March 1, 2020
There’s nothing quite like a fun vacation with your best girlfriends and Memphis fits the bill. The city is easy to get to from most major airports with tons of great food, drinks, shopping and adventures to be had within walking distance of downtown. Here’s how to have the best time in the Home of Blues, Soul and Rock 'n' Roll.
Hotel Napoleon, is a historical building built in 1902 and located in the heart of downtown Memphis. The Scimitar Building was initially home to the old Memphis Press-Scimitar, a newspaper that went out of business in 1983 and sat vacant until it was turned into a stylishly modern boutique hotel, complete with a great lounge. There are a total of 58 rooms in the 114-year-old Scimitar Building which is walking distance to Beale Street, restaurants, bars, shopping, live music and more.
Get the girls ready to have a great Sunday brunch (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at The Beauty Shop Restaurant, a former hair salon where Priscilla Presley frequented. The décor is futuristic with a 50s twist. Settle into a booth converted from a hooded Belvedere hair dryer and salivate over the endless options. Try eggs Benedict, chicken and waffles, eggs Sardou or the southern breakfast with country ham, corn fritter, sunny eggs and apple butter.
Sure, The Liquor Store has boozy drinks and crafted cocktails, but the food is just as good. Step into the tropical vibe of this adorable eatery for fresh salads, delicious burgers and even breakfast all day. Start your meal with cheese fried smothered in applewood-smoked bacon and cheese sauce or the roasted Brussel sprouts tossed in a citrus vinaigrette and toasted almonds. The street tacos are hard to pass up as is the biscuit beignets smothered in powdered sugar and cinnamon.
For a lovely lunch or dinner, spend a meal in the light-flooded Bishop at the Central Station Hotel. This French brasserie-inspired menu with southern flair has fried chicken, burgers, duck a l’orange and caviar. Oysters, Parisian gnocchi, and mussels & frites transport you to France without ever needing a passport.
Named for the canaries who would fly into mines to let miners know the air was pure, The Gray Canary is a concept born from Memphis culinary masters Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. Just like those gray canaries, the menu is adventurous and pulls from local ingredients, fresh and raw. Start with a selection of oysters on the half shell then dig into house rolls, country ham, beets, chicken with butterball potatoes, barbecue shrimp and even octopus. Save room for dessert like the chocolate cake, the ice cream sundae or fior di latte soft serve with red wine chocolate walnuts, espresso cardamom meringue or honey roasted peanuts.
Your friends and you will love the Broad Arts District in Memphis – a collection of boutique shops, art galleries, creative studios, murals, bars and restaurants. Spend some time browsing and buying from local boutiques City & State that carries American-made goods and great coffee; Falling Into Place where you'll find a great selection of candles, graphic tees and more; and Bingham & Broad featuring local and regional art, jewelry, pottery and more.
A breath of fresh air among gorgeous blooms, fountains and manicured walking trails can be found at Memphis Botanic Garden. Spend the day roaming the Asian garden, the azalea trail full of blooming azaleas, the Dogwood trail, herb garden, desert garden where you’ll find a variety of cacti and the butterfly garden to watch butterflies in action. Have a fresh, takeout lunch from Fratelli’s Café. Order soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts with a socially distanced picnic.
Take in the contemporary artwork on display at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Works by regional, national and world-renowned artists can be found here through decorative arts, ancient and African pieces, textile artwork, paintings, sculptures and more. Temporary exhibitions make their way through the museum which can feature Native American art, Memphis-focused artwork, pieces created by leading female artists, African-American artwork and more.
No Memphis trip is complete without seeing the legendary Peabody ducks. Snag your spot (and a cocktail) in the grand lobby of The Peabody Hotel to see the ducks march to the fountain at 11 a.m. and then back at 5 p.m. to the Royal Duck Palace. Once you've had your daily dose of cuteness, book a facial or massage at Feathers Spa. Massages offered include hot stone, deep tissue and relaxation treatments ranging from 30 to 90 minutes. Facial treatments like Dr. Dennis Gross vitamin C collagen facial, diamond microdermabrasion and the Peabody Customized Signature can be booked.
Take a walk, jog or bike ride on Big River Crossing, the longest pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River and the longest active rail/pedestrian/bike bridge in the U.S. Along the 10 miles, you can take in incredible views of Memphis, enjoy a sunrise or sunset and have a moment of movement during your stay. The bridge is free and open daily from sunrise to 10 p.m. If you want to challenge yourself, you can follow the 70-mile Big River Trail which can be accessed from the trailhead on Broadway in West Memphis.
When the sun goes down, head to this Irish pub located in a more than century-old building on Beale Street. Silky O'Sullivan's brings musicians from all backgrounds to keep the place rockin’. Pull up a chair at the bar and settle in to enjoy rock, blues, soul and even dueling pianos. Domestic beers, margaritas, cocktails, and the challenging Diver beverage are always on tap.
Head to Midtown for a favorite hangout among locals, Railgarten. New life has been breathed into this Memphis rail yard to include live music, a tiki bar, volleyball court, lots of space to eat and drink with friends, big screen tv's playing everything from music videos to movies and secret spaces sprinkled throughout the property. Shipping containers are used for the stage backdrop, walls and more, giving the space an artistic, industrial feel.
Planning a getaway to Memphis soon? Find even more things to do in Memphis.