For years, people have flocked to Memphis’s South Main Arts District to visit The Arcade Restaurant, one of Elvis’s favorite diners, and the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and now the National Civil Rights Museum. Recently, an influx of fun, quirky businesses has bolstered the area’s historic assets. Here are the spots to see before you swivel your hips onto bluesy Beale Street.
Showcasing artists from Africa and the African diaspora, this gallery has its finger on the city’s creative pulse. Owner Sheila Urevbu left a corporate career, she says, with the goal of shining a spotlight on “the work of artists who’ve been historically disadvantaged or overlooked.” The experience here is often immersive, incorporating food and music specific to the exhibited artist’s culture.