Dancing in Memphis
Whether you’re a classically trained ballerina or simply enjoy a good Macarena, are the first one on the dance floor or only make a cameo during the electric slide, sometimes, you just need to get your dance on. If a crowded frat party isn’t your thing, or your roommate would prefer it if you stopped turning your common space into a dance floor, there are places around town that love to see you in your dancing shoes. Grab a friend or two and get ready to get down.
1. Rumba Room
Every Friday from 7:00-7:30, this South Main haunt offers free swing dancing lessons. From 7:30-9:30, you get to show off your moves with open dance time. Free salsa lessons begin at 9:30, and open dance follows. The atmosphere here caters to everyone from the pros to the beginners. Fourth-year Mary Catherine Cadden says “Everyone here is super welcoming. It’s not at all rare to dance every dance, with a new partner each time.”
303 South Main Street
Open Friday, 6:30pm to 3am, Saturday, 8pm to 3am, and Sunday, 8pm to 1am
Cover: Free before 7pm, $5 after
2. Paula and Raiford’s Disco
In multiple online reviews, this disco has been called—endearingly—“a hot mess.” And that’s a good thing. With a light-up dance floor, fog machines, disco balls, and hand-painted walls, Paula and Raiford’s is the perfect way to end your night downtown. Don’t let the long line to get in scare you—it’s well worth the wait.
14 South Second Street
Open Friday and Saturday, 10pm-4am
3. Rum Boogie Café
This Beale Street bar/restaurant/concert venue offers free live music every night of the week. The walls of the Café are covered with musical memorabilia, and they take their motto “Down Home Cookin’, Down Home Blues” very seriously. If you’re looking for a more casual place to grab a bite and dance a few songs, this is your place.
182 Beale Street
Open 7 days a week, 11am-2am
Cover: Free during the week/weekend days, $5 on Friday and Saturday nights –but if you’re having a Beale-street-night-out, look to buy an all-access pass at the entrance of the street for $15
4. Electric Cowboy
If you’re a fan of county music and line dancing, mixed with flashing laser lights, then Electric Cowboy is your place. There are free dance lessons every Wednesday and Friday night at 8pm, and on Thursday nights, Memphis-area college students get in free until 10pm with a valid college ID. Check out their website for regular events, grab your boots, and get dancin’!
6160 Macon Road
Wednesday 7pm-3am, Thursday through Saturday 8pm-3am, Sunday 8:30pm-3am
Cover: varies by night, call ahead to ask about specials
5. Levitt Shell
While it seems a little unorthodox, with the right band, Levitt Shell turns into a dance floor under the stars. Pack a picnic and a blanket, enjoy the music, and when the moment feels right, kick off your shoes and head towards the dance floor in front of the stage. This family-friendly venue is also the most cost efficient and closest to campus: there’s never a cover, and you can walk from Rhodes!
1928 Poplar Avenue, inside Overton Park
Concerts start at 7:30 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights through the summer and fall.