Where to Stay in Memphis – 4 Trendy Areas in 2024 (+Hotels!)

Aerial view of Memphis skyline with the distinctive Pyramid Arena and the Mississippi River at sunset, portraying the city's unique landmarks and scenic waterfront

Are you getting ready to visit Memphis? I’m your trip-planning gal! Now that it’s time for you to choose where to stay in Memphis, I’ve used my top research skills and cherry-picked 4 areas in Shelby County for different travel tastes to help you out!

Downtown Memphis is the best place to stay for first-time visitors! It’s where the prominent landmarks and eclectic entertainment venues are!

Stay tuned to read all about the best hotels in each area, too. My hotel rating standards are pretty strict, and you can rest assured that every hotel I recommend offers a top-notch experience! After all, I did compare more or less all the hotels and apartments in Memphis!

After reading this article, you will get a pretty clear picture of how the areas are organized, which one you should stay in, and what accommodation to book for yourself (I also sorted it by budget for your convenience!). 

NOTE: Memphis hotels tend to get fully booked (especially for the month-long Memphis in May International Festival), so the sooner you reserve your room, the better!

If you are in a hurry

Explore the best hotels to stay in Memphis Downtown:

luxury hotel
A classic and elegant room with a plush bed with a carved wooden headboard, luxurious bedding, flanked by sophisticated lamps
mid-range hotel
Modern living room with abstract art on the walls, plush green sofas, and a metal circular coffee table
budget hotel
Hotel rooftop pool with lounge chairs and a view of the Hernando de Soto Bridge

Comfort Inn Memphis

Best affordable accommodation in the center


Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:


Here is a Memphis map highlighting the 4 areas I’ll talk about in this blog post:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Memphis, with numbered locations and labels for easy navigation
Downtown Memphis
for first-timers
East Memphis
on a budget
SOUTH MAIN
for culture

1. Downtown Memphis – where to stay for the first time

The vibrant Beale Street in Memphis at dusk, illuminated by neon signs from historic blues clubs and restaurants

Located by the beautiful Mississippi Riverfront, Memphis Downtown is more than just an ordinary downtown. Here, you can explore legendary music venues, museums, art galleries and an epic entertainment district with lively bars and restaurants! 

Start your day by discovering the city’s main landmarks: The National Civil Rights Museum (where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated!), the Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum and Sun Studio (known as the Birthplace of Rock’ n’ Roll). 

Pick one of the lovely cafes to have a snack and rest because, at night, you will explore one of the most famous music scenes in the USA along Memphis Beale Street! 

FUN FACT: Beale Street is famous for its live music venues where Johnny Cash, B.B. King, and Elvis Presley started making music! No wonder the street is known as the Home of Blues AND the birthplace of Rock’n’Roll!

Beale Street is known for its music venues, but this area also has some of the city’s best restaurants. Texas de Brazil is an iconic all-you-can-eat meat bar serving the best flank steak! 

Before checking out the best places to stay in Memphis Downtown, remember to make your reservation in advance, as this is the most popular area to stay in! 

Since you’re here, don’t miss out on the Bass Pro Pyramid in Uptown! You can see the largest collection of hunting equipment and over 30 fish varieties in the 600,000 gallons of water across the store!

Now, here are the best Downtown Memphis hotels. Remember to book them in advance, (especially if you’re visiting during the Elvis Week on the 2nd or 3rd week of August, or for the Memphis in May festival!):

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel room photos to stay in Memphis: a classic room with a plush white bed and elegant wooden furniture, a chic living area with a modern sofa and vibrant decor, and an indoor pool with a serene and tranquil ambiance.

The Westin Memphis is located at the heart of downtown and offers comfortable guest rooms with unique city views. This hotel has an excellent fitness center, a fabulous breakfast, private parking, and a complimentary breakfast. Enjoy the chic rooftop bar and restaurant and easily access Beale Street to check out live music venues. Memphis Airport is just 8 miles (10 km) away.

Other accommodation options in Downtown Memphis

Mid-range
Contemporary hotel bedroom with a large bed, green area rug, and minimalist decor

Located in the city center, this hotel offers spacious rooms, a swimming pool, a great breakfast, and onsite parking

Budget
Rooftop swimming pool with a view of the Hernando de Soto Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee

This hotel has a perfect location in the city center, a nice swimming pool, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi

Airbnb
An industrial-chic living room in a downtown condo with exposed brick walls, contemporary furniture, and large windows offering an urban view

This Airbnb has a cozy vibe with quality amenities like flat-screen TVs and free parking

Things to do in Downtown Memphis

2. Midtown the safest place to stay in Memphis, TN

A series of large white animal sculptures, including elephants and lions, in front of the Memphis Pyramid, an iconic landmark, with visitors walking around the plaza area

Midtown is located 3 miles (5 km) east of Memphis Downtown. Thanks to its central location not too far from Downtown, it is a great place for sightseers to stay. This residential area is also considered one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.

In Midtown, you should not miss the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis Zoo, the Overton Park, or the Mallory-Neely House. At night, Overton Square is the ideal spot to grab a drink or catch a live performance!

After you’ve had your fill of museums, head to the beautiful Cooper-Young area to check out the cool cafes, second-hand shops, and nice restaurants. This sub-district of Midtown is also famous for the city’s biggest culture and music festival taking place in September every year, the Cooper-Young Festival.

Also nearby is the University District, with some 360 residential + commercial buildings and plenty of eateries along S Highland Street!

Midtown is where you’ll find the safest hotels in Memphis, TN! I carefully picked the best accommodation options for you, but to ensure you get your spot, make a reservation in advance!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel room photos to stay in Memphis: a stylish room with blue walls and leopard print chair, a sophisticated bedroom with a grey upholstered bed and red flowers, and a cozy sitting area with eclectic furniture and warm lighting

If you’re looking for a luxury hotel near the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, this is it! This hotel offers spacious rooms with beautiful decorations, a good breakfast, and on-site parking. Guests can have delicious meals at the hotel’s restaurants and try cocktails at the bar. And if you’re looking for safe hotels in Memphis, search no more!

Other accommodation options in Midtown

Mid-range
Memphis hotel pool area enclosed by a building, featuring a clean, blue swimming pool and surrounding lounge chairs

Centrally located in Midtown, this hotel features a fitness center, a swimming pool, free parking, and a business center 

Budget
A bedroom with a comfortable bed, wooden headboard, and a neutral color palette accented with a pastel throw and matching pillows

A great budget choice near Memphis Zoo with 2 bedrooms and free parking

Airbnb
A stylish and modern living room with plush seating, elegant drapery, and a cozy ambiance, complemented by natural light streaming through large windows

Located at the heart of Midtown, this Airbnb has a nice courtyard and spacious rooms with charming decoration

Things to do in Midtown Memphis

3. East Memphis where to stay in Memphis with kids

Tranquil Japanese garden scene with a red arched bridge over a pond, surrounded by lush bamboo and trees

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Memphis that is safe and pleasant for kids, East Memphis is a great option!

East Memphis is a residential area located 10 miles (15 km) east of Downtown Memphis. Compared to Downtown, you can find cheaper hotels in East Memphis. The affordable accommodation and nearby Memphis tourist attractions make this a great area to stay with a family.

However, don’t be fooled – East Memphis is far from being a dull neighborhood! On the contrary, it offers great outdoor activities, beautiful botanical gardens, and great museums. 

The most popular museums are the Memphis Museum of Science & History, Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium, and the Dixon Gallery & Gardens open-air fine art museum and a public garden. When you’re done visiting, take the kids for a walk in the stunning Memphis Botanic Garden for a short picnic outdoors!

If you feel like mini golfing, the Golf & Games Family Park is in East Memphis, too! You’ll never run short of things to do with kids in Memphis while you’re here!

NOTE: The best shopping in Memphis is in this neighborhood as well, with most stores being along Poplar Avenue!

East Memphis is some 20 minutes by car and 1 hour on public transportation from Downtown. You’ll definitely need an Uber or a car to get to the city center! 

However, staying in East Memphis means you’ll be closer to the Lichterman Nature Center, where the kids can run around, explore on-site animals, and learn new things in the educational exhibits.

Cordova is also an interesting residential area nearby known for the Shelby Farms Park, Cordova Skating Center, and Malco Cordova Cinema.

Although there are no 5-star hotels in Memphis, that’s no problem since the city boasts plenty of excellent hotels and apartments!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel room photos to stay in Memphis: a bright and airy bedroom with artistic decor and natural light, a modern living room with sleek furniture and red accent pillows, and a detailed image of a unique wooden console with artistic sculptures

This luxurious Airbnb offers the experience of boutique hotels near the city center. Guests can enjoy the large living room with great amenities, cook food in the fully equipped kitchen, and chill in the private garden. This glamorous house also has easy access to the city’s main attractions.

Other accommodation options in East Memphis

Mid-range
A spacious and inviting hotel lounge area with a variety of colorful and comfortable seating options

A comfortable stay with a swimming pool and spacious rooms for the whole family

Budget
A hotel bedroom with a king-sized bed, vibrant bedding, and a classic design

This hotel offers spacious, family-friendly rooms, a fitness center, free parking, and a great breakfast

Airbnb
Charming single-story residential house with a welcoming front porch and green lawn

This private house has a good location in East Memphis, 3 large bedrooms, and a nice garden; ideal if you plan an extended stay

Things to do in East Memphis

4. South Main the best area to stay for culture 

The exterior of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, showcasing its modern facade and reflective windows with the surrounding urban streetscape

The South Main area is famous for street festivals, quirky eateries, world-famous museums, and chic accommodation options. It’s also where the Memphis Central Train Station is located. 

This is a great district to stay if you’re into culture, as all of the main attractions are related to some aspects of it. Here, you can visit the National Civil Rights Museum and the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame.

For the Civil Rights Museum, you should plan at least 1.5 hours as there are more than 250 artifacts and interactive elements that paint the history of America’s civil rights movements 17th century onwards. 

The Blues Hall of Fame Museum is perfect for blues music lovers, but not only! Their well-curated galleries speak volumes, and you don’t have to be a blues enthusiast to enjoy them!

This area is also convenient to stay in because everything is within walking distance, and there’s even a direct line from the Central Station to the airport. You can easily walk from South Main to the rest of Downtown, especially if you stay at the South Main Street that intersects the famous Beale Street!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Memphis: an eclectic bedroom with patterned wallpaper and a vintage rug, a welcoming hotel lobby with plush seating and a historic map, and a sleek cafe area within the hotel with wooden counters and modern design

This 4-star luxury hotel has exceptionally clean and stylish rooms, private parking, and the perfect location! You can also enjoy their fitness center and an on-site bar. The rooms are spacious, while the bathrooms have the most amazing tile work!

Other accommodation options in South Main

Mid-range
A contemporary hotel room with a sleek design, featuring a comfortable bed, modern furniture, and a stunning view of the cityscape at dusk

A fabulous value for money, just 14 minutes on foot from the Beale Street

Budget
A lively outdoor hotel pool area with a colorful and artistic backdrop

An aparthotel with a modern interior, a pool, and a prime location 9 minutes from the Beale Street

Airbnb
An elegantly decorated living room with a large sofa, chic decor, and ample natural light

A guest-favorite townhouse for up to 8 guests, featuring bedrooms with river views

Things to do in South Main

👑 Luxury price:US$230
💵 Mid-range hotel:US$150
🛏️ Budget:US$100
📍 Best area:Downtown
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:The Westin Memphis
🧳 Best mid-range hotel:Hilton Garden Inn
👛 Best budget hotel:Comfort Inn Memphis

BONUS 1: Unique places to stay in Memphis, TN

Sunset view of the Pyramid in Memphis, now a mega retail and entertainment complex, with the Mississippi River and a dramatic sky in the backdrop

Memphis is loaded with fabulous accommodation options! I felt like I wouldn’t be doing your trip planning justice if I didn’t include these 4 unique places where you can stay! 

I sorted from them from the highest to lowest-priced for your convenience:

  • Big Cypress Lodge – Stay inside the iconic Memphis Pyramid and enjoy luxurious facilities like a bowling alley and fitness center and mesmerizing views of the Mississippi River and Downtown! The hotel’s interior looks like it came out of a folk tale!
  • The JamesLee House – A bed & breakfast with fabulous architecture that reflects the city’s rich musical and cultural heritage. Experience unparalleled luxury with a historic charm in the heart of Memphis!
  • River Inn Harbor Town – A historic boutique hotel with select rooms overlooking the Mississippi River. I love the interior, especially their Superior King Room! Class, elegance, and historic charm all in one! Oh, and you also get complimentary breakfast and champagne at check-in!
  • South Main Arts District Cottage – Want to experience Memphis like a local? This cottage in the city’s historic district is a perfect option! The friendly owner will be happy to greet you during work hours, and you’ll stay in a fully equipped cottage suitable for extended stays!

BONUS 2: Best hotels near Graceland

The historic Graceland Mansion in Memphis, the famous home of Elvis Presley, with its classic architecture and beautifully landscaped front lawn

Visiting Memphis wouldn’t be complete without visiting Graceland Mansion, the top destination for Elvis Presley fans. 

If you want to visit this place, as well as the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum (or even Stax Museum of American Soul Music) further north, it’s best to only come here for the visit and sleep in any of the areas I mention above.

Since Graceland is some 8.5 miles away from Downtown Memphis, you can take Uber or a taxi to get to the attractions. I don’t recommend using public transport as you’d have to change 2 bus lines (4 and 30), and the travel time can be around 2 hours!

Honestly, I would not recommend sleeping in Graceland for increased safety concerns. You probably will be fine, but It is pretty sketchy and you would not feel very at ease there as a tourist. However, if you really want to stay near Graceland, you can choose the hotels below. Just pay extra attention to your surroundings and don’t go out at night!

I sorted out the hotels by budget, so you can pick your favorite one and go:

A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Memphis: a room with a vibrant teal headboard and chic decor, a spacious lounge with blue sofas and contemporary style, and an outdoor hotel pool area with lounging chairs and a unique guitar-shaped pool design
  • Luxury: The Guest House at Graceland – This 4-star hotel is just 5 minutes from Graceland Mansion on foot! They have 2 on-site restaurants, so you can eat here in the evening to avoid walking around the area. 
  • Mid-range: The Retreat at Graceland – Get an entire home with a kitchen and free parking! Whether you’re visiting with kids or friends, you can feel safe in this place with full-day security.
  • Budget: Holiday Inn Express & Suites – The only budget hotel near Graceland I can recommend is a bit outdated (as per guest reviews), but still, it’s a solid choice with comfortable beds and a swimming pool!

FAQs about where to stay in Memphis, TN

Iconic 'MEMPHIS' sign with the city's downtown skyline in the background, representing the cultural spirit and pride of Memphis, Tennessee

🗺️ What is the best area to stay in Memphis, TN?

Downtown Memphis is the best area to stay in Memphis, TN, thanks to its proximity to the main city attractions. The Westin Memphis and Hilton Garden Inn are some of the best hotels in this area.

❌ What areas of Memphis should you avoid?

Shelby Forest-Frayser is the least safe area of Memphis, so avoid it to prevent complications during your trip.

🤔 Is it safe to stay in Downtown Memphis?

Yes! Downtown Memphis is safe for tourists. You can safely walk around Beale Street. However, you should avoid isolated streets at night.

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 What are the best places to stay in Memphis for families?

With its spacious, family-friendly rooms, The Westin Memphis in the downtown area is one of the best places to stay in Memphis for families. East Memphis hotels are also great for families.

⏳ How many days do you need to visit Memphis?

I recommend staying 3 days in Memphis to discover museums like the National Civil Rights Museum, music venues in Beale Street, and Elvis Presley attractions in the Graceland neighborhood.

✅ Is Memphis safe?

Yes and no. Memphis often makes the news for crimes between residents, but it remains a fairly safe destination for tourists. You should be careful around Graceland and South Memphis. Also, avoid walking alone on Beale Street late at night.

🥁 What are the best hotels near the Beale Street entertainment district?

The Westin Memphis is a great luxury option, while Hampton Inn & Suites is the perfect mid-range option in the Beale Street district!

🎸 Where is the best place to stay in Memphis near Graceland?

The best place to stay in Memphis near Graceland is The Guest House. Other hotels near Graceland are mostly 1-star and 2-star options with poor ratings, and I wouldn’t recommend staying there.

❓ Where to stay in Memphis in May?

Downtown Memphis, as this is where all the action is! I suggest you pick a hotel in advance to secure the best deals! May is a busy time for Memphis because of the Beale Street Music Festival!

Conclusion

Beale Street in Memphis at night, alive with neon signs from blues clubs and music venues, reflecting the vibrant nightlife and musical heritage of the city

I hope my article helped you decide where to stay in Memphis! I discussed the best neighborhoods and sorted them by interest to make your trip planning a breeze! Plus, I gave you an overview of the best hotels in each area for all budgets!

If you are visiting Memphis for the first time, stay in Memphis Downtown. However, each neighborhood has a unique vibe, so pick your favorite according to your taste!

And now, here are my 2 best hotel recommendations in case you still don’t have your favorite:

  • The Westin Memphis – the best pet-friendly hotel to stay in Downtown Memphis with a fitness center and other luxurious facilities
  • Hilton Garden Inn – A great place to in Downtown Memphis with a convenient location and an indoor swimming pool

All of the hotels I reviewed are top-rated, so remember to book your Memphis stay in advance to secure the best deals!

Also, share your questions or concerns about your upcoming trip in the comments below. I’ll be quick to answer!

Enjoy your Memphis, Tennessee vacation!

Darija


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