By Grace Sammarco
See the other parts of Downtown that set it apart and the full culture that resides there. Besides the FedEx Forum, Beale Street, and the Bass Pro Pyramid, what else do you love about Memphis?
As Memphians, we all know about downtown Memphis. From Beale Street to the FedEx Forum, we’ve all been there and done that. I’ve always considered downtown Memphis to be a tourist location, so I’ve spent most of my life avoiding it, trying to experience other parts of the city. I was wrong. Downtown Memphis is more than just the places we know. In fact, if we take a closer look, downtown Memphis is just as unique and creative as the rest of Memphis.
Sure, we already know about the Bass Pro Pyramid, but what we might not already know is that it’s located in the historic Pinch District of Memphis. The Pinch District was one of the first commercial areas in Memphis and is being revived as our city grows and thrives in new ways. Surrounded by streets including Market Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard, the Pinch District has seven restaurants with live entertainment, some housed in redeveloped buildings and shops along North Main Street. When heading to the Pinch, be sure to go by the Carriage Tours of Memphis building to see the colorful mural that encompasses the Pinch District’s history and revitalization.
Downtown Memphis is also a fantastic outlet for artists. While strolling the historic South Main area, one will see The Art Village Gallery, which gives opportunities to lesser known artists to show their work. One of the oldest art galleries in Memphis, the Art Village Gallery was one of the leaders in establishing the South Main area, another historic part of Memphis. The Art Village Gallery’s artists all genuinely care about the city and their community and strive to bring the arts to Memphis. Their artists include Ephraim Urevbu, Nubia Gala, and Zeinu Medeser, each with uniquely beautiful life stories. The Art Village Gallery’s mission statement says that it seeks to bring together the community with “exotic works of art from talented, but unknown artists living in developing countries across the globe.”
Downtown Memphis also offers great food with plenty of restaurants to choose from, ranging from some we might have heard of, such as Texas de Brazil and Central BBQ, to other more tucked away spots like Westy’s and South of Beale. One of my personal favorites is the Trolley Stop Market. The Trolley Stop Market is a place to purchase goods from local farmers, as well as to eat fresh and delicious local food. It has a friendly atmosphere filled with good energy and food that is really from “tractor to trolley,” making every bite even better. By attending the market, people are giving their support to a great local restaurant, as well as to local farms and farmers.
Downtown Memphis is an important, historical part of Memphis, and from art to food, it has so much to offer. By dismissing it as nothing more than a tourist trap, people deny themselves the opportunity to experience the unique culture that Downtown Memphis has to offer.