AOL PICK from our Editors
Memphis is not particularly famous as a shopping destination, but it does have some notable highlights. Peruse Beale Street for tacky-but-fun souvenirs like Elvis shot glasses. Check out the record shops of Midtown for great new and used music—if you have a question, don't hesitate to ask a clerk, as people are darn serious about their music here. If you're looking for an upscale mall, head to East Memphis or Germantown. The arty Cooper-Young district is the place to go for hip boutiques and galleries.
Midtown Memphis's trendy Cooper-Young district is where fashion-forward locals shop for clothes, art and housewares. Boutiques peddle cutting-edge women's clothes and shoes, galleries display the works of young local artists, and antique stores are rife with Old South treasures. The historic neighborhood fans out from the intersection of Cooper Street and Young Avenue. Even if you're not interested in shopping, turn-of-the-century mansions, nifty public art and plenty of cafes and bars make Cooper-Young a fun place to spend an afternoon.
Neighborhood: East Memphis
Known as "The Big One," this flea market is held every third Saturday and Sunday of the month in the Agricenter Expo Center. Hundreds of vendors hawk everything from off-brand Mexican shampoo to vintage Confederate flags to black velvet Elvis paintings to nylon granny panties. Sure, most of it's junk, but the chance of that one in one-million treasure is why people come to flea markets, right? People-watching is excellent, especially if you come early enough to see the hardcore bargain-hunters. Admission is $2.
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Elvis was a big fan of this upscale men's clothing store, where he used to buy his two-tone shirts and striped Speedway jackets. You can do the same, as Lansky's now has a vintage-inspired "Clothier to the King" line. Open since 1946, Lansky's is still popular among well-heeled Memphians and visitors alike. The current location, in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel, is convenient for travelers. Newer additions include a gift shop and a men's and women's denim boutique.
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This beloved Midtown book shop has been open for an incredible 135 years, making it one of the oldest independent bookstores in the country. Specializing in rare and regional titles, it's the kind of place that makes Old-School bibliophiles break out in a cold sweat. Look for books about Memphis history and culture, and Southern literature from the 18th century through the present. If Burke's doesn't have a title, they'll order it for you in a matter of days. In the heart of the Cooper-Young district, it's a popular hangout with offbeat intellectual types.
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A. Schwab Dry Goods Store
Beale Street's oldest remaining business, A. Schwab's sprawling interior looks much like it might have when it first opened in 1876. The goods, however, may have changed—these days A. Schwab's peddles mostly Elvis trinkets, souvenir shot glasses, novelty voodoo dolls and the like. If some of the merchandise looks like it's been sitting there for the past five decades or so, it probably has. Still, it's fun to walk the warped wooden floors and browse the penny candy selection. The second-floor museum displays random pieces of Memphis history, like old photos and rusted store signs.