Near my Memphis neighborhood, there’s a place called Overton Square. Talk to Memphians of a certain age and they’ll tell you about buying their first liquor by the drink, catching an unknown Billy Joel in concert, and disco dancing here in the 1960s and ’70s. But when I moved to the city in 2010, the Square was a shadow of its former self. Buildings remained, but the tenants—and verve—had migrated. In 2012, that began to change. Just before Christmas, local artists debuted pop-up shops in the Square’s vacant buildings. Neighbors gathered for a tree-lighting on the Square’s defining corner. By New Year’s Day 2013, the Square was on its way back.
Fast-forward to the present and the Square is at capacity, covered with people, bathed in punchy murals—one of those quintessential things to do in Midtown Memphis day or night, with or without the family.