Downtown Memphis, TN
Photo Credit: @connordryan

The Ultimate Memphis Vacation Guide

Visit the home of blues, soul and rock n’ roll.

Visit the home of blues, soul and rock n’ roll in Memphis, Tennessee. Learn about the deep history of this city as you explore the award-winning restaurants, beautiful outdoors, foot-tapping music and vibrant neighborhoods. 

Where to Stay in Memphis

The Central Station Hotel

Cozy up in your sumptuous room after a long day of fun in the city. The Central Station Hotel has 123 beautifully-designed rooms which include king or double queen plush beds, custom artwork and amenities like in-room Keurig coffee, a 50” HDTV, products from the William Roam Steam Collection and complimentary WiFi. You can even enjoy an in-room, custom Eggleston Works speaker so you can jam to The Central Station’s Memphis-inspired playlist.

Arrive Hotel

A boutique hotel in the heart of Memphis, Arrive Hotel offers 62 guest rooms, an all-day bakery with coffee and cocktails, a poker room and rooms with AppleTV. Choose from a Studio with a king bed and 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens, the Bigger Studio which has a bit more room and city views, the Double if you’re traveling with friends or family members, or the Corner Lofts which have loads of space, a large tile shower and more.  Enjoy a cocktail or beer at Longshot where you can play shuffleboard or just dig in to made-from-scratch snacks.

The Hu Hotel

The cute boutique Hu Hotel has fun decor with records lining the elevators and the staff is so friendly and helpful. High quality linens, working stations, flat-screen HDTV with streaming capabilities and luxury bath products. The hotel offers dry cleaning, a coffee shop and more.  

What to do in Memphis

Shelby Farms Park

Take some time to explore and get fresh air at the 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park located in the heart of Memphis. This park has it all from horseback riding trails to bike excursions, hiking, kayaking and fishing on the more than 20 bodies of water and even bison. Spread a blanket out on the green and have a picnic or play a round of disc golf. However you want to experience the outdoors, you can in Memphis. Challenge yourself with Go Ape, an outdoor adventure course that has six individual sections that take you higher up the pine forest canopy. There are over 40 crossings or obstacles like rope ladders, Tarzan swings, six zip lines and net bridges.

Historic Beale Street 

Step out onto “America’s Most Iconic Street” for a night of dancing and music on Historic Beale Street. Established in 1841, it’s been a thriving area for commerce and culture. Beale Street was home to many Black-owned businesses, clubs, restaurants and shops. It even was the headquarters of Ida B. Wells’ anti-segregationist newspaper, Free Speech. Today, it’s a mecca for music, nightlife, dining and the arts. Step into the original B.B. King’s Blues Club where live blues, classic soul and rock n’ roll keep the party going all night. Enjoy a Cajun and barbecue menu with hot music provided by house bands at Rum Boogie Café. You’ll love seeing all the music industry memorabilia including more than 200 autographed guitars from Elvis, Sting, Rufus Thomas, Bon Jovi, Booker T and the MGs and more. 

Earnestine & Hazel's

Earnestine & Hazel's has a fun vibe and a deep history. It started as a pharmacy in the 1930s then turned into a cafe where musicians like B.B. King, Sam Cook, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles and the like would come to the cafe for good food and tell stories. Today, it's a reminder of Beale Street's deep music history that serves up a variety of local beers like Wiseacre and Ghost River along with their famous Soul Burger. Live bands play soul, blues and jazz nightly and the famous Juke Box may just select a song itself.  

Elvis Presley’s Graceland

You can’t go to Memphis without making a trip to the King of Rock n’ Roll’s iconic home. At Graceland, fully immerse yourself in Elvis’ home, his life and legacy. Once inside, you’ll see the living room, the kitchen, the famous Jungle Room, his father’s office and the newly-enhanced Trophy Building. Included in the tour are the recently restored Racquetball Building, Meditation Garden and the still-in-use dining room.

National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is located at the former Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968. The museum is part of the top 5% of institutions to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Affiliate. Through interactive exhibits, more than 40 new films, 260 artifacts, oral histories and more, you will be guided through 500 years of history. 

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

Continue your history lesson by visiting the powerful and emotional Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. No photos are allowed inside, but the stories are plentiful. The museum is located in the house of Jacob Burkle, an abolitionist who assisted in the Underground Railroad from 1855 to the end of slavery. Venture into the dark, damp cellar and look through the trapdoors and hidden passages the runaway slaves were housed until it was safe to continue their journey to freedom.  

Peabody Ducks

See the famous duck march at the Peabody Hotel. Every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., you can see the five wild North American mallards march to and from the fountain in the Peabody’s lobby. You can reserve the Ducky Day Family Package, which includes an overnight accommodation plus the opportunity to be an Honorary Duckmaster where you’ll help the Duckmaster march the ducks to and from the lobby fountain. You even get your own brass-head Duckmaster Cane. 

Blues Hall of Fame

The Blues Hall of Fame houses the stories and memorabilia of some of the biggest blues stars in the industry. Koko Taylor's dress, Mavis Staples GRAMMY gown, and Charlie Musselwhite's harmonica are just some of the artifacts you can see. Rare album covers, photos and awards can only be seen inside this music museum. More than 400 inductees into the Blues Hall of Fame are highlighted in the museum to better tell blues' influence on music.  

Memphis Cotton Museum 

Memphis' Cotton Museum is housed in the original Memphis Cotton Exchange building, the very center of the regional economy. Cotton's place in Memphis' history is told through original films, exhibits and oral histories from eye-witnesses. Cotton Row shows just how busy Memphis was with cotton commerce, considered the largest spot-cotton market in the world. The Memphis Cotton Exchange was the center of the cotton trade that happened worldwide. 

Cooper-Young District 

Explore the shops, restaurants and live entertainment housed in century-old buildings in the Cooper-Young District. For a day of unique shopping, head to Cooper-Young's specialty shops and boutiques. You can find vintage styles at Fox + Cat Vintage, browse new and used books at the century-old Burke's Books, and find your new favorite vinyl at Goner Records. Before leaving, you must stop by House of Mews where rescue cats are curled up happily in the store and in the windows.  

Hi-Tone Cafe 

The rock venue, Hi-Tone Cafe is where you want to go to see artists like Healy, Shefolks, Ethan Parker and Ten High. They have two rooms for music with a lounge in-between. Bring cash for the cover charge and then hang out to enjoy all the different artists. 

Where to eat in Memphis

Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous 

Enter rib heaven when you step through the door of Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous. Tender, dry rub ribs have been a staple for this restaurant for over 70 years. Start your meal off with the pork or chicken barbecue nachos then get a small or large slab of ribs, pork shoulder sandwich or chopped chicken sandwich. You can pair your ribs with pork shoulder, brisket or chicken. Lamb riblets, meatless red beans and rice and even a skillet of shrimp (can feed up to eight people, but give Rendezvous 24-hour notice) are also on the menu.


Huey’s is a family-friendly restaurant that’s been a Memphis staple since 1970 and serves mouth-watering burgers, salads and catfish. All burgers are six ounces of certified angus beef and topped with the special Huey’s seasoning. You can make any burger a veggie, black bean or turkey burger. Try the World Famous Huey Burger topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato, mustard, pickles, onions, cheddar or Swiss cheese on a buttered and toasted sesame seed bun. The Bluff City Burger is a favorite topped with smoked cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, onion straws and barbecue sauce. Huey’s also has the 100% vegan Beyond Burger.

Loflin Yard

Enjoy fresh air and tasty bites.
Photo Credit: @loflinyard

Enjoy outdoor dining at Loflin Yard which is also pet-friendly. Choose from a variety of small plates like brisket tacos, smoked wings and a beef brisket plate. Nosh on burgers, the smoked brisket Po-boy or hot chicken. Barrel-aged cocktails like the Buffalo Trace Old-Fashioned and Sazerac Rye and creatively-named cocktails like Your Cousin’s Destination Wedding – Altos Plata tequila, Tattersall Grapefruit Crema, Priqly Liqueur and topped with sparkling wine - and Can You Make My Girlfriend Something Pink – Wheatly vodka, Lillet Rose, Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur with watermelon puree - will make your evening fun and enjoyable.


For a fine dining experience, go to Bishop located inside The Central Station Hotel. Famous chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman bring you a French brasserie-inspired restaurant with Southern flare. Sip a cocktail and start your meal with a half dozen oysters or Grand Aioli with seasonal vegetables, shrimp, beef, soft boiled eggs and lemon mousseline. Savor the Bishop Burger – a double patty topped with bacon, tomato aioli, cheddar and B1 sauce, the trout served with peas, radishes and asparagus or the filet. 

Central BBQ

Maybe it's the fact that Central BBQ doesn't use sauce in their smoke pit, maybe it's the combination of dry-rub spices or the all-day marinade. Whatever it is, Central BBQ is a famous stop for locals and travelers to get a taste of their art. Chow down on the pork BBQ nachos that come with a mountain of pulled pork that's smothered in barbecue and cheese sauces, shredded cheese and jalapenos. A slab of ribs or an order of beef brisket or pulled pork comes with two of their homemade sides like macaroni and cheese, barbecue beans, green beans and slaw. You'll want to order dessert, even if you take it back to your hotel, because the homemade banana pudding, cheesecake and peanut butter pie are worth tasting.  

Arcade Restaurant

Get to Arcade Restaurant early, as locals and visitors alike flock to Memphis' oldest cafe, first opened in 1919. Order the fluffy French toast, buttery biscuits with a side of hashbrowns and strong coffee to start your day on the right foot. 

Beauty Shop Restaurant Lounge 

Order a burger with a side of truffle fries to instantly be transported to a simpler time at the Beauty Shop Restaurant Lounge, formerly Priscilla Presley's go-to shop to get her hair cut and styled. Seating is beneath Belvedere hair dryers and everything on the menu is delicious. If burgers and truffle fries aren't your thing, order the Thai Cobb salad, salmon Gravlax – herb goat cheese, avocado, greens, Kirby cucumbers, tomato and red onion or the chicken and brown rice bowl packed with sweet bell peppers, cabbage, onion, mushrooms, fried kale and sprouts.  

Hog & Hominy

If you have a hankering for Italian, head to Hog & Hominy where you can dine on salad with crispy chicken, collards, meatballs, sweet potato slices and pizza. Save room for the Carol's Delightful Smile dessert - a malted chocolate mousse pie with an Oreo crust and Whoppers chocolate candy.  


If you go to Alchemy for dinner, try a variety of small plates like the chicken boudin risotto with roasted chicken and fried herbs, the beef sliders topped with chipotle pimento cheese, roasted tomatoes, and bread and butter pickles. Or try the edamame hummus made with crispy chickpeas, olives and roasted tomatoes served with flat bread. If you're famished, dine on the main dishes like shrimp & grits, duck confit and pan-seared beef striploin. Return for breakfast on Sundays to indulge in Belgian waffles with berries and bacon, French toast and iced coffee. 

Flight Restaurant Wine & Bar

Make reservations for this upscale dining experience at Flight Restaurant Wine & Bar. Flight's dishes are smaller and can come in threes. You can get three of the same meat family or order a variety of things. You can't go wrong with the chicken and waffles, steak and mashed potatoes, or bison and rice. Flight also has a recommended wine pairing for each dish, or you can pick your own – same for dessert. Peanut butter ice cream, a chocolate chip soufflé and apple cobbler are great choices to finish off your meal.  


Dine, dance, explore and marvel at all there is to do in this great city. Plan your visit to Memphis.

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