Photo: Lafayette's Music Room

11 Things Everyone in Memphis Takes for Granted

by Ashley Smith Jul 27, 2016

1. The fact that usually, we’re the first Memphian anyone’s ever met.

So we’re mysterious. When traveling, the first thing I hear after telling people I’m from Memphis is always, “OOH I’ve never met anybody from Memphis before!” followed by a list of questions about our city that so few people are familiar with.

2. We rarely ever have to wear more than two layers of clothing.

You might never know the drudgery of the 10-minute “leaving the house” ritual everywhere else: pulling jeans on over thermal underwear, layering on sweaters, lacing up your snow boots, putting on gloves, a hat, earmuffs, tying a scarf around your face and neck, and buttoning up a puffy coat you can barely move in just so you can go get your phone that you left in the car.

3. We have really cheap beer.

Memphis has to be the most affordable city to drink in. There are low prices to begin with, but also a hefty number of available happy hours and drink specials city-wide. I spent $10 on a 12oz. can of Heineken in Boston last week. Just take a minute to let that sink in.

4. We get access to really good live music — all the damn time.

“Live music” at bars and restaurants elsewhere is rarely more than a sub-par garage band playing the same old cover songs. In Memphis, the talent is on a whole other level — especially at places like Lafayette’s that take pride in their musical legacy and offer actually good live bands all day, every day.

5. We have that simple, finger-lickin’-good soul food.

During a mild case of homesickness, I ordered “fried chicken and collard greens” at a restaurant in Boston. Not only was it smothered in fancy ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, it was virtually unrecognizable and cost almost $20. Give me a 2-piece dark with beans & slaw from Gus’s any damn day.

6. We have one of the best zoos in the country.

Growing up in Memphis, I thought the Memphis Zoo was industry standard… until I visited others. Remember the Memphis Zoo of 1985? That is what you’ll find in other zoos around the country.

7. Our bars are open so late compared to everywhere else.

I never knew how good I had it until my first midnight last-call in Boston — I think I experienced actual shock. In Memphis, that’s about the time you get to the bar, sometimes not leaving until the sun has come up. With listed closings times of 5 and 6 AM at bars downtown, my shock was completely justified.

8. Our population consists of seriously friendly people.

We’ll talk to you anywhere, anytime, about anything — even if we just met ya in line at Kroger! I once got a “wrong number” call from a woman in Memphis who, after realizing I wasn’t her intended target, still proceeded to tell me about the crazy day she’d been having like I was her next door neighbor who’d just brought over a casserole.

9. So. Many. Festivals.

You grew up thinking life in Memphis was so boring… and then came the festivals. It seems every weekend there’s an event to attend. Hot wing festivals, crawfish festivals, music and BBQ festivals, Cooper-Young Festival, Italian Fest, Greek Fest… Wow, I seriously could just keep going.

10. We’ve got a relatively small and manageable airport.

With only one spot for drop-off and pick-up and three small terminals, it’s never a challenge to make our flights on time at Memphis International. It’s easy to navigate and the average (lack of) congestion resembles that of a shopping mall on a Tuesday morning.

11. We have massive parking lots… everywhere!

Memphis is quite spread out, allowing for considerable parking availability. Whether you’re getting groceries, grabbing a coffee, or parking for your night out, it’s rare you’ll ever have to circle a lot or even weigh your options. Finding a parking spot in bigger cities is often an event in itself, wasting a substantial amount of time and often costing no less than $40.

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