Whether you like Aretha Franklin or B.B. King, Elvis, or Jerry Lee Lewis, or you’re fascinated by Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement — Memphis is the right place for you.
Located on the banks of the strong Mississippi, this city of more than half a million people is one of the most interesting and beautiful places in the southern United States.
If you want to find out where to stay in Memphis and what to do once you get there, make sure you keep reading — you’ll be glad you did. Let us be your guide!
The 4 Best Places to Stay in Memphis
Memphis is on the eastern banks of the Mississippi and expands further eastward. There’s only one exception to that, and that’s Graceland, which is located to the south of the center.
That being said, every single area in our guide has something special and individual to offer.
One thing that you should know is that, as you go from the center to the east or to the south, the prices of accommodations, shops, and restaurants get progressively lower. In other words, the budget options are to be found to the east or to the south from Downtown.
- Downtown: Definitely the best choice for first-time visitors, mostly because of its numerous museums and restaurants and Beale Street.
- Midtown: Great choice for lovers of history, regular museum visitors, and architecture aficionados, but also great for festival-goers due to the Cooper-Young Festival.
- East Memphis: Located around 15 miles from the city center, it’s probably the most budget-friendly area in the whole of Memphis.
- South Memphis and Graceland: Home of Elvis Presley’s Mansion, some interesting museums about “The King” and music history, and a couple of great parks.
Where to Stay in Memphis: Best Areas & Hotels
Memphis is a really tourist-friendly city with a lot of accommodation options of all sizes and types. Whatever area or district you choose as your holiday base, you won’t make a mistake.
But, there are some significant differences between what the different parts of Memphis have to offer. Downtown has the largest number of accommodations in the city, but it’s also the most crowded and the most expensive.
Those who want to stay near the center but can’t find any available accommodations or they find the center too expensive should choose Midtown instead since it’s a perfect alternative.
Those who are looking for budget options can settle either for Midtown or East Memphis, with the second being the cheaper option.
That said, there are many cheap hotels in South Memphis and Graceland, too. Speaking of Graceland, it’s the obvious choice for fans of Elvis and the place where you’ll find his legendary colonial-style mansion.
There’s no better place to stay in Memphis — no matter if it’s your first or your 100th visit — than in the historic and lively downtown.
Located right next to the majestic Mississippi River, it offers you the most important and popular historical and cultural landmarks, a bunch of great restaurants, and plenty of accommodation options.
Before you start hitting the museums and the music venues, take a stroll down Memphis Beale Street — the absolute navel of the city. Created in 1841 and running for almost two miles, it’s always crowded with tourists.
It’s brimming with restaurants, salons, and cafes on both of its sides, and there are a couple of famous music venues, too, like the FedEx Forum and the New Daisy Theatre.
After you take the necessary stroll along the main artery of Memphis, it’s time to visit other important landmarks. The list of museums is quite long and covers both the rich musical tradition of the city and its civil rights engagement.
Whatever you do, you just can’t miss the following places:
- The National Civil Rights Museum gives a thorough account of the civil rights movement, right on the spot where Martin Luther King was shot.
- Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum chronicles all musicians that gave shape to the specific “Memphis sound.”
- Sun Studio is usually considered the birthplace of rock n roll and where Elvis Presley recorded his first song.
We think we made it clear that there are plenty of other things to do or see downtown, but these are the backbone of the city.
Let’s just add that the center is the place where you’ll find all kinds of accommodations — budget, mid-range, or luxurious. Just make sure you make reservations upfront, and you’ll certainly have a great time.
Downtown Budget Hotels
- Hu Hotel Memphis is a relatively cheap three-star hotel located very close to the Memphis Riverboats and the Mississippi River. It offers free Wi-Fi, free parking, a restaurant and a bar on the premises, a 32-inch TV in every room, as well as a minibar and a small refrigerator.
- Courtyard Memphis Downtown is another generally cheap three-star hotel located right in the center of Memphis. It offers free Wi-Fi, private parking, and an iPod docking station — all of them available to all guests. There’s also a fitness center and a restaurant on the premises.
Downtown Mid-Range Hotels
- Comfort Inn Memphis Downtown is a three-star hotel that comes at a really decent price. Overlooking both the Mississippi and Mud Island River Park, it offers an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center on the premises, family rooms furnished with all the amenities, and a tasty breakfast in the morning.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis-Beale Street is a very beautiful three-star hotel, offering qualities bordering on the luxurious. It has picturesque city views, pet-friendly premises, an indoor swimming pool and fitness center, professional room service, facilities for disabled guests, and a nice breakfast.
Downtown Luxury Hotels
- The Westin Memphis Beale Street is a very luxurious and quite expensive four-star hotel that’s particularly suitable for couples. It offers completely pet-friendly premises, on-site parking and free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and bar, rooms furnished in a modern way, and a nice breakfast.
- Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis is another great and expensive four-star hotel located in the center of the city, just 100 meters from the Orpheum Theater. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a restaurant, a bar, and facilities for disabled people.
If you haven’t had enough sightseeing, history, and landmarks downtown, we recommend that you move to the east and visit Midtown.
Just three miles from the center, Midtown is a lively neighborhood full of century-old mansions, interesting museums, and tasty restaurants. It’s also a suitable alternative for downtown if you’re having trouble finding accommodation.
The absolute center of Midtown is the beautiful, fun, and family-friendly Overton Park. It’s basically a huge park that boasts its own Zoo, a 126-acre forest, a museum, and two playgrounds.
This is a place where you can spend most of your days while staying in Midtown since its offer is practically inexhaustible.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is probably the best art museum in the city, presenting artworks from the 18th to the 20th century, both from the Americas and Europe.
Memphis Zoo is a very large institution that boasts both land and sea animals organized according to their geographical specificities and types. The Victorian Village is the penultimate historical district in Memphis, located right between Downtown and Midtown.
It’s a perfect choice for lovers of beautiful architecture and history while also being a great strolling area. The Mallory-Neely House is the most important building in the area: it’s both on the National Register of Historic Places and an interesting museum.
Finally, lovers of music and culture should definitely adapt their schedules to visit Memphis while the Cooper-Young Festival is in progress.
Simply put, it’s the most important and popular festival of its kind in the wider area. It starts in the middle of September. The hotels, motels, and apartments in Midtown are significantly cheaper than downtown.
That means that this district is also quite suitable for budget travelers. The restaurant options are also great, with a lot of old and traditional soul food restaurants.
Midtown Budget Hotels
- Motel 6-Memphis, TN – Downtown is a very cheap two-star motel located on Interstate 240, just ten minutes from the legendary Graceland. Aside from the great location, it doesn’t offer much, but it has free Wi-Fi, free parking, cable TVs in all rooms, as well as desks.
- KINGS INN- Medical Downtown Midtown Memphis is a relatively cheap three-star hotel with an outdoor swimming pool. Less than two miles from Brown Park, it offers free Wi-Fi, free parking, and clean, non-smoking books. It also rents bikes if you want to explore the area on wheels.
Midtown Mid-Range Hotels
- Holiday Inn Express Memphis Medical Center is a great two-star hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, located on Interstate 240. Especially suitable for couples, it offers a buffet breakfast in the morning, a fitness, and a business center.
- Best Western Plus Gen X Inn is a decent three-star hotel and a perfectly suitable mid-range accommodation option, located just 15 minutes away from the historical Graceland. It also offers free Wi-Fi, free parking, a fitness center on the premises, as well as great breakfast in the morning.
Midtown Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Indigo – Memphis Downtown, an IHG Hotel is a great four-star pet-friendly hotel that’s particularly suitable for couples. Located very close to Downtown, it offers an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center, rooms furnished with all the amenities, free Wi-Fi, and private parking.
- Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel is another luxurious four-star accommodation located in Midtown that’s completely pet-friendly and offers an unforgettable city view. It has a restaurant and a bar on the premises, a fitness center, and beautifully furnished family rooms.
3. East Memphis
One of the interesting things about Memphis is that the city stretches farther in width — that is, from west to east — than in length. That’s why our next heading takes us further to the east, into the large and interesting area simply called East Memphis.
No more than 15 miles from downtown, it offers a significantly greener atmosphere, a lot of tree-lined streets, a bunch of interesting museums, plenty of shopping options, and the cheapest accommodation options in the whole city.
All of them, in their own way, are representative of the rich cultural soul of this city, mostly known for its musical history.
They’re here to show that Memphis has more to offer than “just” museums about music and civil rights and legendary studios where Elvis or some other famous musician recorded a cult piece of music.
If, on the other hand, you’re a lover of the outdoors, of nature, and especially of domestic animals, make sure you visit Shelby Farms Greenline.
You can have a fantastic natural hike, fish, or even ride a horse. It’s basically a “recreational oasis,” much larger than the unforgettable central park.
Don’t let the distance from the center make you think that East Memphis is some kind of a rural and forlorn place — quite on the contrary. Some of the best and most versatile shopping options are located here, like the great Laurelwood Shopping Center.
East Memphis is also significantly cheaper than both Downtown and Midtown, and if you’re looking for a real budget option, this is the place for you. But, don’t expect any luxury: for that, turn your gaze to the western districts.
East Memphis Budget Hotels
- Staybridge Suites Memphis-Poplar Ave East, an IHG Hotel is a great but very cheap two-star hotel that has its own outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is also completely pet-friendly, offers free Wi-Fi, and free parking. It also has a fitness center on the premises and facilities for disabled guests.
- Extended Stay America Suites – Memphis – Germantown West is another cheap but quite beautiful two-star hotel that’s also pet-friendly. Aside from the free Wi-Fi, free parking and facilities for disabled guests, it also offers family rooms with tea and coffee makers and grab-and-go breakfast in the morning.
East Memphis Mid-Range Hotels
- Holiday Inn Memphis-University of Memphis, an IHG Hotel is a great three-star hotel, part of the famous Holiday Inn chain of hotels that — believe it or not — comes at a reasonable price. The accommodation boasts non-smoking rooms, a fitness center, and a restaurant on the premises, as well as facilities for disabled guests.
- Poplar Inn and Suites is a quite decent three-star hotel that’s not very expensive. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, free parking and free Wi-Fi, a fitness center on the premises, family rooms equipped with satellite TV and a kitchen, and facilities for disabled guests.
East Memphis Luxury Hotels
- DoubleTree by Hilton Memphis is a relatively cheap three-star hotel for what it offers — a luxurious experience. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and a bar on the premises, a great breakfast in the morning, and nicely furnished family rooms.
- Hilton Memphis is another great three-star hotel that, again, offers much more than the number of stars it has. Aside from the outdoor pool, the restaurant, and the bar on the premises, it also offers flat-screen TVs in every room, ironing facilities, and a tasty breakfast in the morning.
4. South Memphis and Graceland
There’s one place to be in the world if you’re a huge fan of Elvis Presley, and that’s South Memphis and Graceland. Let’s be real: the downtown and the Midtown of Memphis attract myriads of tourists every year, but Graceland shuns them all.
Located around ten miles from the center of the city, the town where Elvis grew up is a thing you can’t miss if you’re visiting this part of America.
But what can you actually do while staying in South Memphis? The answer is: plenty of things, and most of them have to do something with the cult of Elvis.
The central place is Elvis Presley’s palace, which is actually called Graceland. We are talking about a 13.8-acre mansion where Elvis, his parents, his daughter, and other members of his family are buried.
A pilgrimage shrine to many of his hardcore fans, since 1991, the mansion was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2006, it was declared a National Historic Landmark.
Not connected directly to Elvis but still in relation to the rich history of music in Memphis, we recommend that you also visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. This interesting museum celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023.
Other interesting things that South Memphis and Graceland have to offer are the not-very-large but charming Williams Park, located very close to the mansion, and the Southland Mall, which is a great shopping option, around five minutes by car from the same location.
The accommodation options are affordable in this part of the city, with a lot of one-, two-, and three-star hotels.
That makes it a great option for those who prefer a cheaper hotel or an apartment. But there’s still The Guest House at Graceland, which is one of the best hotels in the area.
South Memphis and Graceland Budget Hotels
- Super 7 Inn is a very cheap one-star hotel located just 10 minutes from the Memphis Airport and a perfect choice for all visitors who want to spend their trip in Graceland on a budget. It offers free Wi-Fi, free parking, non-smoking family rooms with flat-screen TVs, and room service.
- Quality Inn Airport I-240 is a two-star hotel located around two miles from Gracelend. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center on the premises, free Wi-Fi, free parking, and a free airport shuttle. There’s also a microwave, a small refrigerator, and a coffee machine in every room.
South Memphis and Graceland Mid-Range Hotels
- La Quinta by Wyndham Memphis Airport Graceland is a great pet-friendly three-star hotel located around two miles from the Memphis Airport. It boasts an outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. Finally, there’s a free airport shuttle available and a nice breakfast in the morning.
- Courtyard by Marriott Memphis Airport is a more than suitable three-star hotel, part of the famous Marriott chain of hotels. Located very close to the Memphis airport, it offers an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and a bar on the premises, free Wi-Fi, free parking, and free airport shuttle too, as well as facilities for disabled people and a tasty breakfast.
South Memphis and Graceland Luxury Hotels
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Memphis Arpt Elvis Presley Blvd is a beautiful and luxurious three-star hotel located less than a mile from Graceland. Aside from the seasonal outdoor swimming pool, the fitness center, and the private parking, there’s a great breakfast in the buffet of the hotel, and facilities for disabled people.
- The Guest House at Graceland is definitely one of the best hotels in the area and the most luxurious hotels in all of Memphis. A four-star hotel, it’s located just five minutes from Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion, it offers an outdoor swimming pool, two restaurants on the premises, luxuriously furnished rooms, and a great breakfast in the morning.
So, Where Should You Stay in Memphis?
Downtown Memphis is the most popular and tourist-friendly area in the city, and it’s full of civil rights and music museums, as well as legendary studios. Memphis Beale Street is one of the most famous music, entertainment, and restaurant avenues in America.
|✅ Best Area to See Everything
|🏛️ Great for History Buffs
|💲 Most Budget-Friendly Area
|🌳 Best for Nature Lovers
So, with so much to see and do, and a great place to stay for all tastes and budgets, what are you waiting for — book you trip today to see all that Memphis has to offer. Happy travels!