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Downtown's South Main Arts District is a strong collection of locally-run galleries, shops and restaurants. The district is locate don the Main Street Trolley line, a few minutes walk south of Beale Street. The National Civil Rights Museum is located in the heart of the district.
The arts district has grown considerably in recent years, thanks in large part to the growing interest in Downtown living. The district is full of old warehouses constructed in the past 100 years, many of which have seen the upper floors turned into lofts. There are about 20 galleries along G.E. Patterson, Main and Huling streets.
Practically every medium of art can be found in the galleries, from glass to photography, oil and furniture. Many feature artist/owners showing their own work, as well as a strong mix of other artists. The artists in the studios are all friendly and eager to talk to visitors.
The galleries and shops are open during business hours during the week, and most keep weekend hours. The highlight for the area is the monthly Friday Art Trolley Tour, which lasts from 6 to 9 p.m. the last Friday of every month, rain or shine, holiday or not.
A specified trolley running the line allows free off and on travel between the galleries, although most are within easy walking distance of each other. the galleries are open, many with wine and snacks, and the event is a large social gathering of tourists and locals alike. During the summer months a projector screen is set up to show movies, such as Viva Las Vegas just before Elvis Week last July.
The district is also home to a few good restaurants, including The Arcade, Memphis' oldeast eatery which has been featured in numerous movies. It serves breakfast, meat and two meals, and pizza.