Set Current Location
Right in the heart of Downtown Memphis lies the legendary Beale Street. Ever since its inception in 1841, Beale Street has always been a major locus of commerce in the city. As the years progressed and the street and the area around it built up, the street snowballed into a thriving commonplace for travelling African-American musicians to perform. With the advent of the Orpheum Theater and the Church Park, nightclubs, restaurants and shops began to brim the area. Through the early 20th Century, legendary musicians like Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and BB King performed on Beale Street and developed the Memphis Blues sound. Today, Beale Street is a major attraction in the city of Memphis, with legendary blues clubs, restaurants and shops that have been around almost as long as the street itself. Come evening, the street and its many lanes are illuminated by myriad neon-signboards of bars and restaurants which merrily beckon tourists and locals alike. The street is also known for hosting the grand Memphis in May International Festival and the Beale Street Music Festival every year.
Like Mark Twain, you can ride on a paddlewheel boat and relive a romantic era in American history. Afternoon cruises include a narration of the sights on the Tennessee and Arkansas sides of the river, while dinner cruises include a bountiful buffet, music and dancing. Try the moonlight music cruise with someone you love. There are daily and moonlight cruises in the warmer months, and the riverboats hosts special events in the winter months.
Situated in the growing art center of Memphis, local artist Jay Etkin takes the Memphis experience one step further at his gallery. He does so by featuring a large selection of hard-to-find Southern contemporary art, something which Etkin says sets this gallery apart. Works in different media by a variety of established and up-and-coming artists can be found in the collection, along with ones by the proprietor himself, who has a national following. Pieces range from ones that even a student could afford, to works meant more for the serious collector.
With great ancient beauties of the home featuring the 1910 and 1920's structures, this beautiful area called the South Main Historic District is a great tourist attraction. Consisting of hotels, bars, restaurants, and some small commercials, the area also includes galleries, boutiques, photography studios, graphic design firms, markets for farmers, living quarters, etc. This place is a place of the people, for the people, a great neighborhood nestled in Downtown Memphis and also known as one of the most important cultural attractions.
The National Ornamental Metal Museum is the only one in the country dedicated to ornamental metalwork. Exhibits often include such diverse objects as silver tea services, swords, jewelry and weathervanes. See a blacksmith at work forging works of art. An annual exhibit in May features the fantastic devices people use to barbecue, timed to coincide with the Memphis in May Barbecue Contest. The museum is set in a lovely spot on the banks of the Mississippi, and the lawns are sometimes used for weddings and other private parties.
Memphis' main museum is housed in a marble building completed in 1916. The architecturally beautiful rooms house an outstanding collection of medieval art and a small but worthwhile collection of Impressionist works. One room is dedicated to a "touch" exhibit for vision-impaired visitors. Temporary exhibits include a patriotic show held during the Memphis in May Festival. The restaurant, the Brushmark, is a fine place to lunch, especially when the outside patio is open, which looks out on Overton Park.