A band performs a concert outside at night on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee

Visit the Beale Street Entertainment District

Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the most iconic streets in America. Home of the Blues and the true birthplace of Rock n Roll, this is your destination for year-round live music. With cold beer and hot music, Beale Street is one of the coolest places in Memphis.

Beale Street is a National Historical Landmark with a rich history of legendary live music (think Memphis Minnie, B.B. King, W.C. Handy and Rufus Thomas, to start) through museums, photo ops and clubs where you can still hear who's making music in Memphis today. 
Beale Street is home to three blocks of nightclubs, restaurants, museums, and shops where live music is a constant stream in the heart of downtown Memphis. Here you can dine with goats and walk through history.
Ten feet off of Beale, explore attractions like Memphis Rock n Soul Museum, Memphis Hall of Fame and FedEx Forum–the largest indoor arena in the Mid-South and home to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the NCAA Division I University of Memphis Tigers men's basketball team. 
Open 365 days, Beale hosts some of the most iconic events throughout the year, including the International Blues Challenge, New Year’s Eve, holiday parades for St. Patrick’s, Christmas, and Pride, free concert series and more.
Tourist on Beale during bike night
Alle Abroad
nighttime view of beale street with neon signs lit up
Craig Thompson
woman poses with beer in front of goat pin
Alex Shansky
Conference and band marching on Beale Street
Alex Shansky

Historic Beale Street: AN OVERVIEW

Beale Street dates back to 1841 when it was established by developer Robertson Topp, who named it after a forgotten war hero. Initially, Beale Street served as a bustling commercial district filled with shops, saloons, and theaters, attracting a diverse array of visitors.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Beale Street evolved into a crucial center for African American culture and commerce. It became a hub for Black-owned businesses, clubs, and newspapers. This period also saw the birth of the Beale Street Baptist Church, the first Memphis church built for Blacks and home to the first Black newspaper, The Memphis Free Speech, edited by Ida B. Wells. An Ida B. Wells Plaza & Statue now sits outside the church.

The emergence of the blues cemented Beale Street's legendary status. Musicians such as W.C. Handy, known as the "Father of the Blues," played a pivotal role in popularizing the genre from this very street. Beale Street clubs and bars became the launching pad for many blues legends like the “King of the Blues” B.B. King, Albert King, Memphis Minnie, Howlin’ Wolf, and so many more. Today, you can visit the WC Handy Home and Museum at the end of Beale Street. An outdoor music venue on the street, Handy Park on Beale, is also named in his honor.

The mid-20th century brought challenges that left the area in disarray. Yet, in the 1980s, a concerted effort to revitalize Beale Street began, transforming it into a thriving entertainment district once again. Today, Beale Street stands as a testament to Memphis's rich musical legacy and cultural history, drawing millions of visitors who come to experience its unique blend of history, music, and vibrant nightlife.

Beale Street’s Biggest Events

Every day is an event on Beale Street from the steady stream of live music flowing from the bars year-round or to the gravity defying Beale Street Flippers with their amazing acrobats down the center of Beale. While Beale is open 365 days a year, be sure to mark your calendars for these key events:

  • New Year’s Eve on Beale - Join thousands of festive friends and ring in the new year on Beale Street. This 21 and over party features the best live music pouring out of all the bars, clubs and restaurants on Beale. A lively celebration with live music, fireworks, and a ball drop at midnight.

  • International Blues Challenge - A music event every January that brings together the best blues musicians from around the world from South Korea to Australia–all to compete for the ultimate bragging rights. International Blues Challenge is the world’s largest gathering of blues musicians with dozens of clubs hosting performances. It's the best time to hop bar to bar!

  • Silky Sullivan St. Patrick’s Parade - Join in the fun on as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a huge parade down Beale Street complete with marching bands, steppers, twirlers, floats and all sort of sights! Catch a cabbage if you can and be sure to visit Beale's Irish pub Silky O'Sullivans who also hosts the parade.

  • Bike Nights on Beale – On the 4th Wednesday of the month (April-September) cruise on down to Beale Street for Bike Nights on Beale where motorcyclists descend on the street showing off their rides.

  • Hot Rods on Beale - Car enthusiasts will love Hot Rods on Beale, held on the 4th Tuesday of the month (April-September), where a mix of stylish hot rods and classic vintage rides take over the street.

  • Kix On Beale - Every summer enjoy free country concerts nearly every Thursday night in June and July for Kix On Beale. This music series has brought in names like Chris Lane, Easton Corbin, Joe Nichols, Ashley McBryde, Morgan Wade, and more. The concerts are held at Beale's Handy Park.

  • Pride Parade - Let the rainbow flags fly at Mid-South Pride Fest! This annual fest in June is one of the biggest Pride celebrations in the South. Each year, the parade takes over Beale Street to march in Pride of who they are and who they love. 

  • Holiday Parade - America’s most iconic street gets festive every December for the annual Memphis Holiday parade with marching bands, steppers, twirlers, floats, and all sort of sights. Of course, expect a visit from Mr. Claus himself! 

  • AutoZone Liberty Bowl Parade and Rally - Cheer on your team at the official parade and pep rally for the annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl! Liberty Bowl Parade that marches down Beale Street, featuring both competing college teams full marching bands. Parade will also consist of high school bands from across the country, cars, dance groups, national beauty pageant winners and more.

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THINGS TO SEE & DO ON BEALE

Beale Street Flippers

A Memphis treasure-turned national sensation on America’s Got Talent, the Beale Street Flippers defy gravity with their amazing acrobatics down the center of Beale Street. Don’t be surprised if they call on you to join the show!

New Year's Eve

Join 50,000 festive friends and ring in the new year on Beale Street. This 21 and over party features the best live music pouring out of all the bars, clubs and restaurants on Beale.

New Festivals this may

While Beale Street Music Festival is on pause in 2024 and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is moving to Liberty Park, two brand-new festivals are coming to Beale Street Landing at Tom Lee Park this year. The organizers of Mempho Music Festival are bringing RiverBeat to the riverfront May 3-5, 2024 with 50+ bands including headliners The Fugees, Odesza, and Jelly Roll. Then, the group is set to host a new barbecue contest at Tom Lee Park the week of May 13, 2024

Rum Boogie Café

Eat, drink, boogie, repeat. With a slogan like that, how can you not have a great time? Open 7 days a week until 1 a.m. (2 a.m. on Fri. & Sat.), the fun starts early and includes live music, a delicious Cajun-barbecue menu, and one of the best rum menus east of the Mississippi. Rum Boogie Cafe is also a featured venue for the International Blues Challenge, a music event that attracts thousands to Beale Street for the very best of modern blues. 

B.B. King's

Whether it’s blues, soul, or rock ‘n’ roll, you can find your beat at the original legendary B.B. King’s Blues Club. Delicious Southern staples like fried catfish, greens and macaroni and cheese are served alongside Memphis-style ribs and pulled pork. Visit for lunch, dinner or a late-night meal and enjoy live music on the mainstage daily. 

B.B. Kings Shining Sign | Andrea Zucker
B.B. King's Blues Club on Beale Street

A. Schwab

A. Schwab is the city’s oldest and longest-standing store. You'll find everything from products, novelty items, and Memphis-themed souvenirs in the store. Plus, visit the nostalgic soda fountain and share a homemade soda or creamy milkshake, with two straws of course.

Memphis Pride Fest

Let the rainbow flags fly at Mid-South Pride Fest! This three-day festival in September is one of the biggest Gay Pride celebrations in the South. Each year the parade takes over Beale Street to march in Pride of who they are and who they love. Party with the Memphis LGBTQ+ community and stand for equality.

Silky O'Sullivan's

Don’t forget your green when you visit Silky O’Sullivan’s pub. Dine inside with your group or visit the patio to check out the tower-climbing goats. Yes, real live goats.  It's also the place to be on March 17, during the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade when Silky O’Sullivan’s charm takes center stage on Beale Street. 

FedExForum

Grizzlies and Tigers and … Timberlake! The largest indoor arena in the Mid-South area is home to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the NCAA Division I University of Memphis Tigers men's basketball team. Plus, some of the world’s biggest performances take the stage throughout the year at the FedExForum.
 

ROOTS OF MEMPHIS MUSIC ART & SELF-GUIDED TOUR

Standing on the plaza outside FedExForum, you'll notice two dozen boldly painted bollards. Each tells the story, via local, original art and a QR code, of a different facet of Memphis music. Appreciate the art, scan the code and launch your own self-guided tour of the roots of Memphis music, from blues and gospel to soul, rock and hip-hop.
 

The Orpheum Theatre

Broadway shows, live concerts, comedy performance and movie series are some of the events you'll find at the majestic Orpheum Theatre on the corner of Beale St. and Main. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Beale Street?

The iconic Beale Street is located in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. 

How late is Beale open?

Pace yourself! Many of the bars on Beale Street stay open until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.

Are there hotels near Beale Street?

Yes. Several hotels are located near Beale Street, including the WestinPeabody MemphisHotel Napoleon, Hyatt Centric and more. Want to stay in the heart of it? Check out The Beale Suite on Beale Street, the only residential suite on Beale 

Can you walk with alcohol on Beale?

Beale Street is the only place in Tennessee where open containers are permitted. Sip on a big beer or slushie between bar hopping or enjoy it at one of the outdoor stages. Many Beale Street businesses have street windows to purchase from.

Where can I find barbecue on Beale Street?

Most of the bars and restaurants along Beale Street have barbecue on the menu. This is Memphis after all!

Is Beale Street kid-friendly?

Yes! There’s lots of fun to be had for kids on Beale Street. After 8 p.m., visitors must be 21 years old or be accompanied by their legal parent or guardian. At 11 p.m., all visitors must be 21 years or older.

What is WC Handy Park?

Handy Park is a large amphitheater and public park located in the Beale Street entertainment district. Named after the grandfather of the blues, Handy Park hosts countless soul-shaking musical acts all year long.

Do you have to pay to visit Beale Street?

Most often, no. Although, on select Friday, Saturday and holiday nights, Beale Street utilizes a $5 Beale Street security fee beginning at 9 p.m. This fee is intended to help reduce crowd sizes and create the best possible visitor experience. Cash and debit/credit cards are accepted.

The Orpheum | Logan Young
The Orpheum is at the corner of Beale Street and South Main
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