Bragging Rights: 17 Reasons To Be Proud of Memphis (Jan. 2015)

Posted by Holly Whitfield | January 25th 2015 9578 0

Does Memphis need outside approval? Not really. But is it nice or otherwise just fun to get a little attention? I think so.

I haven’t done a big roundup in a while, so here are 17 reasons to brag about Memphis in terms of national and international media coverage.

Memphis Riverfront Park MS River

1. The UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph named Memphis a must-visit destination in 2015.

2. The Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars song “Uptown Funk” is currently #1 on the Billboard Top 100 charts and it was recorded right here in Memphis at Royal Studios – where Al Green, Ann Peebles, and many more legends recorded their songs in the 60s and 70s.

3. The New York Times featured Memphis in a video and article with a 36-hour itinerary featuring classic and new Memphis activities beyond “the usual”. Go here to see the video.

Memphis Zoo Google Trekker - smaller

4. Memphis is one of a few U.S. cities to feature Google Trekker Street View images of sites and attractions like Graceland, the Memphis riverfront, Shelby Farms Park,Overton Park, Rhodes College and the Memphis Zoo. Read more full post on this with links here.

5. A survey of USA TODAY 10Best readers named Memphis “Best NBA Destination” You can listen to me discuss exactly why Memphis deserves this title in this short radio interview with my pals on Grizzly Bear Blues Live!

Memphis Riverside Bike Lanes

6. In December, Memphis’ Riverside Drive was singled out as offering the top bike lanes in the U.S., according to the advocacy group PeopleForBikes.

7. Huffington Post named Memphis on a list of “Most Affordable Cities” in 2014.

8. Just last week, Marc Gasol was selected as the first Grizzlies player in history to be named an NBA All-Star starter for the Western Conference. Go Big Spain!

conley-gasol-zbo james beard foundation dinner

9. Many prominent Memphis chefs have cooked at the James Beard House including Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman (Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen/Hog & Hominy), Ryan Trimm (Sweet Grass), Jonathan Magallanes (Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana), Miles McMath (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital), Patrick Reilly (The Majestic Grille) and Felicia Suzanne Willett (Felicia Suzanne’s).

Muddys Pies
Photo via @muddysbakeshop

10. In case you missed my link to this article on Pie Day last Friday, The New York Times featured Memphis’ best dessert offerings last year, including Muddy’s Bake Shop, Hog & Hominy, Lunchbox Eats, Germantown Commissary and Cozy Corner, in an article about pie.

11. In December, Forbes featured Cooper Young’s Phillip Ashley Chocolates, describing Phillip Ashley Rix as a “self­-taught Willy Wonka.”

12. Esquire magazine featured Memphis last July; the article lauded attractions like Graceland, Shangri­ La Records and Central BBQ. I liked this quote from author: “Every aspect of this great southern city urges you to relax, slow down, ease the pace. And, in between exploring the countless historic spots and stuffing your face with all the juicy hunks of barbecued meat…that’s exactly what you should do.”

13. I can’t believe I just found this vibrant, riveting article from Thrillist about the author’s first time at BBQ Fest. It’s just a great read that captures the drama and celebration of the competition side of the event. Speaking of Thrillist, a little bird told me they’ll be launching in Memphis real soon (as in, this week). Stay tuned for details on that.

Wiseacre Brewing

14. As the U.S. craft beer boom continues, three new microbreweries recently opened within the last year or so: High Cotton Brewing, Wiseacre Brewing and Memphis Made Brewing. Wiseacre took home the Bronze Medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival for the popular Tiny Bomb American Pilsner.

Memphis, 2014, Credit: Johan Persson/

15. MEMPHIS, the Tony Award ­winning Broadway musical is currently running in London. It had a 4­-year run on Broadway along with a North American tour. Go here to see the video of when the British cast visited Memphis.

16. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently posted an article about what to do in Memphis beyond the typical tourist stuff. They cited “vibrant neighborhoods, a host of small and little-known museums, intriguing shopping and a world-class zoo…”

17. The Charlotte Observer did a lovely article with an extensive rundown of things to do in Memphis, including projects and attractions that are up-and-coming or worth looking forward to.

I’d feel weird if I didn’t give a shout-out to my colleagues at the CVB, who work tirelessly to make sure that outside media, including some outlets mentioned above, get exposed to reasons why Memphis is lovable.  Speaking of that, here’s a new Memphis promo video that features one of my favorite songs (I Can’t Wait by Star & Micey).

Why are you proud of Memphis? Leave me a note in the comments!

Show Comments


  1. Enedena Fornazieri says:

    I love Memphis because is the city of Elvis Presley, of Graceland.

  2. Suzanne Tagg says:

    1. The people . We are the perfect melting pot of old meets new. Memphis is a place where there is a place for everyone 2: The music ; it is everywhere from the sanctuaries of the churches where much of it began and was shared , to the plethora of dance and music studios for children , to restaurants and bars , outdoor venues such as Levitt Shell, nearby Snowden Grove . From rock ,funk ,pop,classical sounds of the symphony , country -Memphis has it all when if comes to music . Music touches the soul and lifts spirits .3.The spirit of our people that has not died since the earliest days . Troubles come , but as they do the music , food and beverages keep on flowing and we make it through . 4: The natural climate is the perfect mix of cold and hot , and no where is the grass any greener . 5. The Missisppi River . It keeps on flowing even though it changes . There is magic and mystery in that muddy water . Just as the music and perfect bkend of people draw one – so does the water . One cannot visit Memphis without it touching a piece of their soul. 



  3. Ginger Thompson says:

    Another reason to be proud of Memphis!


  4. Mike Simpson says:

    Having moved back to Memphis for retirement,my wife and I have discovered many wonderful activities,attractions and friends. We consider our decision to not only be the best ever; but also on target with our long term goals. By best ever,I mean we have lived in 15 US cities in our lives for comparison.

  5. Emily says:

    I'm proud of Memphis because of its awesome charities and nonprofits like the Church Health Center and St. Jude, to name a couple. 

  6. GT Bradshaw says:

    The Greenline deserves more press. 

  7. Sherrie Dugan says:

    Kelly English

  8. Sherrie Dugan says:

    Oh also Pink Palace Museum

  9. jeanne Arthur says:

    Inspiring synosis of a vibrant place to visit and to live. Everyone who visits can clearly see our city’s attributes. Memphians are creative, kind,interesting, and talented, AND we have soul. Love our positive environment!

  10. Andrew says:

    I lived in Memphis for 17 years. I just moved to a rural area of Tennessee two hours away from Memphis. I will tell you that, yes, there are plenty of nice things about this city but [redacted] It's still one of the top five most dangerous cities in America and has one of the nations highest poverty rates. Politicians are some of the most corrupt in the U.S.! If you want to live there, you will need to be able to find a good job, which seems a little difficult to do in that city, which is why I had to leave. Given that you can find a good job, however and you can live in a neighborhood that's not ridden with crime, Memphis is a wonderful city to live in! The city has a rich history, both good and bad. It's the place where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated and where the Ku Klux Klan was started. It's also the city where St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital was started and has reduced childhood deaths from cancer by two-thirds! It's a city where numerous celebrities are from. Elvis,of course, is the most famous and probably the most famous celebrity ever! Then there's Aretha Franklin, Justin Timberlake, Kathy Bates (the woman who played the crazy lady in "Misery"), Shannon Doherty, Ceelo Greene, the band "Three 6 Mafia", and Jerry Lawler, just to name a few. It's also the city where FedEx was started as well as Autozone (which I work for). I do miss it.

  11. Pam says:

    We moved to Memphis 4 years ago and LOVE it here: the people are friendly, everything is convenient, the weather is great, the cost of living is fantastic, and there is always something to do if you wish.

  12. A says:

    Whether you're a proponent of some of the education reforms or not, the country is looking to us as a proof point for change in urban, public schools, with headlines like "Memphis Makes the Nation’s Most Ambitious Effort to Fix Failed Schools."


  13. Mandi says:

    Don't forget this one! Second most charitable city in the country!! http://www.marketwatch.com/story/and-the-most-charitable-city-in-america-is-2014-10-06

  14. Leonard Cleavelin says:

    As a St. Louisan-in-exile in Memphis (I am sorry, will *never* consider myself a Memphian even if I die here), I had to wince when I read #16. The “St. Louis Dispatch” has not existed since about 1878, when Joseph Pulitzer bought that paper out of bankruptcy and merged it with the St. Louis Evening Post, to found the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. You are welcome for the history lesson.

  15. Amy Reeves says:

    It's amazing music and artist community!!!

  16. Joey Falanga says:

    I absolutely love my city! We may not have invented BBQ, but we darn sure perfected it.We have the best TEAM in the NBA. People from around the world come here for medical treatment because our hospitals are that good. We have one of the best zoos in the world. We’re the biggest “small town” on Earth, because every is very friendly and pretty much knows each other. I could write a novel on why I love my city,but I’ll leave with this. Oh, we also live and die by the Tigers!

  17. The best days of memphis are coming now with saving Overton square, seats restoration, reasonable airplane prices better leadership more interstates, and I could go on for hours. Charles boone

  18. Carolyn says:

    Don't forget The James Lee House, newly opened bed and breakfast in downtown Memphis. The Memphis Business Journal named the Lee Suite as one of the top five rooms in which to stay in Memphis.  The home boasts luxury and comfort and is the best hidden secret that everyone needs to know about.  Memphians should consider a stay-cation downtown for a weekend!  We did and loved it! 

  19. Joni says:

    I grew up in Memphis….we moved there when I was 5…I attended schools from 1954-1968. My beloved father was a jazz afficianado.  He was instrumental in preseving the history of jazz and blues in Memphis .  He helpd get the WC Handy  ( "Father of the Blues") home moved  to a site on Beale  Street where it stands today  for tourists and Memphians to view.  He has a 'Blue Note' in the sidewalk in front of the home with his name on it! So very special … near and  dear to my heart!  Memphis will always be my home, even tho I havent lived there for 40 years !  <3 And I will always say 'y'all'!

  20. Ned says:

    Only been here 4 years, but I would not trade Memphis for any of the cities I lived in beforehand–NYC, Philly, Boston, London, or DC.  They are the perfect proof that bigger is not better.  

    But I am actually writing in response to the person who lists some of the challenges the city faces.  I found myself a few days ago talking with someone who might be moving here, and they asked about the challenges we face.  I agreed that there are many (Though more than NYC in the 70's and 80's? Don't think so, and they turned out okay).  

    The big difference between Memphis and other cities I've lived in is that for any challenge we are facing, there are three foundations, twelve non-profits, 2 art groups, 4 churches and probably a charter school actively working to make it better.  

    As someone who runs a performing arts organization I LOVE that we are expected to be a part of the solution, something that I think many other cities don't expect of their arts orgs–at least I never saw or sensed it.  And that is definitely soemthing I brag about all the time.



    • Holly Whitfield says:

      Thanks Ned. I’ve always enjoyed your particular brand of down-to-earth optimism and the eloquence with which you speak about our city. 

  21. Cathi Trial says:

    Was raised in Memphis, educated,saved and fell in love  in Memphis.    However when I watch the news reports and traffic problems,  I so remember why I moved.  Now love the backroads of Arkansas.  Memphis is now a favorite place to visit..  Little Rock just doesn't do that for me……….


  22. Jeff says:

    Here is why (created by students at MUS)…


  23. I love Memphis because it's Memphis. Memphis means established beauty. I take that it's a city of a beautiful and unique people. It has a rich culture that no other city has. We have talent. Grit and Grind. Love for each other. We are located in prime geographic location like no other city in this country. That's Memphis baby!!!!!!

  24. Memphis is a great place to live and visit. I am blessed to live here and be part of the great music community.

  25. Chris Przybyszewski says:

    I love Memphis for the peopling staying and fighting to make the city a better place. For those who have left and still feel compelled to focus on our remaining challenges, that's your right. In my opinion, if you are not one of the fighters, you have no rights to complain. Just stay out of our way.

  26. Orange Mound says:

    I love Memphis because there's history behind each of the black neighborhoods.

  27. Claire R says:

    Amazing restaurants, STAX Museum, The National Civil Rights Museum, Sun Studios, early spring, the Botanic Garden, the new connection between Overton Square and Cooper Young made possible by Ride the Roo, Memphis Heritage which is saving our buildings… There's so much to love!


  28. Becky B says:

    So proud to call Memphis home, and the list of reasons why just keeps growing …


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