Miserable in Memphis

A trip we looked forward to ended up being a terrible time...there are better places to go.

Miserable in Memphis

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

When deciding to go to Memphis - may I recommend New Orleans, LA instead? Memphis can be done in two days...and not even fun ones, at that.${QuickSuggestions} If you must go, plan a two-day trip and do the following: Graceland is a must, hit the Memphis Zoo (the pandas are great), The Peabody Hotel Duckwalk is fun (go up to the balcony for the best view), Corky's BBQ at the airport (get the pulled pork sandwich - it doesn't disappoint), ride the trolley, and go to Sun Studios (and you had BETTER take your picture with Elvis' microphone). Once you do those things, leave Memphis right away.${BestWay} Car is your best bet - it's such a small city but there is plenty of parking around.

Wyndham Garden Hotel

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

This hotel is frightening. Located just a couple blocks from the COUNTY JAIL, it also had a number of problems. I'm willing to overlook that my "view" was of the massive highway and that the air conditioner was incredibly loud. But I object to the fire alarm going off TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW for no reason, although one of those was because the EXTERMINATOR set it off while spraying for ROACHES (that's what the front desk clerk told us). Not a good endorsement for a "clean hotel" in my mind.
Wyndham Garden Hotel - Memphis
300 N 2nd Street
Memphis, Tennessee, 38105
(901) 525-1800

The Rendezvous

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

We loved Rendezvous - we went there on our very first night in Memphis because we had heard so much about it. BBQ is what it's all about in Memphis (we were there for the Memphis In May BBQ Championship, after all), and Rendezvous was worth it. Quick and easy service, a pleasant server, great atmosphere - it can't be beat!
Behind 52 South Second Street (downstairs) Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous Alley
Memphis, Tennessee, 38103
(901) 523-2746

Corky's BBQ

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

We went to two Corky's locations - the one on Poplar Avenue (we loved our waitress, who is featured on their brochures) as well as the one at Memphis Airport. I have to say that we preferred the one at Memphis Airport - for some reason, their pulled pork sandwich was just a bit better than the one I had at Poplar Avenue. Their coleslaw is to DIE FOR and I ate not only my portion but my husband's as well. Great service, EXCELLENT BBQ, and definitely a must!
Corky's Barbecue
5259 Poplar Ave
Memphis, Tennessee, 38119
(901) 685-9744

The Memphis Zoo

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

A zoo is a zoo is a zoo, I think, but Memphis Zoo has THE PANDAS!!! The panda exhibit was a lot of fun - we spent a lot of time just watching the pandas eat bamboo. You pay extra for this exhibit, but it's worth the extra $3 per person.
Memphis Zoo and Aquarium
2000 Galloway
Memphis, Tennessee, 38104
(901) 276-9453

Memphis in May BBQ Championship

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

This was the whole reason we went to Memphis - for the 2004 World Championship BBQ Festival. In 2003 we saw a TV special on FoodTV about it and immediately booked our vacation for 2004. Imagine our disappointment when we got to the festival and found out that after paying our entry fee we didn't have access to all the BBQ! Every single booth was private party only, which was a bitter disappointment. After walking around looking at all the booths (which were fun to look at, but I would have preferred being IN them), we found out that a tent had been set up where you could pay ADDITIONAL money to sample the BBQ. Guess what? Tent closed. It apparently was only open a few hours a day and we had missed it. We probably wouldn't have gotten in anyway since it only seated 300 people. In a nutshell: If you aren't a participant, pass on this festival.
Memphis in May
Riverside Drive and Beale Street
Memphis, Tennessee, 38103
+1 901 525 1515


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

I've been a fan of Elvis since I was a kid (I cried when he died), so I was really looking forward to seeing Graceland. Imagine my surprise when we pulled into the driveway in front of the house! The outside was surprisingly tasteful and modest. All my life I’d presumed Graceland to be on par with Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch (which I've never seen, but I presume it's out of this world). I was happy to see that it was not a huge mansion, but rather a nice family home on some beautiful grounds.

The inside was fun - all decorated with the original furniture (I loved the white sofa in the front living room). The jungle room was hilarious and I took the most pictures in that room.

The tour is automated - you wear headphones and press the numbers that correlate to the particular exhibit you are watching. I liked that part - I was able to replay something if I wanted to hear the history again.

It was a bit pricey (we only did the house tour, but you can also see his cars and airplane for extra money), but is worth it if you are any kind of Elvis fan.

3734 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, Tennessee, 38116
(901) 322-3322

Durden Gallery

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

My husband and I love going to local galleries and finding local artists. In Memphis, we particularly loved the Durden Gallery. They were way out of our price range at that time, but we came to love to artists in particular from that gallery and hope to save up and invest in a piece from each artist. Only one artist that we liked is still there - Sarah Hightower (3D glass art). The other was Michelle Allen, but apparently she no longer exhibits there. But ALL of the artists do gorgeous work and it's worth finding this gallery.
Durden Gallery
408 South Front Street, #107
Memphis, Tennessee, 38103

The Flying Saucer Draughthouse

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

We went to Flying Saucer based on an online recommendation that it had excellent beers and a lot of variety. I'm not a beer drinker, but my husband is. Sure, he has had a lot of different beers in his 38 years, but he found the Flying Saucer didn't have as much of a variety as he had hoped. On the menu he found only THREE beers he had never tried before. Only THREE?

The decor was decent enough - we loved the fact that two sides of the place opened up onto the street. We were there in May and there was a great breeze coming through the place. We sat in the more lounge-y area of the bar and were there for at least 15 minutes and never had a waitress approach us (we even flashed the high sign a couple times to get her attention and were still ignored). She approached a lot of folks AROUND us, but never us. My husband finally went directly to the bar and ordered his beer. Once it was done, he was ready to leave - my husband, the beer drinker who loves to just chill in bars.

The price was right - we were impressed at how fair the beer prices were. The location was great - right on a corner in the business district next to the big indoor mall. But the service was severely lacking and the variety just wasn't there.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
130 Peabody Place
Memphis, Tennessee, 38103
+1 901 523 7468

Memphis Summarized

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

In all, if you look at my reviews - you'll see that we DID enjoy parts of Memphis. However, the overwhelming impression we were left with on our flight home was that we regretted the trip and wished we had gone someplace else. We were supposed to be there for four days, but flew back a day early because there just wasn't a lot to do and the city itself is kind of run down. Beale Street was completely uninteresting (and will be to anyone that has experienced the French Quarter in New Orleans), and we found ourselves completely at a loss once we did the major tourist attractions (Graceland, the Zoo, Sun Studios). If you want to go to Memphis, feel free - but don't spend more than two days there or else you'll be bored out of your mind.

The Ducks at the Peabody Hotel

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by JayneeS on October 28, 2004

Located at 149 Union Avenue in downtown Memphis, the Peabody Hotel has the distinction of being the only hotel to feature a twice-daily duck walk. Every morning at 11 a.m. crowds gather to watch a parade of ducks go into the hotel's fountains. Then at 5 p.m. the ducks parade back onto the elevator to their home on the rooftop of the hotel.

We arrived at the hotel specifically to see the duck walk. We got there around 10 a.m. and there were already people staking out their location to watch the duck walk. A red carpet was rolled out and people began inching for space. As the clock neared 11 a.m., my husband and I made a run for the upper balcony on the elevator side (closest to the ducks). It was surprisingly empty and we had a perfect view (most people on the balcony level were on the OPPOSITE side - furthest from the ducks).

The Duck Master was very entertaining and really got the kids excited (they had younger kids lining the red carpet to help "guide" the ducks into the fountain). When the ducks finally arrived, it was cute to watch them waddle down the red carpet and dive into the fountains.


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