Tennessee is home to two exciting musical meccas: Nashville and Memphis. These two exciting cities are known for several important landmarks….and two very important streets! Which Tennessee street is your favorite? Beale or Broadway? Or are they equally iconic in your eyes? I went to both Nashville and Memphis in the summer of 2016 and spent many days in each famous city to absorb the history and nostalgia of these music “capitals”.
First, we visited Nashville. We did it all!—all the major attractions. The time spent on Broadway street, however, gives you the real pulse of Nashville. Bars and clubs filled with country western and rock music ring out as you pass from door to door down this street of Americana. A charming candy store named Savannah’s Candy Kitchen kept us riveted for a long time as well as a boot store with shelves upon shelves of cowboy boots.
Pedicabs and horse drawn carriages were among the pedestrians. Cabs, ubers and party buses were plentiful. At the end of the street was the view of the river and riverboats…..and a strawberry moon! A very special June night!
Once we arrived in Memphis, the feel changed. Rather than country western, this was the home of the blues. Honky tonks and blues music were the highlights there. A cobbled street where no cars are allowed was filled with street performers and tourists dancing in the street. A zombie parade one night and a Vespa convention another night stimulated the already exciting Beale Street. Wet barbecue vs. dry barbecue was also a case in study.
The architecture on Beale street felt older as well as the interior inside one store, A. Schwab. Great antiques inside set the tone for Memphis nostalgia. Both streets were highly entertaining and the food was delicious everywhere we went. We were within walking distance of our hotel near Beale street so that might have enhanced our stay there. In Nashville, we stayed 4 miles from Broadway Street in the hip East Nashville area at an Air BnB bungalow. That had its pros, too, as we could experience the life of the neighborhood locals, the neighborhood coffee shop and bakery.
I think it would be outrageously fun to return to Memphis for a possible St. Patrick’s Day celebration. These cities share the same vibe as Bourbon Street, Vegas, Branson, etc…on a different scale. It’s always fun to search through America’s ” party headquarters” and reminds me how much flavor the United States does have.
This June 2016 trip presented me with this question: which street did I enjoy better?—Beale or Broadway? This is a good question to ponder….so I just may have to go back to answer it thoroughly!
© Gina Michalopulos Kingsley
photos by Gina