Famed for its blues, civil rights history, and BBQ, Memphis is one of Tennessee’s most-visited travel destinations. And when planning a trip to “Bluff City,” figuring out where to stay in Memphis should be high on your agenda.
Fortunately for travelers, it’s not such a slog. Most of the best hotels in Memphis dwell in & around Downtown Memphis. Plenty of great lodgings await in exciting central neighborhoods like Beale Street and South Main.
For quieter (and cheaper) accommodation, you’ll discover other top areas to stay in Memphis outside its city center. Districts like Midtown and East Memphis are fantastic options to escape the urban bustle. (And to lighten your travel budget.)
Not sure where to start your Memphis hotel search? Simplify your trip planning with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Memphis.
Best places to stay in Memphis
The second-biggest city in Tennessee, Memphis comprises an array of interesting areas & neighborhoods. But with its size & sprawl, choosing where to stay in Memphis can seem daunting.
For first-time visitors, the answer is easy: start your accommodation search in Downtown Memphis. The downtown area is home to many of the top tourist attractions in Memphis and many of the best Memphis hotels.
If you’re on a tighter budget, staying outside the city center is a good option, too. Neighborhoods like Midtown and East Memphis are good alternatives. While they don’t have a huge selection of places to stay, you’ll find a few options that offer excellent value.
The best areas to stay in Memphis are:
✔ Best area to stay in Memphis for first-time visitors
Visiting Memphis in one day or for the first time? Narrow your search to Downtown Memphis. Perched on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, the downtown district is the heart & soul of this historic city.
Many of the city’s top tourist attractions call Downtown Memphis home. Wandering around the city center, you’ll stumble upon many of the city’s coolest museums, restaurants, and bars. Downtown is also the safest area in the city for visitors.
Music fans should stop in at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame or Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum for a lesson in local music history. Foodies will likewise find plenty of culinary gusto in the district’s top-notch restaurants. Most are centered around Main Street and Beale Street.
Like in other major US city centers, accommodations prices in downtown tend towards the mid-range and above. Budget travelers should look to other areas like Midtown or East Memphis to save some coin.
Recommended hotels in Downtown Memphis
Offering excellent value for downtown, this 3-star hotel charms guests with its simple & spacious modern rooms. You’ll enjoy a fresh set of amenities here, including an indoor pool and an onsite restaurant. The inn is close to many of the city’s major attractions.
One of the city’s historic hotels, the Peabody Hotel delivers an unforgettable experience. The rooms are, of course, charming. But it’s the hotel’s famous resident ducks that steal the show. Every morning at 11 am the ducks strut their stuff on a red carpet to enjoy a splash in the hotel’s central fountain. The southern heat got you down? You can make a splash yourself in the indoor pool. (Or burn off some BBQ in the hotel’s fitness center.)
Looking for a ‘homier” feel on your trip? Slip into a suite at the Residence Inn Memphis Downtown. Guests will love relaxing in the spacious living rooms, plopped in front of a flat-screen TV. Retire to the rooftop sun terrace to enjoy a fantastic sunset over the Mississippi.
✔ Best neighborhood to stay in Memphis for nightlife & music
Looking for downtown’s most exciting moments? Spend your nights along Beale Street. The city’s most iconic street surges from the Mississippi River through the heart of the city towards Midtown.
The Beale Street Entertainment District is one of the premier entertainment hotspots in the USA. The street is famed for its bars & live music venues. In their heyday, many of America’s most famous musicians got their starts here. The street’s legendary alumni include Johnny Cash, B.B. King, and, most famously, Elvis Presley.
Aside from its blues music scene, the Beale Street Entertainment District is one of the tastiest places in town to eat. For delicious food and a side of music history, grab a bite at B.B King’s Blues Club or Blues City Cafe.
Recommended hotels around Beale Street
A mere block from the cafes & music scene of Beale Street, this budget-friendly inn delivers some of the area’s best value. Guests will love the large suites, affixed with modern comforts like flat-screen TVs. You’ll also dig the indoor swimming pool and well-equipped fitness center.
The only hotel on Beale Street itself, this brand-new 3.5-star shows off a head-turning contemporary style. The Hyatt Centric shines with amenities like a rooftop bar & lounge and outdoor pool. Upgrade to one of its sleek river-view suites to fall asleep to vistas over the Mississippi River. Popular attractions nearby include the National Civil Rights Museum, about 12 minutes away by foot.
Music lovers won’t find a better accommodation companion than the Westin Memphis. Located next to the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Gibson Guitar Museum, this lovely 4-star hotel offers the perfect location for music fans. In the guest rooms, you’ll enjoy extras like a coffee maker and flat-screen TV. Fuel up for the day with a continental breakfast or a session at the 24-hour fitness center.
✔ Recommended area to stay in Memphis for foodies & history buffs
Located south of the downtown core, South Main is one of the coolest upcoming districts in the center of town. The neighborhood straddles South Main Street south of Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard.
After years of neglect, South Main’s early-1900s warehouses have seen new life. Today, they house a multitude of chilled-out restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and brewpubs. Eateries in the area, like Central BBQ and Gus’s World Famous Chicken are among the city’s most famous places to eat. You’ll also find hip chef-driven restaurants serving up inventive local cuisine. Let your tastebuds delight in southern fare at Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick or Italian at Catherine & Mary’s.
History & culture buffs will be well-served in the South Main Historic District, too. The area is home to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is located on the former Lorraine Motel site, where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. The National Civil Rights Museum is one of the country’s most important history museums. While spending time in Memphis, visiting is an absolute must.
Recommended hotels in South Main
ARRIVE sits among the city’s coolest boutique hotels. The hotel delights guests with its colorful vintage, industrial-chic design. The former Lorraine Motel and National Civil Rights Museum are across the street from the guesthouse.
This mid-range luxury hotel turns heads with its unique vintage designs. You’ll love hanging out and meeting other guests in the hotel’s spectacular common area. Its unique look is inspired by the city’s musical history and the train station next door. Extras at the hotel include a daily breakfast, private parking, and a sun terrace.
For a self-catering visit, set your eyes upon this lovely 1-bedroom apartment. Located on the northern edge of South Main, the apartment is well-positioned to tackle popular attractions with gusto. The Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Beale Street are steps away.
✔ Recommended neighborhood to stay in Memphis for budget travelers
Want to escape the downtown tourist bubble? Set your sights on Midtown. Located east of the urban core, Midtown Memphis is a great alternative for budget travelers. It’s also a good option for anyone wanting a little more space on their trip.
While culture & music lovers are well-served downtown, Midtown is home to one of the city’s must-see musical attractions: Sun Studio. Sitting in the heart of Midtown’s Medical District, the world-famous Sun Studio saw some of the city’s most famous patrons pass through. Musical legends like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis once laid down tracks at the renowned recording studio.
For a little relaxation, settle down for a stroll in Overton Park. The 342-acre park is one of the city’s finest green spaces, featuring one of Tennessee’s only old-growth forests. Overton Park is also home to the Memphis Zoo and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
Although the selection of accommodations in Midtown is limited, you can expect lower prices than in downtown.
Recommended hotels in Midtown
Want to squeeze the most out of your travel budget? Spend the night at the Best Western Plus Gen X Inn. Located just 5 minutes from downtown by car, this no-frills hotel is a fantastic option for budget travelers. Guests will enjoy extras like complimentary breakfast and free parking.
Straddling the budget and mid-range, this Midtown hotel provides superb value for travelers. It’s chock-loaded with great amenities. The array includes a business center, fitness center, and outdoor swimming pool. The family-friendly hotel offers quick access to downtown and a 10-minute drive to the Memphis Zoo.
Add a homey feeling to your itinerary with a night at this 1-bedroom apartment. The lodgings feature a complete kitchen for a full self-catering stay. In summer, you can cool down in the hot Tennessee sun at the seasonal outdoor swimming pool. The property lies on the edge of the historic Victorian Village.
✔ Recommended district to stay in Memphis for families
About 20 minutes from downtown by road, East Memphis is almost a city unto its own. For travelers who don’t mind the drive, the district is one of the coolest places to stay in Memphis.
East Memphis sprawls across several residential and commercial neighborhoods. The area’s commercial heart beats along Poplar Avenue. Along the thoroughfare lies a handful of popular shopping malls. Dispense with your Benjamins at the upscale Laurelwood Shopping Center or Oak Court Mall.
The area is also among the greenest in the city, boasting parks like Memphis Botanic Garden and Audubon Park. On the edge of the district, you’ll stumble upon Shelby Farms Park. At 4,500 acres, Shelby Farms Park is among the biggest urban parks in the United States.
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Most of the top-rated hotels here drape around the intersection of Poplar Avenue and Interstate 240. You’ll also spot clusters of accommodations in the eastern suburbs of Germantown, Cordova, and Wolfchase.
Recommended hotels in East Memphis
Located on the district’s main stretch, this 3-star inn offers budget-friendly single & family rooms. Extras include free WiFi, an outdoor swimming pool, and complimentary parking. Both Audubon Park and Shelby Farms Park are about 10 minutes away by car.
Looking for a little more space? Book yourself into one of the comfortable rooms at Hyatt Place. At this 3-star hotel, you’ll revel in amenities like an outdoor pool, fitness center, and business center.
Along with Hyatt Place, this 3-star property is the top choice in the east-end chain hotel cluster. Lodgings include both rooms and suites with extras like coffee machines and cable TV. Amenities include an outdoor pool, free parking, and hot breakfasts at the on-site bistro.
Other recommended areas
- Cooper-Young: Located south of Midtown, the Cooper-Young neighborhood is one of the city’s hippest areas. Within its century-old heritage buildings hide vintage stores, pop-up galleries, cafes, and brewpubs. The accommodation selection is mostly limited to holiday homes and Airbnb-style rentals.
- Graceland: For die-hard Elvis fans, visiting Graceland is a rite of passage. If you’re planning to spend the day at the Graceland Estate, there’s a handful of decent hotels along Elvis Presley Boulevard. Graceland is also close to the airport. It’s a good option if you have an early morning flight or late arrival.