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Memphis does more than attract tourists- it draws pilgrims. Music-afficionadios lose themselves to the twang of blues guitar on Beale St., and barbecue stuff themselves with smoky pulled pork and dry-rubbed ribs. You could spend days moving from one museum or historic site to another and leave content.
Once you get away from the neon-lit tourist areas, Memphis is an entirely different place. Named after the ancient capital of Egypt, the city has a certain baroque quality that's both sad and charming. Though poverty is widespread – Victorian mansions stand beside decrepit shotgun shacks and college campuses lie in the shadow of long-closed factories - signs of revival are in the air. Neighborhoods once in shambles, abandoned and/or otherwise reclaimed by kudzu vines– South Main, Binghampton, Crosstown and others - are being reinvented with quirky boutiques, hip lofts and edgy restaurants, all full with Memphis' wild spirit.