20 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Memphis

Known to tourists as the birthplace of Elvis and rock, Memphis is actually one of the best places to work in, start a business, and let down roots that go beyond having a good time.

As tourism rises, there has never been a better place to start up a business, especially in the tech industry. Fourth on Forbes’s list of where employees are most content, it’s no surprise that we are seeing a number of visitors to the state who are now here to stay.

Don’t take our word for it. Read through our list of what you need to know about moving to Memphis, and the decision will make itself.

1. Strike up a conversation with strangers, beginning with “Hi!”

So don’t be surprised when people say “Hi” to you out of the blue, and go ahead and say “Hi” back. Memphis wasn’t named Airbnb’s sixth most hospitable city for nothing. The South wins in hospitality all day, errday.

2. The Grizzlies are our team.

Just keep that in mind and you should survive. We grit, we grind, and we watch their home games at the FedEx Forum downtown.

3. Tigers battle Tigers every year.

Every year, at the Southern Heritage Classic, the Jackson State University Tigers fight it out with the Tennessee State University Tigers in the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis (home of Memphis’ Tom the Tiger), neutral ground between the universities. The festivities and bands each year are an experience in themselves.

4. If you’re a foodie, Memphis will give you a run for your money, erryday.

To start with, Memphis Bar-B-Q is the only Bar-B-Q that exists. If you haven’t tasted it, you need to. If you have, for sure you will never have enough (just look at us!). Our rich heritage also means we have some of the best Italian-American, Asian-American, and German food in the country.

5. Leave the commercial franchise cakes alone.

Memphis has a number of independently owned dessert places, which means you don’t need to dive into a Starbucks just for cheesecake. Dinstuhl’s Fine Candy Company, Inc. offers handcrafted chocolates and other sweets, while Muddy’s Bake Shop has an updated daily selection of pies, cookies, and cupcakes.

6. It’s a good place to find craft beer and cocktails.

The Memphis Made Brewing Company and Pyramid Vodka are just two of the reasons the bar selection is so enjoyable. You will enjoy every night out on the town.

7. We have a thriving fashion scene.

The shopping centers are okay, but for unique pieces that fit your wardrobe, there is a thriving fashion scene of independent shops that can help you find what you’re looking for. From the fresh and relaxed Crazy Beautiful, to the detailed and trendy Ivory Closet, there’s always something new.

8. Memphis is known for its healthcare.

A number of award-winning specialized centers in orthopedics, cancer, pediatrics, and more are found in Memphis alone. The general hospitals are also known for their excellent and efficient service and specialists. Memphis is also known for some of their specialized speech therapist and fantastic children’s hospital.

9. It’s easy to stay fit here.

If your idea of getting fit is joining classes in different skills such as zumba, you can do that here. There are also quite a few gyms for personal fitness. If you’re a more independent kind, go biking along the 7-mile Shelby Farms Greenline, or go for a run in the many, many public parks.

10. There’s more to this city than blues and rock.

As the birthplace of rock, it’s tempting to think of Memphis as a place where nothing else is on the radio or blasting out of the shops. But Memphis has a thriving independent music scene, which means you’ll always find something new in any genre you can think of.

11. We’re proud of our live music joints.

You can walk down Beale Street and choose almost anywhere, but it’s often overcrowded with tourists. Come on down to Overton Square instead and settle in Lafayette’s Music Room.

12. The Beale Street irregulars and those in the carriages are tourists.

Beale Street is on the map of every tourist to Memphis, and it has some of the fastest-growing tourist-catered businesses, overpriced like any tourist trap. Also take note of everyone taking a horse-drawn carriage. Don’t be one of them.

13. You will need a car.

Public transportation only works out best if you live downtown or need shuttling from tourist spot to tourist spot. Otherwise, you need a car if you don’t want to depend on the irregular bus service.

14. There’s some traffic, but not too much.

There are few bottlenecks, but overall Memphis just experiences ordinary city traffic, especially during rush hour.

15. We have mild winters but brutal summers.

We only see three inches of snow each year, compared to the country average of 26, but our summers always average 90 degrees, compared to the US average of 86.

16. The weather is mild, but it can suddenly rain.

There are a few days of rain in every month, and you can’t always know when the day will turn out cloudy. Just be ready for the occasion. Much like Florida, it can start to rain out of nowhere. Otherwise, we have the best walking weather.

17. We are known as the Bar-B-Q Pork Capital of the world.

Because we are. And if you’re planning to seriously move here, we have no doubt you’ll think so too. We won’t bother to recommend any one spot, they’re all delicious.

18. The political scene is reliably Blue.

Just letting you know, Memphis has always leaned Democratic. We stand out as a spot of blue in a red state, and our growing cities mean that’s not likely to change.

19. There are quite a few faces and moods to the city.

Downtown is the bustling center, with a regular commute system and usually the most tourists. Midtown is more relaxed, vibrant, with a community feel and more entertainment for the locals. East Memphis is a center for learning and more than likely where you’ll end up once you have a kid or two.

20. You can afford a house, and it’s better than renting.

Because of the rising household income and a lower cost of living, you can afford a house if you move here. The rates are more affordable than renting. So if Memphis is where you are thinking about making your home, fiscally, it’s a great place to start.

Grant Oster