If you’re wondering whether Memphis is the right city for you, you’re in the right place.
Here are the top pros and cons of living in the heart of the Mid-South.
Pros of Living in Memphis
- Rich Musical Heritage
- Cultural Landmarks
- Affordable Cost of Living
- Enjoy Southern Cuisine
- Great Outdoor Activities
Rich Musical Heritage
Memphis is where blues music was born and rock ‘n’ roll took its first steps. With iconic spots like Beale Street and Sun Studio, it’s where legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis made their mark.
Living here means diving deep into a lively music scene and tapping into the rich roots of American tunes. Whether it’s a night out at a live music venue or grooving at a music festival, Memphis always has a beat that music enthusiasts can dance to.
Memphis is rich with cultural landmarks that tell stories of the city’s past and its influence. The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel stands out, marking the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. met his tragic end.
It’s a moving journey through the U.S. civil rights movement and a testament to strides towards equality. And then there’s Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home. It’s a magnet for both tourists and locals, shedding light on the life and legend of one of the globe’s musical giants.
Affordable Cost of Living
Memphis offers a more affordable lifestyle than many big U.S. cities. With living costs about 19% below the national average, both renters and homebuyers can find good deals.
A family of four might expect monthly expenses to be around $3,500, not including rent. This budget-friendly environment, combined with the city’s urban perks and culture, makes Memphis a great spot for individuals and families, especially those wanting a nice place to raise their kids without overspending.
Enjoy Southern Cuisine
If you’re a food lover, Memphis is your kind of town. It’s best known for its finger-licking barbecue and rich Southern dishes. With its own twist on slow-cooked meats paired with zesty sauces and spice rubs, Memphis-style barbecue is a treat you won’t forget.
And the fun doesn’t stop there!
The city throws epic events like the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Memphis in May International Festival, turning up the heat and flavors. Beyond the world of barbecue, Memphis has a broad culinary landscape that’s sure to satisfy any palate.
Great Outdoor Activities
In Memphis, you won’t be short of chances to get outside and move. Nestled by the Mississippi River, the city flaunts picturesque parks and trails ideal for soaking in the views. Fancy a river walk or a bike ride? The Mississippi Riverfront’s got you covered.
And if you’re up for more adventure, Shelby Farms Park, one of the biggest urban parks around, has everything from hiking and biking to horseback riding and fishing. Plus, with its mild winters and warm summers, Memphis is pretty much perfect for outdoor fun all year round.
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Cons of Living in Memphis
- High Crime Rates
- Extreme Weather
- Limited Public Transportation
- High Poverty Levels
High Crime Rates
Memphis does have a rep for its crime, with rates hitting 81 incidents per 1,000 folks. Despite the city working hard to up its safety game, there are areas with high crime rates. But it’s not all gloomy — there are plenty of safe spots in Memphis too. When deciding where to live, a bit of research goes a long way.
Practical moves like getting a security system, being aware of your surroundings, and staying out of known trouble zones can help. So while staying alert is part of the Memphis experience, there are definitely pockets of the city where you can feel more at ease.
Memphis usually has a pretty chill climate, but it’s got its wild days too. Summer here can crank up the heat, with some days going past 90 degrees, and the thick humidity doesn’t help.
For folks not cool with intense heat, it can be a bit much. And then there’s the occasional rough weather, like big storms and even tornadoes, which can shake things up.
Limited Public Transportation
Memphis doesn’t have the slickest public transportation compared to some cities. Here, buses are the go-to for getting around, but they might not come around as often or get you everywhere you need to go.
For folks without their own wheels, this can be a pain, whether it’s getting to work or just hanging out with friends.
High Poverty Levels
Like many places, Memphis has its wealth gaps. Some neighborhoods have it tough, grappling with limited resources and opportunities. About 22.6% of folks here live below the poverty line, and it’s even rougher for kids, with 32.7% growing up in poverty.
This isn’t just numbers; it means challenges in getting good education, healthcare, or jobs. And for many, escaping this poverty loop isn’t easy.
Memphis’ warm and muggy weather is a playground for bugs and mosquitoes. The heat makes it easy for these little critters to thrive, and boy, can they be annoying.
Mosquitoes aren’t just pesky; they can also carry nasty stuff like West Nile Virus. Folks in Memphis gear up with bug zappers and repellents to fend them off, but if you’re hoping for a totally bug-free place, this might take some getting used to.
Is Memphis a Good Place to Live?
Memphis is a nice place to live, especially if you have a steady job or a good income. One of the biggest perks is the low cost of living. If you’re considering a move, just go for one of the safer neighborhoods like Windyke or Cooper-Young.
Cooper-Young, in Midtown, is a favorite among younger folks with its unique shops, bars, and a limited number of chain establishments. Families often lean towards East Memphis because of the friendly neighborhoods, affordable homes, and schools right around the corner.
On the flip side, some areas like North Memphis and the surroundings of the airport have a higher crime rate. Places like Frayser and Raleigh in North Memphis have some challenges, and Hickory Hill has its own set of reputations.
All things considered, Memphis has a lot to offer, but if you’re looking for a city with fewer challenges, Chattanooga is the best city in the entire state.