A travel journal
to Memphis by KP8
Quote: There is much to see and do in Memphis: historical sites, sacred sites for American music, the world's best barbeque, and one of only four American zoos with giant pandas on loan from China.
Restaurant | "Corky's BBQ"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2005
5259 Poplar Ave
Memphis, Tennessee 38119
Restaurant | "Huey's"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2005
77 S 2nd St.
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Pulled pork, cheese and sausage plate, and the boss man salad are all excellent choices. Substitute the potato salad for the slaw. They have some of the best sweet tea in town. There is banana pudding or homemade pies for dessert.
If you are going to the FedEx-St Jude PGA tournament or the Germantown Charity Horseshow, this is a great place to eat.
2290 S. Germantown Rd.
Memphis, Tennessee 38138
Restaurant | "BBQ Shop"
It is in a great location if you are headed to the zoo, the Pink Palace Museum, or ball games -- this is on my family's way to the arenas downtown.
1782 Madison Ave
Memphis, Tennessee 38104
+1 901 272 1277
1. BBQ: Try one of the many delicious restaurants or the World Championship Festival in May.
2. Graceland: Tour the home of Elvis Presley and see his cars and planes. The outside of his home is decorated with Christmas displays from Thanksgiving to New Year's. You get a pair of headphones for the tour, availbale in many languages, and you see most of the home, including the gravesite out back. August is Elvis memorial month, where @200,000 fans from around the world come to the city to visit his home, many standing in line all night to walk past the grave in the candelight vigil. There is also a 5K race, with several "Elvises" running despite the heat.
3. Memphis Zoo: See the recently remodeled Cat Country and monkey exhibits, which feature the animals in their natural environments. A Northwest exhibit is opening soon, promising the same for the bears and other woodland animals. See Ya Ya and Le Le, the giant pandas - we're one of only four US zoos to have pandas, and they are CUTE! Zookeepers are hoping for a rare baby panda in the next few years. You can park for free in Overton Park, near the Brooks Art Museum- it is only a short walk to the zoo entrance. Entrance fees are @$10, plus $3 for the pandas [the money for the pandas helps Memphis fulfill a pledge to China for panda research].
4. National Civil Rights Museum: Located in Lorraine Motel, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered.
5. Peabody rooftop sunset: Best view of the river, and check out where the famous ducks live when they are not swimming in the lobby! Check with hotel for times for the "march." Watching the "mighty Mississip" roll by is relaxing- you can also see "Ol Man River" up close by taking a romantic paddleboat cruise on the Delta Queen line. Day trips are @$18/person.
6. Rebirds: See AAA baseball game in very picturesque stadium across the street from the Peabody. The Redbirds are the St Louis Cardinals' affiliate, and the players you see on your visit may be playing in the majors tomorrow. You can get "bluff" seats for @$5 and take a blanket to sit on the grassy hill in left field. Great food in the stadium, and watch out for Rocky the Redbird photo ops. Kids get to run the bases after most games.
7. Beale Street: Go to the clubs and hear the blues. Self-explanatory. BB King's and Silky O' Sullivan's are 2 popular clubs. You must be 21 to get in them. Visit Schwab's General Store during the daytime- "if we don't have it, you don't need it!", an old-fashioned general store with a WIDE assortment of items. I believe it is over 100 years old. The small Police Museum is there, too. See a Broadway show at the beautiful restored Orpheum theater, and on Fridays in the summer, enjoy old movies, complete with an organ concert and movie serials beforehand. Peabody Place is a popular new entertainment location, with several restaurants, a few stores, and a nice movie theater, complete with giant-screen movies. The Gibson Guitar Factory and the Smithsonian Rock and Soul Museum are nearby in the FedEx Forum, home to the NBA Grizzlies and the UM Tigers.
8. Hamburgers: If barbeque isn't your thing, try the hamburgers at Huey's (several locations around town.) Get the Huey burger with fries (the onion rings are good, too), then shoot your toothpick into the ceiling. You can also write on the walls. At Dyer's (also in several locations), they have been using the same grease for decades. The burgers are good.
9. Shiloh National Battlefield: About 1.5 hours east of town, it’s the site of one of the largest battles of the American Civil War and one of the best-preserved battlefields in the nation. Pick up a map and you can drive around the battlefield, getting out to check out famous sites like the "bloody pond" and the "peach orchard". You get great views of the Tennessee River from the parking lot. It is also close to Pickwick Lake- a TVA-dam popular with recreational boaters and fishermen. Good catfish on this day trip from Memphis.
10. Choose from Victorian architecture, river history at Mud Island, casinos in nearby Tunica, MS [35 minutes south), a good Fire Department Museum-- great stuff [and safety info] for kids, NBA b-ball, the Pink Palace museum, a planetarium/IMAX, the FedEx-St. Jude golf tournament, the Germantown Charity Horse Show, Memphis Motorsports park... research your trip and pick something to do. There are many choices.
Not to judge, but since I lived there for most of my life, I will admit that Memphis has a lot of crime and a fairly large inner-city. You will be in a wonderful historic neighborhood, then 2 blocks over, the gritty realism of gangs, poverty, etc. That's not to say that Memphis isn't a great place to live or visit, but you have to be careful where you go, especially at night, as is the case in most cities. It is best to get detailed directions from your hotel before venturing out, and avoid alleys and off-the-beaten-path parking lots, etc. If you are smart, you can have a great time in the Bluff City.
If you stay downtown, you will be close enough to walk to most of these sites. The Peabody is nice but overpriced, but very centrally located. There are other nice hi-rise hotels downtown, but you will be a little closer to some rough areas, too. Downtown has seen a lot of re-development, but still has some crime, homelessness, and traffic problems.
There are plenty of small hotels/motels near Graceland, on the city's southern border, but I'd check carefully if I were you. You will be in walking distance to Graceland, but nothing else, and many feel it is a higher crime area plus next to the VERY busy airport [FedEx's international headquarters is here, to give you an idea].
Out east, in Cordova's Wolfchase area, you will find a wide variety of nice hotels, every chain restaurant possible, several movie theaters, and a Galleria mall with acres of surrounding big box stores. Expect a 30-minute, 1-way commute from the east side. Cordova is the "booming" residential area of Memphis, and has high traffic and lower crime.