“There’s plenty for tourists to do in Cooper-Young, but it’s also a neighborhood in a true sense,” says Kat Gordon, a Memphis native and owner of Muddy’s Bake Shop, a Cooper-Young mainstay known for its pastel array of cupcakes and pies. The best way to explore is to park your car and stroll along the district’s namesake thoroughfares: Cooper Street and Young Avenue.
Less than a mile south of the park is Overton Square, the city’s theater district. “It’s a great place to see a show, whether it’s dance, a play, or an indie film,” says Edward Bogard, a local philanthropist and co-owner of BOGARD, a new restaurant slated to open soon on Overton Square. Hattiloo Theatre, which features African-American playwrights and actors, is one of the South’s only freestanding black repertory theaters. Playhouse on the Square is a regional theater that stages Broadway shows and plays host to Ballet Memphis, which just opened a new 38,000-square-foot headquarters in Midtown (where you can watch dancers as they rehearse). For film buffs, Malco Studio on the Square is an arthouse theater that regularly presents film festivals and also screens the occasional blockbuster.