The Peabody Duck March: all the buzz of the red carpet, complete with paparazzi, for free.

Memphis’ Peabody Hotel, VIP-Style

I love everything about playing VIP. Except the price. Luckily for the value-minded traveler in all of us, there’s much to see and do at Memphis’ finest hotel for little to no cost. Follow me to The Peabody to learn how:

Watch the ducks march. Full disclosure: The ducks are the VIPs here, commanding their own red carpet and the attention of the paparazzi (that’s you). Still, simply standing inside the hotel lobby – stunning from head to toe with chandeliers, rich woods, that marble fountain and its larger-than-life floral arrangement – is enough to make anyone feel like a million bucks. And watching the ducks march, twice daily at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., is free. I like to arrive about a half-hour early to get a good view.

The Peabody Duck March: all the buzz of the red carpet, complete with paparazzi, for free.

Rollick on the rooftop. One of my favorite signs of summer in Memphis is Rooftop Party season at The Peabody. There are drinks and live music, but the VIP in me loves being able to say that I’ve partied on top of The Peabody. The views of downtown Memphis – punctuated by city lights, draped in a blue suede sky – are star-quality. Ten dollars buys you a ticket to the top plus one drink, but take these hints: Ladies get in for free between 6 and 7 p.m., and there’s no cover during the Rooftop Sunset Happy Hours scheduled for select Friday and Saturday nights through Labor Day.

P.S. While you’re on the roof, check out the “Royal Duck Palace.” The glassed-in penthouse – complete with a water feature – looks like something out of an episode of “Cribs.” It’s home to the Peabody ducks. And yes, it’s okay to feel a shade jealous.

Drink to the origin of the Delta. It was 1935 when historian David Cohn said his bit about the Mississippi Delta beginning in the lobby of The Peabody, its fountain magnetizing the see-and-be-seen. A seat at the intimate Lobby Bar can be tough to nab, but order a cocktail (the mint julep is Southern hospitality liquified) and claim one of the surrounding tables. Drinks aren’t free, but the people-watching is priceless.

Surely you deserve a reward for rolling like a VIP without spending like one. When it’s time to splurge, consider:

Sunday brunch at The Peabody comes with all the accoutrements you’d expect from a tasteful buffet: champagne, eggs Benedict, smoked salmon, carving and waffle stations…my sincere apologies if you’re reading this before lunch.

Shopping spree a la Lansky: This Beale Street original that earned its reputation dressing musicians from B.B. King to Elvis now operates three shops in the lobby of The Peabody. Select a souvenir from the Lucky Duck; try on something of-the-moment at the co-ed boutique known as Lansky 126; or hit Lansky at the Peabody for vintage menswear.

Three Lansky shops inside The Peabody mean you can shop for souvenirs, men’s and women’s wear. Photo by Vasha Hunt. © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Hi! I’m Samantha Crespo, and I am Floridian by birth, Tennessean by heart. Growing up, I vacationed in East Tennessee, so I...Read on

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