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Though Beale Street, on the other side of Memphis, might stand out as the jazz center of the city, Midtown, located just east of central Memphis, claims almost all the arts activity. The Memphis College of Art contributes greatly to the growing cultural events, and art galleries line the main roads of Midtown. No single element dominates the area, as residential, religious, higher education and commercial structures make up Midtown. However, the vintage housing, much of which predates World War II, adds to the appeal of this quirky, artistic neighborhood. With a wide selection of both chain stores and local businesses, this area of Memphis continues to thrive.
As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Memphis, TN is $579 for a studio, $693 for one bedroom, $877 for two bedrooms, and $1,170 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Memphis has increased by 3.3% in the past year.
When night falls, Midtown really lights up and opens its doors to the locals. Bars, clubs, restaurants and art galleries all crave the nighttime attention. For dining, just walk down Madison Avenue or Poplar Street where all the best eateries await.
Restaurant Iris, a cozy French and Cajun restaurant whose fame balances on its creative dishes, beckons locals and tourists alike. The lobster knuckle sandwich and the oh-so-tender surf and turf could persuade anyone into overeating. Though this place costs a pretty penny, the fresh oysters and pasta dishes never disappoint.
For something a little less upscale, Huey’s provides its patrons with all-American favorites such as burgers, fried mushrooms and onion rings. In the area since the early ‘70s, Huey’s has become a staple for the Midtown locals. This little dive of a restaurant sports toothpicks in the ceiling and makes for a great family outing. On most nights, Huey’s hosts live music after 8 p.m.
The one thing, besides jazz, that makes Memphis famous is the barbecue. The Bar-B-Q Shop does barbecue right, with fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and a multitude of sauces, from extra mild to super sweet to blow-your-mind spicy.
Live music abounds in Memphis, and Midtown follows the trend. Purple Haze and Hi-Tone serve cold drinks and cocktails and provide a rotating cast of local jazz and blues artists.
Of course, don't forget famous Beale Street, not too far away, which houses more dive bars, barbecue joints and live music venues than you could count.
The area that became Memphis originally belonged to the Chickasaw Native American tribe, before French settlers came to the region in the early 1800s. What would become Memphis flourished because it remained a crucial trade point for crossing the Mississippi River.
Once Tennessee became part of the United States, it grew as a center of jazz music, art and culture. Midtown itself remains home to Brooks Museum of Art, Playhouse on the Square and Hattiloo Theater, all cultural highlights. The Brooks Museum of Art stands as both the oldest and the largest art museum in Tennessee, and its permanent collections include a number of Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionist paintings.
Playhouse on the Square puts on a number of new and rehashed plays throughout the year. Its professional acting company always puts on a good show, and auditions often open to the public.
Memphis has a relatively well-developed public transportation system, and is especially convenient when you live in downtown Memphis or Midtown. The 5, 9, 34, 35 and 50 buses make getting in and out of Midtown a breeze, and the downtown MATA trolleys presents another quick way to get to your destination.
When driving, I-40 and I-240 cradle Midtown, making it quick to jump on the freeway for your daily commute. Parking presents very little problem as regular street parking, meters and pay lots provide ample room.
Memphis has yet to top the charts as one of the best cities for biking in the United States, but the flat roads make biking easier than in many other cities. A number of bike paths and trails present options to the bicycling commuter, but few on-road bike lanes exist in Midtown.
Uber makes getting from place to place without having to rent a car or call a cab easy, though many locals remain skeptical about the Uber service and call more traditional cab companies. You won’t have much luck trying to hail a cab in Midtown.
Within Midtown itself, walking around the neighborhood does not present a problem; many of the restaurants and cultural establishments remain close to the center. However, if you head out of Midtown, you should find another means of transportation.
Midtown’s cost of living differs only slightly from the Memphis average, being just 1 percent more expensive due to somewhat more costly housing. The average one-bedroom rental costs $579, and living in Midtown costs 17 percent less than the national average.
The average price for a cold beer at a local bar costs around $3-$4, and gas prices sit consistently lower, at 8 percent below the national average.
A one-way trip on the bus to downtown runs $1.75, though MATA provides discounts to students, children and seniors.
Midtown has made room for several parks within its borders, including the well-known Overton Park, which houses the Levitt Shell, a popular outdoor amphitheater. Most of the concerts that happen at Levitt Shell cost nothing, thanks to the Orion Free Music Concert Series. Dogs, kids, kite-flyers, runners and bikers all remain welcome at the park, which provides plenty of open, green fields for everyone.
Peabody Park remains home to a small splash park that gets very busy during the hot summers but makes for a fun afternoon for kids nonetheless. Several statues by Yvonne Bobo brighten up the small green space and embellish the neighborhood. The playground also attracts little ones who tire of being cooped up inside. This park, like Overton Park, always stays open and free for the public.
Midtown values art above all other things, and fashion has not been excluded. With plenty of boutiques for both men and women, including The Attic, which provides a variety of upscale outfits and stunning jewelry, many Memphis residents come to Midtown to splurge on clothes.
You can find old-school music at its best when you head to Shangri-La Records on Madison Avenue. The amazing blues and soul collection stands out, but aficionados of any music genre are likely to score a real treasure here while flipping through the racks of vinyl. The knowledgeable and helpful staff are always ready to help, but never intrusive.
Much of the time, residents head to Kroger to get their groceries. Unfortunately, Midtown locals have to travel further into downtown Memphis for their local produce.
Apartments for Rent in Midtown Memphis, Memphis, TN
Though Beale Street, on the other side of Memphis, might stand out as the jazz center of the city, Midtown, located just east of central Memphis, claims almost all the arts activity. The Memphis College of Art contributes greatly to the growing cultural events, and art galleries line the main roads of Midtown.
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