Best of Memphis 2016 - Arts & Entertainment 

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Best Museum

1. Memphis Pink Palace Museum

2. Children's Museum of Memphis

3. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Piggly Wiggly — the nation's first grocery chain — celebrated 100 years in 2016. But these days, the Pink Palace's Piggly Wiggly exhibit is the only place in town you'll find evidence of the Memphis-based chain launched by Clarence Saunders in 1916. You'll also find a recently modernized planetarium and historical exhibits dedicated to everything from Mid-South history to dinosaurs.

Best Gallery

1. Crosstown Arts

2. David Lusk Gallery

3. Jay Etkin Art Gallery

Just a few years back, the row of shops along Cleveland where Crosstown Arts hosts art receptions, visiting author lectures, zine-making workshops, open art critiques, and the occasional block party was just another blighted vacant building. Likewise, the massive former Sears Crosstown headquarters across the street was empty, too. But since 2012, Crosstown Arts has been hosting multiple events — often several nights each week — in its gallery and storybooth spaces, and by 2017, the organization will have an even greater presence in the soon-to-be-completed, revitalized Crosstown Concourse.

Best College Gallery

1. Main Gallery, Memphis College of Art

2. Art Museum at the University of Memphis

3. Hyde Gallery, Memphis College of Art Nesin Graduate School

Visitors to Memphis College of Art are immediately greeted by work in media ranging from watercolor to charcoal to sculpture in this multi-level gallery in the lobby of the city's prestigious art college.

click to enlarge The Orpheum - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • The Orpheum

Best Live Theater

1. The Orpheum

2. Playhouse on the Square

3. Theatre Memphis

Best Performing Arts Venue

1. The Orpheum

2. Germantown Performing Arts Center

3. Cannon Center for the Performing Arts

Whether it's a touring Broadway production of Book of Mormon, an intimate and emo evening with Morrissey, or a Rocky Horror Picture Show film screening and campy costume party, the Orpheum is the city's premier theater.

Best Movie Theater

1. Paradiso

2. Ridgeway Cinema Grill

3. Studio on the Square

This massive East Memphis movie theater features extra-wide, 50-foot-tall, wall-to-wall curved screens and 60,000 watts of digital stereo surround sound. That's nerd-speak for, "Movies look and sound really cool." The theater sells wine and beer, as well as Yolo frozen yogurt. Plus, there are a few arcade games for kids (or adults) who need to kill a few minutes (and a few video game villains) before the show.

Best Casino

1. Horseshoe Casino

2. Gold Strike Casino Resort

3. Southland Park Gaming and Racing

This Tunica institution has all the gaming options — poker, slots, blackjack, roulette, you name it — plus a diverse lineup of musical acts on its Bluesville stage. Recent acts ranged from country star Gary Allan to '80s metal band Slayer to '90s alt-rockers the Goo Goo Dolls. Jack Binion's Steak house is the place to celebrate when you hit the jackpot, or, if you've gambled away all your winnings, you can probably still afford a burger from the Horseshoe's 24-hour burger bar.

Best Family Entertainment

1. Memphis Zoo

2. Concerts at Levitt Shell

3. Children's Museum of Memphis

Lions, and tigers, and bears — oh hi! Where else in our fine city can you take the whole herd to see a bunch of wild animals up close? (Don't answer that.) That big gorilla at the glass loves us, and we love him.

Best Sports Team

BOM 1. Memphis Grizzlies

2. Memphis Redbirds

3. Memphis Tigers Football

click to enlarge Mike Conley - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Mike Conley

Best Professional Athlete

1. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies

2. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

3. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies doubled down by winning Best Sports Team and also getting the nod for Best Professional Athlete, with newly re-signed point guard Mike Conley getting the call.

Best Amateur Athlete

1. Dedric Lawson, Memphis Tigers Basketball player

2. Shaq Goodwin, former Memphis Tigers Basketball player

3. Chris Carrier, University of Memphis Baseball player

Dedric Lawson was one of the few bright spots for the Tigers in former Coach Josh Pastner's final season. Here's hoping this year's Best Amateur Athlete can step up his game for new Coach Tubby Smith.

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