Memphis was founded in 1819 by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson. The name was taken from the ancient city of Memphis, Egypt, inspired by America and Europe's fascination with Egyptian archeology and culture during the 19th century. With its location on the banks of the Mississippi, Memphis became an important transportation center with cotton and lumber as major trade goods, eventually leading Memphis to become the world's largest market for these goods. Memphis seceded from the Union in 1861, but was captured by Union gunboats in the Battle of Memphis in 1862. From the 1910s to the 1950s, Memphis developed an extensive network of parks and public works as part of a national City Beautiful Movement. During the 1960's Memphis was embroiled in the civil rights movement, and became the focus of the national spotlight when Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Memphis has seen substantial job growth in recent years, adding an average of 10,000 new jobs annually during the years 1996 to 2004. Learn more about the history of Memphis using the links below.
The weather in Memphis is typical of the mid-south region, with hot and humid summers and mild winters. Precipitation peaks from early spring through August, with heavy rainstorms in the spring, tapering off to brief storms in the summer months. It rarely snows in Memphis, with an average seasonal snowfall of less than 4". Use the links below to learn more about the weather and climate in Memphis.
Memphis provides plenty of public transportation with 33 bus routes covering over 300 square miles. Vintage trolleys shuttle downtown area passengers along Main Street, the riverfront, and Madison Avenue. Tourists can benefit from the Memphis Hop, which provides shuttle service between 10 local attractions. Amtrak runs the Chicago to New Orleans passenger route through Memphis with a station conveniently located in downtown Memphis. The Memphis International Airport is just 7 miles from downtown Memphis and operates 83 gates with flights to many national destinations.
Memphis is a very affordable place to live, with an average cost of living index around 15% to 20% below the national average and housing as much as 30% below the national average. Use these cost of living calculators to discover how your budget matches living in Memphis.
The Memphis City School district merged with the Shelby County School District to form the Unified Shelby County Schools. It is the largest school system in the state of Tennessee with over 220 primary and secondary schools in the district. Learn more about Shelby County Schools on their website using the link below.
With many available homes and great prices in Memphis and the surrounding area, it pays to research where you want to live. Collierville, Germantown, and Bartlett are desirable neighborhoods with excellent schools. The Cooper-Young district in midtown has many beautiful, historic houses. Explore places to live in Memphis using the following links.
When visiting Memphis, you will find plenty of options for your stay. The Peabody Hotel is one of the most elegant hotels in Memphis, and is world-famous for the Peabody Ducks, who are escorted from their rooftop palace to the lobby fountain each day. The Talbot Heirs provides spacious, comfortable and creative accommodations, and is located in the heart of downtown Memphis. The River Inn at Harbor Town is rated by TripAdvisor as the #1 hotel in Memphis and features a great view of the Mississippi River from their rooftop terrace. Find places to stay in Memphis with these links.
No visit to Memphis is complete without a visit to the Rendezvous Barbecue Restaurant where the Memphis "dry rubbed" style of barbecue was made famous. You'll find the Rendezvous in an alley behind the Peabody Hotel. For traditional southern food, it is hard to beat Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken where they serve what could possibly be the best fried chicken in the world. The Soul Fish Cafe is known for their catfish tacos, sweet potato fries, and southern-style mac and cheese. For other dining selections, use the following links to explore Memphis restaurants.
You don't need to be a fan to enjoy visiting the former home of Elvis Presley. As mansions go, Graceland is small by today's standards, but the King of rock and roll led a colorful life, captured in the memorabilia on display among original furnishings dating to the 1970's and earlier. The Pink Palace was the home of Piggly-Wiggly founder Clarence Thomas, and was given to the city to use as a museum. The Sharpe Planetarium and an IMAX theatre share the grounds of The Pink Palace, making it a great stop for the entire family. The Memphis Zoo, rated #1 by TripAdvisor in 2008, is one of only 4 zoos in America where you can see giant pandas. Start your music history tour at the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum where you can pick up an audio guide and map to use as you walk Beale Street and the neighborhood that includes the recording studio where Elvis cut his first record. Art lovers won't want to miss The Dixon Gallery and Gardens where they feature an impressive collection of French and American Impressionism. You can find more things to do around Memphis using the following links.