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Best of Memphis 2018: Arts & Entertainment



Best Casino

1. Southland Park Gaming and Racing

2. Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino

3. Gold Strike Casino Resort

Here comes Rusty! If it's gaming you want, it's gaming you get at Southland. It's packed with some 2,000 machines, black jack, roulette, and, yep, that great dog track.

Best College Gallery

BOM 1. Memphis College of Art

2. Box Gallery at University of Memphis

3. Lemoyne-Owen College

MCA's solid exhibitions of work by faculty, students, and alumni — the popular Horn Island show is currently on view through October 5th — reveal the spirit to create art remains. We'll miss the place.

Best Gallery

BOM 1. Crosstown Arts

2. David Lusk Gallery

3. Orange Mound Gallery

Who knew that an abandoned Sears building could be transformed into such a spectacular art space? But it's more than just the architectural environment that makes this our readers' choice; the curators have scheduled a full calendar of local, regional, and national shows. Through November: "Wish Book," landscape photos on fabric by John Pearson.

  • Justin Fox Burks

Best Dog Park

1. The Outback at Shelby Farms

2. Overton Bark

3. Tobey Park

If you were a dog, wouldn't you like a huge park, with 100 acres just for you, where you could shed that leash and run along forest trails and splash in lakes and wander through fields and roll in meadows and when you got tired and thirsty, you could find water stations within easy reach? Oh, and did we mention that you could bark at a herd of buffalo?

  • Justin Fox Burks

Best Park

1. Shelby Farms

2. Overton Park

3. Memphis Botanic Garden

Readers have consistently chosen Shelby Farms as best park. It was nice when it first opened, but major enhancements have truly made it the place to go when you need to get away from it all.

  • Justin Fox Burks

Best Family


1. The Memphis Zoo

2. Levitt Shell

3. Memphis Botanic Garden

It started in the early 1900s with a poor bear chained to a tree and is now home to some 4,500 animals. If you want up-close encounters with lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!), this is the place to be.

Best Festival

1. Cooper-Young Festival

2. Beale Street Music Festival

3. Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

This is one of those events that offers something for everybody: an incredible variety of food, artists, music, and other forms of entertainment. Can you remember when Cooper-Young was just a sleepy neighborhood? We can't.

Best Local Band

1. Lucero

2. Star & Micey

3. Mighty Souls Brass Band

The mighty Lucero are the people's choice for best band, an impressive feat given the stiff competition. And the accolades are well deserved. Lucero is one of the hardest-working groups around, and their new album, Among the Ghosts, is a strong statement by a band whose musical muscles have been toned by years of touring, recording, and Annual Block Parties. For a distinctly Southern blend of country, rock, and growling vocals, Memphians choose Lucero.

  • Justin Fox Burks

Best Local Comedian

1. Katrina Coleman

2. Hunter Sandlin — tie — Mo Alexander

3. Josh McLane

Coleman is the co-creator of the addictive "You Look Like" show, which features the best of often vicious but always hiliarious comedic putdowns. As founder of the Memphis Comedy Festival, she's also been described, in this very newspaper, as "the person most responsible for assembling the big tent of modern Memphis comedy." Did we say she was funny? She is indeed.

  • Justin Fox Burks

Best Local Singer

1. Joyce Cobb

2. Amy LaVere

3. Marcella Simien

Joyce Cobb is Memphis' Music Ambassador. At concerts, Boscos Jazz Brunch, or her own show on WEVL, Joyce's amazing voice has made her a genuine musical legend.

Best Movie Theater

1. Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill

2. Malco Paradiso Cinema Grill and IMAX — tie — Malco Studio on the Square

3. Malco Collierville Towne Cinema Grill

Those sweet, extra-wide seats, that fine choice of eats, the smart selection of movies make the Ridgeway the best theater in town.

  • Justin Fox Burks

Best Museum

1. National Civil Rights Museum

2. Pink Palace Museum

3. Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The National Civil Rights Museum is the place out-of-towners want to see first. The museum, located in the Lorraine Motel, is living history. It's an unforgettable place.

  • Justin Fox Burks

Best Performing Arts Venue

1. The Orpheum

2. Levitt Shell

3. Playhouse on the Square

Best Live Theater

1. The Orpheum

2. Playhouse on the Square

3. Hattiloo Theatre — tie — Theatre Memphis

With its chandeliers, boxes on either side of the stage, and all the golds and reds, The Orpheum is also the most beautiful theater as well as a great venue for performing arts and live theater. The stage is perfect for touring shows, concerts, and other events. And the list of famous people who've performed there — just check out their stars on The Orpheum's sidewalk.

Best Place to See Live Music

1. Levitt Shell

2. Live at the Garden

3. Lafayette's Music Room

You can sprawl on the ground and even sip some wine or other beverage when you go to a concert at the Levitt Shell. And if you sit too far away, you can watch the action on screens on either side of the stage.

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