Cooper-Young is one of Memphis' most vibrant and active neighborhoods. Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the neighborhood is packed with historic homes, restaurants, bars, shops and galleries.
Cooper Young is home to some of Memphis’ most unique bars and restaurants, perfect for a night out with or without live music. It’s also known for hidden gems, like Tennessee’s first rainbow crosswalk and the Johnny Cash statue.
Conveniently located in Midtown Memphis, Cooper-Young is less than 15 minutes from Beale Street in Downtown Memphis, as well as Elvis Presley’s Graceland in South Memphis. The Memphis International Airport is also just a quick 10-minute trip away.
The neighborhood hosts some of Memphis’ biggest events throughout the year, including Cooper Young Festival, Gonerfest and the Cooper Young Garden Walk.

Cooper-Young's Biggest Events & Festivals 

The Cooper-Young neighborhood is the proud home of several of Memphis' largest and best-loved annual events, as well as a few fun spots to catch live music year-round.

Held annually in May, the Cooper-Young Garden Walk (May 18-19, 2024) is when dozens of locals open their home gardens for a walking tour around the neighborhood. It's the official kickoff of the city-wide Experience Memphis Gardens event that runs through June 30, 2024. 

The Cooper-Young Festival is held on a Saturday in mid-September each year with more than 100,000 people flocking to the area for hundreds of food, craft, art, and apparel vendors, three live music stages and a kids' area.

Gonerfest's annual celebration of punk, indie, and metal music usually kicks off in September or October with a pop-up concert at the Cooper-Young Gazebo - just steps away from the Goner Records Shop.

The Cooper-Young Beerfest is held in mid-October each year in the parking lot of Midtown Auto Works right near the famous trestle bridge artwork. You can sample dozens of regional beers and meet directly with the brewers at this locally beloved event.

Bar DKDC is the most dependable spot for catching live music in the Cooper-Young area, with local bands performing several nights a week, usually at 10 p.m. or later, with a minimal cover charge. You'll also find bands performing on a regular basis at Young Avenue Deli, Celtic Crossing (there's always traditional Irish music at brunch), Railgarten, and Memphis Made Brewing.

Cooper Young Intersection Photo
band playing Gonerfest in Cooper-Young
Young Ave. Deli | Craig Thompson

Eat & Drink Local in Cooper-Young

The Beauty Shop is a Memphis classic, with fusion food and amazing desserts in a former beauty shop where Priscilla Presley got her hair done. For one of the best patios in town - and there are some good ones - have a margarita on the deck at Cafe Ole. The beloved neighborhood bar, Young Avenue Deli, boasts a big beer list, pool tables and plenty of gastropub grub like their famous cheese sticks and award-winning fries. 

Vegans and non-vegans alike will appreciate the offerings of Imagine Vegan Cafe. If you're craving Mexican food, try Maciel's Tortas & Tacos. For soul food - especially fried catfish and hushpuppies - take the whole family to Soul Fish Cafe

Coffee lovers have options in Cooper-Young. If you need a jolt of java early in the morning, head to Bluff City Coffee's Cooper-Young location. Java Cabana is the quintessential coffee house for poets, writers and creative types, catering to a young evening crowd.

Hammer & Ale is the perfect casual spot to try all of Memphis' local breweries in one place; their pimento grilled cheese and spicy potato chips are underrated and a solid complement to a flight of beer. Celtic Crossing is the neighborhood's dependable Irish pub, featuring a large patio, traditional Irish breakfast on weekends, and a selection of Irish whiskeys. Ashtar Garden is your stop for happy hour bites and sips and weekend brunch. 

You better believe Cooper-Young has barbecue. Bain Barbecue is smokin' Texas-style barbecue in the heart of midtown. Go for brisket, Texas twinkies and jalapeño sausage. 

Somewhere between casual and fine dining, The Public Bistro offers a wide-ranging menu of favorites, from grilled cheese to filet mignon. Be sure to order their signature icebreaker cocktail.

Order New York-style pizza, Italian meatballs or some mouth-watering garlic knots from the rooftop patio at Aldo’s Pizza Pies. Spend an afternoon at hotspot Railgarten, which is part restaurant and ice cream parlor, part ping-pong bar, and part sprawling patio/play area with a giant tire swing and plenty of seating. 

Planning a date night or night out with friends? Start out with drinks and apps at the bar at Alchemy, a snazzy cocktail and wine lounge with sophisticated small plates. For dinner, head to Tsunami for Pacific Rim-inspired seafood. Later, see what's happening at the Memphis Made taproom (and snap a photo in front of the I Love Memphis mural there). For more local brews, stop into the taproom at Memphis' newest artisanal brewery, Cooper House Project. If wine is more your style, sample wine flights and charcuterie boards at Knifebird. If the evening doesn't feel quite over, Memphis Whistle's prohibition-style cocktails are perfect for a nightcap. Or head to Bar DKDC's intimate music lounge and bar for a late show with a local band.

Boutiques & Specialty Shops in Cooper-Young

You’ll find all sorts local boutiques and specialty shops throughout this historic neighborhood. Burke's Books is more than a hundred years old, and still sells new and used books in its quaint Cooper Street location. 

901 Comics offers the best in new and used comic books and comic-related games and merch while 901 Toys is your stop for vintage toys and collectibles. Rounding out the area's "old school" shopping options is the beloved Goner Records music store, which sells all manner of vinyl, CDs and band merch. Then, check out Memphis Drum Shop, well-known as one of the world’s top drum boutiques.

Ladies will appreciate the vintage chic styles available at Fox + Cat Vintage or the latest in lingerie and shapewear at Coco & Lola’s boutique. For activewear and apparel, try Grivet OutdoorsFlashback Vintage Department Store is a browse-worthy location with retro clothing, accessories, glassware and more.

Grab a keepsake from the neighborhood at Cooper-Young Gallery + Gift Shop. Browse a collection of books, art, home décor, candles, stationary and more.

While it's not exactly "shopping," everyone who comes to Cooper-Young is compelled to stop by the House of Mews, a cat rescue and non-profit where cats are curled up in the windows and lounging inside the store. Cooper-Young has a variety of other businesses and services including fitness centers, yoga studios and salons if you need some pampering or a workout while you’re in town. Be sure to visit the Cooper-Young Business Association website for more information.

Inside Cooper-Young Gallery + Gift Shop
Crowds around the stage at Gonerfest at Railgarten.
A drum kit at Memphis Drum Shop
Live music at Bar DKDC

Make a Weekend of It!

Take your Cooper-Young adventures to the next level by extending your trip. Just minutes away, The Memphian, a Tribute Porfolio Hotel, is located on Cooper St. in the heart of the neighboring Overton Square Performing Arts District. Or consider staying at one of Downtown Memphis' lavish big-name hotels or boutique properties just 10-15 minutes west. Traveling with the fam? We've also got you covered for the best kid-friendly stays in town

Nearby Attractions

Cooper-Young District is centrally located to most other Memphis attractions and fun neighborhoods. Overton Square entertainment district is less than one mile to the north, it’s less than two miles to Overton Park and the Memphis Zoo, and Soulsville USA is just a few minutes drive south west. Downtown and East Memphis are a 10-15 minute drive to the west and east, respectively. Near Cooper-Young, you'll find the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, the Memphis Sports & Events Center, Christian Brothers University, and the Children's Museum of Memphis.


If You Go

If you're coming from a nearby neighborhood, a cab or ride-sharing app would be ideal for visiting Cooper-Young; parking can be limited and you may plan to have enjoy an adult beverage. If you do drive, find a spot for the evening (either along the street or in one of the few paid lots) and then stroll to your next destinations. Quite a few of the restaurants offer valet parking for your convenience, as well.

About the Author

Samantha Crespo has written about Memphis for more than 13 years, including four editions of 100 Things To Do in Memphis Before You Die, a love letter/insider's guide to the city. Find her running along the river, especially in the new Tom Lee Park, listening to her favorite Memphis band: Lucero.

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