Whether you want to walk in the King of Rock’s footsteps at Graceland or enjoy the street performances along Beale St, Memphis packs a real punch.
But even if you’re not a music aficionado, there are so many other reasons you will want to pop down to the deep south of the US of A.
From drowning yourself in delicious barbecued meats, to taking a step back in time at the spread of museums, you won’t be stuck for something to do.
Where to stay
Located just two blocks from Beale Street, the Hilton Garden Inn Memphis Downtown is sleek and modern with decorative touches that hark back to the town’s history. The central location means that most of the main attractions are within walking distance.
For a stay with a historical feel, the Hu Hotel is housed in the former Tennessee Trust building, which is an icon in downtown Memphis.
Opening in late 2019, Moxy will be the new kid on the block. Located just steps away from Beale Street, this boutique-style hotel is sure to be a winner if you want to be in the heart of the bustling action.
What to do
Look, it’s usually on the top of everyone’s list, but even if it isn’t you should make the pilgrimage to Graceland. Whether you are a die-hard fan or not, a tour of Elvis’ mansion or a day trip to his childhood home really is a must. You’ll either leave more curious about The King or awe-inspired at having stepped inside the music legend’s home.
Keep the theme of stepping back in time by dropping in to the National Civil Rights Museum. This museum is not only significant in the USA but around the world for its famed and well-respected educational and cultural assets. The site of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s death and the Lorraine Motel is now a museum that chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement, five centuries of history that are interactive for a truly moving experience.
After burying yourself in history, it might be time to lighten the mood with a stroll down the famous Beale Street. A truly iconic street, Beale has been declared the Home of Blues by an act of Congress. It’s great to simply wander up and down the street to take in the performers (think everything from rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, delta blues, gospel and R&B), restaurants, shops and bars – there’s always something happening on Beale.
For a small place, Memphis sure knows how to put on a party. All year round you will find a variety of festivals from the St Patrick’s Day Parade to Elvis Week and Memphis in May, there’s a celebration for every whim.
Don’t think that Memphis is only a playground for adults either. The Memphis Zoo, Shelby Farms Park, and the Children’s Museum of Memphis are just a few of the top attractions.
Where to eat
It’s obvious, but Memphis barbecue has to be on the top of your what-to-eat list. With over 75 barbecue restaurants, you can find almost any type of barbecued meat your heart desires, from food trucks to fine dining.
Hot tip: usually no matter where you go there’s some great story behind the person serving up your ribs or pulled pork, so get to know them and you might be surprised what you find out. Plus, this is food with a good dose of history behind it - so take the time to find out the story behind the people serving up your ribs, shoulder, or sandwiches.
When you’ve had enough of barbecued goodness, there’s Crosstown. Featuring a plant-based menu, this eatery will leave you feeling fresh after a barbecue feast.
For some seafood, The Gray Canary (listed as one of Vogue’s most anticipated restaurant openings) boasts a raw bar and wood-fire kitchen, which specialises in crab claws and smoked fish dip.
Top off dinner with a sweet treat from Berkshire. This shop is full of truly beautiful desserts that are more like works of art.
After you’ve indulged your sugar fix, why not pop down to The Pocket. This place has the feel of an upscale tailor’s shop or clothing store, the faux storefront – along with the members-only basement level and cigar bar – is the justification for calling it a speakeasy. Just make sure you wear your Sunday best as there is a dress code: Gentlemen may not wear hats, casual shorts, open-toed shoes, or athletic gear. Ladies may not wear athletic gear or excessively ripped clothing.
For more inspiration visit Memphis Tourism