7 Things Memphis SHOULD Be Famous For

Barbeque. Beale Street. Graceland. Blues, soul, rock’n’roll.

Memphis is famous worldwide for a lot of things — but for everything we’re famous for, there’s something else you might not know that makes our city special.

In this article, we look at seven things most people know about Memphis, plus another seven things they should know about.

Memphis is famous for its BBQ. Anyone who knows BBQ knows that Memphis is renowned for its slow-smoked pork. If you’re looking for all the Memphis BBQ restaurants that should be on your radar, we’ve even put together the Memphis BBQ trail for you! 

…But Memphis is a serious wing city, too. Buffalo may have invented the chicken wing, but Memphis perfected it. We’re home to hundreds of amazing wing establishments and even host the World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival.

When it comes to wings, no other southern city compares. Check out our signature flavor, honey gold, at iconic local spots like Crumpy’s, Wing Guru, All-Star Hot Wings, and so many more.

Memphis is famous for Graceland, the world-renowned abode of Elvis Presley, which welcomes 500,000 fans of The King each year.

…But Memphis is also home to numerous arts and culture museums that are worth a stop. From the Stax Museum of American Soul Music (made famous by Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Isaac Hayes) to Sun Studio (made famous by BB King, Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Roy Orbison), to the Dixon Gallery & Gardens — among other art museums — art history of all kinds is alive and honored in Memphis.

Memphis is famous for being home to blues, soul, and rock’n’roll — not to mention chart-topping hip hop.

…But every style of music is thriving in Memphis. From critically-acclaimed singer-songwriters like Julien Baker, to Grammy-nominated folk-soul artist Valerie June, all the way to our electronic music scene, music of all genres is in the water in Memphis.

Memphis is famous for the Mississippi River, with locals and tourists alike exploring its shores.

…But Memphis is also home to Tom Lee Park. Situated on the river, this historic park is being transformed into one of the premier riverfronts in the country. A massive expansion project is currently underway, with 1,000 new trees, a playground, event space, and much more.

Memphis is famous for Beale Street, a music mecca in downtown Memphis, and a pivotal place in the history of blues music.

…But the Cooper-Young neighborhood has plenty of history to offer, too. From historic homes to the church basement Johnny Cash recorded his first album, to countless restaurants, bars, and breweries to explore, it’s got everything you’re looking for and more — not to mention the annual Cooper-Young Festival, which hosts 100,000 visitors for food, music, and more each year.

Memphis is famous for its FedEx headquarters, a Fortune 50 company employing approximately 30,000 Memphians.

…But other Fortune 500 Companies like International Paper and AutoZone also call Memphis home, collectively employing hundreds of thousands of Memphians. Discover dozens of top Memphis employers here.

Memphis is famous for the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the famed Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. For over 50 years, this museum has educated visitors from far and wide about the Civil Rights Movement.

…But Memphis is also home to countless Black-led endeavors that champion arts, culture, activism, and so much more. One example: our friends over at nonprofits TONE and Unapologetic are working to develop the Orange Mound Tower, which is set to become a mixed-use arts, business, and housing space in one of the original Black communities in the United States.

Now you know!

You might also be interested in: Best of Memphis | A complete list for experiences in Memphis

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