Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley and Graceland, Beale Street and The Blues, and iconic record powerhouses like Stax and Sun. It has long drawn hungry fans and talented musicians alike from across the country to create and absorb the music that flows through every corner of the city. An amalgamation of genres — from gospel and country to rock and R&B — the Memphis music scene is a melting pot to be experienced in open-air amphitheaters, storied theaters, and cozy cafes. Here’s your ultimate guide to live music venues in Memphis.
ICONIC MUSIC VENUES
1928 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
Speaking of Elvis Presley, The King himself performed his first paid concert at Levitt Shell (formerly called Overton Park Shell, Memphis Open Air Theater, and Shell Theater) on July 30, 1954. Since the 1930s, this open-air amphitheater in Overton Park has brought Memphis together through music. Outside of Covid-related closures, Levitt Shell presents about 50 free concerts a year by internationally touring musicians. If you’ve never seen a show under the iconic, brightly lit arches, pack your picnic and pull up a lawn chair! See the full calendar of events here.
Lafayette’s Music Room
2119 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
Since the 1970s, Lafayette’s Music Room has been the restaurant-meets-music-room where locals and music fans flock to see undiscovered stars. Lafayette’s played a significant role in launching the careers of Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, J.J. Cale, and Leon Russell, to name a few. Known as one of the top music venues in the South, Lafayette’s also has some fabulous fare. With your Sunday brunch shrimp and grits or your after-work pint, you can see live music seven days a week — both free and ticketed, and sometimes multiple shows a day. Check out their packed calendar of events here.
3717 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, TN 38116
Graceland, the house that Elvis built, has recently partnered with Live Nation to bring even more of the hottest touring acts to Memphis. Graceland Live features two venues: The Soundstage and The Guest House Theater, both equipped with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and video production. A full city block of exhibits, restaurants, attractions, a world-class resort hotel — and, of course, Graceland itself — surrounds these venues. What’s even cooler? Every show includes FREE admission to Elvis Presley’s Memphis after 3 p.m. on the day of the show. Click here for the full show calendar which includes upcoming performances by The Monkees, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Elvis Costello, and more.
B.B. King’s Blues Club
143 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103
The “king” of Beale Street, B.B. King’s Blues Club (the original club that now has a dozen or so locations across the country) has legendary players on stage every night of the week – from authentic blues to soul to classic rock ‘n’ roll. They also have a menu full of delicious Southern dishes like their famous BBQ. No matter who’s on stage, the vibe of B.B. King’s is a must-experience in Memphis. Check out their live music calendar here.
SEASONAL VENUES + CONCERT SERIES
Peabody Hotel Rooftop
118 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103
Returning Spring 2022, The Peabody’s beloved Thursday night concert series will return from April through August. Hot bands, cool drinks, and sweeping views of the Mississippi River make this a can’t-miss musical experience. Check back here for 2022’s lineup.
Live at the Garden @ Memphis Botanical Gardens
750 Cherry Rd, Memphis, TN 38117
The newly renamed Radians Amphitheater is home to the nationally recognized, 20-years-running, and locally-loved Live at the Garden concert series. Fabulous acts play to the backdrop of unmatched natural beauty in the Memphis Botanical Gardens. Still to play this season at “Radians Amp” are Sheryl Crow, Earth Wind, and Fire, Mempho Music Fest, and more! See the lineup and get tickets here.
200 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103
Located on Beale and Third, Handy Park is a public park with both a large stage and a smaller performance area, making it a popular spot for free concerts of all sizes. Events in Handy Park are always free and open to the public, check out afternoon performers or the bigger shows on holidays like New Year’s Eve. For a list of Beale Street events, click here.
VENUES WITH MORE THAN JUST MUSIC
203 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103
Another iconic venue is the Orpheum Theatre, the Mid-South’s home for touring Broadway plays since 1977. In addition to their ongoing Broadway Series, the theatre hosts performances by Ballet Memphis, various concerts, and local community events like Memphis in May and the International Blues Challenge. ZZ Top and Gary Clark Jr. are just two of the musical acts on Orpheum’s packed lineup of upcoming events to explore here.
The Buckman Arts Center
60 Perkins Extended, Memphis, TN 38117
This intimate, 300-seat venue located on the St. Mary’s School campus dazzles more than 5,000 arts-savvy patrons with world music, contemporary dance, family programming, educational outreach, visual arts, and conservatory classes each year. Click here to see all that’s coming up on their calendar.
Crosstown Theater + The Green Room
1350 Concourse Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
Crosstown Arts is home to two venues: Crosstown Theater, a 425-seat black box theater that can transform based on the event, and The Green Room, an intimate listening experience without the distractions of a bar or restaurant venue. Impeccable acoustics, state-of-the-art lighting, and intimate seating layouts make this a fabulous place for serious audiophiles to see national headliners and Memphis-based musicians alike. Click here to view the complex’s upcoming shows.
Germantown Performing Arts Center
1801 Exeter Rd, Germantown, TN 38138
Neighboring Germantown is home to GPAC, a performing arts center that hosts incredible musicians of all sorts of genres along with Broadway plays, family movie nights, and more. Check out the Bluebird Concerts, an outdoor concert series in The Grove, or one indoors at the Duncan-Williams Performance Hall. See the full lineup of events here.
191 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103
Memphis’s multi-purpose arena, FedExForum, is home to the Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis’s NCAA Division I men’s basketball program. When there’s not an exciting sporting event, the arena hosts a packed calendar of chart-topping artists like Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton. For a full list of upcoming concerts and events, click here.
VENUES WITH NIGHTLY (OR ALMOST NIGHTLY) MUSIC
Beale Street Entertainment District
Beale St Memphis, TN 38103
Aside from B.B. King’s, there are so many incredible spots on Beale Street to see music nightly. Stumble into any of them, and stay until you’re ready to check out the next! A few to check out are Blues City Cafe, Rum Boogie Cafe, Tin Roof, and Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe & Honky Tonk.
5709 Raleigh Lagrange Rd, Memphis, TN 38134
Midtown: 2586 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38112
Rock fans, this venue is for you. After the original RockHouse Live Dallas opened successfully in 2006, the “incubator” Memphis location of RockHouse Live opened in 2013, followed by the Midtown location (at 2586 Poplar Ave) in 2014. Between the two venues, there’s live music almost nightly, and the Midtown location is known for its karaoke nights. See their upcoming events on Facebook here.
1911 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN 38104
Growlers is a locally owned and operated concert venue and dive bar in the heart of Midtown that features an eclectic array of musical artists, lots of local brews, and elevated bar food. Check out their schedule here.
Hi Tone Cafe
282-284 N Cleveland St, Memphis, TN 38104
Open seven days a week with cold drinks, delicious food, and live music almost every night, this venue features two music rooms: the lounge and the big room. Find a concert to check out here.
Eight & Sand
545 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103
The newly opened Central Station Hotel has a super suave lobby lounge called Eight & Sand. Grab a craft cocktail and listen to their nightly DJs spin from a massive and beautifully displayed collection of vinyl records from Memphis greats and beyond. Click here for more info.
2114 Trimble Pl, Memphis, TN 38104
One of Memphis’ hidden live music gems, Zebra Lounge on Overton Square is a piano bar open seven nights a week with live music starting every night at 8 p.m. You’ll find DJs spinning sing-alongs, singer-songwriters, jazz trios, and more. And there’s never a cover charge! Head here for the lineup of music.
Neil’s Music Room
5725 Quince Rd, Memphis, TN 38119
With live music almost every night of the week, Neil’s is an off-the-beaten-path venue with great food and pool tables, too. Crowds dance to live blues and rock music inside and on the patio when it’s nice. They also serve some delicious pub grub like homemade pizzas, their famous “fat guy” cheeseburger, and an all-day breakfast seven days a week. The best way to see Neil’s Music Room’s schedule is on their Facebook Events page here.
BARS WITH LIVE MUSIC
2166 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
This unique hangout sprawls across an old 1.5-acre rail yard with lots of mismatched furniture, fan-cooled cabanas, a diner, a tiki bar, and an array of indoor and outdoor games like ping pong and a playground for kiddos. When it comes to live music, Railgarten represents Memphis and beyond in their lineup of on-the-rise hip hop artists, Americana legends, killer cover bands, as well as national touring acts. For their full event calendar, click here.
535 South Highland St, Memphis, TN 38111
One of Memphis’s top sports bars also boasts a menu of great Southern food and a live concert calendar. Check The Bluff’s Facebook events page here for the latest show announcements.
341 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Memphis’ first craft brewery has a Beale Street location that keeps the music and beer flowing. Order up a sandwich at the Gourmet Sandwich Kitchen to accompany your favorite Ghost River Brewing Co. ale. The beer garden hosts live music a few nights a week, and you can check out the calendar here.
7 W Carolina Ave, Memphis, TN 38103
A downtown haven and one of the city’s coolest indoor/outdoor restaurant/bars also hosts concerts! Grassfire takes the stage weekly for their Sunday Bluegrass Brunch complete with awesome tunes and delicious food and drinks until 3 p.m. Stay in the loop on their Facebook events page here.
2783 Broad Ave, Memphis, TN 38112
Memphis’ beloved Wiseacre always has exciting events happening like trivia, brewery tours and tastings, food trucks, special festivals with musical acts, and more. Come try their award-winning beers, order some delicious food from a local food truck, and see what else is going on at the complex. For a full look at who’s playing at Wiseacre, check out their Facebook events page.
We hope this list has inspired you to check out some live music in your own backyard or on your next trip to Memphis!
To stay in the know of all things 901, subscribe to StyleBlueprint!