In fact, there is something to see, do, or eat around every corner in Memphis, TN. Here are our picks of things that you can’t miss the next time you’re “Walking in Memphis” (#sorrynotsorry).
Best things to do in MemphisHow do these rankings work?
Beale is Tennessee’s most visited attraction. The heart of Memphis nightlife, the strip of over two dozen bars and nightclubs known for their blues-music history is a Memphis must.
Start with BBQ dinner at the Blues City Cafe, then follow your ears to the door of any of the music venues and order Memphis’ signature drink, the Walk Me Down, a frozen blue concoction made with seven different liquors.
Stop by and see the goats at Silky O’Sullivan’s open-air courtyard and order their signature cocktail in a bucket, the Diver. For some live music, check out Blues Hall and its adjoining Rum Boogie Café.
Even if you don’t stay at “the South’s Grand Hotel,” it’s worth a visit Downtown to witness the Mallard march. The Peabody Duck March takes place twice a day, as the ducks visit the hotel’s ornate lobby fountain at 11am and 5pm.
If you go to the 5pm viewing, you can stick around and have a martini while enjoying the piano music in the historic Peabody Hotel’s grand, two-story marble-columned lobby lounge.
No visit to Memphis is complete without a visit to the home of the King of Rock & Roll. Tours of the ornately decorated mansion start at $41. It’s worth the extra five bucks to see Elvis’ airplanes.
After, stop by the adjacent hotel, The Guest House at Graceland for a signature cocktail like The Jailhouse Rocks. You might catch a piano performance of Presley hits, or if it’s a nice day, head to the heart-shaped bonfire pit outside.
4. Have a BBQ feast
Memphis is known for its BBQ. From ribs at The Rendezvous to the pulled pork sandwich at Tom’s Bar-B-Que and Deli, to the smoked sausage of Payne’s Bar-B-Que, you can’t throw a rock without hitting some deliciously low-and-slow-cooked porcine.
What makes it Memphis is the sauce: Made with tomatoes, vinegar, and a combo of spices, the thin, tangy, somewhat sweet sauce is served on the side of dry ribs or poured over pulled pork. Sick of BBQ already? Go to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken or head to The Beauty Shop in the cool Cooper Young District.
5. Learn about the city’s music history
Learn about the “Memphis Sound” at the birthplace of soul music, The Stax Museum. Visit the legendary Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash recorded albums. Head to the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum on Beale Street for a comprehensive Memphis music experience.
The Blues Hall of Fame honours those who have performed, recorded, or documented blues.
6. Jukebox Joints
If you’re out late (between 10pm and 4am) on a Friday or Saturday night, hit the lit (literally) dancefloor at Paula Raiford’s Disco downtown. Check out Young Avenue Deli for some live music and beer. See if the jukebox really is haunted at Earnestine & Hazel’s, or search for more spirits at Mollie Fontaine Lounge.
Soak up the suds with a late-night “World Famous” Greek Burger from Alex’s Tavern.
Take a couple of hours out of your busy itinerary to experience centuries of history at The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the height of civil rights strife in 1968.
It’s easily one of the best things to do in Memphis.