Becoming A Memphian: A Guide for Making Memphis Your New Home

So you just moved to Memphis, huh?

Moving to a new city can bring about a whole slew of emotions. From anxiety around the impending move to excitement about meeting new people and experiencing the city to feeling lost because a job brought you here and you may not know anyone or anything in Memphis. Or maybe you don’t even know what to feel because all your energy has been focused on actually getting here! 

Regardless, we’re straight up glad you chose Memphis, and we want to help how we can. First up, an extensive list of things to do to become a true Memphian-at least on paper!

Ready to feel like a Memphian?

Visit the dmv.

Priority number one for officially becoming a Memphian should be to get the proper legalities out of the way. Head on over to the DMV to renew your license, get proper tags for your vehicle, etc. Be sure to read the instructions for new or returning Tennessee residents before you go so you bring the proper documentation. No one wants to visit the DMV twice in a day!

There are two locations:

  1. Summer Avenue Driver Services and Reinstatement Center
  2. Memphis/East Shelby Dr. Driver Services and Reinstatement Center

Register to Vote.

Photo: Stax Museum

Now that you have your new ID, be sure to register to vote! You can do this online or at the DMV! Here is a helpful guide for voting in Shelby County! 

Look for healthcare providers.

Memphis has a huge medical community so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the best care for you! If you have an employer who covers health insurance you’ll definitely want to make decisions on care providers based on that coverage.

If you are self-employed or make under $24,280 for a household family size of 1 look into the Memphis Plan provided by ChurchHealth.

Transfer your prescriptions to a new pharmacy if necessary.

Change your address for EVERYTHING.

  • Auto insurance and car registration
  • Loan providers, credit cards, and banks
  • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions 
  • If you still use checks, remember to order new ones 
  • Don’t forget to forward your mail from your previous address

Update your address on any monthly subscription boxes you receive.

Alternatively, maybe think about suspending some of those subscriptions to take advantage of local Memphis made options. We are a city filled with creatives who share their passion through their work! You can snag some really incredible things at Arrow Creative, Memphis Modern Market, or anywhere listed here.

Don't have a car? Figure out alternative public transportation options.

Photo: David Johnson
  • MATA– Memphis Area Transit Authorities
  • My City Rides – Rent to own an electric scooter for $90/month
  • Scooters and Bikes – With Bird, Ojo scooters, and Explore Bike Share you’ll have plenty of options from downtown Overton Square.
  • Downtown Trolley – This may be a unique form of transportation, but it’ll get you all the way from Central Station to the Pinch District.

Transfer your utilities including water, electric, and natural gas.

The city of Memphis conveniently has one provider for all three: Memphis Light, Gas, & Water (MLGW)

License your pet.

In Memphis, any person who owns a dog or cat three months of age or older has to have the animal licensed annually. A license includes a rabies vaccination and license certificate and a rabies vaccination and license tag for the animal’s collar. License certificates and license tags may be issued only by the section manager or licensed veterinarians. 

Look into getting a membership for a gym, yoga studio, Crossfit facility, etc.

Some Choose901 staff picks include Hot Yoga Plus, Church Health YMCA, Iron Tribe, and CYCLEBAR.

Get a library card.

Photo: City Current

Libraries are an incredibly underrated resource and people are sleeping on what Memphis has to offer! The Memphis Public Library has 18 branches and over 1 million titles in their system. Not only do you get access to all their physical books, but a library card gives you access to their extensive ebook and audiobook collection. It also provides access to LinkedIn Learning and Transparent Languages so you can learn a new skill or language! 

Explore your new neighborhood. 

Many neighborhoods boast local shops, supermarkets, cafes, grocery stores, and restaurants. I’ve listed a few neighborhoods and their amenities so you can start exploring!

Cooper-Young

In the ‘Historically Hip’ neighborhood you can visit their year-round farmers market, catch happy hour at Alchemy, brunch at The Beauty Shop, and pick up a book at Burke’s Books.

Harbor Town

Mud Island/Harbor Town

Demographically made up largely of young medical professionals and retired Memphians, Harbor Town truly provides an experience of its own kind. With a park overlooking the Mississippi River, a cafe, a local grocery store, and live music all within walking distance, you’re guaranteed to experience Memphis in a unique way. 

Binghampton

Located in the heart of Memphis, Binghamton plays host to an incredibly diverse community made up of ~23 nationalities. Be sure to check out Carpenter Art Garden for fresh local produce, Inspire Community Cafe for a meaningful dining spot, and all the shops on Broad Ave.

Orange Mound

As America’s first Black Mecca and an African American community built solely by and for African Americans, Orange Mound has a rich history of business, art, and music. If you’re in the area, be sure to swing by The CMPLX, an art gallery and venue space for the Orange Mound-based black arts organization The CLTV. And if you’re feeling hungry, stop in at Chings for the best wings in Memphis!

Downtown

There are almost endless options from Beale Street, Main Street, and South Main. Catch a Grizzlies Game, explore a museum, enjoy Trolley Night, or make a run to the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday!

Overton Square

Home to thriving businesses, five live-performance theaters, and a multi-screen movie theater. It has become a local landmark as an arts and entertainment district and is a must-see for any new Memphian! 

High Point Terrace

As if being located right off the Greenline wasn’t enough High Point Terrace also offers Cheffies, High Point Pizza, and High Point Grocery Store

Get to know your neighbors.

You’re in the South now so you should start to feel that hospitality real soon! Maybe make some cookies and go introduce yourself or go completely 21st century and connect on Next Door!

Sign up for the Choose901 Newsletter

We’ll ensure you receive the inside scoop on all the great things happening in Memphis from job postings to parties!

Change your phone number

Lastly, if you want to really embrace Memphis, change your phone number so you can have that coveted 901 area code! 

Moving to a new place is a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be a scary thing! In my experience, if you love Memphis it will love you back. Meet people. Learn the history of the city as well as what is happening here now. Get plugged in. Choose to be present. I bet you’ll be surprised at how quickly this new place will start to feel like home!

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