Ho, Ho, Go! Holiday Shopping in Memphis Is Full of Temptation
By Sally Walker Davies
Memphis Local Expert
From all the shops and stores in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best offerings. We deliver a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Memphis shopping on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Best Shopping list for Memphis. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss, and promises to take you all throughout town as you shop.
Our list includes a great jewelry store called Charlotte Eihinger-Schwarz, which is a German retailer with just a few locations The South Main historic district is home to a number of local must-hits, including Saachi and Hoot and Louise. ust a few blocks north, inside the historic Peabody Hotel, you will find Lansky's, the clothiers that gave Elvis his fashion-forward reputation. Hit the Cooper Young area in Midtown for our must-shop decor fave, me and mrs jones, where you can also take workshops on creating fine finishes.
We've included two shopping centers on this list, too; Laurelwood and the Shops of Saddle Creek, located in East Memphis and Germantown, respectively.
Burke's Book Store
Burke's is one of the country's oldest bookstores - and likely one of Memphis's oldest, continuously operating businesses, having opened in 1875. Most of its history was spent in one location in Midtown; the store moved in recent years to Cooper Young. Burke's provides book lovers with what has become a rarity these days - an independent bookstore experience. With fusty and musty old tomes, contemporary bestsellers, and just about everything in betwee, the store is a local favorite. Burke's also scores local, regional, and national authors for signings, so you never know who might show up - including John Grisham. (901-278-7484)
If we had loads of income - disposable or otherwise - Palladio is where we'd spend it. With an array of antiques and collectibles, and random vintage finds, Palladio offers some of the highest-end antiques in the city, as well as a fantastic collection of works from local and regional artists. This is not a particularly huge store, but it does offer a nice array of styles, so there's something for every taste arranged in individual booths for easy browsing. And even though this isn't a massive space, there are 75 different booths to browse, so plan your time accordingly. We are particularly drawn to the English antiques -oh, our kingdom for an original pub sign! (901-276-3808)
Williams-Sonoma - Pottery Barn Clearance Outlet
The Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn outlets offer the chance to get all your favorite merchandise, as featured in the catalogs and stores, at discount prices. From current season furnishings at Pottery Barn to the highest quality name-brand kitchen equipment and accessories, there are always bargains to be had, especially on the Williams Sonoma side, where we always are on the lookout for the All-Clad sales - heaven! More than anything, we love picking up Christmas gifts here; we stock up on the kinds of gifts that are great for families, like mugs and gourmet hot cocoa mix, or pancake mix with themed pancake molds. (901-763-1500)
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid
It was the most anticipated opening of a store in Memphis, ever. The $190-million plus Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid - former home to the NBA's Grizzlies - opened in late April welcoming 35,000 customers its first DAY. The massive retail space combines a giant-sized version of a Bass Pro shop with a a giant cypress wamp filled with fish and alligators, a 13-lane bowling alley, a 28-story freestanding glass elevator, a 120-room hotel that resembles a swanky lodge, an observation deck at the tip of the Pyramid (visit for a fee), and all manner of boats, ATVs, and more to explore.Oh, and a gun range, an archery range, a shooting gallery, and a hotel spa. So, let's just call it Disney for outdoorsy types. Or anyone who wants to marvel at the marriage of a pyramid and a hunting lodge. Weirdly, it just works. ((901) 291-8200)
A. Schwab Dry Goods Store
Located on historic Beale Street since 1876, this general store is a Memphis institution. Schwab's has changed hands over the years, but the employees and inventory seem to remain the same.The dusty and vast inventory includes everything from kitchen flatware to overalls and knick-knacks. Be sure to visit as you'll feel as if you have stepped back in time and are visiting the only store in a small town -- and boys particularly love this place, as it is full of essentials like whoopee cushions and other staples of boy-toys. You need to pay the old-fashioned way, too -- no credit cards accepted! (901-523-9782)
For fine gifts, Babcock is a Memphis go-to. With fine lines of china, silver and crystal, every bride in town registers here, and for good reason. The store is known for its excellent customer service, the gift-wrapping, the sage advice about those important questions, like how many place settings to buy and whether you really need silver (yes, you do). But the offerings at Babcock go way beyond bridal. Local and regional pottery from Agnes Stark and T. Puterbaugh Gill are affordable and excellent gift options, and there is plenty of casual party ware and small gifts to round out the selection. (901-763-0700, 800-489-0701)
Shops of Saddle Creek
A loosely spread complex with three separate sections, Saddle Creek offers all the latest trendy, name-brand stores. And while we are more inclined to hit locally-owned stores, we love Saddle Creek for its open-air concept, walk-ability, and upscale selection of stores. Saddle Creek features Williams-Sonoma, kate spade, Anthropologie, Coach, and Janie and Jack; Lucky Brand, Vera Bradley, White House / Black Market, and JJill. Men can find something to wear at Banana Republic or J. Crew. There are a few restaurants scattered throughout the area (and others definitely within walking distance of the south side of the center). During the holiday season, local school choirs entertain shoppers. (901-753-4264)
Me & Mrs. Jones
The totally talented Stephanie Jones set up shop in Cooper-Young, and talented DIY-ers across the region are celebrating. Jones, who shudders at the use of the word 'faux', notes that fine finishes are what her artistry is all about. She teaches hands-on workshops in her studio, sells painted furniture, Annie Sloan chalk paint and Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint; she also sells brushes, books, custom stencils, interesting knobs, local travel guides, flea market finds and whatever else strikes her fancy. If you, like yours truly, doesn't have the ability or patience to paint, fear not - Jones and company always have the shop stocked with a number of finely painted furniture pieces. ((901) 494-8786)
Booksellers at Laurelwood
The local bookstore lives on - and lives on in splendorous existence at the Booksellers. Locals still call it Davis-Kidd, as the store was formerly known before it was bought out by the staff in order to ensure its survival. This is the kind of store where you can pick up a gift as well as a book - and we guarantee you can't stump the staff - they know everything. The delightful Bistro in one corner of the store serves up a fantastic breakfast, lunch, or dinner with signature items including a bleu cheese-topped tomato soup, and scrumptious offerings from local and regional cookbooks. (901-683-9801)
Lansky at the Peabody
Lansky Brothers fashions are a part of Memphis history, and their upscale designer clothing stores are a local fixture. While musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and B.B. King provided the sound of Memphis, Lansky Brothers provided their fashion sense. Most well known for Elvis's Hi-boy collars, peg-legged pants, and pink/black combinations, they have been bringing the funkiest and hottest looks to Memphis for more than 50 years. The shop is small yet well-stocked, and they even carry blue suede shoes (and they're quite stylish). They also know how to tie a bow tie, if you're staying at the Peabody and need a rescue. Even if the prices are out of your range, browsing the 2000-square-foot store inside the lobby of the Peabody is quite an experience. (901-529-9070)
About Sally Walker Davies
Sally Walker Davies is enchanted by Memphis' music, history, and characters. From the artsy South Main Historic District to the grittiness of her favorite live music clubs to the sophisticated style of the eastern edge of the city, there’s a Memphis for every mood, and she loves every part of it. Walker Davies is an experienced broadcast, print, and online journalist focusing on travel, writing for the Commercial Appeal, AOL Travel, BudgetTravel.com, and The Tennessean. She is the author of Tennessee: An Explorer’s Guide and the Elvis-themed travel app King Me: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty Tour.
Read more about Sally Walker Davies here.