Heading to Beale Street for the first time? Well, if you are looking for some basic information on Beale Street you should look at our Beale Street 101 page. However, if you are looking for some tips on how to enhance your time at Beale Street you have come to the right place. This article shares useful tips from experience of attending Beale Street. This is all the knowledge I have acquired from trips to Beale Street, and tips from friends, that you should consider for your first trip to Beale Street. Between this and our Beale Street 101 page you will be ready to rock in Memphis.
The Memphis trolley is a great way to get around downtown Memphis. It runs up and down main street, as well as the riverfront. The Memphis trolley is also super cheap – it’s just $1 a ride or $9 for a three day pass. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to get around Memphis for Beale Street this is it.
Everyone takes the trolley to the North entrance at Tom Lee Park. This entrance gets congested with long waits. There are other options – there is a middle and South entrance. If you do take the trolley you can keep on it past Tom Lee Park for two stops to Butler Park and go through the South Entrance. It will be less crowded and you will get right into Beale Street.
If you leave Beale Street during the day, you need to remember which gate you left through. This is the only gate you will be permitted back into Beale Street. So if you exit you must re-enter through that same gate.
Beale Street can be somewhat of a clusterfuck getting home at night, especially if you drive. If you are close enough to walk I suggest just doing that versus taking the trolley or an overpriced Uber. Speaking of Uber, these are not your best option at night – the elevated rates are absurd. Either hang around Beale Street and wait for the horde to leave, or head out before the headliners finish up. If you go right after the headliner wraps up it is going to be a mess.
Beale Street goes on whether it rains or shines, and Memphis in May means rain. Whatever you wear, be ready for it to get filthy and muddy. Thus don’t wear anything you don’t mind losing or having to throw out. Be prepared for the bad weather and just embrace it when it happens; have fun with it. Pack some rain boots if you are really worried about it.
Unless you are happy with Budweiser, crappy wine, and SoCo frozen drinks you are not going to be happy alcohol wise. Be sure to drink plenty before going to Beale Street or sneak some goodies in with you – the alcohol selection is poor and overpriced.
Many festivals have started bringing in great local food – Coachella and Lollapalooza especially make a real effort to make the food awesome. Sadly Beale Street is behind the times and offers your standard carnival nachos and hot dogs. Eat before heading in if this isn’t right with your palette.
If you leave Beale Street to go get actual food or adult beverages you can only do this once. Beale Street allows re-entry only one time.
No one wants to look squinty in pictures. Be a hero and bring a cheap pack of sunglasses so no one in your squad is squinty either: http://amzn.to/2kcdLhu
It’s a long weekend, so it’s important to pace yourself and hydrate. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water, but be sure to drink plenty of water. Beale Street has free water refill stations and lets you bring in an empty bottle with you. However, I highly recommend just investing in a camelbak. If you go to any other festivals it’s great to have, as it is if you do any outdoor activities such as hiking. They are pretty inexpensive now and well worth the $50 it will cost you. I can’t recommend these enough, they are great (http://amzn.to/2jbTaVN).
Some food vendors and bars are still cash only at Osheaga so it is always good to have some cash on you. There are ATMs at Beale Street, but the lines are really long and the fees are ridiculous. Be sure to snag some cash before heading off to Osheaga, you never know when it’s going to come in handy.
Some of my best memories at music festivals are the early bands. Try to get to Beale Street before 2 p.m. one day and try to discover some new bands.
Yes I know downtown Memphis is the most expensive area to stay for Beale Steet Music Festival, but its worth it. You will have tons of bars and restaurants at your door step, but more importantly you will be able to get to the festival super easy. Driving and parking near Beale Street is a mess, and the trolleys and buses get really fully – this is one festival it is just worth it to pay to stay near it. I highly recommend paying the extra costs to stay in downtown Memphis.
There you have it, all the knowledge I have to pass onto you Beale Street first timers! If you are reading this and have other tips for Beale Street or have questions I’d love to hear them. Feel free to reach out to me at Shawn@EventTrk.com and I will be happy to answer your question or add your tip to the list!