Written by vampirefan on 03 Jun, 2010
After seeing the most amazing Broadway show ever…Wicked here in Charlotte last year, I decided to go see it again..very quickly. So I came home to see where else it would be playing. Perusing around I noticed it would be in Memphis. Since John…Read More
After seeing the most amazing Broadway show ever…Wicked here in Charlotte last year, I decided to go see it again..very quickly. So I came home to see where else it would be playing. Perusing around I noticed it would be in Memphis. Since John is a guitar player who loves the blues, I figured he would jump at the chance to go with me. I was surprised when he turned me down! So I called my Aunt Ellen, who used to reside in the amazing town, and she was an all go. So a few months later..off we went! We would be staying the majority of the time with my Aunt’s friend Beth. But we were very busy our first night and wanted to stay downtown since we would be arriving about 11 and had 8 pm tickets to Wicked. So we stayed at Memphis’ renowned and prestigious 4 diamond property The Peabody hotel . For 75 years now, the well heeled (or travel agents getting the travel agent discount) have been staying at the Memphis gem. Even if your not staying at the Peabody, you will certainly want to be here either in the morning when the Peabody Ducks arrive for the day at the hotel or watch that evening as they return to their home up on the roof. Then afterwards visit them and enjoy the views of downtown. After we arrived and checked into out hotel, then grabbed the trolley and went to the Civil Rights Museum . The museum is the former Loraine Hotel, where in 1968, the great Civil Right leader Dr. Martin Luther King, was assassinated. That evening we headed for the gorgeous and opulent Orpheum Theater where we saw the incredible Wicked . It currently ranks as one of my favorite Broadway shows of all times. After the show we went back to our room and changed clothes. Then we headed out for Beal Street . This famous street is known the world over for the place to go to catch some down home blues. While here we caught a carriage ride around this divine city. The next morning, we got up and did what many visitors to the city do, we headed to Graceland former home and final resting place of the king of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. After that we stopped off at the magnificent Memphis Botanical Gardens before heading out to Beth’s house. The gardens will simply amaze you with their beauty and feature an incredible Japanese garden. Later that evening we would return back to downtown and Beal St. to Backstreet Tours Haunted Memphis Tour . Our guide, Jennifer, gave us the lowdown on some of Memphis most haunted spots. On my last full morning, I left Aunt Ellen to catch up with Beth. I headed out to the delightfully wonderful Memphis Zoo . This is only one of a handful of zoos in the country with the adorable panda bears. Near the zoo, you can catch the magnificent Brooks Museum . Offering up both modern artists and masters, they also have some wonderful traveling exhibits. Memphis is known for their food, and I certainly had to sample some. When in Memphis you have to try BBQ. So I tried ribs at the famous Rendezvous and a pork sandwich from Corkey’s. I had a great burger at Huey’s . As always, when there is a Hard Rock in town then so am I. I enjoyed some delish Italian at Old Venice and Mexican at Mi Pueblo . Suggestions As always, my first suggestion is to visit the Memphis CVB. You can go to www.memphistravel.com. You can look around for all things Memphis or order one of their visitor’s guides. Memphis is really a top destination for many and it is advisable to make reservations in advanced anytime you’re traveling. Certain times it is absolutely necessary. One of the biggest events is Memphis in May when BBQ lovers from all over converge for a celebration of all things Q. Around January 8th and Aug, 16th, you certainly need advanced reservations as Elvis fans come in by the droves to celebrate his birthday (Jan) or mourn his death (Aug). Staying in downtown Memphis can be expensive. If you have access to a car, look outside of the city. If you have to stay in the downtown area and budget is a concern. There is a Sleep Inn located on Front St. overlooking the river. When we were on our carriage tour, I asked the driver about it and she said it is very nice. Memphis is also a huge convention town. While we were here we saw dozens of tour buses all over the place. There is plenty to do here while in town. Be careful of this place in the summer. It is miserably hot here. Even for this southern girl. Take all your normal heat precautions. Wear light clothes, stay hydrated, and stay out of the sun when possible. Getting around If your flying in, you will be flying into Memphis International (MEM). Their website is www.mscaa.com. It is about 15 minutes from downtown. If your coming into the downtown area and staying in that environ, you can get away not using a car. If you are going out beyond there, you will need a car. You can easily pick up one at the airport. I suggest you don’t use Hertz though. Their employees are horrible, don’t know what they are doing, and rude. I have never been treated so horribly. Once you get to the downtown area, you can get around with ease. You can hop on and off the trolley which runs through the downtown area. Taxis are easily available. You can get around by carriage (some are lit up at night) or even limo! Or just simply walk. This is a great town for walking. The downtown area is fairly compact and easy to maneuver. If you are going to Beal St. in the evening, you will have to just walk around. The streets are blocked off from traffic. Some of the attractions in my journals including Graceland, the zoo, botanical gardens, and the Brooks Museum will require a car if you would like to visit. * This disclaimer is for all 3 of my Memphis journals. I do allow teachers to use my journals information for educational purposes only. I do not allow students to use them. Please do not contact me to use journal information or pictures unless it is for media or press. I do not allow anyone to use my journals if they will not properly credited it. Close
Written by RoBoNC on 23 Feb, 2010
While most people claim Bourbon Street in New Orleans as the best party street in the US, most Memphians would probably disagree. Beale Street in downtown Memphis is where the party never ends and where anyone who is looking for excitement and a good…Read More
While most people claim Bourbon Street in New Orleans as the best party street in the US, most Memphians would probably disagree. Beale Street in downtown Memphis is where the party never ends and where anyone who is looking for excitement and a good time can be found, day or night. Beale Street stretches 1.8 miles from the Mississippi River to East Street, but all of the clubs, restaurants, and shops can be found within the barricaded two block section between 2nd St and 4th St. Beale Street was created in 1841 and was named for a forgotten military hero. Just as New Orleans gave birth to the jazz style of music, Memphis gave birth to the blues where famous musicians from W. C. Handy, B.B King, and Muddy Waters could be seen showing off their new style of music. Beale Street was so instrumental in the creation of the Blues genre that Congress declared it "Home of the Blues", and the street has been designated a National Historic Landmark, a distinction that even Bourbon Street doesn’t have. Beale Street hasn’t changed much from its heyday in the early 1920’s when clubs, restaurants, and stores lined the streets. The only thing missing is the prostitution, gambling, and murder that became commonplace during the rise of the mafia and notable frequent visitors such as Machine Gun Kelly. Beale Street is barricaded between 2nd St and 4th St making it easier to get around to the different bars and restaurants without having to dodge cars. Beale Street is also a pretty safe area since the Memphis Police has a unit that specifically patrols this area. Just watch out for the occasional beggar who tries to offer you directions for money. Beale Street can be fun during the day, but to really experience it, you need to do the bar hop. With so many bars and restaurants, it is difficult to visit all of them in one night and after two nights of bar hopping, there were still a few that we missed. A night of drinking requires food and Beale Street has its fair share of restaurants. The first night we started off at BB Kings, for some food and blues. While I waited for my BBQ Pork platter, I sampled some of their world championship Gumbo while listing to a local band play some blues tunes including some of BB King’s favorites. After we were finished eating and three beers later, it was time to begin the hop. We first stopped off at Wet Willie’s. Behind the counter is a line of slurpee machines, but these aren’t the ones you get at the 7-11. These frozen drinks are made with liquor and a few are made with 190 proof grain alcohol. I started off with an Attitude Improvement, which is a tangy orange drink made with grain alcohol and Bacardi light and dark rum. My attitude was already great, this just made it better. So good, that I sucked down a few Jell-O shots made with Everclear. This is one of those bars you return to so you can try the different drinks ranging from Sex on the Beach, Shock Treatment, Chocolate Thunder, and their signature drink Call-A-Cab. Our next stop and what turned out to be the last stop of the night was the Coyote Ugly Saloon. The bar received attention when in 2000 a movie was made based on the bar set in New York City. The back of the bar is interestingly decorated with women’s bras stretching from one end to the other. I don’t know if they are new or left behind by patrons, which after this night, I wouldn’t count it out. The bar is famous for the female bartenders who dance on top of the bar throughout the night. They even go further to take body shots off each other and for $20, you can take a body shot off one of these beautiful bartenders too. By the time 2am rolled around, I wasn’t ready to leave. I woke up the next morning in the hotel room wondering how I got here. If the second night was going to be anything like the first, we were going to need a week to recover. Our second night on Beale Street started off on a low note for ECU fans after we lost the Liberty Bowl to the Arkansas Razorbacks in overtime. After sitting through a four hour football game in twenty degree weather, it was time to warm up. There was no better place to do that than at Silky O’ Sullivan’s. Silky’s, an Irish pub, is housed in the former Gallina building which is over 100 years old. There is outdoor seating which makes this place great during the day if you want to grab a drink. Watch out for the Irish Diving Goat. Silky’s doubles as an oyster bar and after six oysters on the half-shell and an oyster Po’ Boy sandwich, I finally felt the feeling coming back to my toes. While I stuck with beer at Silky’s, I couldn’t help but notice these large plastic mugs at different tables. Their signature drink, known as the Diver, is a gallon mixed drink served in a large yellow plastic mug usually with four or five straws. Known as a gallon of Southern fun, the ingredients remains a secret. There is live entertainment almost every night with different musicians. However, the must see show begins at 9pm with the Dueling Pianos. These two guys will have you laughing all night long until they close.After a few hours there, we headed over to Rum Boogie Café to grab a drink. The bar is decorated with music memorabilia to include autographed guitars and even a cape worn by Issac Hayes when he won his Academy Award. It is more of a restaurant than a bar, but a great place to grab a beer or one of their rum specialty drinks. We popped into Alfred’s, which when it opened in 1986 became the first club to highlight rock and roll music. A multi-level patio allows for patrons to eat upstairs or shake your tail feather on the dance floor. In 2007, Alfred’s was voted the #1 dance club in Memphis. Some bars we didn’t make it to such as the Double Deuce, a country western bar, Black Diamond, a live blues bar, and Club 152, a techno bar catering to the very young crowd. Although most bars offer food, there are some famous restaurants on Beale Street staying open late for those with late night food cravings. Most people will recognize Hard Rock Café and then there is Dyers, serving their famous deep-fried hamburgers since 1912. If BBQ is what you are looking for, then Pig on Beale is where to go. Just look for the Pig with Attitude. You can shop day or night on Beale Street. Strange Cargo offers unique Beale Street merchandise and Memphis Music is the largest Blues specialty store in the world. Beale Street has always had a connection to voodoo and Tater Reds continues that connection to this day. Tater Reds is your one stop voodoo headquarters but they also sell music memorabilia as well as your nicely decorated glass smoking pipes. (For tobacco use only, of course.) You don’t have to drink to have a good time on Beale Street. Just enjoy the people you meet while eating some great food and just let the good times roll. Close
Every year college football teams across the country hope they are still playing in late December and early January. That is when the postseason begins for teams that are bowl eligible with one team taking home the title of NCAA National Champion. Teams…Read More
Every year college football teams across the country hope they are still playing in late December and early January. That is when the postseason begins for teams that are bowl eligible with one team taking home the title of NCAA National Champion. Teams are invited to play in bowl games as long as they have at least six wins and even then there is no guarantee of a team getting an invite. Most bowl games have contracts with different conferences while others have at-large bids. All bowl games are not created equal. Of the 34 bowl games played in the 2009-2010 season, five of them belong to the Bowl Championship Series which offer the highest payouts. Certain conferences such as the ACC, Big 10, and SEC, get automatic bids to these bowls while other conferences such as Conference USA and Mountain West must get an at-large bid. The bowl game system is marred in controversy every year as to how teams get bids for certain games which has lead to a movement to abolish the bowl game format and replace it with a playoff system. The Conference USA championship game pitted my alma mater, East Carolina Pirates against the Houston Cougars. As East Carolina marched to victory, I was already on the phone buying Liberty Bowl tickets for my first ever trip to a college bowl game. The Liberty Bowl which is held in Memphis invites the conference champion from Conference USA to play a team from the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The matchup was set pitting East Carolina against the Razorbacks of Arkansas. The Liberty Bowl has been held in Memphis since 1965. It was originally started as a bowl game in 1959 in Philadelphia, hence the Liberty Bowl logo. The game struggled in Philadelphia as attendance wavered and revenue was minimal. The only successful Liberty Bowl game while in Philadelphia was the first one when 38000 spectators watched Penn State beat Alabama 7-0. The game moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey for one year before finding its home in Memphis. The game has been held at the 62,380 seat Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium since its inception. The game was such a success in Memphis, that the stadium was renamed from Memphis Memorial Stadium to reflect its connection with the Liberty Bowl. The stadium is also home to the University of Memphis, another team within Conference USA. Our seats were in the end zone with great views of the entire field. There is not really a bad seat anywhere in the stadium due to the fact that it is a true bowl stadium design and there is little space between the playing surface and stands. The stadium was a sea of red as Arkansas Razorbacks outnumbered East Carolina fans, with good reason since Memphis borders Arkansas and it is a 14 hour drive from North Carolina. But that didn’t stop me from displaying my purple and gold attire as I mingled with the enemy. The second largest attendance in Liberty Bowl history, 62,742 people watched the opening kickoff as Arkansas took possession of the ball first. The beginning of the game was a display of defensive skill from both teams as the first quarter ended scoreless. East Carolina then found their groove as a passing touchdown and a field goal led to a 10-0 lead going into halftime. Halftime consisted of musical sequences by both college’s marching bands and a short concert by Eddie Money. As the temperature steadily dropped into the teens at the beginning of the third quarter, so did the offense of East Carolina. The Arkansas Razorbacks scored ten unanswered points off two straight interceptions to tie the game. East Carolina went back up 17-10 after a touchdown, but on the very next Arkansas possession, they tied it back up 17-17. The fourth quarter saw more drama than an episode of Days of Our Lives. Both kickers missed a field goal early in the quarter. With about two minutes left, East Carolina’s kicker missed yet another field goal. With a great defensive stand, East Carolina got the ball back and got into field goal range. With 2 seconds left on the clock, and two missed field goals, the third time had to be a charm. As the ball went wide, I saw the chance for victory slipping away. The game went to overtime, the first time ever in the history of the Liberty Bowl. Both team captains met on the field to begin the overtime period. Arkansas won the coin toss and they elected East Carolina to have the ball first. Each team gets the ball with a chance to score a touchdown or field goal. After East Carolina failed to score a touchdown, the team’s fate once again resided in the kicker. The kick went wide and I wondered how it was possible. Arkansas went on to kick the winning field goal on their possession and captured the Liberty Bowl trophy. Although the game didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it, I was still happy to be there cheering on my team in the blistering cold weather. East Carolina finished the season with a 9-5 record and although they failed to win the Liberty Bowl, the silver lining was that they were back to back Conference USA champions, a first ever for the conference. Close
Written by CarolinaPanthers1983 on 20 Dec, 2009
A singer, a movie star, a soldier, a hero, an achiever: All of these words describe Elvis. Whether you never heard his music or you did, Elvis' music accomplished many things that only a few can do. Even today, his music is still played on…Read More
A singer, a movie star, a soldier, a hero, an achiever: All of these words describe Elvis. Whether you never heard his music or you did, Elvis' music accomplished many things that only a few can do. Even today, his music is still played on radios not only in the United States, but around the world. Graceland, Elvis' famous home, is what keep his memory of him as well as music alive. Visited by over on million visitors every year, Graceland attracts people from all different backgrounds from all over the world.My family and I arrived at Graceland. I had never been to Graceland in my entire life, but I could tell from seeing the place on television that this was a grandeur place. I was very excited to finally get the opportunity to see Graceland. My family and I had to the ticket counter to get our tickets.Tip: If you are serving in the military, you can get Graceland discounts for you and your family. Thanks Elvis for serving in the military.After my family and I got our tickets to visit Graceland, we had to wait for our bus to send us across the street to go into Graceland. We were handed headsets and hand-held radio receivers. The headsets and hand-held receivers where great to have because you didn't need a tour guide. The hand-held receivers had a pre-recorded voice that would tell you everything you need to know while going through Graceland. This was great because it allowed me to set my own pace without having a tour guide setting it for me. I like that I could be able to not follow a large crowd and could take my time to witness Elvis' home.As I was walking through Elvis' home, it felt like I was experiencing Elvis everyday life in his home. From walking through his kitchen to going through his recording home, I learned that Elvis was human just like the rest of us. Just trying to live his life while providing for his family.the best as he could.Tip: Take your time and take in Graceland. Even if you have never listen to music, Graceland shows not Elvis as an icon but as a regular person.After we finished our tour of Graceland, I noticed one important thing that Graceland offered. Elvis wanted to helped the people of Memphis that he anything he could to help them. Even today, Elvis is still helping many people in Memphis. Graceland has helped create jobs for people that would have jobs in Memphis. A rock star, a philanthropist, a husband, a father. Elvis was an American success story that is lived by Graceland. I believe that every American should visit Graceland at least once in their lifetime. Close
Written by Vanilla Sugar on 13 Dec, 2008
If you have ever tried to leave work early, I hope you fared better than the Peabody ducks. One these famous ducks waddled away from the hotel lobby’s Italian travertine marble fountain. Then, the other four ducks must have thought it was quitting time and…Read More
If you have ever tried to leave work early, I hope you fared better than the Peabody ducks. One these famous ducks waddled away from the hotel lobby’s Italian travertine marble fountain. Then, the other four ducks must have thought it was quitting time and started to follow. Their exit came to an abrupt halt. The Duckmaster at The Peabody picked them up one by one with help from a waitress and gently plunked them back in the water. "That’s what happens when you try to leave work early," he reprimanded the ducks and drew laughter from the gathering crowd of people in the Grand Lobby. I checked my Seiko – 4:37 PM, getting close to 5 PM. At the top of the hour, we see the Duck Parade. The mallards would go down several steps from the fountain and follow the red carpet through a crowd of spectators. They’d waddle into the elevator for a ride to their "Duck Palace" on the hotel roof. This occurs every day at 5 PM. The ceremony is reversed daily at 11 AM.Ed and I had joined the growing crowd of people in the lobby of this downtown Memphis hotel, The Peabody. We arrived at 4 PM when there were still tables available in the lobby surrounding the fountain where the five Peabody Ducks swam in slow circles. Waiting for the hour to pass, Ed read a USA Today and I visited with some ladies in town from Alaska for the Garden Club National Convention. Occasionally, I’d break from the casual conversation to shoot a few photos of the ducks – one male and four females. We watched the crowd swell to standing room only in the expansive lobby. Even though our table was close to the fountain, our great seats became obstructed with the view of people’s behinds. It occurred to me that we needed to be in the balcony above the scene, not lobby level. We found the stairs and claimed a place at the balcony railing.At about 4:50 PM, the Duckmaster told the crowd that the tradition of the Peabody Marching Ducks began as a practical joke at a time when live ducks were used as legal hunting decoys. The story goes that in 1933, Peabody General Manager Frank Schutt and his friend Chip Barwick returned empty-handed from a duck hunting trip in Arkansas but full of the effects of Tennessee whiskey. They decided to put their three live duck decoys in the fountain in the hotel’s Grand Lobby. Hotel guests reacted with delight. Eventually, five North American Mallard ducks replaced the original ones. The joke turned into an attraction, one we’d enjoy decades later.Shortly before 5 PM, the Duckmaster unrolled a red carpet. He invited children to sit along its edges. Adults crowed behind the kids, filled the lobby, and hung over the balcony. The tune of John Philip Sousa’s King Cotton March signaled the Duck Parade to begin. The Peabody Ducks waddled single-file out of the fountain, down red carpeted steps, and along the red carpet, stopping briefly to wiggle their tail feathers and sprinkle the startled kids with water. They entered the elevator for a ride to the roof and retire for the evening. It was truly quitting time. Close
Written by Tim Thornton on 25 Jan, 2007
The Mighty Mississippi. The first thing that you must know about Memphis is that the Mississippi is king. The Mississippi River was the foundation of commerce upon which Memphis got its start—when "cotton was king." From the gulf coast to New Orleans, this majestic torrent…Read More
The Mighty Mississippi. The first thing that you must know about Memphis is that the Mississippi is king. The Mississippi River was the foundation of commerce upon which Memphis got its start—when "cotton was king." From the gulf coast to New Orleans, this majestic torrent of power and breath has proven time and time again that no one challenges the Mississippi River and lives to tell about it. On the other hand, those who learn to respect it power and authority (like river boat captain Samuel Clemens), have made their living and their life on the waters and rivers banks. When you get to Memphis, don’t simple drive over the Mississippi—get out, take a sit, and feel the power of this majestic force of nature.
Elvis. Al Green. BB King. Some of great musicians that have called Memphis home, and they are remembered for it today. Two places that you must visit in Memphis are Graceland and Beale Street. Graceland, of course is the modest homestead of Elvis Presley. Though it seems bigger than life, it is actually not a large house, but the stories and adventures that originated from this house during the life of this legend are indeed bigger than life. Upon walking in the front door at Graceland, you will enter a world that is exactly as it was in the 1970s. Yellow walls, gaudy décor, and many small rooms filled with the trophies of his life and his music. You don’t have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy a few hours at the Graceland mansion and grounds.
The second place that you must visit is Beale Street. The home of the blues. Here you will find the music of the legends to which Vegas only dreams of giving birth. Al Green—a Memphian who drove a black caddy with gold trim around town when we were children (in Shelby Forest). BB King—whose soulful music continues to set the world on fire. And those who have followed in their foot steps. Beale Street is still filled with music today, and though this is a bit of a tourist destination, if you are in Memphis on the weekend, Beale Street is a must-see.
Justin Timberlake. Not everyone knows that Justin Timberlake grew up outside of Memphis in Shelby Forest. This beautiful state park area is seated on the banks of the Mississippi River, just outside of Millington. Justin went to elementary school at EE Jeter, elementary—a very small rural school on Benjestown Road (if you want to make the drive from Memphis, it is about 40 minutes). There is nothing unique about this school. It does not crank out music celebrities, or have special classes for the musically talented. If it did, I may have been one, too. I went to school at Jeter for 5 years, but I missed Justin by a full generation. Yes, I went to school with uncle John Timberlake, and knew Randy, Justin’s dad, as well. Does that make me a Jeter celebrity? I wish. It only makes me another would-be celebrity stalker. Sorry Justin and family. I am not trying to get in your back yard.
Justin’s grandfather and grandmother still live in the general area and pastor a church near Millington. They are wonderful members of the community and earned their respect long before the name Timberlake became famous to the rest of us.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Most people know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis during a trash workers strike. This is one of the saddest reminders of the kind of national history that that the US is often known for having created. We have come a long way since the 60s, and if you want to see the place where King was standing and understand the history of Dr. King and those who fought so hard for the liberty of people of color in the United States, the The Lorraine Hotel (National Civil Rights Museum) is located at 450 Mulberry in Memphis, TN in the South Main Historic District. It is very close to Beale Street, and the Peabody hotel.
The Peabody. This southern institution is a classic and a common place for Memphian’s and visitors alike. The Peabody is one of the oldest southern hotels, and has one tradition that is so unique and odd, that it seems civilized to those of us who grew up hearing about it. Every afternoon, on schedule, the elevators from the top floor of the hotel gather their prestigious residents and shuttle them to the majestic ground floor lobby. On the red carpet from the elevator to the large antebellum fountain in the middle of the grand lobby, the ducks make their march. With every eye in the room fixed on these residents, they swim in the lobby fountain for several minutes, and then proceed to get out and make their way back to the elevator where they retire for the day. Like clock work. Every day. And the tradition lives on.
Memphis in May. If you are visiting Memphis during the summer months, make it May. Since the 1970s, Memphis has been putting on a summer festival every May, filled with music, BBQ, contests, and lots of regional fun. The MemphisInMay festival has its own website if you are interested in the schedule of events. www.memphisinmay.org
Barbeque. Pork BBQ, that is. Southern pulled pork BBQ. Don’t let anyone from Texas tell you that Texas BBQ is the best in the world. Texas has good BBQ, mind you, but Texas BBQ is Beef—naturally. But if you want real southern BBQ, you have to go to Memphis (or Little Rock Ark, which is the same flavor and taste as Memphis BBQ). There are a few places in the world where BBQ rules, and Memphis is probably in the top 2 to many who know and love BBQ. There are a couple of culinary distinctions to note about Memphis BBQ that differ from Texas BBQ. First of all, it is made from Pork—I told you that already. White Meat BBQ. The second is that Memphis BBQ is either dry (rub) or wet or both. You will have to try both and decide which fits your taste. The next thing that you must know is that in Memphis, it is customary to put Cole slaw on your BBQ sandwich. This is not required, but if you don’t want it, you should probably ask to have it added "on the side" so that you are not surprised. I recommend trying it, whether you like cole slaw on not. It’s a Deep South thing. Try it!
A couple of popular BBQ restaurants in Memphis: Interstate BBQ. & Corky’s. These are both legends in their own right, and if Elvis were alive today, you might find him packing in the pork BBQ at one or both of these famous Memphis landmarks. There are many small BBQ shops in Memphis that serve great BBQ. Don’t be afraid of stopping, regardless of the name on the sign. The River Walk on Mud Island. This may not look like much, but this little 2-mile long island has a scaled replica of the Mississippi River, from its tributaries to the Gulf of Mexico. If you remember the Tom Cruise movie "The Firm," part of the movie’s chase scene was shot on the walking bridge and museum on Mud Island. While you are in the area (downtown), don’t miss the glass pyramid and the nearby houses facing the river. Very close to the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River (called the "new river bridge" by locals, though it was built 30 years ago) is the Danny Thomas St. Jude Children’s Research Center. This facility is one of the most notable children’s research facilities in the world today. If every celebrity left the legacy that Danny Thomas has left to the world, the world would be a better place (not that it’s a bad place!).
The Memphis Zoo. The Memphis Zoo is a smaller zoo located in Overton Park, but very nice for its size. One thing that is interesting about this zoo is that the most famous former resident of this sanctuary is the Volney the Lion. You may have seen Volney. He was the lion that roared at the beginning and end of MGM movie trailers. Don’t expect to see Volney today, as he passed in 1944 (but I thought you might like to know—since you seem to like celebrity stories).
Well, there is more to say about Memphis, but I am sure that many others have already said it. Memphis is truly a place of southern culture, southern history, and southern traditions.
Written by Desiree Koh on 21 Mar, 2001
Las Vegas may be the Sin City, but when it comes to going over the top with no qualms whatsoever, nothing comes close to Memphis.
As you drive across the Mississippi and Arkansas-Tennessee border, Memphis has the appearance of a tight midsize city with a smattering…Read More
Las Vegas may be the Sin City, but when it comes to going over the top with no qualms whatsoever, nothing comes close to Memphis.
As you drive across the Mississippi and Arkansas-Tennessee border, Memphis has the appearance of a tight midsize city with a smattering of lights - not at all like a town that produced the kings of rock & roll, BBQ, and the blues.
But look closer - and the devil will be the first to let you know that appearances can be deceiving.
Here's what I mean: everything in Memphis comes in biggie size. Humongous servings of ribs, hordes of tourists at Graceland, high hunk-a hunk-a burning love temperatures, and best of all, a great big ole heart.
And then you realize that any less than this, the denizens of Memphis will be crying foul play. Because this is the way of the south, the opulence of hospitality and the abundance of soul. You'll see what I mean as we explore the four pillars of society that make up this compact town.
Graceland: This is an exercise in the excess of a poor boy made good. The five TV sets in the basement, the African safari-themed Jungle Room, the indoor squash courts, the kitchen capable of dishing out fried PBJs around the clock, and the smacks of a blithe spirit set loose in a departmental store. In true Sixties fashion, the tackiness of the decor and furniture are displayed behind velvet ropes or plastic casings. Still, these barriers are but mortal hindrances -- more than a few visitors are moved to tears by the time they reach the final destination on the self-guided mansion tour -- Elvis's grave.
Beale Street: Forget Times Square and Dick Clark on New Year's Eve -- this is true party central with a soul. As the nightlife surges down the three blocks making up the main artery of Beale Street, the energy doesn't abate if you decide to take a trip into one of the night clubs. OK, so there's Hard Rock Cafe and there's Dick's Last Resort, which means that the national chains have arrived. Play the reverse psychology mojo card, and duck into a dark, cavernous dive for the sweetest blues you will ever hear. Don't worry if the Hurricanes can't seem to stop appearing in your hand -- the Harley-Davidson riders at the end of the strip will keep you in check.
BBQ: At the Pig-N-Whistle Barbeque Restaurant (7144 Winchester Road), the beef ribs are so huge, you'll need both hands to grapple with them. At Corky's (see entry in this journal), they bring you a new glass of home-made lemonade even before you've made it past a third of your gigantic first glass. Too much of a good thing is not enough of a good thing. Yes, the waitresses are loud and friendly, too.
The Peabody Hotel: Historian David Cohn once said, "The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel... If you stand near its fountain in the middle of the lobby... you will see everybody who is anybody in the Delta..." The opulence rivals top hotels in the country, but top this: the twice-daily Duck March where mallards strut from their Plantation Roof residence to frolick in the lobby fountain, to the music of John Philip Sousa (11am). The parade begins again at 5pm, when the ducks return to their roost. A NYC-style deli and a French restaurant in the south? Yep.
Of course, like any other thriving city, Memphis is not immune to gentrification. Mud Island is a peculiar little enclave that houses the new school bourgeoisie of the city -- neat condos arranged symmetrically, surrounded by faux sand volleyball patches and clay tennis courts. The white wash, the well-manicured lawns and the gym seem to belong to an alien city -- perhaps that is why the area is separated from the Memphis mainland, and quaratined to its own insular neighborhood.
Written by KP8 on 27 Jul, 2005
Things to See, Do, and Eat in Memphis, TN:
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…Read More
Things to See, Do, and Eat in Memphis, TN:
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.
Written by MCJ graduate on 26 May, 2005
Beale Street is an interesting experience. Here, you can go to the historical district, dine at restaurants, listen to music at nightclubs, tour museums, and go shopping.
Concerning history, this is where singer W.C. Handy performed the first blues song. And because of this, there is…Read More
Beale Street is an interesting experience. Here, you can go to the historical district, dine at restaurants, listen to music at nightclubs, tour museums, and go shopping.
Concerning history, this is where singer W.C. Handy performed the first blues song. And because of this, there is a park named W.C. Handy Park on Beale Street. This park provides free concerts, and traveling musicians are present here. Then there is Church Park along Beale Street, built by the city’s first African-American millionaire, named Robert Church. He built it for a safe refuge for African-Americans in the early 1900s. Along with these two parks, there is the Beale Street Walk of Fame (located between 2nd and 3rd). Musical notes are engraved in the concrete that mark the Walk of Fame. This is where some of the greatest Memphis musicians are recognized.
If you want to dine on Beale Street, you have many choices. Some of these are Rum Boogie Café, B. B. King’s, Hard Rock Café, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, Alfred’s on Beal, etc. And if you want to listen to music, some of the clubs on Beale Street include Silky O’Sullivans, Wet Willie’s, Club 152, Peabody Hotel, Rum Boogie Café, B.B. King’s Place, etc. Or, if you want to tour a museum see The Police Museum, it has neat "criminalia" to view. Lastly, if you want to shop, you can at Y-Not, Tater Red’s, Strange Cargo, Hard Rock Café, etc.
On our first trip to Memphis in 2003, we found Beale Street boring at night—it was during the week. In fact, it was so boring that it took us an hour to find it. This was because nothing was going on. Then we returned in 2004 around Halloween time, and it was popping. There were street musicians everywhere. One guy that looked like the actor Johnny Depp played three instruments at one time. He played the bass drum with his foot, a guitar, and a harmonica. And behind him was a guy dressed like the horror character Jason wheeling a fake knife at a man dressed as Heidi (the Swiss girl in children’s stories) in an inflatable, obese-looking suit. Then, across the street from this amazing and comical act, was a portly lady singing lyrics like, "I am a dirty old woman with a dirty old mind, tonight." Along with this, there were venders selling beer in the streets. And because of the high alcohol consumption by some people, there was some stumbling going on in the streets. In addition, other people were tapping their feet to both the street musicians’ music and/or the nightclubs’ bands. Therefore, it was a crazy but fun night when we were there on a Halloween weekend night in 2004.
We parked a block from Beale Street and only paid $3 for the night. You should shop around for parking lots, as some are cheaper than others.
I highly recommend Beale Street for adults only at night and children during the day. This is because I feel that at night, the entertainment is directed more for adults and I don’t think it is too keen for kids to witness intoxicated individuals on Beale Street. However, there are restaurants, like Hard Rock Café, that are okay for families, and you could take the older family members to popular sites like the Police Museum (it has interesting artifacts here, from contraband taken from criminals to newspaper writings on famous criminals). This museum is open 24 hours.
Written by JayneeS on 28 Oct, 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.…Read More
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.