The competition as to which is better between Tennessee’s two biggest cities, Nashville and Memphis, has been a strong debate for many years. If you’re thinking about making a move and have been looking at the Memphis houses for sale, but you’re questioning whether Nashville would be better, or you simply want to visit the state and only have time for one, it can be a tough decision.
Both Memphis and Nashville have great live music scenes, outstanding restaurants, museums, parks, and other things to see and do. Anyone who’s looking for plenty of food and entertainment venues would be happy with either city, but our pick is Memphis when it comes to which is better overall.
If you’re looking for a city with lots of character and soul, Memphis wins hands down. Nashville has more of a generic feel with lots of tourist traps. But here, that friendly Southern hospitality can be found wherever you go – it’s one of the warmest, welcoming places in the country – in fact, in 2016 Travel + Leisure ranked it among America’s friendliest cities. Perhaps it’s because so many have moved to Nashville in recent years from various places across the nation that it’s lost some of that appeal.
Less Development and Lower Price Tags
While Memphis does have some new development, the city’s tallest building dates back to 1965. It’s an area known for urban revitalization, especially South of Main, in Crosstown and Midtown and it’s home to the headquarters of AutoZone, Holiday Inn, and FedEx that’s brought jobs and income to the city. Nashville has seen a ton of construction in recent years and it’s a hotbed for development – all of that new development and the high cost of construction has driven real estate prices up significantly. The cost of living in Memphis is far more manageable for anyone on a budget with median home prices in Nashville more than three times higher than Memphis.
While Nashville may be famous for its many honky-tonks, American music history was made in Memphis. There are few places that have a richer musical heritage – it’s home to Sun Studios where both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash made records that changed music forever, and the city has also birthed Al Green, BB King, and Justin Timberlake. You can immerse yourself in soul and learn about its history at the Stax Museum. There’s a good reason top artists like Bruno Mars come here for inspiration.
Plus, Memphis is home to world-famous Beale Street with its outstanding venues like BB King’s Blues Club and lots of smoky clubs hosting frequent live music.
Memphis is a definite winner when it comes to culture. It’s always stayed true to its roots, displaying the soul of the old south through not only its music but its people and its delicious foods. You’ll see murals throughout the city featuring its heritage.
Nashville is known for its spicy chicken and Memphis for its juicy BBQ. There’s way more mouthwatering BBQ in the latter, including plenty of BBQ cook-offs and endless eateries spread throughout. But it’s way more than that, with many restaurants family-owned, serving dishes made from scratch, including popular comfort foods like cornbread and mac ‘ cheese. It’s bursting with American comfort food along with farm-to-table eateries, adventurous Asian options, outstanding vegan fare, and plenty of Cajun-influenced soul food.
With so much to offer, every Tennessee visitor should come to discover what Memphis is really all about.