Travel Thoughts by Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….to Memphis!
You know how I have repeatedly said that I don’t really have a favorite trip – all trips are amazing in their own way? Well, I just may have found an exception to that statement. I still say I think ALL my trips are awesome, but some do stand out as a bit more memorable…..this one will definitely be a LOT more memorable than most – crammed with sentimental and emotional experiences that touched my heart and sparked many wonderful memories…and it was a TON of fun!
I spent the week of September 27 – October 2 in Memphis, TN. I stayed at the Guest House at Graceland – the wonderful hotel that is located on Graceland property. Throughout the week, I toured Graceland and the whole Graceland experience, I spent time walking around downtown Memphis, took a day trip via bus to Tupelo, Mississippi, and saw The Monkees in concert! WOW – what a week!
My plan for this trip was to do “all things Elvis”, which is why I stayed at Graceland. I wasn’t sure what else I would do. But, because of how some of my core plans were scheduled, I had a couple extra days to fill, so I searched for other tours and points of interest I might enjoy and found there is so much to see and do in Memphis.
Here are some highlights and recommendations for anyone considering a trip to Memphis — you can get all the details and tons of photos in the blog post links at the end of this article.
If you have an interest in Graceland and Elvis and you can fit it in your budget, definitely consider staying at the Guest House at Graceland. It is a wonderful hotel just minutes from the airport and downtown. The shuttles provide transportation to/from the airport and all the Graceland venues. If you want to go downtown and don’t have a car, the taxi service I used (Bluff City Taxi) was very good – fun, friendly, helpful drivers and an easy call for pick up, but don’t wait till the last minute to call. Some tours also may offer hotel pick up – the two I took did. Graceland also has an entertainment venue – the Soundstage – where they have live performances on Friday nights. I was lucky enough to be there when The Monkees were booked for a concert from their Farewell Tour. It was a great show! Check to see who might be there when you’re there – you don’t have to be staying at Graceland or do the tour to get tickets to the concerts. Some upcoming acts include the Beach Boys, Marshall Tucker Band, Josh Turner, and many others.
The museums in Memphis are really quite incredible. Of course, there is Graceland – if you plan to see Graceland, I highly recommend booking the Ultimate VIP Tour (there are several tours with various levels of access and cost). The UVIP Tour comes with an expert guide and access to areas and personal items that the other tours don’t include and are well worth the price.
Other museums that you don’t want to miss and are very affordable are: Sun Studios – great guide, interesting, fun. Rock & Soul Museum – self-guided tour that is jammed with the history of American music. National Civil Rights Museum – located at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was shot, this museum chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery in America through to Dr. King’s leadership and beyond. It is an emotionally charged, self-guided tour that is an absolute MUST SEE in Memphis. And two that I didn’t get to do, but hear are equally worth the time: Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Blues Hall of Fame……there are many other museums of various interest throughout the city.
Other things I highly recommend: Go to the Peabody Hotel just before 11:00 am any day to see the March of the Peabody Ducks – great fun – check out my “Walking in Memphis” blog post for details. And, check out the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid – a surprise experience you won’t regret taking the time to do. And, of course – spend some time on Beale Street.
About the food: The first thing I noticed when I was in Memphis is that the entire city smells of BBQ!!! You can’t go anywhere without smelling a pig slow cooking over a pit. I was hungry every minute I was there. And, I did enjoy the food….maybe a little too much! I had a delicious shrimp po’boy at Huey’s – a fun family owned restaurant downtown. I had amazing ribs at Marlowe’s and if you are staying within a 1 mile radius, they pick you up in a pink Cadillac limousine – that was cool! And, I loved the BBQ rib sandwich at BB King’s Blues Club – a great experience and delicious food. Another downtown restaurant that was highly recommended, but I didn’t get to try, is Rendezvous.
There are lots of bus and walking tours to choose from, too, if you like a more structured experience – I did the Memphis City Tour by Memphis Best Tours and a day trip to Tupelo, Mississippi run by Graceland. They also have ghost tours and other fun tours that I just didn’t have time to add in, but would have liked to check out.
Memphis is an awesome city to visit. Check out my blog posts to see all the stories and photos from this amazing trip. I hope you enjoy reading them.