Quick Tips to becoming a Memphis Local

Last Updated on March 11, 2024

Memphis offers its residents some great attractions, amazing BBQ, tasty and clean tap water, and a cost of living that’s significantly lower than the national averages—especially when looking at rent prices and mortgage expenses.

And if you want to become one of the more than 1.3 million people who live in the Bluff Town, here are a few quick tips to becoming a Memphis local.

Know the local attractions in Memphis

Being the Home of the Blues, you ought to know even before moving to Memphis that this is a major music city. None as one of America’s Most Iconics Streets, Beale Street will be a place for you to mingle with locals and tourists alike with music all year and other events such as the Beale Street Music Festival. You should also visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s famous home, as everyone in Memphis has visited it a handful of times.

And to ditch the tourist spots, locals recommend live music at venues such as Lafayette’s Music Room, Minglewood Hall, or Blues Hall.

There is no Best BBQ, but there are favorites

Memphians can be a little contentious about which place has the best BBQ, and while it may seem like splitting hairs, it’d be better for you and everyone involved if you ask someone “where is your favorite BBQ?” But, let’s be honest here, anywhere you get some barbeque is going to be delicious.

If you’re looking to avoid the debate entirely, locals love spots such as Central BBQ or Payne’s Barb-B-Que.

Know your Memphis neighborhoods

Your neighborhood says a lot about you, so you should know about your neighborhood. Downtown Memphis is where most of the city’s landmark’s reside, including Beale Street and the National Civil Rights Museum and where you can catch the Grizzlies play basketball. Sidenote: If you don’t like the Grizzlies, it’s probably best you don’t mention it.

For a more artsy feel, checkout Broad Avenue with its locally owned shops and restaurants. And if you’re looking for a family-friendly part of town, consider moving to East Memphis. Checkout more Memphis neighborhoods here.

Learn to recognize your local celebrities

Everyone in the country knows about the hometown hero Justin Timberlake, and Memphis is proud of him. Other locally sourced celebs include Morgan Freeman, Kathy Bates, and Aretha Franklin.

But what’s truly awesome about Memphis is the love for real local celebrities, from sports’ radio broadcasters to Mark Goodfellow, the famous car salesman from It’s All Good Auto.

Get a car if you don’t have one.

Public transportation is great if you live in Downtown Memphis, but you’re otherwise going to want a car to get around as the bus service can be somewhat irregular.

And on the matter of busses and driving, it’s recommended you avoid the far-right line of Poplar Avenue. It’s not big enough for the city bus, it floods easily, and the potholes can be dangerous. You may just want to avoid the street entirely.

Now these are only a few of the quick tips to blending in when you relocate to Memphis. Are you from the area and have some we want to share? Or maybe you want to correct us? Leave a comment below. 

In the meantime, if you’re moving to Memphis and could use some additional space to help out in the transition, click here.