Learn more about Beale Street Historic District.
The music and entertainment pulse of downtown Memphis, Beale Street at the turn of the 20th century served as a haven for African Americans migrating from small towns. Legendary greats such as W.C. Handy, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Willie Mitchell and Isaac Hayes have showcased their talents on Beale. Beale Street offers three blocks of nightclubs, specialty shops, galleries and restaurants. For over 150 years, Beale Street has hosted blues music and entertainment. Beale played a pivotal role in branding Memphis as one of the most musically rich cities in the world, and was prominent in hosting some of the first black business owners in the south. In between, the street was host to the birth of blues music, the civil rights movement, rock ‘n' roll, racks of ribs and bands. As thousands of bands, fans, major blues players, entertainers and reporters (including the American blues scene) descend on Beale, the street once again takes a party atmosphere as only the blues can provide, colliding a searing helping of original Memphis soul with dozens of different styles, takes and interpretations of hundreds of artist's blues music and dedication. Most of the buildings that exist on Beale are the same buildings that have been frequented by the great many music lovers and great musicians that came in the 100 years before, providing a proprietary sense of history to the legendary street.