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Moving to a new city is always challenging. And a large part of that challenge is deciding where in that new city to put down roots. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options — neighborhood safety, quality of schools, house styles, convenience of the location — it all can be quite overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve done the research, so you don’t have to (and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhops — your friendly movers in Memphis and beyond).
What Is It Like to Live in Memphis?
Before we jump into specific neighborhoods, let’s get the lay of Memphis’s land.
Known for its mouthwatering BBQ, blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis is a hot spot for entertainment, music, cultural interests, and culinary experience. While hot and humid summers might scare a few away, sunny Memphis invites others who like the idea of buying a beautiful home in a vibrant city at a very affordable price.
Memphis has attracted many newcomers with its activities and culture, drawn by destinations like Graceland, the Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum, Sun Studio, and Beale Street. And to add to the appeal, there are amazing restaurants, brunch stops, cocktail bars, and a blooming craft beer scene waiting to be tapped into.
There are over 100 neighborhoods in Memphis, roughly grouped into 9 sections: Downtown, Midtown, University District, East Memphis, North Memphis, Northeast, South Memphis, Southeast, and East Parkway District.
Below, we’ve highlighted the 5 best places to live in the city — from the excitement of Midtown to the picturesque seclusion of Harbor Town. Review our list to find the Memphis neighborhood best suited for you.
This quiet corner features large lawns and more green space than most other areas in the city. It’s more affordable than other family-friendly hubs like Central Gardens, and the nearby University of Memphis campus brings occasional events to the area.
As you might expect with its sleepy vibes (no skyscrapers or busy city streets here!), East Memphis has significantly lower crime rates than most other Memphis neighborhoods. This peace and safety, combined with its walkability, public transit, and unique shops, make this neighborhood the best of both worlds for someone deciding between city and small-town living.
A dozen private and public schools are close by, and the neighborhood boasts an above-average graduation rate for the city. There are close to 20 public transit stops throughout the neighborhood. And its quiet streets are speckled with boutiques and retail outlets.
What’s Happening in East Memphis
In East Memphis, you’ll find some of the city’s best dining experiences. This neighborhood’s great eats include Soul Fish Cafe, Patrick’s, and Las Delicias. For a touch of upscale, check out Hog & Hominy or Acre.
The area also offers several nearby parks like Audubon Park, which features green space and a golf course. The Memphis Botanical Garden showcases native plant life along tranquil walking paths.
And the star park of the show, Shelby Farms Park, offers running and biking trails, disc golf, boating, laser tag, paintball, a ropes course, playgrounds, and a dog park, all settled beside a buffalo herd range!
Schools in East Memphis
Schools in the area include Middle College High School, Campus Elementary School, and Maxine Smith Academy, among others.
Homes in East Memphis
East Memphis is full of 50’s-style ranch homes, renovated historic homes, and charming 2-bedroom homes. There are plenty of options, with price points from close to $100K to $1.4-million.
Memphis’ bustling city center is where most of the city’s action takes place. The streets are speckled with blues and soul clubs, iconic landmarks, great breweries, and restaurants that showcase Memphis’ cuisine, from their famous BBQ to high-end dining destinations.
A diverse blend of residents has made Downtown their home; however, the abundance of apartments and lively nightlife scene attract young professionals in particular.
What’s Happening in Downtown
Home to Memphis’ top entertainment attraction, Beale Street, Downtown is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike.
- The area is known for its bars and blues clubs, including B.B. King’s Blues Club, Silky O’Sullivan’s, and Rum Boogie Cafe.
- Dine at any of the many restaurant patios at Main Street Mall or stop by the converted movie house for some high-end fare at The Majestic Grille.
- Experience the Mississippi and cross the river via the Big River Crossing on foot or on bike (feel free to hop on one of Memphis’ Bike Share cycles).
- Pack a picnic and enjoy it on the bluff in Harbor Town.
- Go for a brew crawl and sample beer from five Memphis breweries within a 5-mile radius.
- Step back into yesterday’s classic juke joints and check out Earnestine & Hazel’s.
Schools in Downtown
Schools in the area include Downtown Elementary School, Hollis F Price Middle College High School, and Booker T. Washington High School, among others.
Homes in Downtown
Downtown has a wide range of housing options; towering upscale lofts, updated townhomes with screened porches, and stunning homes with soaring ceilings and elegant landscaping. Looking to rent? Downtown has dozens of options, whether you’re looking to rent a home or want an apartment with a view.
This upscale neighborhood is wedged between the Mississippi River and the Wolf River Harbor. Built in the new-urbanist style, Harbor Town sits atop the sandbar known as Mud Island. The neighborhood was designed to promote walkability and a close community.
Harbor Town is highly sought after by residents of all ages. The area boasts beautiful waterfront views, crime rates lower than nearly all of Memphis, direct access to downtown, and two highly-rated private schools.
What’s Happening in Harbor Town
This neighborhood features a number of unique boutiques and restaurants. If you’re hungry for brunch, Paulette’s is a must-visit.
Join the joggers, dog-walkers, and water-watchers at the Mud Island River Park. This green space has bike trails, pedal boats, and a 5,000-seat amphitheater where you can catch a free concert during the summer months.
Or shop at the locally-owned gourmet grocer, Cordelia’s Market. End the night with panorama views of the peninsula and a drink on River Inn’s rooftop bar.
Schools in Harbor Town
Schools in the area include Maria Montessori School, Downtown Elementary School, and Manassas High School, among others.
Homes in Harbor Town
Harbor Town holds about 500 homes and a number of apartment complexes. When housing is available, it’s usually a big, beautiful find.
Cordova has become one of the most popular spots in the city, especially among families. The area is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. It has a suburban feel, and its close commute makes it ideal for residents working downtown but wanting to dodge the bustle after work hours. The neighborhood has about ten public transit stops to make the commute easier.
What’s Happening in Cordova
The neighborhood’s well-known Shelby Farms Greenline is a ten-mile biking and walking path. This path connects to the Shelby Farms Park which features zipline tours, a large dog park, a discovery playground, and peaceful green space.
Cordova is also the proud home of the bustling, two-story Wolfchase Galleria Mall. For local eats, check out Casbah and The Butcher Shop. And Chang’s Bubble Tea offers sweet, cold refreshers for sticky summer months.
Schools in Cordova
Schools in the area include Evangelical Christian School, Cordova High, St. Benedict at Auburndale, among others.
Homes in Cordova
The area features a blend of medium to massive homes and several apartment complexes. Families can find 3-bedroom homes for around $175K as well as bigger builds for around $450K.
Midtown is hugely popular for families, millennials, and young professionals alike. It offers reasonable housing prices, great nightlife options, and a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and breweries.
Known as the arts district of Memphis, this area encompasses some smaller and popular sections of the city, like Overton Square and Cooper-Young. Residents are diverse and welcoming, and off-the-charts, regionally-famous events bring the community even closer.
What’s Happening in Midtown
Midtown is known for its diverse food options. But you won’t experience the best of Midtown’s — scratch that — the best of Memphis’ cuisine until you’ve tasted Payne’s BBQ.
Near Midtown is Overton Park, which holds the Memphis Zoo, concert venues, and acres of green space.
Spend an afternoon at the Brooks Museum of Art or tour Memphis College of Art.
For drinks, hit up the New-Orleans-themed Bayou Bar & Grill.
Schools in Midtown
Schools in the area include Snowden School, Bellevue Middle School, and Memphis Catholic Middle and High School, among others.
Homes in Midtown
Midtown has a vast variety of housing options, from gorgeous historical homes to fixer-uppers and apartments. Full of many affordable single-family homes, families can find large, stunning houses here that would cost over $1-million in other cities.
There You Have It: The 5 Best Neighborhoods in Nashville!
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhops. As we said, we coordinate local and long-distance moving services in Memphis, and we would love to help.
Lastly, if you’re interested in any nearby cities with a good reputation, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville are a few that should be high on your radar. Feel free to give us a call if you decide to make the move!