I grew up in a small town in Arkansas, but one of the perks of my location was that I was just a short hour-ish drive from Memphis, Tennessee. I have fallen in love with that city over the years and done so many fun things there. I wanted to share a few of my favorite places as well as a couple of the things on my Memphis bucket list because I always love to go back there.
I am adding addresses, prices, and hours to this list for some attractions. Somethings are subject to change. Make sure that you check out the website listed for these places for more information.
So, let's go exploring the city of Memphis, TN with today's travel guide:
My Favorite Things To Do In Memphis
Here are some of the awesome things I have done time and time again that I love doing:
Walk Down Beale Street
Oh my goodness! If you are in Memphis for just a little bit, I encourage you to just walk down Beale Street. You can go at night, but you don’t have to. It’s just as fun during the daytime in my opinion, and that’s when I usually go.
There is always something going on there. I encourage you to get some (probably overly priced but very great) drinks from the vendors that line the streets. The fishbowls are the best thing and you will have drinks for a while.
It’s a little crowded, but I usually never feel pushed or shoved too much while on Beale Street which is nice. I have a lot of anxiety in huge groups, but I never really felt that way on Beale Street.
There are street performances usually happening all down Beale Street and the atmosphere is just so fun. Everyone is drinking, having a good time, eating at all the random Beale Street restaurants, watching street performances, listening to random music, etc.
Parking is a huge issue if you want to do this, though. You gotta park your car in Memphis if you want to get around Beale Street. This can become problematic if you go on a really busy day like a game day or a concert day. It can be hard to plan your travel around that, though, especially if you are coming to the city during the weekend. Parking can be reasonable, but if it’s a special event day, expect to pay a little more for parking (I am talking $15-$20.) It sucks, but the lack of most cars really helps Beale Street stay fun and relatively safe.
Go To The National Civil Rights Museum
Address: 450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103
Website | Hours: Closed Tuesday: Open Wednesday-Monday from 9 AM-5 PM
Admission: $16 for adults; $14 for seniors & those with a Student ID; $13 for Children 5-17; Free for children 4 & under as well as active military members
If you have some time I highly, highly, highly encourage you to theck out the National Civil Rights Museum. This museum is HUGE and filled with so many great pieces of Civil Rights history. I have gone to this museum multiple times and it never ceases to amaze me.
It's a lovely museum. It's interactive, and you could get lost in it for hours. The main building is huge, but there is also the Legacy Building which is across the street where the person who assassinated MLK was when it happened. This building is full of information about the future of civil rights and it's a beautiful end to the experience at the main building.
The National Civil Rights Museum is such a great visit because you are taken through everything from the beginning of slavery to now. They pack so much into this museum that it's almost insane. They tell you to dedicate at least two hours for a good visit, but I would dedicate closer to three. Pace yourself so you can enjoy everything, and also get a lot from the Legacy building too. Most times I have gone I spent so much time in the main building that I wasn't able to get as much from the Legacy building.
I would also encourage you to have some money for the gift shop because both times I have gone I wound up getting something from it. They have tons of cool things to commemorate your time in the museum!
See A Show At The FedEx Forum
Address: 191 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103
The FedEx Forum is an amazing place to go see a show. I have seen multiple concerts there, but I think my all time favorite was when I saw Kings of Leon and Band Of Horses there in 2011. It was an 18th birthday/high school graduation gift for me.
The FedEx Forum is also where the Memphis Grizzlies play so if you are interested in going to a NBA game, FedEx Forum is the place to be! I have yet to go to the FedEx Forum while an NBA game is happening, but it’s something I would love to do.
Overall, though, I do love going to shows at the FedEx Forum. It's got nice seats, but also a floor for most concerts. I normally sit in the stands though for the shows I have been to. I also saw an American Idols show at the FedEx Forum once which was pretty awesome.
Great venue all around and there is a lot of food and stuff inside the venue as well.
Eat All The Memphis Barbecue
Okay, okay, okay. I am going to admit something. I mainly go to Memphis for the delicious food. If I go to Memphis and I don’t eat at least one random restaurant, I am not having a good time.
Story time: my mom, dad, and I went to a restaurant before going to see the Kings of Leon in 2011 and we loved the restaurant but we never found the restaurant again after that because we didn’t get the name. All my adult life I have just been trying to avenge this loss because they had the best catfish and barbecue I have ever tasted. All we know is that we went to Hard Rock Cafe thinking we wanted to eat there, saw the line was way too long, and then found this gem. We are beginning to think that it was a collective memory in our imagination. But we have pictures of us eating on the inside of it and everything!
You can find all sorts of restaurants serving Memphis barbecue on and near Beale Street. Usually if my family and I are already on Beale Street we just pop into one of the many restaurants there to eat some good BBQ.
charles vergos' rendezvous
Address: 52 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103
Website | Price: Varies by what you get. Most things are under $23!
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 4:30 PM to 10:30 PM; Friday: 11 AM to 11 AM; Saturday: 11:30 AM to 11 AM
If you are looking for a yummy barbecue restaurant, I really encourage you to check out Charles Vergos' Rendezvous. The food is SO yummy and you get a pretty good amount of food. I want to bathe in the seasoning they use on the ribs. You can even get some of the seasoning to take home if you want. But yes, just get the large or small order of ribs with beans and slaw as a side. You won't be disappointed!
Check out Memphis During Memphis In May
Website | Activities happening every weekend in May
Memphis blooms in May, y'all. There is so much going on in the city during this month.
The most obvious is the Beale Street Music Festival. I have a love/hate relationship with this one. It isn't always managed the best, especially when it rains (which happens almost every year, so I feel they should have a better grasp on this by now) but overall, though, it's a festival that brings tons of great acts to the area. If festivals are your thing, you will probably love it. The price is quite reasonable, and there are always some bigger acts that come.
Then the next week after the festival is the international salute. Each year Memphis In May honors a different country. In 2018 they are honoring the Czech Republic. This honoring comes in the form of tons of performances, speakers, movies, food, and so much more.
Then there is the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. You get tickets to the contest then you can taste and judge different barbecue from awesome BBQers.
Lastly there is the Great American River Run and 901Fest. The run has a half-marathon and 5K component. Then after the run 901Fest takes place.
Memphis is filled to the brim with stuff in May!
Enjoy The Mississippi River Views
Memphis is right on the Mississippi River! You can easily see the Mississippi River from many locations across Memphis and it's a beautiful sight. I love crossing the bridge into Memphis and seeing how peaceful the river looks. If you like rivers, I highly encourage you to check out the Mississippi while you are in Memphis.
Tom Lee Park
Address: Riverside Dr, Memphis, TN 38103
Website | Hours: 6 AM to 10 PM
If you want to see the Mississippi River as closely as you can, besides being on Mud Island (which I have never done so that's why it's not in this section) then I encourage you to head to Tom Lee Park when you are in Memphis, TN next. The picture below was taken while I was in Tom Lee Park for a day of the Beale Street Music Festival which also takes place in Tom Lee Park that we just talked about.
Tom Lee Park is open year round, not just when the Memphis In May festivities happen (obviously) and you can see the Mississippi River prominently from the park no matter what time of year you go.
Check Out An Impromptu Concert At WC Handy Performing Arts Park
Address: 200 Beale Street Memphis, TN 38103
Website | Admission: Things happening at WC Handy Performing Arts Park are always FREE!
This is a part of Beale Street, but I personally feel like it needs it’s own little spot on the list. I love the WC Handy Performing Arts Park in Memphis and I always find myself going there when I am in Memphis. The best part about this venue? The entertainment is FREE. People perform there all the time and they usually pass around a tip bucket if you want to tip them, but you don't have to pay to get in this venue.
Whenever we are in Memphis, TN and on Beale Street we always manage to find our way to this place.
Other Impromptu Performances
Besides WC Handy Performing Arts Park there are ALL sorts of impromptu performances all over Memphis to be honest. Many restaurants have stages where people can perform, they have random stages in Memphis, and sometimes people just put up a covered space on the sidewalk and perform. Memphis has a lot of cool people come to Memphis to perform, but there are also a lot of random local artist performances that happen as well.
Other Random Things I Have Done:
Here are a few things I have done, but it's been so long that I don't remember so I need to go again.
Address: 926 E McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN 38126
Website | Hours: Closed Monday; Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM
Admission: $13 Adults; $12 Seniors 62+, Active Military, and Students with ID; $10 Children (Ages 9-12); Free Members, Children (8 and under)
I went to this museum when I was around 10 years old. The Stax Museum is a great museum if you are interested in music, especially Motown and soul music. This takes you from the very beginnings of soul music in churches to the music of today. You get to interact with the exhibits and really learn more about how music was and is made.
Address: 3050 Central Ave. Memphis, TN 38111
Website | Hours: Monday - Friday from 9am - 5pm; Saturday from 9am - 5pm; Sunday from 12pm - 5pm
Admission: Depending on what you want to do, you may pay more or less. Click here for the best details on pricing.
I went to the Pink Palace Museum as a kid and I don’t remember much from that trip except the horrible rock candy I got there and the fun little coin pouch I got from the museum. I don’t think the Pink Palace is to blame for the rock candy, I guess I just thought that literal rock sugar would be better than it was. I think there is a conspiracy to make sugar in rock form bad so kids are less likely to want to get sugar in such a format. I mean, cotton candy is just sugar and kids LOVE cotton candy.
I would love to go back to this museum one day and really enjoy it (casting out my opinions of the rock candy they sold!) It seems like such a beautiful location filled with tons of exhibits and it even has a giant theater and a planetarium!
Address: 2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112
Website | Hours: March 1 - October 15 (Summer Hours): 9 AM to 5 PM; October 16 - February 28 (Winter Hours): 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: Adult (ages12-59) $15.00; Child (ages 2-11) $10.00; Senior (60+) $14.00; Parking $5.00
I am almost certain that I have never gone to the Memphis Zoo, and if I have, I don't remember going. Zoos are always so fun, and this zoo seems pretty reasonably priced. Plus, there are tons of awesome opportunities to do things like ride camels, feed giraffes, and just see all sorts of amazing animals up close.
**Update** My mom has bought to my attention that I definitely went to the Memphis Zoo as a child at least 2x according to her. So I had to move it to this part so she is not highly offended.
The Peabody Memphis
Address: 149 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
Not only is The Peabody Memphis an awesome hotel I would love to stay in one day, but it's also got the famous ducks everyone knows it for. I think that is what draws me to wanting to visit The Peabody in Memphis the most.
**Update** My mom is also highly offended at this one because I have also gone inside The Peabody before. So, again, I had to put this here because of that.
Memphis Bucket List
Here are some things that are on my Memphis bucket list. I haven't seen as much of the city as I would like, and I would love to visit these places in Memphis soon!
Address: Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116
Admission: Mansion Only Tour Prices Adult $39.75; Seniors 62 and older $35.80; Youth/Students 13-18 $35.80; Children 7-12 $19.00; Children 6 and Under FREE | There are other tour options that cost more money. Check out those tours here.
Elvis is just such a part of Memphis, TN but I have never personally visited Graceland. I am not even sure if my family has gone to the part of Memphis where we drive past Graceland as it has jut never been on our radar. But, I think it's time I go there because it is such a Memphis, TN staple.
Memphis Botanical Gardens
Address: 750 Cherry Rd, Memphis, TN 38117
Website | Hours: Normal Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM; Winter Hours: 9 AM to 4:30 PM
Admission: Adults $10.00; Seniors (62 & over) $8.00; Children (2-12) $5.00; Children (under 2) FREE; Members FREE
I found out about this place recently and it seems B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. I would love love love to visit the gardens (and taking blog pictures there would be a dream come true.) The Memphis Botanical Gardens boasts over 96 acres and 31 gardens. I am definitely putting this on my radar for when it becomes a little bit warmer here!
Dixon Gallery & Gardens
Address: 4339 Park Ave, Memphis, TN 38117
Website | Hours: Closed Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM; Open Sunday from 1 PM to 5 PM; Every 3rd Thursday it's open until 8 PM.
Admission: Adults: $7; Seniors ages 65 and over: $5; Students ages 18 and older with ID: $5; Children ages 7 - 17: $3; Children ages 6 and under: free; Educators with ID: free
Special Admission Days: Tuesday: 10 AM - 5 PM: Pay-What-You-Wish; Saturday: 10 AM - 12 PM: Free, museum and gardens
This is another beautiful venue and blog picture dream come true. Not only does it have a ton of amazing art exhibits, but it also has multiple gardens on its property. It's the best of both a garden and a gallery.
Address: 1 Bass Pro Dr, Memphis, TN 38105
I have always seen the Memphis pyramid, but I have never gone in. It is now a Bass Pro Shop, plus a hotel, and some other stuff. You can still go to the pyramid and ride the elevator up to the top and see the views of Memphis. Now, I am not quite sure if my fear of heights will allow me to do that, but it seems like it would be a beautiful view.
I hope that you loved today's article! If you ever decide to visit Memphis, I am hopeful that you will enjoy many of the things that I have shared in today's article!