Trip Planner:   USA  /  Tennessee  /  Memphis  /  Beale Street

Beale Street, Memphis

3.3
#3 of 18 in Historic Sites in Memphis
Beale Street was created in 1841 by entrepreneur and developer Robertson Topp (1807–1876), who named it for a forgotten military hero.

The original name was Beale Avenue.

Its western end primarily housed shops of trade merchants, who traded goods with ships along the Mississippi River, while the eastern part developed as an affluent suburb.

In the 1860s, many black traveling musicians began performing on Beale. The first of these to call Beale Street home were the Young Men's Brass Band, who were formed by Sam Thomas in 1867.

In the 1870s, the population of Memphis was rocked by a series of yellow fever epidemics, leading the city to forfeit its charter in 1879. During this time Robert Church purchased land around Beale Street that would eventually lead to his becoming the first black millionaire from the south. In 1890, Beale Street underwent renovation with the addition of the Grand Opera House, later known as the Orpheum. In 1899, Robert Church paid the city to create Church Park at the corner of 4th and Beale. It became a recreational and cultural center, where blues musicians could gather. A major attraction of the park was an auditorium that could seat 2,000 people. Some of the famous speakers in the Church Park Auditorium were Woodrow Wilson, Booker T. Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In the early 1900s, Beale Street was filled with clubs, restaurants and shops, many of them owned by African-Americans. In 1889, NAACP co-founder Ida B. Wells was a co-owner and editor of an anti-segregationist paper called Free Speech based on Beale. Beale Street Baptist Church, Tennessee's oldest surviving African American Church edifice built in 1864, was also important in the early civil rights movement in Memphis.
Using our world travel planner, Memphis attractions like Beale Street can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
Source
Create an itinerary including Beale Street
map
Beale Street Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
6,433 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I love live music and there was plenty of it even for a Thursday. Not too crowded. Everyone was friendly.  more »
  • We had a great time visiting Beale Street while we was in Memphis. Lots of places to check out and listen to music and lots of good places to eat.  more »
  • Many bars to go to. Great live music and absolutely professional players in bands. Nice place to see and feel and i would highly recommed if you visit in Memphis.  more »
Places to stay near Beale Street

Plan your trip to Memphis

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Beale Street by other users

2 days in Memphis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Memphis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 1 day in Memphis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 49 days in Sydney, United States & Niagara Falls BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA November, teens, popular PREFERENCES: November, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Memphis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Memphis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Memphis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Memphis & Nashville BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans