Reasons to Love Memphis #45: The People Watching

Posted by Holly Whitfield | February 22nd 2011 176 0

I’ll admit it – I’m a people watcher and eavesdropper. Chalk it up to my journalistic background and the fact that I don’t have cable. Having spent the last week in New York, I can say that they may have more people to watch, but what Memphis lacks in quantity, we make up for in quality.

For example, last night, I went grocery shopping at the Kroger at Poplar and Highland around 11 p.m. On my way into the store, I passed a station wagon dotted with military veteran stickers parked with the windows wide open. There was a guy in the driver’s seat, sleeping with the seat completely reclined, cowboy hat covering his face. And he was blasting – I mean blasting – Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon.

That particular Kroger is one of my favorite local people-watching spots. It’s in the middle of town, situated between East Memphis, Midtown, Orange Mound and Binghampton. It also attracts a large amount of late-night shoppers.

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If you want to go people watching without the late-night grocery shopping, in Memphis, you’ve got options:

– The lobby of the  Peabody Hotel is always packed with tourists, locals having after-work drinks, people coming and going and the occasional celebrity. To blend in, order a drink at the lobby bar and sit close to the fountain.

– The window seats at the downtown Flying Saucer are the perfect spots on nice days. The windows are open and you can grab a beer and some food and watch people coming and going downtown. The best times to do this, of course, are weekends during the spring and summer and during big downtown events – Beale St. Music Festival, Barbecue Fest, etc.

– I’ve never been disappointed by the variety of characters at Alex’s Tavern. The later you go, the stranger the mix – there’s everyone from preppy Rhodes students to just-got-off-work bartenders to middle aged insomniacs and neighborhood regulars.

– Airports are easy people watching, and since Memphis International is such a big hub for Delta / Northwest, you’re sure to get some variety in Concourse B.

– If you grab a seat upstairs at the possibly-haunted Mollie Fontaine Lounge on any given night, you can see almost two floors of some of Memphis’ most stylish residents.

– Any free event or street fair is people watching gold. Think Levitt Shell summer concerts, Hot Wing Fest, Cooper Young Fest or River Arts Fest.

Where are your favorite spots to people watch? Have you seen or met anyone interesting lately?


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. Mrs. Hdawg says:

    24 Hour Pancake Shop on Summer.
    My favorite place to eavesdrop/ people watch! Smacktalking after the karaoke championships, and a construction worker in a t-shirt, steel-toe boots, a huge belt buckle, and a kilt.

  2. Jackie says:

    University Center (the UC) at the University of Memphis.
    I sit there when I have time between classes eat a snack or lunch and listen to rap star hopefulls, people joking laughing. You hear some of the most enlightening things sometimes, even when it’s subjects you didn’t want to be enlightened on. People wearing anything from p.j.’s to everyday t-shirt and jeans to being dressed to the nines.

  3. Jacknmemphis says:

    LOVE to easedrop! Heard 2 guys at Crossroads talking about their friend’s new boyfriend.One guy said” so who is this guy that Timmy is dating now?” and the other guy said ” You know who the guy is. You hit him with your car last Saturday.” !!!!
    Memphis ease dropping ROCKS!

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