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Memphis Transportation

Getting There

Memphis's downtown Greyhound station has buses departing for all over the country at all hours of the day and night. The station itself, easily walkable from anywhere in the downtown area, is safe enough by day. But definitely take care after dark—the street outside the station is a favorite panhandler hangout.
Memphis is served by one Amtrak train, the City of New Orleans (of Arlo Guthrie song fame), which travels between Chicago and New Orleans. The train has a cafe, sleeper cars, showers and other amenities. It departs from Central Station, Memphis's grand 1914 train station, located on Main Street. The total ride between New Orleans and Chicago is about 19 hours and Memphis is right in the middle. So figure about 9.5 hours if you’re coming or going to either city.
The Memphis International Airport (MEM) is home to Memphis-based FedEx, making it the busiest cargo airport in the country. It's also a busy passenger center, serving as one of Delta's major hubs. Flights depart from the three terminals to cities all over America, with one daily flight to Amsterdam. It's not the world's most attractive or modern airport, with a definitely 1960s vibe, so most travelers try to avoid spending much time here. The airport is 10 miles south of downtown.

Getting Around

There's nothing particularly tricky about driving in Memphis. It's a big, modern city, well set up for cars. Be aware that many downtown streets run one-way only. The main portion of Beale Street is pedestrian-only. Parking is easy enough, with plenty of meters and decks in downtown, and ample free on-street parking in the rest of the city.  
Memphis is served by at least a dozen taxi companies. Taxis are metered and start at $2 for the first 1/9 mile, and $0.20 for each additional 1/9 mile. Basic fare from the airport to downtown is about $30. Hailing a cab is rarely easy, though. If you think you'll need one, it's best to keep the number of a company at hand, or plan to have a hotel concierge or restaurant host call for you.
Public Transit
MATA Transit operates Memphis's city buses. Several dozen routes will take you anywhere you need to go. Fares are $1.50. The city recently commissioned four new hybrid buses. Sun Studio runs a free shuttle between Graceland, the Rock n' Soul Museum and Sun Studio.