Memphis is a large city but not the capital (that's Nashville) of the American state of Tennessee. Together with Nashville, it's a musical city with attractions like BB King’s Blues Club and Graceland, Elvis Presley's former estate.
The city has approximately 700,000 inhabitants. Since the turn of the century the number of inhabitants has decreased, but in recent years people seem to rediscover Memphis. Many have settled in the, until recently practically depopulated, Downtown area.
Memphis is located in the far southwest of the state of Tennessee in the southeast of the United States. The city center is built along the steep bank of the Mississippi River, but the city's suburbs stretch far south, until the neighboring state of Mississippi.
Memphis lies on a junction of roads and waterways and the transportation sector therefore plays a central role in local economy. The city's airport is the world's busiest cargo airport. It has everything to do with cargo transport giant FedEx being headquartered in Memphis.
Memphis International Airport is situated about 20 car kilometers southeast of the city center. Thanks to freeways crossing the city, the airport is easily reachable by rental car via the I-40 and the I-240. The road to the airport is called Airways Boulevard and the exit is clearly signposted.
The public city transport is exploited by the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA). The network is extensive, but there are significantly less buses at night and during weekends. Some lines are then also combined or changed, which can be confusing for visitors. The trolley bus between Downtown and Midtown is mainly meant for tourists.
If you want to see more than the center of Memphis a rental car is an ideal means of transportation. As in any large city, it's better to avoid rush hour, but other than that traffic isn't that bad. This is due to Memphis' excellent infrastructure, which consists of a good and efficient system of freeways. It's difficult to find a free parking place in the street, but there are several parking garages. One of the cheapest Downtown is a garage with a sign in neon letters: Parking can be Fun. This garage with the appropriate name can be found on Union Avenue.
Memphis has a large choice of accommodations, although budget travelers will have difficulty finding a suitable room. Cheaper hotels can be found on the other side of the river, in West Memphis (which by the way lies in Arkansas).
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