Beale Street Historic District

Type: Attractions, Free Attractions, Historic Sites, Sightseeing

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10Best Says

Once the center of black-owned businesses and nightclubs, Beale became the home of the blues at the turn of the 20th century - a waypoint along the trail from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago. W.C. Handy lived - and performed - here, and anyone who was anyone on the blues scene has performed in the clubs here, from Blind Mississippi Morris to B.B. King to Robert Johnson. Today, the clubs and restaurants on Beale proper still move to the beat of the blues. The FedEx Forum - home to the NBA's Grizzlies - sits just off Beale, and a variety of hotels, museums and eateries are within a short walk from the famous street. Blues fans can pay homage to W.C. Handy at the home and museum at the east end of the street, or visit the Center for Southern Folklore to explore storytelling and folk art in the South. Also nearby is the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum and Gibson Guitar Factory. In Handy Park, a small stage is home to lunchtime and weekend concerts including some unscheduled jam sessions. For the best blues music, try B.B. King's, Rum Boogie or Alfred's.


203 Beale St
Memphis, TN 38103

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Expert Tips by Sally Walker Davies

Memphis Local Expert

Free Things to Do, Best Attractions & Activities, Sightseeing, Historic Sites, Attractions near FedExForum: "Families are welcome on Beale Street, and generally any of the restaurants with live music allow children as long as they are accompanied by adults. But once evening falls, most clubs and some restaurants limit their clientele to the 21-and-up crowd – this isn't the place for kids after 9 p.m."

Romantic Things to Do: "Our favorite destination on Beale for lovebirds is the hidden-away Itta Bena, the romantic restaurant above B.B. King's."

Best for Free Things to Do Because: You can feel the vibe of Beale without spending a dime, simply by walking down the street.

Best for Romantic Things to Do Because: There are plenty of clubs on Beale where you can get your grove on with your lover.

Recommended as Best Attractions & Activities Because: Beale is the epicenter of Memphis nightlife, and one of the country's best live music districts.

Best for Sightseeing Because: Beale Street is integral to the city's history - musical and otherwise.

Best for Historic Sites Because: Beale is historic both for its musical influence and its African American history.

Best for Attractions near FedExForum Because: The Forum practically sits on Beale Street, and it's a throw-down option for a quick meal before an event or game.

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