Less than a mile south of the park is Overton Square, the city’s theater district. “It’s a great place to see a show, whether it’s dance, a play, or an indie film,” says Edward Bogard, a local philanthropist and co-owner of BOGARD, a new restaurant slated to open soon on Overton Square. Hattiloo Theatre, which features African-American playwrights and actors, is one of the South’s only freestanding black repertory theaters. Playhouse on the Square is a regional theater that stages Broadway shows and plays host to Ballet Memphis, which just opened a new 38,000-square-foot headquarters in Midtown (where you can watch dancers as they rehearse). For film buffs, Malco Studio on the Square is an arthouse theater that regularly presents film festivals and also screens the occasional blockbuster.
But the square is more than just a place to catch a show. “What makes Overton Square such a lively arts district is there’s also a ton of great restaurants within an easy stroll,” Bogard says. If you can snag a table, Babalu is a crowd favorite known for its tacos and Spanish-style tapas. “After work, I’ll stake out a spot on the patio with some homemade guacamole and a margarita,” Bogard says.