Pack your weekender bag and blue suede shoes and head to Memphis, Tennessee for blues, adorable neighborhoods and, of course, some of the best barbecue in the nation.
The cute boutique Madison 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, coffee shop and more.
Make reservations for this upscale dining experience at Flight Restaurant Wine & Bar. Flight's dishes are smaller and can come in three's. 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, and 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Maybe it's the fact 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.
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.
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.
Take a tour of Elvis Presley's Graceland, one of the world's famous rock 'n' roll residence. Inside, you'll find Graceland exactly how Elvis decorated it from the eye-catching living room, kitchen and TV room. Spend some time at the Meditation Garden where Elvis is laid to rest and then check out Elvis Presley's Memphis for an even deeper look into the career and personal life of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
The Blues Hall of Fame houses the stories and memorabilia of some of the biggest blue 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 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.
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.
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 have to stop by House of Mews where rescue cats are curled up happily in the store and in the windows.