Your Guide to Moving to Memphis, Tennessee

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Complete Moving Guide to Memphis, TN

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A city famous for its contributions to the civil rights movement, blues and rock music, and finger-licking country barbeque, Memphis is a historic town steeped in culture and bustling with tourism. Graceland, the birthplace of the iconic musician Elvis Presley, attracts millions of diehard fans to the city each year. Still a pivotal scene for burgeoning musicians and artists, the city is chock-full of authentic live music, visual art galleries, and a variety of museums.

If you are planning or considering a move to this affordable and culturally-rich city, this guide will provide you with some tips to make your relocation a smooth and easy one.

Memphis Climate

The city has a humid subtropical climate with four varied seasons. Summers can be very hot and steamy, with humidity coming from the Gulf and Texas regions. Brief afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer months. Winters are mildly chilly, with sporadic snowfall accumulating to less than four inches.

Autumn begins pleasant and dry, but can remain quite hot until October. Late autumn is wet and cool, with rainfall peaking in the months of November and December. You should be sure to bring an eclectic wardrobe to accommodate the drastic differences in weather the city experiences.

Memphis Neighborhoods

Downtown Memphis is the city's oldest district, overlooking the Mississippi River. It is home to many beautiful historic homes, especially in the Victorian Village. The Main Arts District, located in the southern section of Downtown, is also rich with history and culture. The famed Arcade restaurant is the oldest family-owned eatery in the city, a well-known hangout of Elvis Presley and a location used in filming scenes of various movies. The region is also home to many museums, shops and art galleries, with a free trolley car that transports visitors to points of interest.

Midtown Memphis is the city's eclectic center for food, shopping, and entertainment. With a diverse population, vintage homes, specialty stores, playhouses, restaurants, and down-home bars are home in the city's thriving music scene.

Registering Your Car

Within 30 days of moving to Tennessee permanently, you must register your vehicle. This can be done at any County Clerk's office, and you will need your current registration, title, proof of identification, proof of residency, and an emission inspection certification.

To transfer your driver's license to the state, you must visit any Tennessee driver's License center within 30 days of moving to the state. You will have to pass a vision test, and show proof of identity, residency, and citizenship. Tennessee is one f the few state's that has no minimum requirement for car insurance--however, you must prove that you meet the standards of the Financial Responsibility Law to ensure that you are economically capable of covering damages on your own. If your out of state license has been expired for more than six months, you will have to take the road skills test and written test.

Memphis Schools

If you are relocating to the city with children, it is quite important to know a little bit about the schools. The city's public education system was formerly operated by Memphis City Schools, which was comprised of 200 institutions serving about 100,000 students. However, residents voted to merge the district with the county, Shelby County School District, which became effective for the 2013-14 school year.

There are also many private prep schools and religion-affiliated institutions in the region, including Briarcrest Christian School, Evangelical Christian School, First Assembly Christian School, and Lausanne Collegiate School and St. George's Independent School. For higher learning, notable universities in the area include the University of Memphis, Rhodes College, Memphis College of Art, Harding School of Theology, Baptist College of Health Sciences and University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Memphis Employment

If you are relocating to Memphis to seek job opportunities, you may want to secure a position before you make the move. Unemployment rates in the city were 9.4 percent in 2012, compared to the national average of 8.6 percent. However, job growth is expected to climb 37 percent in the next ten years--compared to 32 percent in the country overall.

Major industries in the city including shipping and manufacturing of goods because of its location on the Mississippi River. Memphis is home to three Fortune 500 companies--parcel shipping giant FedEx, auto parts retailer AutoZone, and International Paper, the largest paper product company in the world. Other notable industries include finance, real estate, tourism, technology, and agribusiness--Memphis is major manufacturer of wood and paper products, as well as meats, soybeans and other foods.

Memphis Moving Resources

There are numerous moving and storage companies located in Memphis that are waiting to help you relocate to your new home. Be sure to do your research and obtain estimates from several different services before choosing one for hire. You can compare online quotes from many different moving companies and other services to aid you in your move, whether you are coming from the next city or overseas. Visit the following pages here at to get fast quotes for the following services:

Living Costs in the City

If you are planning a move to Memphis, the good news is that it will be affordable! The overall cost of living in the city is a whopping 14 percent below the national average. Housing is the most affordable expense, at a staggering 28 percent less than the average American city. Utilities, groceries, healthcare and transportation are all below average as well.

The typical one-bedroom apartment within a ten-mile radius of Memphis rents for just $609 a month, and two-bedroom goes for about $672. The average home in the city is listed at around $60,000-$70,000.

Memphis Transportation

When you arrive in your new city, you will need to know how get around! Being in an unfamiliar place can be confusing and alienating, but a little self-education about the public transit system and roadways will work wonders to get you accustomed to your new turf quickly. Mass transportation in the city is serviced by the Memphis Area Transit Authority, the largest transportation agency in the state of Tennessee. It operates 49 bus lines, a paratransit system, and three trolley-car routes--one along the riverfront, one in Downtown Memphis along Main Street, and one extension on Madison Avenue.

Interstate 40, Interstate 240 and Interstate 55 are the three main freeways in the region. The city is also served by seven major highways, more than any other city in the Southeast.

Culture & Contemporary Life

The city is rich with history and culture, recognized as a landmark in the founding of many musical genres, including blues, country, and rock. It is the birthplace to numerous emulated, staple musicians, such as Otis Redding, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Isaac Hayes, and the King of Rock n' Roll Elvis Presley, whose childhood home in Memphis has become the world-famous tourist attraction Graceland. In Downtown Memphis, Beale Street is a historic Mecca for live music, where Presley and others got their start in the business.

The city is also a hub for the visual arts and is home to many galleries and museums showcasing the work of local artists. The South Main Arts District in Downtown Memphis is lined with independent galleries, shops, and nightspots. The East Memphis area is loaded with commercial visual art venues, such as the David Lusk Gallery, Perry Nicole Gallery, L Ross Gallery and Lisa Kurts Gallery.

Celebrate culture in Memphis by attending one of many festivals in the city, such as Carnival Memphis, a series of parties in the start of summer saluting the city; Memphis in May, a nod to the city's influence in music, cuisine and culture; and the Cooper-Young festival, an aggregation of artisans, crafts, and live entertainment.

Memphis Relocation Tips

  • The weather varies greatly in Memphis, with temperatures ranging from the 90s in the summer months to the 30s in the winter. Pack a comprehensive wardrobe for your move, complete with shorts, sandals and short-sleeved tops as well as jackets, scarves, and gloves. Snow boots may not be necessary, as snowfall is light in the city.


  • The public transit in Memphis is not extensive, so many residents drive cars. The city is also very spread out, with congestion considered minimal. However, in the downtown area there are mostly one-way streets, so driving can be difficult until you get used to the lay of the land.


  • Residents of the city are famous for their Southern hospitality, so don't hesitate to ask for directions, suggestions or just make small talk. You will be surprised how quickly and easily the natives of this Southern town will make you feel right at home.

Helpful Links

  • The City of Memphis
    Everything you need to know about the city of Memphis, including information on government services, taxes and recreation.
  • Tennessee DMV
    Here you'll find information on how to register your car in Tennessee if you are moving from out of state, and how to update your driver's license.


  • Shelby County Schools
    Learn all you need to know about the city's school district.
  • Memphis Area Transit Authority
    Learn all you need to know about the public bus and rail transportation in Memphis, including routes and fares.
  • Memphis Department of Public Works
    The Memphis Department of Public Works handles all of the water and sewer, waste collection, and recycling needs for the city.
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on May 23, 2013 - Moving Expert
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