As the “birthplace of rock and roll” and the “home of the blues,” Memphis is a mecca for both musicians and music lovers. Bluff City is home to the renowned Sun Studios, Elvis’s Graceland Mansion, Stax Records, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and several more historic attractions. Live music junkies can also get their fix at variety of blues clubs, juke joints, and even the famous Beale Street Music festival. Last, but not least, classical music can be found in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Oh, and the cost of living is low enough to actually do all of these things. If you’re a music lover, these are the top six reasons you should move to Memphis.
If you’ve ever listened to Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, or Carla Thomas, you’ve listened to a genre known as Memphis soul. This popular sound emerged in the early 60s at a Memphis recording studio known as Stax Records. While the label eventually went bankrupt and the studio was demolished, it’s legacy is still alive and kicking. In 2003, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music was built to honor the history of Memphis soul. The museum is an exact replica of the former Stax Records building and includes more than 2,000 exhibits, galleries, and pieces of memorabilia.
Memphis is often called the birthplace of rock and roll. It all began in 1950 when Sam Phillips founded the now historic Sun Studio. One year later, Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats recorded their own version of "Rocket 88,” and the first rock-and-roll single was born. By the mid-1950s, Sun Studio had launched the careers of several prominent roll musicians, including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and more. Today, visitors can tour the original recording studio, listen to outtakes from prominent recording sessions, and touch Elvis’s first microphone. There is even a free shuttle to the next two locations on our list.
Every year, nearly 600,000 people from around the world descend on Memphis to tour Graceland, the former home of the one and only king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley. Today, this 14-acre estate offers iPad tours hosted by John Stamos and Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. The tour includes the manor’s living room, his parents’ bedroom, the kitchen, TV room, pool room, his father’s office, a trophy building, racquetball building, and even the famous Jungle Room. The Graceland estate also houses two restaurants, a cafe, an ice cream shop, and the largest collection of Elvis memorabilia in the world. Eat your heart out, Elvis fans.
While Memphis is certainly full of history, it’s also home to plenty of live musical performances. Nowhere more so than Beale Street, a historic bit of road that houses the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Rum Boogie Cafe, and B.B. King's Blues Club. Beale Street has also hosted one of the most popular music festivals in the country for more than forty years. The Beale Street Music Festival is a part of Memphis in May, an international event that honors a different country each year. The 2017 lineup included Death Cab for Cutie, Snoop Dogg, Tori Kelly, MGMT, and more. The 2018 lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but stay tuned.
Beale Street is also home to the Orpheum Theater, a historic entertainment venue built in 1928. Since it opened, Orpheum dazzled patrons with its gilded fixtures, Wurlitzer organ, and architectural grandeur. After nearly 90 years and more than $15 million in renovations, the theatre still hosts broadway musicals, concerts, operas, ballets, and other theatrical productions. For true fans of classical music, Memphis’s major concert hall is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, located on N Main Street, is the primary performance space for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
In Memphis, the average cost of a single-family home is $180,375, which is about $8,000 less than the national average. That means that you’ll have more money for museum tours, music festivals, and blues bars. Not ready to buy yet? Rental home are also more affordable than the national average. In Memphis, the average two-bedroom apartment goes for approximately $726 a month, while the national average is closer to $1,200. While housing costs are by far the lowest, other costs are also lower than the national average, including groceries, health-related costs, utilities, and transportation. All in all, the cost of living in Memphis is 14.3% lower than the national average.