Memphis   Travel Guide

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23 Fun Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee

It’s no secret, Memphis is known as "Home of the Blues & the Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll." You’ll find it certainly lives up to its description. But that's not all the Bluff City holds for you. Whether you're on a black history

  • All Things To Do

travel info memphis

National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

Recent travelers agreed the National Civil Rights Museum should be at the top of anyone's list of things to see in Memphis. Housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, the museum features multimedia presentations on the civil rights movement. With the help of 260 artifacts, more than 40 films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts, visitors are guided through four centuries of history. During your self-guided tour, you'll view artifacts paramount to the movement, such as a Greyhound bus ridden by Freedom Riders. You'll also have the chance to see King's motel room, where he spent his final hours.

Reviewers described the museum as "surreal" and "incredibly moving." They went on to note the staging of the exhibits is "top-notch" and said the museum helped put seminal events of the period into context for a better overall understanding of the movement. Visitors should budget at least two to three hours to tour the entire facility. The museum is also a featured stop on many of the best Memphis tours . The Legacy Building, where James Earl Ray fired the shot that ended Dr. King's life, is closed until 2025 as part of a multimillion-dollar expansion project that will add exhibits and transform the adjacent Founders Park.

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Beale Street Beale Street free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Enjoy a fine dining experience at Itta Bena before exploring Beale Street. Its upscale Southern cuisine and ambience takes "the blues" to a new level. The hidden entrance makes you feel like you've discovered Memphis' best kept secret. – Kelsey J. Lawrence

Are you looking for the heart and soul of Memphis culture? Head over to Beale Street. It was here that the blues were born, and where many famous musicians – including B.B. King, Alberta Hunter and Isaac Hayes – got their start. During the day, stores and restaurants beckon with music memorabilia and savory barbecue, while at night, the area between Second and Fourth streets comes to life as numerous live music clubs open their doors to fans of all types. The Beale Street area is also home to several popular attractions, such as the Orpheum Theatre , the W.C. Handy House Museum and the Beale Street Flippers (athletes who perform daring flips on the street).

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Sun Studio Sun Studio

U.S. News Insider Tip: After your tour, make the roughly half-mile walk to High Cotton , a local brewery with good vibes and perhaps most important, good beer. – Kelsey J. Lawrence

Often referred to as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, Sun Studio is a must-see for music aficionados. Former owner Sam Phillips helped launch many a music career, including that of Elvis, B.B. King, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. In recent years, the studio has been used by artists like Justin Townes Earle, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and The Walkmen, among others. On your guided tour, you'll hear stories about the legendary musicians who recorded here, listen to unreleased tracks and see memorabilia from the studio's heyday.

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Popular Tours

Memphis City Tour with Sun Studio Admission

Memphis City Tour with Sun Studio Admission

(433 reviews)

from $ 75.00

Memphis Mojo Bus Tour

Memphis Mojo Bus Tour

(1045 reviews)

from $ 38.41

Taste of Downtown Memphis Food Tour

Taste of Downtown Memphis Food Tour

(694 reviews)

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Shelby Farms Park Shelby Farms Park free

The weather in Memphis is usually on the warmer side, and there’s no better place to enjoy the sunshine than Shelby Farms Park. The park offers more than 4,500 acres of green space and more than 20 bodies of water. There are also fun recreational activities for youngsters, such as the unique Woodland Discovery Playground – which was designed by children – and the Water Play Sprayground, a 4,000-square-foot play space featuring spray jets, water pumps and geysers. There’s also zip lines, water sport rentals and more than 40 miles of trails, including nature trails for hiking and paved routes for biking.

There are even trails dedicated to horseback riding. Previous visitors appreciated the extensive trail options, as well as the variety of annual events held at the park. If you’re visiting in April, make time for the Earth Day Festival to hear from speakers on a variety of sustainability topics and get hands-on learning with interactive education opportunities. If you're visiting in winter, be sure to admire the glistening lights at the Starry Nights events, which begin in November; visitors say Starry Nights events are perfect for family holiday fun.

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Memphis Botanic Garden Memphis Botanic Garden

Located in East Memphis, the Memphis Botanic Garden offers visitors a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are 30 specialty garden areas across 96 acres of land. One visitor favorite is the Asian Garden, which features plants native to countries like China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Travelers also enjoy exploring the colorful Iris Garden as well as Daffodil Hill, which showcases up to 300,000 beautiful blooms beginning as early as January.

Memphis Botanic Garden also offers an arboretum area. Recent visitors rave about the wide variety of plants and beautiful blooms. They also note a reasonable admission fee. The garden plays host to concerts and events, which are geared toward both adults and children. Refer to the garden's online calendar to see what events are happening during your visit.

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Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid

Whether you're a camper, hunter or just looking to escape the Memphis heat, Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid is a must-see modern architectural marvel. From shopping to bowling or spending a few hours at the spa, there is something for every member of the family to enjoy. Home to the tallest free-standing elevator in the country, visitors can enjoy impressive views of the store as they're lifted up 28 stories to The Lookout, a swanky bar and restaurant that leads to two glass-floor outdoor observation decks offering an adrenaline rush for those with a fear of heights as well as panoramic views of downtown Memphis and the Mighty Mississippi. 

Recent visitors agree it's a stop worth making even if you don’t consider yourself an outdoors enthusiast. They raved about the ponds filled with fish, ducks and alligators which can be found throughout the store. Those who took the elevator to the observation decks said it was worth the added cost and the wait in line for the breathtaking views. Several note that a few of the attractions (such as bowling and dining) are expensive.

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Graceland Graceland

With this city's strong musical identity, there's no question as to why Elvis Presley chose Memphis as his kingdom. Graceland, located approximately 10 miles south of downtown Memphis, is one of the most-visited private homes in the country. When you stop by for a tour (considered one of the best Memphis tours ), you'll see the King's famous jungle room, pink Cadillac, record collection and even walk through his customized private jet. Elvis' grave is also located on the Graceland grounds. As you tour the home, you'll have the help of an iPad to guide you through each room, plus audio narration by actor John Stamos.

While some visitors claim Graceland is overpriced and too crowded, most agree visiting is a must – even for nonfans. Reviewers also offered a few tips: get to the house early to avoid the crowds, don't bring anything you won't need for the tour (you'll be juggling headphones and an iPad as you wander the house. Be sure to check Graceland's website to see if any events are taking place during your visit (if you hate crowds, avoid visiting Graceland in August, when Memphis hosts the annual Elvis Week festival). After touring the house, consider visiting Elvis Presley's Memphis at Graceland, a 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex filled with restaurants, museum exhibits, gift shops and more.  

travel info memphis

Memphis Zoo Memphis Zoo

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're visiting March through October, surprise the kids by taking them behind the giraffe exhibit at 10 a.m. to hand-feed the giraffes. It's $5 for each person who wants to participate in this unforgettable experience. – Kelsey J. Lawrence

The Memphis Zoo's hieroglyphics-clad entryway leads to a primate habitat, bear and wolf enclosures in the Teton Trek, a nocturnal animal exhibit, a vast big cat area and the Zambezi River Hippo Camp, among other exhibits. All in all, you can observe approximately 3,500 animals. In addition to wildlife, a one-of-a-kind splash park offers a fun way to beat the heat for an additional fee. The zoo spans 70 acres, but recent visitors said it's well-organized and visibility of the animals is great. Little legs should have no trouble navigating the grounds, and lectures on the zoo's furry friends prove entertaining for all ages. 

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Memphis City Tour with Optional Riverboat Cruise & Sun Studio Add-On Options

(1545 reviews)

from $ 45.00

Guided Memphis City Tour with Riverboat Cruise along Mississippi River

Guided Memphis City Tour with Riverboat Cruise along Mississippi River

(431 reviews)

from $ 85.00

Memphis Majesty: Private Elvis Car Tour & Graceland Adventure

Memphis Majesty: Private Elvis Car Tour & Graceland Adventure

(3 reviews)

from $ 428.00

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Museum of Science & History Museum of Science & History

If you've got kids in tow, plan on stopping by the Museum of Science & History, formerly known as the Pink Palace Museum. Housed in a flamboyant pink mansion constructed by supermarket tycoon Clarence Saunders, the museum is dedicated to educating visitors on history, science and culture. Museumgoers can see a variety of interactive rotating and permanent exhibits like the popular Piggly Wiggly grocery replica and dinosaur exhibit. Visitors can learn about meteors, constellations and black holes in the Planetarium and enjoy 3D movies on the Giant Screen Theater. The wide variety of displays will appeal to visitors of all ages.

Recent visitors said the museum excels at exploring a diverse array of topics, making it easy for everyone in your group to find something that piques their interest.

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Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

As one of the largest museums in the South, this Memphis attraction brings multimedia art to life in many ways. Its permanent exhibits showcase more than 10,000 pieces that illustrate the evolution of art from the 14th century to the present day. The museum also offers a variety of temporary exhibitions, which, in the past, have ranged from art features illuminating Native American voices to a photography showcase highlighting Black history and identity in baseball.

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art also showcases outdoors sculptures some of which date back to the 19th century. Previous visitors appreciated the well-rounded collections and the attention to detail. They also appreciated the museum's inviting atmosphere and informative staff.

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Memphis Heritage Trail Memphis Heritage Trail free

A stroll along the Memphis Heritage Trail guides visitors to numerous landmarks that illustrate the many ways African Americans have contributed to the city's history. This walking museum spans 20 blocks in the downtown area and features a variety of themed itineraries that allow travelers to tour different areas of the city based on a specific interest.

The Civil Rights Historic Loop winds past important attractions like the National Civil Rights Museum and I AM A MAN Plaza where you can admire the landscape sculpture dedicated to the members of the 1968 Sanitation Workers' Strike as well as those who strived to mend racial inequality in the city. The Business-Entertainment Historic Loop showcases the Martin Luther King Jr. Reflection Park, the Orpheum Theater and the Cotton Museum – a highlight for past visitors thanks to its variety of interactive exhibits. Meanwhile, the Historic Commerce Loop brings visitors past the Historic Beale Street Baptist Church – the city's first church built for Black people. The Memphis Heritage Trail organization also hosts events and outreach programs to connect with the community.

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Stax Museum of American Soul Music Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Sitting on the original site of the Stax Records studio, this museum commemorates American soul legends (particularly the artists who recorded at Stax). Among the museum's collection of more than 2,000 artifacts, interactive exhibits, films and galleries, you'll see Isaac Hayes' custom Cadillac Eldorado, which was purchased as part of his renegotiated deal with Stax in 1972. The relic is outfitted with some unusual amenities, including a TV, a refrigerated minibar and 24-carat gold exterior trim. 

Recent visitors praised the quality of the memorabilia on display and the introductory film screened at the beginning of the self-guided tour. Though reviewers do warn that there's a lot of information to read and absorb, they called the experience "fascinating." If you need a break from reading, you can bust a move out on the Express Yourself dance floor – another point of praise for recent visitors. The studio is also a featured stop on many of the best Memphis tours .

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Big River Crossing Big River Crossing free

Big River Crossing is a great way to get outside and take in the mightiness of the Mississippi River. Enjoy panoramic views of the Memphis skyline as you walk, run, or bike across the nearly mile-long pedestrian bridge over the river. The bridge is connected to the longer Big River Trail System, and also connects to about 10 miles of pathways that take you from one attraction to another in downtown Memphis. At night, the bridge is lit up in colors that represent the season and special celebratory moments.

Recent river crossers rave about the views and acknowledge the security cameras along the bridge made them feel very safe at all hours.

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Memphis Discovery Tour

(584 reviews)

Memphis Discovery Tour with Riverboat Cruise on Mississippi River

Memphis Discovery Tour with Riverboat Cruise on Mississippi River

(23 reviews)

from $ 76.82

Elvis in Memphis Private Tour including Graceland Tickets

Elvis in Memphis Private Tour including Graceland Tickets

(10 reviews)

from $ 430.00

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Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

If you're a fan of soul music or rock 'n' roll and want to learn more about how Memphis played a part in the roots of these genres, you should consider adding the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum to your itinerary. Exploring Memphis' musical influence, from the rural field hollers (enslaved workers who sang songs while laboring) and sharecroppers (those who leased land to farm) of the 1930s to the emergence of Sun , Stax and Hi Records, this Smithsonian Institution affiliate offers visitors a comprehensive music experience. With the help of an audio guide, travelers can explore seven galleries featuring more than 30 instruments, 40 costumes and 100 songs.

Recent visitors said this museum helps put Memphis' musical history in context and said the "sound comes alive" thanks to the variety of artifacts and details on display here. However, some were a little unimpressed with the museum's size and said they expected more considering its Smithsonian affiliation. Still, even with its relatively small size, travelers found the museum fascinating. And with its central location on Beale Street , you can easily swing by some of the city's other top attractions before or after your museum visit.

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Memphis Music Hall of Fame Memphis Music Hall of Fame

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame recognizes the legends who created and shaped the music scene as we know it. The Hall of Fame honors a variety of people with Memphis roots who are now considered pioneers in the industry: Sam Phillips, of Sun Studio fame and who discovered Elvis; Otis Redding, considered the "King of Soul;" and Johnny Cash, who sold vacuum cleaners door to door in Memphis before earning a record deal at Sun Studio. The museum opened in 2015, inviting guests to explore interactive exhibits and see rare memorabilia that once belonged to icons like Isaac Hayes, Jerry Lee Lewis, and recent stars like Justin Timberlake. 

The museum is small but packs a lot of punch for the price, according to recent visitors. Visitors were wowed after learning about a lot of musicians' unexpected ties to Memphis. Several wish the exhibits had more detail about each since and note you can see everything in about an hour.

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Blues Hall of Fame Blues Hall of Fame

Memphis and music go hand-in-hand. The city's profound role in music history is celebrated at its top attractions like the Stax Museum for American Soul Music and Graceland . If you're a fan of the blues and are looking for an intimate look at the wide-reaching impact of the genre on the music industry, you'll want to plan a visit to the Blues Hall of Fame.

There are more than 400 inductees into the hall of fame, including Billie Holiday, Etta James and Eric Clapton. The Blues Hall of Fame offers 10 galleries that feature touch-screen displays, perfect for educational interactive activities. Some rooms also showcase artifacts, such as instruments, tour costumes, albums and photographs that once belonged to famous musicians. Previous visitors especially enjoyed the museum's listening rooms, where you can hear the recording process of famous blues songs.

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Peabody Ducks Peabody Ducks free

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're over 21, one of the best places to enjoy the duck march is from The Peabody's lobby bar. Arrive at least an hour early to claim a barstool and enjoy the show while seasoned bartenders keep you hydrated. – Kelsey J. Lawrence

Originally constructed in 1869 (before being moved and rebuilt at its present location in 1925), The Peabody Memphis has held a long-standing reputation as one of the finest hotels in the South. While the building itself is quite breathtaking, the real attraction here is the march of the Peabody Ducks. In fact, the ducks are a featured stop on many of the best Memphis tours . Since the 1930s, these North American mallards have been a staple feature of the historic hotel. Visit around 11 a.m. when the ducks make their way from their Royal Duck Palace on the hotel's rooftop and down the elevator where they'll then walk the red carpet through the hotel lobby and into the Peabody Fountain. Join the onlookers that gather along the carpet to tap their toes to the beat of John Philip Sousa's "King Cotton March" as the ducks waddle past. At 5 p.m., the tune picks up again and the ducks hop out of the fountain and make their way back along the red carpet to their home. 

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Malco Summer Drive-In Malco Summer Drive-In

Go back in time at the Malco Summer Drive-In, one of about 300 drive-in theaters in the U.S. Don't let the name fool you: This drive-in is open year-round. (It's called the Summer Drive-In because it's located on Summer Avenue.) As the sun sets, pull your vehicle up to one of four large outdoor screens, tune your radio dial and enjoy a new release from the comfort of your car. Bring your own snacks and drinks or purchase them from the concession stand. The best part? You won't have to worry about anyone kicking the back of your seat – unless you bring the kiddos along! It's just you, your ride, and the latest blockbuster playing on the silver screen. Check out the website to see what's playing and buy tickets in advance.

Recent visitors said the drive-in is a flashback to the good ol' days with a wide variety of concessions available at a fraction of the price of a normal movie theater. While nostalgia is guaranteed, having respectful neighbors is not. Previous moviegoers do warn that others may leave their headlights on or honk their horn, which has the potential to distract from the good time.

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Memphis Horseback Trail Ride Tour

(154 reviews)

from $ 80.00

Elvis Presley Birthplace Park in Tupelo with Transport from Memphis

Elvis Presley Birthplace Park in Tupelo with Transport from Memphis

(62 reviews)

from $ 215.00

Haunted Memphis Walking Ghost Tour

Haunted Memphis Walking Ghost Tour

(664 reviews)

from $ 30.73

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The Orpheum Theatre The Orpheum Theatre

U.S. News Insider Tip: Before taking in a show, make a reservation to enjoy a bite or pre-concert cocktail at Catherine & Mary's or The Lobbyist, two of the swankiest restaurants in downtown Memphis and just a two-minute walk to The Orpheum Theatre. –  Kelsey J. Lawrence

Playing host to Broadway shows, concerts, as well as community events and performances, the Orpheum Theatre is a historic and beautiful venue that prides itself on being one of Memphis’ first buildings added to the National Register of Historic Places. Legends like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were some of the first entertainers to take the stage. Recently, fan favorites like Bob Dylan and productions like "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen" have filled theater seats. 

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FedExForum FedExForum

Experience the grit and grind of the Bluff City's own NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies, at FedExForum. If a concert is more your jam, plan to take in one of the hottest concerts on tour. Having played host to greats like Garth Brooks, Journey, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake, FedExForum is sure to have an upcoming event to pique your interest. It also attracts family-friendly events like Motocross and Cirque du Soleil.

Visitors will notice a music theme throughout the facility, paying homage to the Memphis and its rich musical history. Located steps away from Beale Street, visitors rave about the location being that it's an easy walk from downtown hotels and restaurants.

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Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

The Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, or the Burkle Estate, draws visitors back to the pre-Civil War era. The main house was once used as a shelter for slaves along the Underground Railroad. The home's owner, Jacob Burkle, was a part of the antislavery movement and offered refuge to those trying to escape slavery. The 19th-century home is filled with secret passages and trap doors that were used by runaway slaves attempting to flee north to freedom. The estate also features artifacts portraying the brutal conditions for slaves in the South.

Recent visitors agreed that while the museum is small, it's full of information and offers a powerful look into the lives of enslaved people during this time. Reviewers said the tour guides were informative and engaging, and described the experience as a "moving history lesson."

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Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art

At 24,000 square feet, the Belz Museum displays more than 1,400 objects across five permanent galleries. Three of these house Asian art, much of which dates back to the Qing Dynasty of China (1644 to 1911). The fourth exhibit features contemporary Judaic pieces, and the fifth serves as the Holocaust Memorial Gallery. The museum is unofficially known as the "Jade Museum" due to its extensive collection of jade sculptures.

Recent visitors have called the Belz Museum a "hidden gem" in Memphis, noting that the impressive collection of Asian art rivals exhibits in China itself. They said that the mixture of Judaic and Asian art is unusual but spectacular, and that the Holocaust Memorial Gallery left them speechless. Many travelers said this museum is not to be missed and that it was more than worth the cost of entry. However, some museumgoers did note that this is probably not the best thing to do with young children, as they may become bored and the Holocaust exhibit can be heavy. 

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Victorian Village Victorian Village

Victorian Village is home to seven colorful 19th-century mansions that will make visitors feel as though they've taken a step back in time. Some homes are business offices, but others have been converted into event spaces while one serves as a bed and breakfast allowing guests to experience the luxury and comforts of Victorian splendor.  

The Woodruff-Fontaine House is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday. But beware, as it's rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Mollie Fontaine, who grew up in the house. The mansion her father built for her across the street once operated as a popular lounge. If you're lucky, you can still enjoy the Mollie Fontaine Lounge during one of many pop-up events.  

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Memphis Haunted History Bus Tour

(130 reviews)

from $ 32.92

Elvis Presley's Childhood Home Sightseeing Daytrip from Memphis

Elvis Presley's Childhood Home Sightseeing Daytrip from Memphis

(149 reviews)

from $ 111.16

Historic Memphis Guided Walking Tour

Historic Memphis Guided Walking Tour

(325 reviews)

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22 Things to Know Before Traveling Memphis | 2023 Memphis Travel Guide

Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa

memphis murals

This post may contain affiliate links. Never leave home without travel insurance . Click for the best travel insurance and inexpensive insurance for COVID .

“Is Memphis safe? It is the #1 homicide capital of the U.S.!”.. . my Uber driver cackled as we left Memphis International Airport. Too late, my door was locked and there was no going back.

There are many things that make Memphis great: Graceland, it’s the home of the Blues and Soul music, the civil rights movement, and yes, according to my Uber driver, the cop-homicide reality show, The First 48 !

When I traveled it, I discovered much more things to know before traveling Memphis.

Read Best things to do in Memphis

Table of Contents: 22 Things to Know Before Traveling Memphis | 2023 Memphis Travel Guide

  • 1.1 1. Barbeque
  • 1.2 2. Vegetarian options
  • 1.3 3. Memphis pub foods
  • 1.4 4. Beale Street is a celebration of neon at night
  • 1.5 5. Murals are everywhere
  • 1.6 6. Double-check your restaurant bill
  • 1.7 8. Memphis locals are very friendly
  • 1.8 9. Home of Blues and Soul music
  • 1.9 10. Memphis is predominantly African American
  • 1.10 11. Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll
  • 1.11 12. Avoid horse carriage rides & the Peabody ducks
  • 1.12 13. Civil Rights Movement & Memphis
  • 1.13 14. Skip bottled water, go for the tap
  • 1.14 15. Martin Luther King’s assassination
  • 1.15 16. Gun-toting is legal in Memphis
  • 1.16 17. You can drive under the FedEx airplane
  • 1.17 19. Memphis has a trolley system
  • 1.18 20.  There are a lot of museums in Memphis (and you’ll want to visit them all!)
  • 1.19 21.  Check your tour times
  • 1.20 22. Plan your strategy (potential 3-day itinerary)
  • 2 Where to Stay in Memphis
  • 3.1 What are things to know before traveling Memphis?

Things to Know Before Traveling Memphis

1. barbeque.

BBQ is big in Memphis, so you’ll definitely want to try it.  A lot of places sell pulled pork and ribs. You’ll find two types of BBQ: wet and dry. The dry BBQ is rubbed down with many spices while the wet BBQ is brushed with a wet BBQ sauce before and after cooking.

Another unique aspect of Memphis BBQ is that it might come with several options from dry to spicy to hot and beyond. One BBQ joint had extra sauces to add such as mustard and vinegar. I had it with my BBQ nachos and I have to say, the vinegar sauce was incredible !

If you ask Memphisians where to go for the best BBQ, they each have their own favorite.

bbq ribs memphis

2. Vegetarian options

Although Memphis is big on BBQ, there are always options for vegetarians and they are tasty. In fact, I’ve found vegetarian options on a majority of restaurant menus of BBQ rib joints. From veggie burgers to scrumptious seafood mac n cheese (okay, that’s bar food but hey…), there are a unique array of choices a Pacific Island gal like myself, had not thought of eating in main and side dishes.

As Memphis is known for its BBQ, you might want to get in on the vegetarian BBQ action to see what the fuss is about.  I feel like the best BBQ carries a certain pride and sentiment in the food. One blogger told me the BBQ spaghetti was nothing great – just plain spaghetti with BBQ sauce.  Meanwhile, I had fish tacos and I could’ve sworn the smoke-flavored sauce it came with was BBQ inspired, and damn, it was good.

3. Memphis pub foods

Memphis is the first city where I fell in love with pub food. Yep, you heard me- I fell in love with bar food, because it was more than just chicken wings, hummus and mozzarella sticks. (Okay, they had that too but they had an extra flair!) I’ve tried Mac and cheese in three different restaurants prepared differently and all tasted like the bomb.   I’ve tried stuffed mushrooms, deep-fried dill pickles, and rocket tots (aka tater tots filled with cheese). I really had to watch my waistline in Memphis!

Check out Must Try foods of Memphis

Watch 8 iconic food experiences & where to eat memphis.

Here’s a list of iconic food experiences and places to eat in Memphis! From Bacon Maple donuts, to BBQ and Elvis’s favorite sandwich, one thing is certain after your trip to Memphis… you’ll be hitting the gym!

4. Beale Street is a celebration of neon at night

Beale Street was once the thriving heart of African American-owned businesses, barbershops, and dance halls. But today it has grown into Memphis’s biggest tourist welcome with bars, restaurants, souvenir shops and enough neon to light up dark streets. It reminds you of a smaller version of the Las Vegas Strip! During the weekend evenings, there is a line to get onto Beale and it comes with an admission fee of $5.

Tip: You can legally carry alcoholic beverages on Beale Street and in front of the police!

Read Street Smart Tips for Solo Travelers

beale street, memphis

5. Murals are everywhere

Memphis is a colorful, vibrant and street-artsy city. You will find murals everywhere in Memphis and they are like an open museum. Some creatively cool spots to check out is downtown Memphis ,  Mosaic Artwalk on South Main , and I love Memphis iconic murals.

Check out 5 Off-beat spots in Memphis which will shock you

6. double-check your restaurant bill.

“Do restaurants just make up their own charges in Memphis?” is a question I wondered for a while.  Margaritas in Downtown tagged on a compulsory 18% service charge from their normal 15% fee if you place your order after 9 pm.  Another restaurant I went to just a few doors down – called the Flying Saucer – added on a $1 donation to my bill in support of Ukraine , …and both did this despite the fact I ordered takeout! Those add-ons are pretty steep; those downtown restaurants were not cheap.

Side note: Shops and restaurants tend to close around 9 pm. Get your grub early or you’ll be walking home hungry.

7. Is Memphis Safe?

“ According to crime statistics released by the FBI , Memphis ranked 4th for the highest violent crime rate in the country in 2019. It has a high homicide rate. “- Van Life Wanderer .

Safety is one of the things to know about traveling to Memphis. From my Uber drive from the airport to meeting friendly locals along the way, I’ve been told that Memphis is dangerous. And yet, there were tinges of pride to those responses, which made me think that if you can survive Memphis life, you can survive anywhere. I would not let that hamper the jewels Memphis has to offer. Instead, stick to the well-trodden routes.

Advice: Most locals will tell you is if you stick to downtown and the tourist areas, you’re safe. There are parts in Memphis that you should definitely stay away from. Although I did not experience any problems, locals seemed concerned for me on a couple of occasions.

Always hold an air of caution and common street smarts anywhere you go in the U.S. Memphis is no different and a bit more awareness should be used when going outside highly touristed areas. Don’t walk down a dark and desolation street alone, know what neighborhoods to avoid.

I’ve seen stores sporting No Guns allowed signs and been to a Mexican restaurant with an armed security guard standing at the doorway.

Tip: Getting around in Memphis can take time and public transportation cannot take you everywhere. Although if you’re staying in downtown Memphis, the trolley (see Tip #19) can get you across town; I used it to get around downtown Memphis and to alleviate my Uber usage.

Taking a Memphis city hop-on-hop-off bus tour will cover  a spectrum of highlights that are a little out of the central core of downtown Memphis. Lastly, check with the museums you visit. In the past, some museums had a free shuttle that would arrive at a pickup spot and bring tourists over.

8. Memphis locals are very friendly

Despite what I mentioned about crime above, Memphis locals redefine the word friendly. Memphis locals are genuinely happy to help you and offer advice and recommendations. Okay, so I had one waitress at the Arcade Restaurant, who ranked high among New York wait staff rudeness; otherwise, I’ve only met kind people. How kind? Being part of the Bible Belt, a couple of folks even wished me “ a blessed day “.

9. Home of Blues and Soul music

The Blues and soul music originated and grew legs in Memphis. Pioneering African American musicians found a home, a voice, and musical freedom in Memphis, defying racial and socio-economical tensions to bring blues and soul music to the world. Visit Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

Tip: Music fan? Take a Sun Studio and Blues tour on a musical bus!

10. memphis is predominantly african american.

Observing a predominantly African American population in the city was one of the wonderful discoveries I made about Memphis because I’ve not experienced this before in my U.S. travels.

“Black people in Memphis are 64 percent of the population. Whites make up 29 percent of the local population.” according to the World Population Review .

But I didn’t find it surprising when I looked at Memphis’s civil rights and musical history. It was the first city where Blacks could do something for themselves in buying land, joining the Union during the Civil War and birthing blues and soul music.

Visit the National Civil Rights Museum , Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum/Burkle Estate and musical museums; they will take you into the heart of Memphis culture. 

11. Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll

You probably already know that Memphis is the home to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.  His estate, Graceland has impressively grown from a mansion to a full-fledged museum grounds with sections and sections dedicated to the various interests and the grandiose lifestyle Elvis Presley lived.  I visited over a decade ago when it was just the mansion but since they’ve bought the lot across the street and expanded it. Now you can walk aboard his private jets and explore his vintage car collection, which is huge, varied and insanely jaw-dropping as a car museum! There is even a digital interactive area where you can take a photo with Elvis or dress as the King!  There is so much going on in Graceland; highly worth the price of the ticket.

Tip: Are you an Elvis fan? Take an Elvis Upbringing tour and visit his birth home of Tupelo

elvis graceland

12. Avoid horse carriage rides & the Peabody ducks

Downtown Memphis offers horse carriage rides through the city. I find them abominable. These are exhausted horses that trod up and down the street pulling a neon-lit carriage with tourists and I hate to imagine their exhaust dur. There was one that looked so thirsty I wanted to offer my water bottle. I hate to imagine how they feel during summer and who knows how they are maintained in a city warehouse stable .

The Peabody Hotel herds their ducks through the hotel lobby daily at noon for a camera snapping crowd that thinks this is an adorable circus attraction. The hotel claims to not use the same ducks throughout the year; they switch them out with new ones each season.  Ever wondered where the old ones go?

This site does not support tourism activities where animals are exploited and used for entertainment. While I have naively participated in some in the past, I do not now.  Please please please have a heart for our furry friends and do not support animal slavery.

Instead check out this list of Best things to Do in Memphis

13. civil rights movement & memphis.

One thing to know before you go to Memphis is that it is the home of many black-owned business and this stems back to its civil rights and soul music. From stories of slaves escaping via the Underground Railroad, the sanitation worker strike to the assassination of Dr. Luther King at the Lorraine Motel, black history and racial barriers go deep in Memphis.

But there’s also a pioneering celebration of independence with musicians who overcame threatening racial and socio-economic barriers to birth soul music and legendary greats such as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, …

Visiting these museums are a must if you want to understand the history that made Memphis what it is today:

• Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum • National Civil Rights Museum • Slave Haven/Burkle Estate • Stax Museum of American Soul Music

14. Skip bottled water, go for the tap

It’s not always talked about but Memphis tap water is one of the cleanest and sweetest tasting water in the U.S. I’d agree with that. When in Memphis, I’d just skip bottled water and fill my bottle from the tap water. According to TapSafe.org , “Memphis water meets or exceeds all state and federal water quality regulations again in 2020. ” Taking a bath, my hair even felt softer and more relaxed.

Try visiting Old Distillery. They make gin and spirits from good old-fashioned Memphis water and claim that is part of their secret.

15. Martin Luther King’s assassination

April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated on the balcony of Room 301 at the Lorraine Motel.  He was there to lead a march for the sanitation worker’s strike.  The motel is memorialized and you can see visit it and listen to old archived recordings.

lorraine motel: assasination of Dr Martin Luther King

16. Gun-toting is legal in Memphis

On July 14, 2009 the state of Tennessee made it legal for handgun owners to carry their guns into bars and restaurants. Which explained why they sold handgun purses and bags at the Bass Pro Shop! Not all business owners are happy with this as you will see signs in shop windows forbidding entry to handguns.

17. You can drive under the FedEx airplane

Whoa… what is that?! I asked my Uber driver as we drove under a bridge as a behemoth FedEx plane taxied on the overpass above us…. FedEx has a cargo base that flies out near Memphis International Airport. Their runway is an overpass over the road leaving the airport. If the timing works in your favor you can drive under the plane as it rolls over the overhead runway!

19. Memphis has a trolley system

Memphis has a trolley system downtown. Wahoo! You’d think it’s like San Francisco; it’s not but it’s still vintage. There’s no hanging out of the sides, but it will give your tired tootsies a break.

I only took the Main Street Rail Line but there’s a Riverfront Line (offering a view of the Mississippi) and Madison Line too. The Main Street line will get you to many of the main museum attractions in downtown. They all operate on slightly different hours, with the Main Street Rail Line operating the latest (around midnight on weekdays and Saturday, but ending at 6pm on Sundays.

The trolley costs $1 per way or $3.50 unlimited/day.

Check out the hours here .

20.  There are a lot of museums in Memphis (and you’ll want to visit them all!)

Memphis has a lot of museums and it may seem like overkill but it’s not. They’re all different and enlightening to the wealth of history in this city. Ultimately, I was really bummed that I wasn’t able to visit some of the important ones like the National Civil Rights Museum.

  • National Civil Rights Museum
  • Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
  • Blues Hall of Fame
  • Slave Haven/Burkle Estate
  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music

There’s even obscure-sounding ones like the Fire Museum and the Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange.

21.  Check your tour times

Some Memphis venues have tour times and if you miss them, you’re waiting for the next tour. When I signed up for conference FAM tours, a bunch of them had tour times. From distillery to brewery or cemetery walking tour… everything was on a timetable.  I dawdled outside Sun Studios only to realize that I’d missed the last tour of the day by five minutes and they would not let me in.

Always check your tour times and plan accordingly!

22. Plan your strategy (potential 3-day itinerary)

How to tackle Memphis if you only have a few days. I clumped it in two groups– Downtown Memphis attractions and Memphis attractions which are further away. It can feel overwhelming. Getting around in Memphis can take time and public transportation cannot take you everywhere. Uber can add up too- a ride from my hotel across the convention center to Old Dominick’s Distillery cost me $8 one way. Ouch.  I’d reserve Uber for the farther attractions.

Day #1 Tip: My recommendation is to take a Memphis city hop-on-hop-off bus tour to see the highlights, get perspective on the city and what you want to tackle.  They’re inexpensive, it will help you cover some of the sites and reduce your overwhelm.

Day #2: downtown, beale street and the trolley system.

Downtown Memphis has a lot to see on foot and the trolley drops you at some of the streets from the Main Street line. Part of downtown visits might rope in the Pyramid and Mud Island River Park, even though these are slightly further away.

You can also get around using the Bird app , a system of electric scooters that you pay to unlock and then use. You are charged roughly .20 per minute in Memphis , but rates change based upon location. Read the rules in advance; you will get charged fees if you break them.

Day #3: Outer downtown Memphis: Graceland, Sun Studios and the cemeteries.

For further jaunts, plan to rent a car, Uber or research which venues run shuttles. I’ve heard from locals that the bus system is not that great and due to the fact you could get lost in the wrong part of town, I’d try more secure means.

Graceland and Sun Studios used to have free shuttle service but with the pandemic, I’m not sure if they still do.

Where to Stay in Memphis

As downtown Memphis is a popular draw for travelers, the best Memphis hotels will come with a price tag. Comfortable budget stays are located outside of the downtown area, accessible by car or Uber. The public bus can be confusing outside downtown Memphis’ transit system and trolley.

Budget Hotels 

  • Memphis Hotel & Suites (formerly Super 7 Inn) Located close to downtown attractions, this budget-friendly hotel offers basic amenities, making it a convenient and economical choice for solo travelers exploring Memphis.

Boutique Midrange Hotels 

  • Hotel Napoleon offers boutique charm and a central location, with easy access to Beale Street .
  • Hu. Hotel  contemporary design, rooftop bar, and proximity to popular downtown spots like the National Civil Rights Museum.
  • Moxy Memphis has got an stylish moxy Memphis demeanor. This Memphis hotel has a convenient location in the heart of downtown. It’s less than a mile from Beale Street, FedEx Forum and 12 minutes from Graceland .
  • Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel is a standard Sheraton and located across the convention center. I stayed here when I spoke at the TravelCon conference. The hotel is a little on the old site but still lovely and it’s close to the end of the line on the trolley stop. Beale street is about a 8 minute ride on the trolley.

Unique Luxury Hotels:

  • The Guest House at Graceland As the official Memphis hotel of Graceland, this luxury accommodation offers a chance to indulge in the wild style and warm Southern hospitality of Elvis Presley’s legacy. This is the hotel I wish I stayed at
  • River Inn of Harbor Town  Right off the Mississippi River, this luxurious boutique hotel offers a serene and romantic atmosphere. Guests will be greeted with a glass of champagne at check-in, rooms with European décor and a hotel with stunning river views.

Watch Best things to Do in Memphis

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Explore Memphis

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Essential memphis.

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Traveler Spotlight

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The Soul of Memphis: Bars, Blues and Barbecue

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Moving to the music.

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Only-in Memphis experiences

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  • Big Cypress Lodge
  • The Guest House at Graceland
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  • Marlowe's Ribs & Restaurant
  • B.B. King's Blues Club
  • Beale Street
  • The Peabody Ducks
  • National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel
  • Guided Memphis City Tour with Riverboat Cruise along Mississippi River
  • Memphis City Tour with Optional Riverboat Cruise & Sun Studio Add-On Options
  • Memphis Mojo Bus Tour
  • Memphis City Tour with Sun Studio Admission
  • Memphis Discovery Tour

The Best Time to Visit Memphis

Memphis International Airport Guide

Neighborhoods to Know

Public Transportation

Day Trips From Memphis

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Things to Do With Kids

State Parks Near Memphis

The Best Memphis Parks

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Live Music Venues

Memphis Music Festivals

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Beale Street Nightlife

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Your Trip to Memphis: The Complete Guide

TripSavvy / Ivey Redding

travel info memphis

Memphis has something for everybody. Foodies will delight in the Memphis-style ribs available in old-school joints. Music lovers can go to live shows seven nights a week or visit Graceland and Sun Studios, where rock legends recorded their songs. Families will love the Memphis Zoo (one of the only three zoos in the United States with pandas!), the Pink Palace Museum, and the Children's Museum with a historically protected carousel. There are hikes, biking trails, mighty rivers, and even buffalo.

There is so much to do, it can be hard to pack it all in one vacation. This guide will help you plan your ultimate adventure.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit:  The weather is moderate and sunny, and there are many fun festivals and events in April and May.
  • Getting Around:  You'll need to rent a car or download a rideshare app— public transit is sparse and unreliable.
  • Travel Tip:  While Memphis has many tourist attractions and historical sights, one of the best things to do in the city is hike and ride bikes. There are bike rental places all over the city, and you can explore Downtown, Shelby Farms Park, and midtown all on wheels.

Things to Do

No trip to Memphis is complete without checking out the live music scene and the places where history was made in the genre of blues and rock 'n' roll. Memphis also has some phenomenal museums that take visitors through the history of the south, its people, and its civil rights heroes. Memphis is also home to some rare animal sightings that you can't see anywhere else.

  • Music: To see live music head to Beale Street or Lafayette's Music Room in midtown. There is live music in both places seven days a week. Elvis lived in Memphis, and you can tour his home, Graceland . You can also walk in his footsteps at Sun Studio where you can hear never released versions of his songs.
  • Museums : The Civil Rights Museum is located at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated  . It tells the story of the past and current civil rights struggle in America. The Mississippi River Museum has a replica of the river that you can walk along, learning how it ebbs and flows.
  • Rare animals: The Memphis Zoo is one of the three zoos in the United States that has pandas  ; watch the 24-hours-a-day PandaCam to get excited before you go. Shelby Farms Park is home to a buffalo herd, one of the only ones in the country.

Explore more attractions with our full-length articles on The Top 20 Things to Do in Memphis , the Top 10 Best Museums to Visit in Memphis , and Top 13 Fun Things to do with Kids in Memphis, TN .

What to Eat and Drink

Memphis is known for its barbecue food  . Rendezvous , one of the oldest joints, is credited for having invented Memphis-style meat which involves slow cooking it in a pit and then covering it with salt and spices. Non-meat eaters should head to Cooper Young and Broad Street where there are an array of farm to table restaurants like Bounty on Broad. In every neighborhood you can find delicious pizza, tacos, burgers, and more. There is a wide array of fine dining and casual eateries.

Memphis is also becoming more known for its beer. The city has over a dozen craft breweries like High Cotton Brewing Co. that make everything from hazy IPAs to sours. They have their own tap rooms where you can try them all and enjoy food and live music at the same time. The city also has sprawling bars, some that take up over an acre of land like Railgarten . They are filled with fun things to do from sand pits to absinthe dens to concert stages.

Explore our articles on the what to eat in Memphis, the best breweries to visit in Memphis , and romantic fine dining restaurants in Memphis.

Where to Stay

In Memphis a lot of the main tourist attractions, bars, restaurants, and great views are located downtown. If you stay in a hotel there you can walk to many places you want to be. There are chain hotels as well as boutiques. On the other hand, downtown can be loud, crowded, and dark, and you might not feel safe walking around at night. Another convenient place to stay is in East Memphis. There are a lot of family-friendly brands like the DoubleTree based there, and you will be close to the art museums, the zoo, many parks, and artsy neighborhoods like Cooper-Young and Midtown .

Explore the different neighborhoods you can stay in and our recommendations on the best hotels.

Getting There

The best way to get into the city is flying into the Memphis International Airport . While Memphis has Uber and Lyft, the best way to get around (including getting to and from the airport) is by renting a car. Memphis is served by two bus services—Greyhound and Miller Transportation—but it's far from most other destinations, so the bus ride will be long.

Learn more about the Memphis Airport with our comprehensive guide .

Money Saving Tips

  • Memphis has incredible parks that are free to access. Many have playgrounds, sports fields, hiking paths, and bike paths that are available to the public. The top ones include the Mississippi River Park, Overton Park, and Shelby Farms Park .
  • In the summer Memphis holds free concerts at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park.
  • Memphis museums can be expensive, but many have free days or select activities that don't cost anything. For example, you can explore the grounds of Graceland without paying a dime. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is free every Wednesday from 10 am. to 8 p.m. The Dixon Gallery & Gardens is free every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Some of Memphis's greatest activities are free of charge. Walking down Beale Street costs nothing. So does sitting on a bench and watching the sunset over the Mississippi River.
  • There is a free shuttle that goes between Graceland, Sun Studio, and the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum. While admission is not free to the attractions, transport between them is.

National Park Service. "Tennessee: The Lorraine Motel."

Pandas International. "Pandas in the United States."

Memphis Tourism. "Why Memphis-Style Barbecue is World Famous."

Memphis Gay Guide and Events Calendar

20 Top Things to Do in Memphis

A Complete Guide to the Mississippi River Road Trip

48 Hours in Memphis: The Ultimate Itinerary

Every Memphis Neighborhood You Need to Know

A Travel Guide for Visiting Graceland on a Budget

The 10 Best Parks in Memphis

The 12 Best Things to Do in Midtown Memphis

The Best Outdoor Activities in Memphis

13 Best Things to Do With Kids in Memphis, Tennessee

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10 Best Things to Do for Couples in Memphis, Tennessee

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10 Things To Do For $10 Or Less In Memphis

12 Best Things to Do in Memphis for Free

MEMPHIS, USA - NOVEMBER 25: Neon signs of famous blues clubs on historical Beale street on November 25, 2008. Beale street is a major tourist attraction and a place for blues festivals and concerts; Shutterstock ID 128086493; Your name (First / Last): redownload; GL account no.: redownload; Netsuite department name: redownload; Full Product or Project name including edition: redownload

Shutterstock / Natalia Bratslavsky

Memphis doesn't just attract tourists; it draws pilgrims. Music-lovers lose themselves to the throb of blues guitar on Beale St. Barbecue connoisseurs descend to stuff themselves silly on smoky pulled pork and dry-rubbed ribs. Elvis fanatics fly in to pay their respects at Graceland. You could spend days hopping from one museum or historic site to another, stopping only for barbecue, and leave happy.

Best Time to Visit

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Must-see attractions.

(GERMANY OUT) Presley, Elvis *08.01.1935-16.08.1977+Saenger, Schauspieler, USA - seine Villa 'Graceland' in Memphis, Tennessee (Innenansicht): goldene Schallplatten umkraenzen ein Elvis-Portrait- Januar 1997 (Photo by Sabine Wolf/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

If you only make one stop in Memphis, it should be here: the sublimely kitschy, gloriously bizarre home of the King of Rock and Roll. Though born in…

USA, Tennessee, Sun Studio

This dusty storefront is ground zero for American rock and roll. Starting in the early 1950s, Sun's Sam Phillips recorded blues artists such as Howlin'…

MEMPHIS, TN - JANUARY 19:  Aja Robertson, 7, looks out the window of the Rosa Parks bus exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum January 19, 2004 in Memphis, Tennessee. The museum's attendance swelled to about 9,500 visitors on Martin Luther King Day.  (Photo by Mike Brown/Getty Images)

National Civil Rights Museum

Housed partly inside the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, is the gut-wrenching National Civil Rights Museum…

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, May 12, 2015 : The Stax Museum is a replica of Stax recording studio. It celebrates the legacy of Stax Records and its artists as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, and many others.; Shutterstock ID 283890692; your: Bridget Brown; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI Image Update

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Wanna get funky? Head directly to Soulsville, USA, where this 17,000-sq-ft museum sits on the site of the old Stax recording studio. This venerable spot…

The Memphis Pyramid is an unusual landmark on the city's skyline, but its history is even more interesting

Memphis Pyramid

Don't laugh, but the most striking building in Memphis, a 32-story pyramid completed in 1991, is now home to an enormous Bass Pro Shop. Even if you don't…

Memphis, TN, USA - August 5, 2015: The redbrick and blue trim Memphis Music Hall of Fame museum building

Memphis Music Hall of Fame

It was a long time coming, but Memphis finally has a shrine to its own. This small but well-done museum, the sister gallery to the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul…

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Blues Hall of Fame

Dedicated to Blues Hall of Fame inductees, this intimate and well-done space features a rotating art gallery on the lobby level and a small but well…

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Al Green sits for a portrait in his office in Memphis, TN on November 10th, 2014. The legendary singer is a recipient of the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors. (Photo by Jesse Dittmar for The Washington Post via Getty Images.)

Full Gospel Tabernacle Church

On Sunday, put on your 'smell goods' and head to services in South Memphis, where soul-music legend turned reverend Al Green presides over a powerful…

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Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

This Smithsonian museum, next to FedEx Forum, examines how African American and white music mingled in the Mississippi Delta to create the modern rock and…

Big River Crossing

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In 2016 Memphis turned its historic Mississippi-traversing Harahan Bridge, out of service since 1949, into the country’s longest active rail/bicycle…

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A small peninsula jutting into the Mississippi, Mud Island is downtown Memphis' best-loved green space. Walk across the bridge to the park, where you can…

Planning Tools

Expert guidance to help you plan your trip.

Best Neighborhoods

Live music, award-winning restaurants, arts and theater: find what you're looking for with this guide to Memphis' best neighborhoods.

Memphis may be famous for its music, but the city’s storied history owes as much to the small towns at its doorstep.

Money and Costs

Looking for a fun-filled city break that won’t break the bank? Then Memphis has you covered.

Free Things to Do

Memphis has been a diamond in the rough for blue-collar tourists for generations. Here are the best free activities you can enjoy in the Bluff City.

Latest stories from Memphis

Pop into Sun Studio in Memphis or talk a walk down Nashville's Broadway.

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Both Tennessee cities are legendary hubs of musical inventiveness. A pair of local writers makes the case for why their city should take the bow.

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MEMPHIS, USA - NOVEMBER 25: Neon signs of famous blues clubs on historical Beale street on November 25, 2008. Beale street is a major tourist attraction and a place for blues festivals and concerts

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We Are Memphis

  • Trip Planning

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With so much information to sift through, there’s an art to planning a trip to Memphis. Where to stay? What to do? Where to eat? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the exciting options. Luckily, we know the River City like the back of our hand and are here to help.

No fake or phony here. Memphis deliver authentic experiences and the word is getting out, with a plethora of attractions, culinary and cultural options, and exciting places to stay. Most importantly, we’re known for our hospitality and we welcome people like you from around the world every day. Let’s get started on planning your visit to Memphis.

Whether you want to stay close to the action, near a favorite attraction, or somewhere historic, there’s a perfect lodging option for you. Memphis offers something for everyone, from five-star accommodations to comfortable options that won’t break the bank.

Memphis is a big city, but don’t let that intimidate you. We’ve got you covered with all the maps you’ll need to find attractions, parking, hotels, dining spots and more.

Transportation

Whether you’re traveling by foot, car, bike, or just looking for a good walking tour, having the right transportation information is essential for a smooth trip. Memphis is Uber and Lyft friendly, making it easy to get around even if it’s your first time visiting. You can also use taxi cabs or take a ride on the riverboat on the Mississippi River.

Nightlife and events

Looking for live music? You won’t have to look far once you’re here.

With so much going on in Memphis, it might be easy for you to miss something—unless you check out this list of nightlife and events , that is.

You might also be interested on: Moving to Memphis Tennessee: All You Need To Know

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5 Memphis Spots Serving the Perfect Drink

A List of Special Services and Community Programs Around Memphis

A List of Special Services and Community Programs Around Memphis

Memphis is a city focused on community, and our many special services and programs are a testament to what we […]

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5 Memphis Artists to Check Out for International Month of Black Women in the Arts

February is Black History Month, but it’s also International Month of Black Women in the Arts. There’s so much talent […]

5 Black-Owned Businesses in Memphis to Check Out This February

5 Black-Owned Businesses in Memphis to Check Out This February

For Black History Month, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite Black-owned businesses around town that you can support […]

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24 Best Things To Do In Memphis, Tennessee

Blues, barbecue, and so much more. Here's where to eat, drink, stay, and play in Memphis.

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Where to Stay

Memphis bbq.

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Memphis, Tennessee, is a city known as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and home of the blues. It’s known worldwide for its barbecue , but there is so much more to explore in the Bluff City. Memphis has a vibrant food scene that, yes, includes some of the best barbecue you’ll find, but there is also so much more to devour beyond the pit. 

Steeped in history, Memphis is home to several world-renowned museums and landmarks that make it the perfect place for an enlightening and educational trip. It’s also a city that is robust in culture. Whether it's a night on Beale Street or just about any other venue, bar, or restaurant around town, you can’t walk three feet without hearing incredible live music . You can hear the blues, rock, country, and just about anything in between in Memphis. Beyond music, Memphis also has a booming theater scene. National tours are regularly performing at the Orpheum, but the locals can also put on quite a show so we urge you to check those out as well. 

Memphians have a deep love for basketball and whether you attend a Tigers or a Grizzlies game while you’re in town, you’re bound to have an exciting night. But the city also boasts professional baseball, soccer, and football teams. 

“Memphis is truly exploding with arts and culture, even in its pride for its sports teams. Memphians are passionate and unapologetic and we thrive in creation. We as Memphians ‘don’t bluff’ - and as they say, we always have one toe dipped in the mud of the Mississippi while the other hand is swinging our pearls.” — Courtney Oliver, Director of Special Events and Auditions at Playhouse on the Square .

There is truly something for everyone in Memphis. Here are the best things to do on your next trip to the Bluff City.

Downtown Digs

Alex Shansky

Want to stay downtown in the middle of all the action? There are plenty of options for that. First, The Peabody Hotel is a classic for a reason. The gorgeous, historic hotel first opened in 1869 and is referred to as “the South’s Grand Hotel.” Nestled right in the heart of downtown, you can easily walk to Beale St., Orpheum Theatre, Fed-Ex Forum, and more. It’s also the home of the world-famous Peabody Ducks who march twice daily through the lobby.

For other options downtown, the Hyatt Centric Beale Memphis is the only hotel located on the world-famous Beale Street. The property is home to rooftop whiskey bar and lounge, Beck & Call, which offers incredible views of the Mighty Mississippi River from nearly every angle. Before Central Station was a hotel, the train station opened in 1914, serving as the main hub for all arrivals and departures from the city. Now, it has 123 guest rooms and 9 suites, a cocktail bar called Eight & Sand, and the Amtrak train still takes visitors to/from Memphis to New Orleans and Chicago.

peabodymemphis.com , 149 Union Avenue, Memphis TN 38103

hyatt.com , 33 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103

hilton.com/the-central-station-memphis , 545 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103

Immerse Yourself In Art In Overton Square

Alex Shanksy

Located in Midtown Memphis, The Memphian Hotel is nestled in the vibrant, art-forward Overton Square neighborhood. Here you'll be immersed in where the locals hang out. You are within walking distance of live theater, independent film, funky retail, the home of Ballet Memphis, and a plethora of restaurants and bars. The hotel itself is home to Midtown’s only rooftop bar, Tiger and Peacock.

thememphian.com , 21 S Cooper Street Memphis, TN 38104

Where The Location Is A Destination

Looking for your hotel to be a destination in itself? If you have come to town because you are the world’s biggest Elvis fan, then why not stay right next door to Graceland? The Guest House at Graceland is the ideal spot for the ultimate music lover’s trip to visit the house of the King of Rock & Roll. With Priscilla’s guidance, the hotel’s design is a mix of Southern hospitality and luxurious amenities of which Elvis himself would approve. If you’re seeking something a little more rustic and adventurous, check out  Big Cypress Lodge at Bass Pro Shop located inside the iconic Memphis Pyramid. Yes, that is correct, it’s a hotel inside a Bass Pro Shop, inside the Memphis Pyramid. It is a sight to see. Some rooms are designed like treehouses, some are like a hunting lodge. It will be a unique experience, as is the Bass Pro Shop itself.

guesthousegraceland.com , 3600 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116

bigcypress.com , 1 Bass Pro Drive, Memphis, TN 38105

Of course, you cannot come to Memphis without getting barbecue. But if you ask five locals where to go for the best in town, you will get five different answers. For a jumping-off point, check out the three Memphis restaurants on The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints of 2023 : Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous , Cozy Corner , and A&R Bar-B-Que . These are all classics but we would also add Corky’s and a relative newcomer to the Memphis barbecue world, Elwood’s Shack –try the brisket pizza.

hogsfly.com , 52 S 2nd Street, Memphis, TN 38103

cozycornerbbq.com , 735 N. Parkway, Memphis, TN 38105

aandrbbq.com , 3721 Hickory Hill Road, Memphis, TN 38115

corkysbbq.com , 5259 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38119

Beyond The Barbecue Pit

Memphis has an abundance of riches when it comes to excellent restaurants . There are options to please every palate and for every kind of diner–from the fine dining experience to the casual hang out and everything in between.

Memphis Classics

Memphis has many legacy restaurants. These are the places that locals frequent for weekly meals or special occasions. They are a part of the story of the people of Memphis and there are far too many to name; but, we have picked out just a few. Folk’s Folly is one of those special occasion favorites. On any given night you will see a group gathered over delicious steaks to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary. Coletta’s is one of the city’s oldest restaurants having just celebrated 100 years in 2023. The family-owned and run Italian eatery was also one of Elvis’s favorite spots. He loved their signature dish, BBQ pizza, which, per the Commercial Appeal , the Coletta family invented. The Four Way has been serving up soul food since 1946 and once served as an unofficial meeting place for local leaders of the Civil Rights movement. And yes, even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dined at The Four Way. 

Of course, you’ll need dessert and while all of these places will have delicious options on their menus, there is one spot in Memphis worth a separate trip. Gibson’s Donuts has been serving delicious doughnuts since 1967 and it has become a favorite of locals and visitors alike. In fact not only did Alton Brown once say , “I’ve got to say, Memphis, Tennessee: probably my number one food town in the U.S.,” he also declared that Gibson’s “makes not just the best doughnut in the United States but, as far as I’m concerned, if all the other doughnuts went away and I still had Gibson’s, I’d be okay.”

folksfolly.com , 551 S. Mendenhall, Memphis, TN 38117 

colettas.net , 1063 South Parkway East, Memphis, TN 38106

fourway901.com , 998 Mississippi Blvd, Memphis, TN 38126

facebook.com/gibsonsdonuts , 760 Mount Moriah Road, Memphis, TN, 38117

Modern Memphis Meals

Sage Creative

In addition to the many historic restaurants around town, the Memphis food scene continues to grow and is abundant in newer options in a variety of cuisines. While these spots may not have decades-long customers–yet, they have quickly become can’t miss meals. South of Beale, or S.O.B. is situated right in the middle of the action downton on South Main Street. You can make a night of it having dinner at S.O.B. and then head out on Beale or to a show at the Orpheum. The menu offers something for everyone including those in your party who may be gluten free or vegetarian. The Duck Fried Rice and General Tso’s Cauliflower are fan favorites but we think they have the best burger in town.

Global Cafe is an international food hall where immigrant and refugee food entrepreneurs serve up meals from their respective home countries’ cuisine. You can take a culinary journey around the world all under the same roof. It’s located in Crosstown Concourse which is a revitalized mixed-use building that was originally a Sears retail store in 1927. The Lobbyist is a new modern restaurant downtown in the historic Chisca building. Chef Jimmy Gentry is behind the concept that focuses on natural and local ingredients to bring out extraordinary flavors. Menus change to reflect seasonality of produce and availability local meats. 

southofbeale.com , 345 S Main Memphis, TN 38103

globalcafememphis.com , 1350 Concourse Avenue, Suite 157, Memphis, TN 38104

lobbyistatchisca.com , 272 S. Main Street, Suite 101, Memphis, TN 38103

Grab A Drink

Memphis has plenty of locations for libations, if that tickles your fancy. For beer lovers, check out Memphis-made Wiseacre Brewing Co. owned by brothers Davin and Kellan Bartosch. As stated on their website, the brothers founded Wiseacre to “deliver the crunkest brewery possible in their groovy hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.” The original taproom is located amongst several other great spots along Broad Ave.

If craft cocktails are more your speed, head to the trendy Cooper Young neighborhood and check out Alchemy . The cool atmosphere, great cocktails, and equally delicious small plates make this spot perfect for date nights or girls' nights.

If you’re looking for a great dive bar, well Memphis has maybe the best. Earnistine & Hazel’s is the stuff of legends, and oh, did we mention it’s said to be haunted? You can enjoy your adult beverage while tunes play from the jukebox and if you get hungry, you can grab one of their famous Soul Burgers. This spot is a true Memphis institution.  

wiseacrebrew.com , 2783 Broad Avenue, Memphis, TN 38112

facebook.com/AlchemyMemphis , 940 S Cooper Street, Memphis, TN, 38104

earnestineandhazel.com , 531 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

An Interactive History Lesson

The national civil rights museum.

karenfoleyphotography/Getty Images

The National Civil Rights Museum is located at the former Lorraine Motel, the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. The museum opened in 1991, and it utilizes the location, interactive exhibits, and collections of historic artifacts to allow visitors to walk through the history of the Civil Rights movement. It’s an informative, impactful, and inspiring experience and should not be missed when you visit Memphis. 

civilrightsmuseum.org , 450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Alison Wright/Getty Images

Of course, if you’re headed to Memphis, you are going to want to check out Graceland , the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Step inside Elvis Presley’s mansion and tour the living room, kitchen, the trophy room, and yes you will get to step foot in the Jungle Room. You can also pay your respects in the Meditation Garden where Elvis, his parents, Lisa Marie, and her son Benjamin Keough are all buried. Beyond the house itself, you can tour some of Elvis’ planes and there is a recently renovated museum that houses many of Presley’s cars, artifacts, and memorabilia from all over the world. 

graceland.com , 3764 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116

Bloomberg  / Contributor/Getty Images

Tour Sun Studio and see for yourself where so many music legends like B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash all got their start under the guidance of Sam Phillips. This is the very spot that earned Memphis the title of “birthplace of rock ’n’ roll.” It’s not just a tourist attraction, Sun Studio is still an active studio that is open for recording business in the evenings after the tours conclude for the day. 

sunstudio.com , 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

Stax Museum Of American Soul Music

Much like Sun Studio tells the origin story of rock’n’roll , Stax Museum honors the roots of soul music that are also planted firmly in Memphis. The museum itself is in the original location of Stax Records where greats like Otis Redding, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and Isaac Hayes all recorded their music. 

staxmuseum.com , E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis, TN 38106

Rock & Soul Museum

Located right on Beale Street where live music floods the streets daily is the Rock & Soul Museum . This Smithsonian affiliate institution tells the complete and comprehensive story of Memphis music. Learn more about the music pioneers who came from Memphis and the surrounding areas who changed music forever. 

memphisrocknsoul.org , 191 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Celebrate the Arts

Bruce Yuanyue Bi/Getty Images

Memphis is a music city. On any given day or night you could stumble upon incredible talent that has yet to be discovered. You would be hard-pressed to find a bar, lounge, restaurant, or club that didn’t have a live band or musician playing on a weekend night. And on Beale Street, that is true seven days a week, day or night. It is the home of the blues, after all. A few spots we suggest are B.B. King’s and Rum Boogie Cafe. The music plays on well beyond Beale St. in Memphis. Some other notable spots around town where the locals go to hear some good tunes are LaFayette’s Music Room and Railgarten . 

bbkings.com, 143 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103

rumboogie.com , 182 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103

lafayettes.com , 2119 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104

railgarten.com , 2166 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104

Catch a Show

Raymond Boyd  / Contributor/Getty Images

Along with a love for live music, Memphis has a vibrant theater community. Downtown is home to the historic Orpheum Theatre , at the corner of Main and Beale. Originally built in 1890 as a Vaudeville playhouse, it was destroyed by fire in 1923 but was rebuilt and reopened five years later. Motion pictures replaced the Vaudeville shows but in the 1980’s, the Orpheum became the home for national touring companies of Broadway shows. 

Bill Simmers

In Midtown, Playhouse on the Square is the city’s professional regional theater that both brings in talent from all over the country as well as utilizes the homegrown talent in the casts of each of their shows. “Memphis is home to dozens of theatre, dance, and musical organizations and we at Playhouse are proud to have a 55-year stake in the heart of this artistic community.  Playhouse on the Square prides itself on producing something for everyone—from children’s theatre to Pulitzer Prize-winning new works, we love to reflect and honor the soul of our community,” says Courtney Oliver,  Director of Special Events and Auditions. 

In East Memphis, Theatre Memphis has been showcasing the best of local talent for over 100 years. If you plan a trip in December, you won’t want to miss their annual production of A Christmas Carol , a decades-long Memphis holiday tradition for the whole family. 

orpheum-memphis.com , 203 S. Main, Memphis, TN 38103

playhouseonthesquare.org , 66 South Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38104

theatrememphis.org , 630 Perkins Extd. Memphis, TN 38117

Check Out An Art Exhibit

If you wish to take in some fine art on your trip, head to The Brooks Museum of Art . The Brooks boasts 29 galleries, two art classrooms, a print study room, a research library, an auditorium, and a cafe. It’s one of the largest art museums in the South and its collection spans from antiquity to present day. 

At Dixon Gallery and Gardens you can explore inspiring exhibitions and beautiful gardens while taking part in special programming for the whole family. The permanent collection includes over two thousand pieces of fine art with a focus on European and American art from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There is also an emphasis on French impressionism and Post-impressionism. 

brooksmuseum.org , 1934 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104

dixon.org ,  4339 Park Avenue, Memphis, TN 38117

Mississippi River Expeditions

Mississippi River Expeditions offers unique, guided river tours, including 17-mile day trips from Shelby Forest State Park to Downtown Memphis and overnight and multi-day river adventures. 

Shelby Farms Park

Allen Gillespie/ Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

The largest urban park in the United States. Shelby Farms also manages the Greenline, a 7-mile paved pedestrian and biking trail connecting the heart of Midtown to Shelby Farms. There are so many options for activities in the park from cycling to horseback riding. You can take a walk around Hyde Lake or rent a boat and get on the water. For the more adventurous there are also opportunities for outdoor paintball and zip lining. 

shelbyfarmspark.org , 6903 Great View Drive North, Memphis, TN 38134

Tom Lee Park

Tom Lee Park has undergone a massive renovation, with a new park design grounded and inspired by the dynamic ecological features of the Mississippi River. The renovation includes an open 20,000-square-foot Civic Canopy that offers a covered space for recreation and events as well as landscape improvements at Beale Street Landing. Tom Lee Park is the perfect place for runners, bikers, and walkers to go as it features a “quick travel” pathway along Riverside Drive. 

tomleepark.org , Riverside Drive, Memphis, TN 38103

How About the Sports Fans?

Memphis grizzlies.

Justin Ford  / Contributor/Getty Images

Since the NBA came to Memphis in 2001, Memphians have become loyal, loud, proud Grizzlies fans. Attending a game at FedEx Forum is not going to be like any regular basketball game. The arena is dubbed The Grindhouse because several years ago a former player said Memphis was all “grit and grind.” As the team hustles on the court, fans erupt in chants like “we don’t bluff” while waving yellow growl towels above their heads. Win or lose, we promise you’ll have a great time at a Grizzlies game. 

fedexforum.com , 191 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Memphis Tigers Basketball

Memphis was a basketball city long before the Grizzlies arrived. It doesn’t matter if you attended the University of Memphis or not, Memphians are die-hard Memphis Tigers fans and they’ve been donning blue and gray and packing arenas for decades. Those who grew up watching Penny Hardaway play are now back with their kids as he coaches the Tigers. The Tigers also play in FedEx Forum so grab a ticket and join the fun. 

gotigersgo.com ,191 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Memphis901 FC

Basketball isn’t the only game in town. The popularity of soccer in America has skyrocketed, and in 2019, Memphis welcomed its own professional team. Memphis901 FC is in the USL Championship and the team has achieved three consecutive postseason appearances since 2021. This is a team on the rise. Grab a ticket and join Memphis901 FC Nation. 

memphis901fc.com , 200 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

Memphis Redbirds

For lovers of America’s national pastime, Memphis has that too. The Memphis Redbirds are a Triple-A affiliate team of the St. Louis Cardinals. They play in beautiful Autozone Park and games are a family-friendly affair. They even offer seats on the TrueGreen Bluff for as low as $5 with a perfect view of all of the action of the game. 

milb.com , 200 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

Children’s Museum of Memphis

The Children’s Museum of Memphis 's “go ahead and touch everything” approach makes this a dream destination for all of the kid visitors to the River City. In the Going Places exhibit, children learn about the science of flight and distribution by getting to sit in a real airplane cockpit and load packages on a FedEx conveyor belt. (FedEx is based out of Memphis.) In the Engine House 18 exhibit, youngsters can climb onto a fire engine and ring (pretend) sirens. The museum also has a Grand Carousel that was originally built in 1909. It has been beautifully restored for families to enjoy today. On warm days, the museum is also home to an outdoor splash pad, H2OH! Splash Park. 

cmom.com , 2525 Central Avenue. Memphis, TN 38104

Memphis Zoo

Troy Glasgow

At the Memphis Zoo you and your family can explore animals from all over the globe in about a two-mile walk. The exhibits are all exquisitely designed to transport you to different locations. Visit polar bears and sea lions in the Northwest Passage and then head out on an African safari at the Zambezi River Hippo Camp, home to hippos, flamingos, and Nile crocodiles. Wander over to Cat Country where the four-acre, open-air exhibit is home to 38 species of wild cats. The Memphis Zoo is home to over 3500 species. Check out what you can learn about your favorite animals. 

memphiszoo.org , 2000 Prentiss Place Memphis, TN 38112

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36 Hours in Memphis

A new bike share program, museums, music and, yes, barbecue await visitors. Of special interest this spring: the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

travel info memphis

By Elaine Glusac

Blues, Elvis and barbecue tend to dominate popular perceptions of Tennessee’s second-largest city. But there are plenty of other diversions, including new developments in entertainment: the opening of Ballet Memphis theater; adaptive reuse projects with significant public art spaces; and an expansion of the museums devoted to Elvis Presley. A bike share system is set to debut this spring, and there is much to discover in lively art districts like Broad Avenue. On April 2 to 4, the city, and specifically the site of the former Lorraine Motel, will mark the solemn 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there with a symposium, day of remembrance and evening of storytelling exploring the question, “Where do we go from here?”

1) 2 p.m. RIGHTS IN REVIEW

After a $27.5-million renovation in 2014, the National Civil Rights Museum , which encompasses the original Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, was transformed into an immersive, multimedia experience that begins in a replica slave hold on a ship and covers five centuries of oppression and civil rights struggles (admission $16). Visitors pass through rooms dedicated to the Jim Crow era; a replica of the Montgomery bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat; and lunch counters where students held sit-ins in the 1960s. Transitioning to King and his civil rights activism, the emotional journey culminates outside room 306, the well-preserved hotel room he occupied before he was shot on the balcony.

2) 5 p.m. MAIN STREET CRAWL

The exit from the museum annex across the street delivers visitors to South Main Street, a historic district undergoing renewal, including the transformation of the former train station into a hotel. On the last Friday of every month, the South Main Historic Art District Trolley Night offers free transit between shops, galleries and restaurants (other times, the fare is $1, or $3.50 for a day pass). The vintage trolleys, temporarily replaced by wheeled versions, are currently being restored and set to resume operations in April. Ride or walk to Stock & Belle to browse caps, patches and prints by Rowdy Dept. , and geometric-patterned Kreep Ceramics, both local lines, then hit the beloved dive bar Earnestine & Hazel’s to play the reportedly haunted jukebox.

3) 7 p.m. RAW AND CHARRED

The celebrated chef duo of Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman have collaborated on several Italian-meets-the-South restaurants, including the popular Hog & Hominy . With downtown’s new Gray Canary , they change the pattern, serving up oysters and wood-grilled dishes — from charred kohlrabi salad ($11) to romesco-sauced pork chop ($24) — in a romantic room overlooking the distant Hernando De Soto Bridge spanning the Mississippi. Start with a rum-ginger Wild Rumpus cocktail ($15) and end with the soft-serve ice cream in red wine ($7) to explore their range. Diners seeking the partners’ great Italian ragù — actually, David Hudman, Michael’s father, still makes the family recipe for “maw maw’s gravy” at the restaurants — should hit Catherine & Mary’s two blocks away where the rigatoni with meatballs ($17) warrants an encore meal.

4) 8 a.m. CROSSTOWN CLASSIC

Restoring buildings, as opposed to demolishing them and starting over, is a point of pride among Memphians (see the former pyramid-shaped sports arena that now houses a swamp-themed Bass Pro Shop). Once a substantial block of blight, a former Sears distribution center has been rebuilt as the vertical village Crosstown Concourse . The new one-million-square-foot mixed-used development includes apartments, nonprofits, shops and restaurants. Its public art arm sponsors artists in residence and plans to open a performing arts theater in fall. Grab a café au lait ($3.75) from French Truck Coffee and take a self-guided tour of the second-floor gallery including murals, videos and installation artwork.

5) 9:30 a.m. GREAT OUTDOORS

One of the nation’s largest urban parks, Shelby Farms Park , on the east side of town, encompasses 4,500 rolling acres shared with a herd of buffalo. Show up for Saturday’s popular 9:30 a.m. yoga class (free), held on a lake-facing lawn outside the visitor center on fair days, or indoors if it’s raining. If yoga is not your thing, rent a bike ($10 an hour) and cruise the paths. The park lies along the 10.65-mile Greenline , a rails-to-trails conversion that leads back to Midtown Memphis.

6) 12:30 p.m. PO’ BOY FIX

Having worked up an appetite, sate it with a generous New Orleans-style sandwich at the Second Line in Overton Square, where the popular chef Kelly English pays homage to his Louisiana roots. It resides next to his more formal Restaurant Iris and aims to channel the spirit of musical processions in a destination where, the menu notes, “every day is a party.” Lodged in an intimate bungalow with exposed brick walls and black-and-white photos, the convivial quarters draw fans from around the city for his substantial po’ boys made with braised chicken thighs and Swiss cheese ($12) or fried oysters ($16), including savory sides such as red beans and rice.

7) 2 p.m. RECORDING SESSION

For music fans, touring Sun Studio (admission $14) is a Memphis pilgrimage. In this modest two-story brick building, the sound engineer Sam Phillips — or, as tour guides like to tell it, his secretary Marion Keisker — discovered a young Elvis Presley. Phillips recorded the future King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s first single, “That’s All Right,” in 1954, but he was a blues fan prior and recorded other legends, including Howlin’ Wolf and the Prisonaires, whose musical clips are played during the tour. In the actual studio, an unglamorous work room where more recent acts like U2 and Bonnie Raitt have recorded, guides invite tour-goers to pose holding the original Shure 55 microphone used by Elvis and other legends.

8) 3:30 p.m. SHOPPING AND BEER

Memphis’s growing microbrewery scene positions beer as shopping break conveniences in a couple of emerging neighborhoods. Near Sun Studio in the Edge District, High Cotton Brewing Company adjoins Edge Alley , home to a few intriguing shops, including B. Collective, selling artist-made housewares, and Paulette’s Closet, a retailer of fine-condition vintage clothing. Roughly five miles east on an industrial corner next to some train tracks, Wiseacre Brewing Co. anchors the shop-filled Broad Avenue Arts District . Pick up some arty accessories at Falling Into Place then grab a Tiny Bomb pilsner ($5) and hit Wiseacre’s outdoor bocce court and music stage in the shade of a pair of grain silos.

9) 7:30 p.m. SHOW TIME

New and expanding performing arts venues have concentrated around Overton Square, making the entertainment district a magnet for culture seekers. In August, Ballet Memphis , known for its regionally themed works alongside dance classics, opened a new 38,000-square-foot headquarters here. Glass walls invite onlookers to peer into rehearsals, even when no performances are scheduled. A few blocks away, the acclaimed African-American repertory company Hattiloo Theater recently cast the award-winning playwright Katori Hall as its artistic director. Catch August Wilson’s “Jitney,” April 20 to May 13.

10) 10 p.m. MUSIC FOR EVERY MOOD

Memphis music resounds from downtown’s Beale Street, lined with blues clubs, to venues across town devoted to diverse genres. Begin a progressive listening tour in Overton Square, where Lafayette’s Music Room stages shows from bluegrass to soul in a bi-level room with a raised stage. The retro-furnished Mollie Fontaine Lounge occupies one of the original mansions on Millionaire’s Row downtown, now known as Victorian Village, with music ranging from jazz crooners to D.J.-spun house. Catch boogie fever on the lighted dance floor of the late-night, weekends-only club Paula & Raiford’s Disco downtown.

11) 9 a.m. KING & CO.

Touring Elvis Presley’s estate, Graceland , home to the kitschy Jungle Room with a carpeted ceiling, remains a bucket-list trip for music fans the world over. As of last spring, there’s much more to see in the new $45 million Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a 40-acre complex of museums, shops and restaurants across the street that aims to cement his place in pop culture history and extend his musical appeal to the next generation of rock ‘n’ roll fans. Tours (from $59) begin at the mansion, where home movies and artifacts like his and her wedding attire focus on Elvis’s personal life. Tour buses bring fans back across the street where a series of exhibits survey the King’s service in the Army, his influence on entertainers like Elton John and Bruce Springsteen, and his collections of showy cars and spangled jumpsuits. A diner named for his mother Gladys serves the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches ($4.49) he loved.

12) Noon. BACKYARD BARBECUE

Head back downtown for a few lazy hours at the sprawling outdoor compound Loflin Yard . Backing up to the train tracks, the 1.5-acre site encompasses a cocktail bar specializing in barrel-aged drinks in a former locksmith’s shop, a coach house-turned-bar and a sun-dappled yard between them scattered with colorful lawn chairs. Grab a plate of house-smoked brisket hash ($10) and an aged Tennessee whiskey Old-Fashioned ($10), play a round of corn hole and pretend it’s your own Sunday backyard barbecue.

The 1902-vintage Winchester office building has recently been repurposed as the Hotel Napoleon Memphis with 58 crisp rooms. In addition to its pedestrian-friendly downtown location, the hotel houses a restaurant serving breakfast and dinner, and offers free coffee anytime in the lobby. Rooms from $161; 179 Madison Avenue, hotelnapoleonmemphis.com.

The Mississippi riverfront glass pyramid that last served as a basketball arena has been refashioned as an immersive Bass Pro Shop, complete with fish- and gator-filled ponds. Overlooking them and the indoor cypress swamp diorama is the rustic-themed, 103-room Big Cypress Lodge . Rooms from $175; 1 Bass Pro Drive, big-cypress.com.

The hospitable owners of Memphis Music Mansion rent several private rooms in their spacious home via Airbnb, and host frequent pop-up concerts at the site. Rooms from $75; 539 East Parkway South, Airbnb.com.

If you do plan a trip to Memphis, check out these suggestions on what to pack from our Wirecutter team.

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  • Destinations

How to Visit and What to See in MEMPHIS, Egypt (Guide to Visiting Memphis)

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Welcome to the mystical and historical city of Memphis, Egypt – a place where the sands of time have preserved the remnants of an ancient civilization that once ruled the world.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through the heart of Memphis, revealing its hidden treasures, sharing its stories, and offering invaluable insights on how to make the most of your visit. Join us as we uncover what to see in Memphis, Egypt !

Learn More About Egypt: 

Perfect 7-Day Egypt Itinerary for First Visit (Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Abu Simbel)

14 Egypt Travel Tips to Save You Time, Money, and Keep You Safe

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  • 1. Where Is Memphis and How to Get There
  • 2. Interesting Facts About Memphis
  • 3. What to See in Memphis
  • 4. How to Visit Memphis - Things to Know Before You Go
  • 5. Intrepid Scout's Tips for How to Visit and What to See in Memphis

Where Is Memphis and How to Get There

Memphis is located approximately 20 kilometers south of Cairo. It will take you about 45 minutes to reach Memphis traveling by car from Cairo.

Honestly, there is no better way of getting to Memphis than to get a taxi. Your hotel should be able to help you with getting a taxi. Another option is to hire a driver and a guide for a day or two and check off all the attractions in and around Cairo.

There are many organized tours that will take you all around Cairo and stop at all the major attractions. Again, your hotel should be able to make recommendations and get you on an organized tour of the main attractions in Cairo.

A trip to Memphis can easily be combined with a visit to Saqqara, a vast necropolis site and a place where the building of pyramids first began in Egypt. Check out How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara, Egypt (Guide to Visiting Saqqara).

Image Credit: Map data ©2020 ORION-ME

Interesting Facts About Memphis

  • It is believed that the city of Memphis was founded at the time of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt around 3100 BC by the Pharaoh Narmer, who was the first pharaoh of the first dynasty.
  • The location of Memphis was very strategic. It sat at the entrance to the Nile River Valley near the Giza plateau.
  • It is believed that it was Egypt’s nucleus of commerce and trade distributing food and merchandise throughout the kingdom.
  • In addition, Memphis served as an important religious center and a worship place of the god Ptah .
  • The original name of the city was Hiku-Ptah . Later on, it was known as Inbu-Hedj , which means white walls. By the time of the Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BCE), it was known as Men-Nefer , which means beautiful harbor. Finally, it was renamed Memphis by the Greeks.

What to See in Memphis

Today, what is left of Memphis is collected in the Open Air Museum.

First of all, what you will see is the result of organized excavations in 1850′ by Auguste-Edouard Mariette . Mariette was the first one to reveal the evidence of the great temple of Ptah.

Second, it is a result of a major excavation conducted by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie from 1907 to 1912. His discoveries included the pillared hall of the temple of Ptah, the pylon of Ramses II, the great alabaster sphinx, and many others.

Memphis, Egypt

Open Air Museum in Memphis / How to Visit and What to See in Memphis, Egypt

Once you start touring the Open Air Museum, make sure not to miss the granite statue of Ramses II.

Guide to visiting Memphis, Egypt

The granite statue of Ramses II / How to Visit and What to See in Memphis, Egypt

Guide to visiting Memphis, Egypt

Second, make sure to locate the granite coffins, commemorative tablets, and more statues from later periods.

Guide to visiting Memphis, Egypt

The triad of Memphis / How to Visit and What to See in Memphis, Egypt 

Guide to visiting Memphis, Egypt

Goddess Hathor – How to Visit and What to See in Memphis

Furthermore, do not miss the giant alabaster sphinx dating back to the New Kingdom and still standing at the original spot guarding the entrance to the temple of god Ptah.

It is estimated that it weighs more than 80 tons.

Guide to visiting Memphis, Egypt

Alabaster Sphinx in Memphis Open Air Museum / How to Visit and What to See in Memphis, Egypt

In addition, there is an indoor museum housing the magnificent fallen colossal limestone statue of Ramses II . I think for me, that was the highlight of the tour of Memphis.

The statue is absolutely amazing and you need to see it to appreciate the sublime details!

As my guide told me, the statue is 10 m (33 ft) tall. It was discovered by Giovanni Caviglia in 1820 near the entrance to the great temple of god Ptah.

Fallen statue of Ramses II

I think one person that I would like to mention again is Auguste-Edouard Mariette , not only for his discoveries of the great temple of god Ptah but also for establishing the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO) in 1859, which became responsible for the exploration as well as conservation of Egypt’s archaeological treasures and prevention of massive exportation of Egyptian artifacts abroad.

How to Visit Memphis - Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Memphis Open Air Museum is open daily from 8 am till 4 pm .
  • The entrance ticket to the Open Air Museum in Memphis costs 80 EGP. By the way, the entrance ticket covers the indoor museum which houses the colossal statue of Ramses II as well.
  • As you start traveling through Egypt, you will realize that there are so many different rules pertaining to visiting the sites. Some places do not allow guides inside their structures, some do. So, just stay flexible and adjust as you tour Egypt.

By the way, you do not need a guide to visit the Open Air Museum in Memphis. And, I think you will do very well on your own. I found the entire place rather well marked and signed. However, it is always a good idea to have a knowledgeable guide by your side. You will learn so much more! My guide was awesome and I found out so many details about this ancient capital city.

  • There are many places that you will visit in Egypt that have restrictions on taking pictures. Some places do not allow cameras, however, cell phones are allowed. Needless to say, no matter what, always be ready and have your camera in your backpack and a cell phone as well.

At the Open Air Museum in Memphis, you are allowed to use your camera and a cell phone to take pictures . Make sure to have your camera ready to capture some spectacular close-ups of the colossal statue of Ramses II.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for How to Visit and What to See in Memphis

Is Memphis worth visiting? If you are wondering if it is worth going to Memphis? The answer is: yes. However, it is not as spectacular as some other places in Egypt!

Here are a few pointers:

  • Get there early , if you are visiting during the summer months. It is an open-air museum and the majority of the time you will be spending outdoors.
  • Make sure to have water, wear a hat, and layer on some sunscreen!
  • If you only have time to see one thing, then head directly to the indoor museum to examine all the details of the colossal statue of Ramses II. In my opinion, it is simply spectacular!

Traveling in Egypt can be challenging, even for the most seasoned nomad. There’s so much to know about Egypt and consider before planning a trip, however, make sure to read 14 Egypt travel tips , to help you make the most of your time,  avoid possible challenges, and ensure you have a safe and enjoyable stay in Egypt.

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Best Day Trip from Cairo – Dahshur, Memphis, and Saqqara (Maps+Photos)

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What to See in Memphis, Egypt – Guide to Visiting Memphis

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Commercial Appeal Memphis

14 must-try Memphis restaurants opening in 2024, from a tropical escape to turkey legs

T here is a lot to look forward to in the new year. From reinvented restaurants from top Memphis chefs to new brunch concepts to a tropical bar and brewery taprooms, there are several new, exciting dining concepts set to open in 2024.  

Here are some of the most anticipated eateries opening in the coming year.

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111 Harbor Town Square

Kinfolk will soon have its own home . The popular weekend breakfast pop-up at Comeback Coffee is set to open at 111 Harbor Town Square in February.

Serving breakfast and lunch, the 1,500-square-foot restaurant will seat 40 guests and have an outdoor patio.

Chef and owner Cole Jeanes said his most popular biscuit sandwiches will remain on the menu, but to expect much more.

“There will be a plethora of menu items,” he said, explaining the concept will be like an upscale Waffle House. He said the menu will be Southern-inspired, but with some global influences.

The MVP (Most Valuable Plate) is what Jeanes called “tipping our hats to Waffle House’s all-star legacy.” Two eggs cooked to order will be served with your choice of Old Bay hashbrowns or grits, biscuit or toast, spicy sausage, Tasso ham or coffee bacon and a griddle cake.  

Creative brunch cocktails are also on the menu, including a Cheer-Wine Negroni made with Wonderbird Gin, Campari, Cheerwine and orange.

Mary’s B.O.T.E.

588 S. Cooper St.

With a name like “Bar of Tropical Escapism,” you know you are in for some fun.

Mary’s B.O.T.E. (which stands for Bar of Tropical Escapism) is the latest bar concept from longtime bartenders and Cameo owners Mary Oglesby and Paul Gilliam.

The duo has been hosting a weekly “Tropical Tuesdays” night at Cameo, 1835 Union Ave. Due to its popularity, they decided to create a new immersive bar concept that transports its clientele to a tropical paradise through the spot’s décor and cocktails. Fun tropical-themed glassware and garnishes will add to the vibe.

Oglesby was quick to point out that B.OT.E. will not be a tiki bar, which limits the offerings to a certain region. Instead, they will serve cocktails from tropical regions around the globe, like Hurricanes from New Orleans, Singapore Slings from Singapore and Planter’s Punch from Jamaica.

Gilliam and Oglesby hope to open Mary’s B.O.T.E. in February.

Uncle Red’s Turkey Legs

Two locations: 786 Echles St. and 2538 Broad Ave.

Uncle Red's Turkey Legs is a concept that was created by Christopher "FreeSol" Anderson and Tony Westmoreland. It has been operating out of Carolina Watershed, but Westmoreland said two new locations will open in 2024 . The first spot is set to open in February in the former Salt | Soy building at 2583 Broad Ave. , and the second location will open in March in the former Avenue Coffee at 786 Echles St.

Known for its flavored and stuffed turkey legs, Uncle Red's uses family recipes and seasonings to provide a uniquely delicious turkey leg experience. Named after FreeSol's late uncle Michael "Red Bone" Anderson, their turkey legs “fall-off-da-bone” and melt in your mouth.

The legs can be ordered three ways. Seasoned turkey legs are the original recipe using a secret family seasoning blend. Flavored legs are given a hot wings treatment and slathered in your choice of Buffalo, Garlic Parmesan, TN Whiskey, Cajun Alfredo, Barbecue or Honey Gold sauce. They also come “stuffed” with fillings like Aunties Mac and Cheese and Low Down Dirty Rice. There are more than a dozen signature stuffed legs on the menu.

Evergreen Grill

212 N. Evergreen St.

Evergreen Grill will open early spring in the space that was formerly Café Society. 

Chef David Todd has partnered the Green Beetle owner Josh Huckaby and general manager Meredith Brocato to create a concept Todd describes as “a well-intentioned neighborhood bar and grill.”

Todd said he wants the space to be the neighborhood joint in Midtown that everyone goes to. 

Menu offerings will be inspired by some of the creative bar fare Todd served during his time at Longshot (the restaurant and bar in the basement of the Arrive Memphis hotel) and the less-fine dining dishes on his menu at much-missed Interim. Todd said to expect the dishes to be approachable and casual.

The restaurant space has been updated, with new floors, fresh paint and removing a wall to open up the bar to the dining room. The outdoor patio will be spruced up as well.

644 Madison Ave.

JEM Dining chef and owner Josh Mutchnick plans to open a new 3,400-square-foot restaurant at 644 Madison Ave. this spring. The space is alongside Rootstock Wine Merchants in the Edge District of Downtown Memphis.

Mutchnick launched JEM Dining as a pop-up dinner concept in 2022 and said that it’s been a lifelong dream to open a brick-and-mortar location.

Mutchnick describes JEM as "approachable fine dining."  “I want people to come in for a date night, and for an after-dinner drink and snack with friends,” he said.

Offerings will be “New American” fare with global influences. “I have always expressed myself through food and cooking,” said Mutchnick, adding that many dishes will be influenced by his travels. “And I want to cook food that I am excited about because that will be the best food I can create.”

A Short Rib Adobo is a dish he said illustrates how he will take a dish and put his own spin and personality on it. “This ode to a classic Filipino dish sums up what we are going to do,” he said.

THINGS TO DO IN MEMPHIS: 22 Memphis food festivals you won't want to miss in 2024: A guide to the tastiest events

The restaurant will feature an open kitchen, a bar and a private dining room.

The name JEM is two-fold in meaning. It is the initials of Mutchnick and his wife, Emily, as well as stands for “Just Enjoy the Moment.”

Biscuits & Jams + The Juke

Hotel Indigo, 24 N. B.B. King Blvd.

Biscuits & Jams is bringing its popular brunch fare to Downtown Memphis. The second location for the Bartlett-based brunch restaurant will open in Hotel Indigo in early 2024.

Biscuits & Jams will take over the space at 24 N. B.B. King Blvd. that was formerly 3rd & Court Diner. Owner Monique Williams said she hopes the new restaurant will open by March.

Biscuits & Jams will be the official food service establishment for the 118-room hotel, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and an evening dining service Williams calls “brinner.”

The menu will include all the Biscuits & Jams favorites, plus additional items. Williams said to expect more Creole dishes (their signature Shrimp & Crawfish Creole Eggs Benedict is a customer favorite), pasta dishes and a new steak for the dinner menu. A daily happy hour will also be part of the new concept.

Williams will also be taking over the basement lounge at Hotel Indigo. Originally the home of the Memphis Sounds Lounge, the basement will be reopened as “The Juke.” Expect a classic Delta Southern juke joint experience, complete with Moonshine-based drinks.

Feast & Graze

109 S. Highland St., Suite 103

Feast & Graze is moving from Downtown to East Memphis. The popular charcuterie spot from Cristina McCarter (who also runs City Tasting Box and the Craft Food & Wine Festival) will open in the spring.

The 1,300-square-foot shop and café will include a “made-to-order” charcuterie bar.  “Think like when you go to a Chipolte or a Cava, but with charcuterie,” McCarter said. 

Like at the Downtown location, Feast & Graze will have a selection of grab-and-go charcuterie boxes, gourmet sandwiches and salads and a retail marketplace for all your charcuterie board needs.

New will be an offering of fresh cold-pressed juices, wellness teas and smoothies. McCarter has partnered with her cousin Sierra Rhodes, who will make her HighP Hour Wellness offerings part of the new concept.

Memphis Made Brewery: A New Downtown Taproom

435 Madison Ave.

Memphis Made Brewery will open the taproom at its new Downtown brewery this spring. The 10-year-old craft brewery began brewing in the new facility last year.

Located at 435 Madison Ave., the new brewery facility will boast a taproom overlooking the Ravine in the Edge District of Downtown Memphis.

Andy Ashby, who founded Memphis Made Brewery with Drew Barton, said the new taproom will have a more modern look than the original Midtown taproom. The new taproom space features large windows and an expansive outdoor patio overlooking the Ravine greenspace. 

The original brewery and taproom in Cooper-Young will remain open.

Felicia Suzanne’s

383-385 S. Main St.

Downtown Memphis dining staple Felicia Suzanne's will soon be in its new home. After a two-year delay, construction is set to start in early 2024.

In September 2021, the restaurant announced it would be leaving its home of more than 20 years. The restaurant — which had been located on Main between Madison and Monroe since the early 2000s — is relocating to 383-385 S. Main St.

Serving American cuisine with a Southern, low-country flair, the restaurant is the brainchild of its namesake owner and executive chef, Felicia Suzanne Willett.

The new location will be both a restaurant and an adjoining to-go and retail shop.

Willett said the menu at the new restaurant will feature all the old favorites, plus new dishes as she expands to beyond just Southern low country fare to “American” cuisine. She said the dining room will feel more intimate than at the original Felicia Suzanne’s, and will include a private dining room as well as a kitchen table.

Called Flo’s, the shop will feature products from Flo’s Homemade Goodness, Willett’s line of condiments, pickles and jams, products and food from other local vendors, as well as prepared foods and grab-and-go lunch items.

Willett said the new restaurant should open in the mid-year, with Flo’s marketplace coming later in the fall.

NEW MEMPHIS RESTAURANTS: From smoothies to tacos to pizza, 6 new spots you should try

Memphis Filling Station

206 G.E. Patterson Ave.

Set to open mid-summer, Memphis Filling Station will be the newest addition to Memphis’ ever-growing craft brewery scene. Located in the former Crossfit and Run site, the 4,300-square-foot space will include a taproom and brewery.

The small craft brewery was created by friends and fellow-homebrewers Bryan Berretta, Heather Reed, Scott-Kley-Contini and Jesse Lara. The group has been participating in charitable events like MoSH’s Science of Beer for more than a decade and decided to create a business out of their hobby.

Berretta said Memphis Filling Station will be a small batch brewery that is community focused. “We will be in a few bars and pubs in towns, but have no plans for widespread distribution,” he said. “We want to do it the most Memphis-way possible, creating a space that gives back to the community that has given us so much.”

The taproom will have 12 taps and offerings will change often. “We have over 100 recipes,” he said. “We want to offer something new and different every time you come in.”

The brewery and taproom will also have a flexible community space that will be available for events.

A few more Memphis restaurant tidbits

Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint is set to open its first Memphis location on Jan. 29.  The restaurant known for its beer selection and high-end burgers will be located in Cooper-Young at 2197 Central Ave.

The iconic Front Street Deli at the corner of Union Avenue and Front Street is set to open in early 2024. The sandwich shop at 77 S. Front is one of the oldest delis in Memphis and was featured in the 1993 film “The Firm.” It has been closed while the building underwent a multiyear renovation. Owner Tony Westmoreland of Tandem Restaurant Partners said the menu will be influenced by the old menu, but will include new options as well.

Madison Tavern will open in the former site of  Local on the Square, which closed on Oct. 28  after 11 years of business. The new restaurant at 2126 Madison Ave. will be owned by Tim Quinn, the owner and operator of Local on Main St. restaurant in Downtown Memphis . (While the two Local restaurants had the same name, they were owned and operated by separate ownership.) The restaurant should open in early 2024.

A new sports bar and live music venue is set to open in The Shops at Carriage Crossing in Collierville in early summer 2024. Wolf River Hospitality Group, the parent company of Pyro's Fire Fresh Pizza, Wolf River Brisket Co., Abner’s Famous Chicken, Levee Coffee & Creamery and Limelight , said the high-end gastropub will offer a full-service restaurant and bar, numerous high-definition TVs and a stage for live music.

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at  [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer. 

If you want to keep up with the tastiest news in the Bluff City — like the story above, sign up for our Eat Drink Memphis weekly newsletter for a hearty serving of stories on everything from restaurants to recipes. You can sign up  here .

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: 14 must-try Memphis restaurants opening in 2024, from a tropical escape to turkey legs

Kinfolk chef and owner Cole Jeanes (far left) poses with his family in front of his new restaurant opening in early 2024 on Harbor Town in Downtown Memphis.

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A man died from Alaskapox last month. Here's what we know about the virus

Joe Hernandez

travel info memphis

In January, a man living on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula died of Alaskapox. Pictured is Bear Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park on Sept. 1, 2015, in Seward, Alaska. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

In January, a man living on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula died of Alaskapox. Pictured is Bear Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park on Sept. 1, 2015, in Seward, Alaska.

Alaska health officials reported last week that a man died in January after contracting a virus known as Alaskapox.

The disease was first discovered in a person living near Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2015, and there have been several known infections since then.

Why we should care about viruses jumping from animals to people

Why we should care about viruses jumping from animals to people

But officials believe that last month's case is the first fatality from the newly discovered virus — as well as the first known case outside the state's interior — and authorities are now urging doctors across the state to be on the lookout for signs of the disease.

Still, authorities note that immunocompromised people may be at a higher risk for severe illness from the virus, and so far the only known cases of Alaskapox have been detected within the state.

What is Alaskapox?

Alaskapox is a type of orthopoxvirus that infects mammals, including humans, and causes skin lesions. Other orthopoxviruses include the now-eradicated smallpox virus as well as mpox , which was previously known as monkeypox and experienced an outbreak of thousands of cases worldwide in 2022.

"Orthopoxviruses are zoonotic viruses, meaning that they circulate primarily within animal populations with spill over into humans occasionally," said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist Julia Rogers, as reported by Alaska Public Media .

Zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 and monkeypox will become more common, experts say

Zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 and monkeypox will become more common, experts say

Alaska's Division of Public Health says the virus has been found primarily in small animals in the Fairbanks area, such as shrews and red-backed voles.

Patients typically have one or more skin lesions and can also develop swollen lymph nodes and joint or muscle pain.

What do we know about the reported Alaskapox cases?

There have been seven known infections in Alaska since 2015, including last month's fatality. Six of the infections were detected in the Fairbanks area, while the man who died last month was from a forested area of the Kenai Peninsula.

The patient who was hospitalized and later died was an "elderly man" who lived alone and was immunocompromised from cancer treatment, which "likely contributed" to the severity of his illness, officials say.

The man also told health officials that he gardened in his backyard and took care of a stray cat, which hunted small animals nearby and would frequently scratch him. The cat tested negative for orthopoxvirus.

Officials believe there have been more cases of Alaskapox in humans that weren't caught.

Rogers, the epidemiologist, said she expects Alaskapox infections to remain rare.

Most patients who had documented cases of Alaskapox suffered mild illnesses that cleared up on their own after a few weeks.

Can I get Alaskapox from another person?

It's unclear.

To date, no human-to-human transmission has been documented, Alaska's Department of Health says.

It also notes that some orthopoxviruses can be passed on via contact with skin lesions.

Pet cats and dogs may also spread the virus.

"We are not sure exactly how the virus spreads from animals to people but contact with small mammals and potentially domestic pets who come into contact [with] small wild mammals could play a role," the Division of Public Health says on its website.

Health officials encourage people with lesions potentially caused by Alaskapox to keep them covered with a bandage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people keep a safe distance from wildlife and wash their hands after being outside.

What's being done to respond to the Alaskapox cases?

The first six cases of Alaskapox were discovered in the Fairbanks area, but the more recent case occurred in the Kenai Peninsula, indicating that the virus is more geographically widespread in the state than previously known.

The Alaska Section of Epidemiology, along with the CDC and the University of Alaska Museum, are working outside the state's interior region to test small mammals for the virus.

State health officials are also urging Alaska doctors to familiarize themselves with the symptoms of Alaskapox and report any suspected cases to the Section of Epidemiology.

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Price increases for Rolls-Royce aircraft engines are not impeding sales, a senior executive told Reuters on Wednesday, amid huge industry-wide demand for new aircraft and engines.

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    Best Time to Visit Things to Know 01 / Attractions Must-see attractions for your itinerary Graceland Memphis If you only make one stop in Memphis, it should be here: the sublimely kitschy, gloriously bizarre home of the King of Rock and Roll. Though born in… Sun Studio Memphis This dusty storefront is ground zero for American rock and roll.

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    Even if you only have 24 hours in Memphis, the studio is a must-see. Sun Studio is often touted as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll. In its heyday, the studio saw music legends like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, and, of course, Elvis lay down famous tracks. Tours of Sun Studio depart every hour between 10:30 am and 5:30 pm.

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    If you're staying downtown, head to Tamp & Tap to get a perfectly balanced cup of single-origin heaven or a fun coffee drink like cold brew with cinnamon-chicory & cream or a dark chocolate & raspberry latte. Tamp & Tap | Address: 122 Gayoso Ave., Memphis, Tennessee.

  16. 24 Best Things To Do In Memphis, Tennessee

    These are all classics but we would also add Corky's and a relative newcomer to the Memphis barbecue world, Elwood's Shack -try the brisket pizza. hogsfly.com, 52 S 2nd Street, Memphis, TN 38103. cozycornerbbq.com, 735 N. Parkway, Memphis, TN 38105. aandrbbq.com, 3721 Hickory Hill Road, Memphis, TN 38115.

  17. COVID-19 Updates & Resources for Visitors

    TRAVEL UPDATES Sept. 27, 2022 Shelby County Updates Health Directive Learn More Aug. 24, 2022 CDC Updates Domestic Travel Guidelines Learn More Aug. 24, 2022 CDC Updates International Travel Guidelines LEARN MORE Travel Updates from Memphis & Shelby County

  18. 36 Hours in Memphis

    9) 7:30 p.m. SHOW TIME. New and expanding performing arts venues have concentrated around Overton Square, making the entertainment district a magnet for culture seekers. In August, Ballet Memphis ...

  19. Memphis airport passenger traffic grew 10% in 2023

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis International Airport served a record 4.8 million origin and destination passengers in 2023, and remained the busiest cargo airport in North America, the airport's ...

  20. Memphis Discovery Tour including Rock and Soul Museum 2024

    Explore downtown Memphis on this all-inclusive tour. Visit the Smithsonian's Rock N' Soul Museum along with top attractions such as Beale Street, known as the home of the blues, and Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. A barbecue tasting and trip to the Peabody Hotel's March of the Ducks, a much-loved Memphis tradition, are also included.

  21. 9 Impressive Things to Do in Memphis, TN

    1. Tour Graceland. Memphis is home to Graceland, the sole residence of Elvis Presley.Preserved with care, this modest abode remains brimming with the King's personal belongings, drawing visitors ...

  22. How to Visit and What to See in MEMPHIS, Egypt (Guide to Visiting

    A trip to Memphis can easily be combined with a visit to Saqqara, a vast necropolis site and a place where the building of pyramids first began in Egypt. Check out How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara, Egypt (Guide to Visiting Saqqara). Image Credit: Map data ©2020 ORION-ME Interesting Facts About Memphis

  23. 14 must-try Memphis restaurants opening in 2024, from a tropical ...

    Mary's B.O.T.E. (Bar of Tropical Escapism) is a new tropical bar set to open in early 2024 in Midtown Memphis. The new concept is from Cameo owners Mary Oglesby and Paul Gilliam (pictured making a ...

  24. American Queen Voyages, which docked in Memphis, shuts down

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — American Queen Voyages, which operated Mississippi River cruises from the Memphis riverfront, has announced the company is shutting down. According to their website, American ...

  25. Plan Your Trip to Memphis

    Find maps and directions, special deals and offers from Memphis hotels and attractions, and information on Memphis visitor and welcome centers. You can also order a visitor guide and subscribe to our e-newsletter for trip ideas and event updates from Memphis.

  26. What is Alaskapox and what are the risks? : NPR

    What is Alaskapox? Alaskapox is a type of orthopoxvirus that infects mammals, including humans, and causes skin lesions. Other orthopoxviruses include the now-eradicated smallpox virus as well as ...

  27. Singapore Airlines posts 5% rise in Q3 profit

    Feb 20 (Reuters) - Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) (SIAL.SI) reported a 4.9% jump in its quarterly net profit on Tuesday, boosted by a strong air travel demand in key markets. The city-state's ...