What's the culture like in Memphis?

When you’re looking for a place to call home, you probably want a destination that’s not only unique but presents you with a number of activities and events that pull from varying walks of life. You don’t just want the same old restaurants or the same old festivals. You want something that will introduce you to a new way of thinking or a new kind of food to sample. In Memphis, you get all of that in spades. Memphis culture is unlike anywhere else in the country, so now is the time to get out and explore what our city has to offer.


Music is as ingrained in Memphis culture as just about anything else. Blues is part of the fiber of Memphis, and yet rock ’n’ roll, country, jazz and just about every other form of music also beats through the city’s lifeblood. Whether you’re a fan of Elvis, B.B. King or even Justin Timberlake, you’ll be interested to know that some of the biggest names in music history spent time in Memphis, were born in Memphis or recorded influential albums in Memphis.

Walking down the street, you’ll always feel the music. Just about every bar, club, restaurant and other nighttime destinations have some kind of live music going on. From local musicians to traveling acts, there’s no shortage of musical activities to take in.

Amazing Food

Memphis is one of the great food scenes in the country. Yes, it is best known for its Memphis-style barbecue, but there’s so much more to discover. As the melting point of the North and the South, you’ll find everything from fried chicken and waffles to Chicago-style pizza. Each restaurant has its own unique take on varying styles, and while the city might not be as big as Los Angeles or New York, you’ll find nearly just as many food opportunities. Many of these food destinations came from people’s love of working with food and their own personal background. It is this personal background and connection with food that makes Memphis what it is.

Downtown Street Trolley Memphis

Major Events

Memphis puts on events unlike anywhere else. When the city wants to put on a party or a major cultural event, it’s truly special. It’s also a fantastic way to highlight what makes the city so amazing.

Memphis in May is one of these major events. Not only is it one of the top-drawing events in the city, but in the entire state. Memphis in May International Festival puts on a month of events that promote the cultural significance of the city. People from all walks of life, all age groups, locals and visitors, all come together to share Memphis.

Of course, if you’re looking for an event that centers more on food than a blanket cultural event, you’ll want to make sure you’re in town for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. You also might want to take the long walk home after it, because you’ll be so stuffed with all the delicious mouth-watering BBQ served up here.

Take a Look; It’s in a Book

You don’t need to watch Reading Rainbow to know the importance of opening a book. Here, you’ll find some of the world’s greatest works of make-believe and fantasy, of truth-telling and of documentation. Memphis is home to several important novelists, and you can often visit to take in some of the locations that helped shape these important visions.

Shelby Foote, for example, is one of the most important Civil War historians of the time. If you are a Civil War buff, chances are you’ve read something by Shelby.

And you don’t need to be a bookworm to have heard of the name John Grisham. Some of the best-selling novels over the past several decades have been penned by Mr. Grisham. There’s a reason why so many of his books focus on Memmphis and the surrounding areas: because he hails from the region. So if you’re looking for literature featuring Memphis, make sure to check out the latest John Grisham.

If you’re looking for a spot to find the latest John Grisham, to read up on Shelby Foote, or to simply find a new pager-turner of your own, you’ll want to visit one of the many local bookstores and public libraries.

Memphis has a number of public libraries. These destinations are designed to bring, not only books, but a number of social programs, to residents. There are three major branches in Memphis, with several smaller locations found throughout the city.

You can find the Poplar-White Station Library off of Tennessee State Highway 72; the Gaston Park Library, which is just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River, and a brisk walk south from downtown; and the North Branch Public Library. Of course, chances are there is a public library branch near you, as there are over a dozen libraries spread across the city, all of which offer local programs for people of all ages.

Get Outside and Experience Memphis

Memphis is all about getting people outside to enjoy life. From the Delta Fair to music festivals, there is something going on outside just about every single weekend of the year.

There’s a Cultural Event Perfect for You in Memphis

The beauty of Memphis culture is that it’s always changing. The makeup of the city now will be different 10 years down the road. While Memphis will always pull from its music, food and civil rights heritage, there are new faces, new ways of life and new ideas constantly flooding in.

So if you’re looking for a destination to call home that will both surprise you and keep you on your toes, there really is no other place in the country like Memphis.

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