Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

10 Things That Happen When You Move To Memphis

Photo: Zan Roach

Photo: Zan Roach

Post updated 9/1/17

Moving to a new city is a huge transition.

New places, new faces, you get it: there will naturally be unexplored opportunities, relationships, and experiences. A city like no other, Memphis has a vast list of things you won’t find anywhere else. To celebrate life in the Bluff City, check it.

payne's BBQ

Photo: Luke Pruett at Payne’s BBQ

1. You end up falling in love with what you thought was “some sketchy barbecue joint.” –  After World War II, barbecue joints in Memphis exploded. Laid back, slow cooking joints began to rise up in neighborhoods and low income areas attracting people from all corners of the world.  Hosting the World’s Largest Barbecue Festival, one can expect to find divine swine in practically every block of Memphis. You get off the beaten path in Memphis, and you experience barbecue the way it was meant to be: a restaurant where the staff is all blood-related, photos and clippings from several different generations in Memphis dotting the walls, smoked pork aroma filling your nostrils, paper plates and plastic utensils, a group of devoted locals eyeballing you for poaching their spots, and the best barbecue you have ever tasted. You’ll be hesitant at first, but after your first trip, you’ll be addicted.

Redzone in orange mound

Photo: Leslie Barker in Orange Mound

2. You fall in love with more streets than just Beale Street. – Every Memphian loves to venture down by the river to Beale Street, but we also love to hang on other streets too. Broad Avenue boasts Wiseacre Brewing CompanyThe Hampline, Mbabazi House of StyleCollage Dance Collective, and much more. Madison Avenue’s Overton Square is home to three live-performance theaters, Ballet Memphis, and a multi-screen movie theater surrounded by food, brews, and music rooms. At Cooper & Young you’ll find family shopping, art, food, and fun all at one intersection. The historic Orange Mound neighborhood is home to an art gallery, My Cup of Tea, and more. You can’t forget Summer Ave, home of some of the best paletas you’ll ever find, taco trucks, one of the few drive-in movie theaters left in the country, and tons of antique/thrift shopping. There’s also Soulsville, South City,  North Memphis, Crosstown, FrayserKlondike Smokey City, The Medical District, Raleigh, Cordova, Harbor Town, Germantown, Collierville, MillingtonBarlett, and the University District.


Photo: Jake Ruth

3. The phrase Grit & Grind integrates with your vocabulary. – You think you understand die hard fans, until you move to Memphis. We’re not die hard fans, we’re a die hard city, and yes, we are very sensitive when it comes to our Grizzlies. Even America knows, we’re the Number 1 Sports Franchise. And unless you want to be publicly booed, we suggest you don’t profess your love for any other team. Maybe its the Grizzlies’ investment into our city, the love for our Tigers, or maybe its just our nature, but the grit grind mentality is impossible not to catch.

memphis sunset

Photo: Breezy Lucia

4. Sunsets on the Mississippi River will never get old – The Mississippi River may or may not be Memphis’ first claim to fame. Situated along the banks of the mightiest river of all, one cannot argue the tribute that Memphis’ current, past, and future history owe to Old Man River. Starting in Minnesota and flowing all the way to New Orleans, there is no denying the fact the river gives a sense of union with the rest of the nation. As it calmly thrashes past the city, you can’t help but feel some of its energy. Once you go to Beale Street Landing, The Lookout at Bass Pro Pyramid, or one of the downtown rooftops and witness the sunset there, you’re captured for life.

Photo: Levitt Shell

Photo: Levitt Shell

5. Indoor concerts stop making sense. – With beautiful weather and an even more beautiful nightscape, it’s only sensible to spend time outside. With The Levitt Shell, The Botanic Garden, Mud Island, Peabody Rooftop, and tons more; Memphians favorite concert spots are always outside. Something about swaying in the natural breeze, the freedom of no roofs, and energy outside make indoor concerts seem like a bore.

Memphis Beer

Photo: Keith Montgomery

6. You get tapped. – Pulling water from our artesian wells, Memphis makes the best beer. With several local breweries, walk into almost any bar and get local craft beer on tap. Heck, we’ve even got tap rooms dedicated exclusively to our brews: Wiseacre, Ghost River, Memphis MadeHigh Cotton, Crosstown Brewing Co (coming soon), and Meddlesome Brewing. If you like beer, it’s impossible to not get tapped when you first arrive.

7. If you don’t know how to ride a bike, you’ll learn. – Memphis offers over 400 miles of bike friendly lanes for you to enjoy. The Shelby Farms Park Greenline , Greater Memphis GreenlineThe HamplineThe Riverside Lanes, and the Big River Crossing combine community, healthy lifestyles, affordable transportation, sustainability, and beautification. Oh yeah, and Memphis was also named The Premier Destination For Cyclists.

Photo credit: Bailey Clark

8. You’ll walk to the beat of Memphis music. – When a lot of people think of Memphis music, they think of our King, Elvis. Although he’s a huge part of our heritage, there is more to our music than just Elvis. Ask any Memphian and they’ll tell you to go anywhere any day of the week and you’ll hear a great live band. Originating in Soulsville, and spreading outward; Memphis is the epicenter of blues music. Memphis is also home to an eclectic mix of contemporary rock, soul and modern talent.  There’s a reason the Bluff City is mentioned in music more than any other city.

memphis skyline

Photo: Shannon Little

9. Your pockets get bigger. – A $50,000 salary in Memphis is equivalent to a $106,265 salary in San Francisco (source). With the cost of living at 4.8% lower than the national average, you’ll save more money living here than anywhere else. Not to mention, the extensive list of free activities available. Did we mention there is no state income tax?

Photo: Jonathan Cooper

Photo: Jonathan Cooper

10. You’ll want to sucker punch anyone who doesn’t love Memphis. – Investing our lives day in and day out into Memphis, it’s hard for Memphians not to love the city. Sure, we’ve got our problems, but what major city doesn’t? And instead of just talking about problems, we want to tackle problems. Countless citizen-led campaigns and causes have infused the city with shaping love. In the wise words of Chris Vernon, “If you love Memphis, it will love you back.”  Join the city in fighting our toughest problems.

What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

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