2010: 646,889, #20 in U.S., #1 in Tennessee

1950: 396,000, #26 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 1,316,100, #41 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 482,393, #40 in U.S.


Memphis was founded in 1819 on the eastern bluffs of the Mississippi River. Memphis is a major port city, and Tom Lee Park is along the riverfront in the downtown area.


Tallest building: 100 N. Main Building, 430 feet (1965)

List of tallest buildings

The Pyramid Arena is a 20,000-seat arena that opened in 1991. It has been called the sixth largest pyramid in the world. It was converted into a Bass Pro Shops store in 2015.


Memphis has no downtown department stores. Main Street Mall is a nine-block pedestrian mall that opened in 1976. Peabody Place (2001) has shops and restaurants.


Amtrak’s City of New Orleans goes north to Chicago and south to New Orleans from Memphis Central Station (1914).

The MATA Trolley (1993), run by the Memphis Area Transit Authority,  has heritage streetcars on three lines, running about 6 miles. The Memphis Suspension Railway (1982) is a short monorail, operating only in the summer, that connects downtown with parks, entertainment, and a museum on Mud Island (actually a peninsula).

Memphis and Mississippi River


Downtown Memphis has the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, and the Fire Museum of Memphis.


Downtown Memphis has no first-run movie theaters. The Orpheum Theater (1928) is a restored movie palace that has concerts, old movies, and touring Broadway shows. Opera Memphis plays at several locations.

The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts (2003) hosts the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and a variety of other concerts. The Hattiloo Theatre is also downtown.


The Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, play at AutoZone Park (2000). The NBA Memphis Grizzlies play at the Fed Ex Forum (2004).

Map of Downtown Memphis

Convention and Visitors Bureau