leisurely walk around Overton Park is a great way to experience authentic Memphis at its finest.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Music Lovers, Sightseers Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Beale Street, Brooks Museum, Sun Studio Overton Park, Overton Park Golf Course, Memphis Zoo, Overton Square Shopping Mall, Huey’s Midtown Hamburger Restaurant, Crosstown Concourse, High Cotton Brewing Company

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Holiday Inn Express Memphis Medical Center – Midtown – Holiday Inn Express Memphis Medical Center is a very good hotel in Midtown. Close to the must-visit sights of Downtown and within an easy walk of Overton Park, this Holiday Inn Express is a great gem. Guests have access to free WiFi throughout the hotel and free parking too.
  • Best Western Plus Gen X Inn – Best Western Plus Gen X Inn is a great hotel in the heart of Midtown. The rooms are spacious and come with everything guests need for a pleasant stay. There is a refrigerator in every room as well as tea and coffee-making facilities. The front desk is open 24-hours a day.
  • Midtown Garden Cottage – Midtown Cottage Garden is a real home away from home in Midtown Memphis. This studio apartment features a kitchen and private bathroom. Guests have their own private entrance to Midtown Cottage Garden and there is street parking available. This is a cute and cozy accommodation option that can sleep up to two people.

Graceland

Graceland, Memphis

Source: Malgorzata Litkowska / shutterstock

Graceland, Memphis

For fans of Elvis Presley and rock and roll music, there is only one place to stay in Memphis, and that is Graceland. This neighborhood is named after the famous musician’s mansion home on the street that is now called Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Graceland is a neighborhood dedicated almost entirely to Elvis Presley. Travelers can take a tour of Presley’s famous estate, Graceland. During the tours, visitors can learn more about the great performer’s life and explore his private chambers. Within the Graceland estate, there is a car museum, and not one, but two private jets.

Away from the Graceland mansion estate, visitors to the neighborhood can pay their respects at the Grave of Elvis Presley that can be found to the south of the estate along Elvis Presley Boulevard.

There are dozens of diners in the Graceland neighborhood that feature Elvis Presley memorabilia. For a taste of authentic Tennessee, take a visit to Dodge’s Memphis for some classic Southern-style fried chicken.

Good For: Active Travelers, Budding Historians, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Music Lovers, Sightseers Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Elvis Presley’s Graceland Estate, Grave of Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, Dodge’s Memphis Fried Chicken Store, Picadilly Diner, Best Wings of Memphis, Rock N Roll Cafe, Williams Park, Raines-Finely Park

Hotel Recommendations:

  • The Guest House at Graceland – The Guest House at Graceland is a superb hotel that is just a five-minute walk from the front gate of the Graceland Estate. There are two restaurants in-house at The Guest House at Graceland and an outdoor swimming pool. Every evening, guests can tuck into the complimentary peanut butter and jelly bar.
  • Days Inn by Wyndham – Days Inn by Wyndham sits within a short walk of the Graceland Estate. This great hotel in Memphis features an outdoor swimming pool in the shape of a guitar. All room rates come with a complimentary breakfast and free WiFi. The hotel features a great collection of Elvis memorabilia.
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Holiday Inn Express & Suites is a fabulous hotel on Elvis Presley Boulevard. This is a great place to stay in Memphis as it is also only a 15-minute drive from the heart of Downtown Memphis. All rooms feature a work desk and free WiFi. A continental breakfast is included in the room rate.

East Memphis

Hampton Inn Memphis - Poplar

Source: booking.com

Hampton Inn Memphis – Poplar

For travelers seeking to experience a more authentic side of Memphis, the district of East Memphis is a great place to use as a base. With easy access to both Downtown Memphis and Graceland, East Memphis is just residential enough to feel authentic but close enough to the action for adventurous travelers to feel satisfied.

East Memphis is the perfect neighborhood to stay in Memphis for families. This is where travelers will find The Children’s Museum of Memphis. Open from 9 AM daily, The Children’s Museum of Memphis – also known as CMOM – is an interactive adventure that is great fun for children and parents alike. Visitors can learn about American Airways, how banks work, what causes earthquakes, and learn about life as a firefighter. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. For inquisitive children, one trip to The Children’s Museum of Memphis is never enough. Travelers may find themselves coming back for more.

The Memphis Botanic Garden is a gorgeous space featuring Asian-inspired landscaping.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, Foodies, Music Lovers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Like a Local Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: The Children’s Museum of Memphis, Memphis Botanic Garden, Audubon Park Golf Course, Oak Court Mall, Dixon Gallery & Garden, Pink Palace Museum, Galloway Golf Course, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Malco Paradiso Cinema Grill and IMAX, Shelby Farm Park, Wolf River Refuge Trailhead, Laurelwood Shopping Center

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Hampton Inn Memphis – Poplar – Hampton Inn Memphis is a cheap and cheerful hotel in East Memphis. Within an easy walk of Downtown, Hampton Inn Memphis is a budget-friendly option. All rooms come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and pay-per-view movies. There is a basic fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton – Featuring an outdoor swimming pool and a decent fitness center, DoubleTree by Hilton is an ideal place to stay in East Memphis. The rooms feature modern decor and are generous in size. One major advantage to staying at DoubleTree by Hilton is the free airport transportation service offered to all guests.
  • Holiday Inn Memphis – University of Memphis – Holiday Inn Memphis is the perfect place to stay in East Memphis for travelers who want easy access to Downtown, as well as the must-visit attractions of the neighborhood itself. The rooms are basic but ample and each feature an ensuite bathroom, flat-screen TV and free WiFi.

Cooper-Young

Cooper-Young is the perfect place to stay in Memphis for youthful, hip travelers who want to experience Memphis’ young and vibrant culture. As one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, Cooper-Young is awash with trendy coffee bars, international diners and vintage stores.

Memphis’ food culture manifests in Cooper-Young, and travelers should come on an empty stomach. There are a number of award-winning restaurants in the Cooper-Young neighborhood that must be visited. Imagine Vegan Cafe is at the cutting edge of the plant-based revolution in Memphis and has a fantastic menu with reasonable prices.

Cooper-Young is home to the historic marker that marks the spot where Johnny Cash gave his first ever performance. There are a number of highly photogenic spots in Cooper-Young, including some of the quirky and colorful wooden houses along Young Avenue.

To the northwest of Cooper-Young, travelers can pay their respects at the Spanish War Memorial. The statue stands to commemorate the lives of Spanish War veterans from 1898 to 1902.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Budget Backpackers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Music Lovers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Like a Local Travelers, Young Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Johnny Cash First Performance Marker, Spanish War Memorial, Imagine Vegan Cafe, Peabody Park, Divine Temple Church of God, Churchill Studio, Alchemy Memphis, Stine Soup Cafe & Market

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Captain Harris House – Captain Harris House is a curious and quirky building in the heart of Cooper-Young. Guests have access to free on-site parking, WiFi and covered deck area. Guests have access to the whole house and can treat Captain Harris House like a home away from home. Up to two guests can stay per night.
  • Crescent Cottage – Crescent Cottage is a gorgeous vacation rental in the center of Cooper-Young. An ideal option for families, Crescent Cottage can sleep up to four people. Guests have full access to the well-equipped kitchen and breakfast is included on a complimentary basis. There is a small garden space too.
  • Good Vibrations – Good Vibrations is an entire townhouse vacation rental in a convenient spot in Cooper-Young. Good Vibrations features modern and stylish decor with a homely and welcoming feel. There is free parking on site and a porch with outdoor seating. Good Vibrations has a fully equipped kitchen and separate lounge space.
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Memphis, Tennessee (TN)
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List of Image Sources

Where to Stay in Memphis – Neighborhoods & Area Guide:

Downtown Memphis

  • Downtown Memphis: Sean Pavone / shutterstock
  • Best Western Plus Gen X Inn: booking.com
  • Graceland, Memphis: Malgorzata Litkowska / shutterstock
  • Hampton Inn Memphis – Poplar: booking.com