PopulationMetro: 1,341,339
American roots run deep in this diminutive southern giant poised to rise again.

Memphis is to American music what Rome is to the Roman Empire. No other city in the nation matches this Tennessee belle’s place in the hallowed halls of modern pop music; and few other cities celebrate it the way Memphis does.

Whether it’s soul music or rock ‘n roll, blues or roots, this city of 650,000 on the banks of the Mississippi River moves to a beat all its own with a name that is synonymous with some of the biggest names in music, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis.

That’s a big reason Memphis scores a #34 rank in the Promotions category, with a top-25 rank in TripAdvisor reviews, and top-30 for large American cities when it comes to Google Trends and Instagram hashtags.

CITY PERFORMACE
Place
Place 64
Product
Product 23
Programming
Programming 7
People
People 27
Prosperity
Prosperity 41
Promotion
Promotion 5

Memphis also places well in the Product category, with a top-25 ranking in Museums, thanks to a wide variety of popular museums that includes Graceland, Memphis Rock N’ Roll Museum, Blues Hall of Fame, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Memphis also does American history better than most cities; the National Civil Rights Museum and the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum are just two of the many ways visitors and residents alike can explore their collective past.

Memphis also scores well in the Place category, with a #15 rank in Air Quality, a #20 in Weather and an enviable #9 rank in Commute Time. As if Memphis doesn’t already have enough going for it, this southern city ranks a solid #6 in the Housing Affordability Ratio.