The Perks of Memphis

The Hogwarts-esque staircase, lounge chairs that feel like sitting in a cloud, staring at the constellations in the Star Room—there is no place like the Barret Library.  But sometimes that Sunday morning comes when you just can’t handle another white mocha latte from the Middle Ground after you have already spent what feels like half of your week staring at the same bookcase in the library.  At these points, it’s time to go beyond the Rhodes gates to take advantage of the numerous places to study in Memphis.

Overton Park

Just Across North Parkway

Overton Park’s location just on the other side of North Parkway makes it a great place to venture for those without convenient transportation.  Bring a picnic blanket and set up camp in the spacious areas of grass or next to a pond.  The abundant presence of puppies running around makes it a great atmosphere to relax and study under an oak tree. 

Java Cabana

2170 Young Avenue

Nestled in the Cooper Young district, the Java Cabana often hosts live, local music.  One of the perks of the Java Cabana is that it’s never too crowded.  You can always find a place to sit in one of the pieces of mismatched furniture.  Full of vintage clothing and random pieces of artwork, the Java Cabana doesn’t feel like a typical coffee shop—so it’s perfect if you’re looking for something different.


641 South Cooper Street

Otherlands is considered one of the “hipster” coffee shops of Memphis.  Composed of multiple rooms full of your grandfather’s furniture, it offers an eccentric environment to do your work.  It also has spacious patio for those good-weathered days.  Otherlands also serves beer along with great snack and lunch food.  The “bagel sandwich thing,” which is surprisingly its official name, is an Otherlands staple. 

Mud Island River Park

101 North Mud Island Road

Mud Island River Park is one of the lesser known treasures of Memphis.  Situated right on the Mississippi River, the park hosts an exact scale model of the lower Mississippi River, meaning you can theoretically walk along the river from Cairo, Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico when you need a study break.  There are plenty of benches and a large lawn next to the Gulf of Mexico pond for you to study on a blanket. 

The Republic

2512 Union Avenue

The Republic, though still a coffee shop, has a restaurant feel to it.  The two-person and four person booths give you plenty of space to spread out your work while ordering a pumpkin latte from the table-service wait staff.  The greatest part of The Republic is the delicious menu, which changes according to the time of day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late night snacks.