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Overview

LAY OF THE LAND

Memphis, a city of fewer than 700,000 residents, is spread over a remarkable 296 square miles hemmed in by Interstate 240. Downtown hugs the Mississippi River on the city's western edge. Beale Street bisects Downtown perpendicular to the river. Midtown (where you'll find the artsy Cooper-Young District) borders Downtown to the east. The Pink Palace and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens are located in East Memphis, although many tourists only stray from Downtown and Midtown for a jaunt to Graceland, 9.22 miles south in Whitehaven.

WHEN TO GO


Memphis proves the rule that barbecue is best served hot. Air-conditioning is required all summer long, and there's really only one reason to endure August's sweltering temperatures: Death Week, the annual commemoration of the passing of the King. Winters are mild but wet. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit.

HOW TO GET THERE


You can hop a direct flight from many major U.S. cities to the Memphis International Airport, about 12 miles southeast of Downtown (2491 Winchester Rd.; 901-922-8000; www.mscaa.com). Most hotels run shuttles, but renting a car is easiest for most travelers.

GETTING AROUND


Taxi fares are sky-high, and public buses will disappoint. It is possible to walk to most attractions in Downtown, but renting a car (or bringing your own) is recommended. But beware—locals tend to be unruly on the road.

TRAVEL TIPS


TOURIST INFO


TOURIST INFO

There are three visitor centers in Memphis. You can also visit www.memphistravel.com for information.

Memphis/Shelby County Visitors Center
12036 Arlington Trail
Tel: 901 543 5333 or 888 633 9099
vic1@mcvb.org

Memphis Visitor Center
3205 Elvis Presley Boulevard
Tel: 901 543 5333

Tennessee State Welcome Center
119 N. Riverside Drive
Tel: 901 543 5333

Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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