24 Hours in Memphis
Memphis' history is a vibrant mixture of the Civil Rights Movement, the Blues, and the creation of Rock and Roll. As we were driving into Memphis I expected to listen to live music and drink beer just like we did in Nashville, but what I hadn't realized was the historical significance this city represents within the history and evolution of music as well as an important landmark in the civil rights movement.
We arrived in Memphis in the evening and stopped at Hog & Hominy (recommended by a good friend with valuable Memphis knowledge). They serve Italian cuisine with a southern twist, presenting unique and flavorful appetizers and pizzas. The restaurant is located on Brookhaven Circle in Germantown, where many great restaurants have settled down within this quaint and cute area on the outskirts of Memphis.
We then checked into the historic Peabody Hotel. If you go to Memphis, I would cough up some big(ger) bucks to stay at this famous, historic hotel. We used the trusty Priceline app and found a fabulous deal. First of all, the Peabody is truly a gorgeous hotel with dark wood interiors, glittering chandeliers and vibrant flower arrangements in the lobby. Restaurant Chez Phillipe is an opulent dining experience within the hotel equipped with all the old southern splendor you could ask for. The lobby bar is a great place to relax and feels like you are chatting in you're own cozy living room. You'll notice duck accents throughout the hotel. The ducks are an important part of the hotel's history because the Peabody Ducks reside on the roof of the hotel and every day the celebrity ducks make an appearance in the lobby, coming out of an elevator and waddling down a red carpet and into the central fountain where they play for a while before heading back up to the roof where they reside. The tradition has been going on for 90 years.
After dinner and a drink in the lobby, we headed out to Beale street to listen to some live Blues music. The street is closed to cars and you can walk along with a beer in hand and choose which venue you'd like to relax at. We chose to hang out at a small venue in Handy Park, the B.B. King's Blues Club, and the alfresco King's Palace Cafe.
My boyfriend, Kendell, is a huge BBQ fan, and I told him before we got to Memphis we can eat as much BBQ as he wanted, so the next morning, after jamming on Beale street all night, we headed to Central BBQ for our first true southern BBQ experience, Memphis Style. I knew nothing about BBQ before heading to Memphis, but Memphis-Style means mainly pork (which I love even though I'm not a huge meat eater), with a focus on ribs and shoulders which are cooked dry. They are cooked dry and if you order wet, they lay on the sauce after cooking. I have to admit my pulled pork sandwich at Central BBQ was pretty epic.
We then walked over to the Lorraine Hotel to witness and pay thanks to where the great Martin Luther King Jr. was shot on his balcony a day after speaking at the Mason Temple Church. He was speaking about the Sanitation Workers Strike and his headquarters were located at the Lorraine Hotel, which is now a National Civil Rights museum.
The same morning we wandered down South Main Street which was full of cute coffee shops and stores. The Blues Hall of Fame is in this area as well as the Gibson guitar factory, which we had the pleasure of touring. It's fascinating how much work and dedication goes into these sought after guitars. Special editions ordered by famous musicians can also be seen throughout the tour.
Obviously when in Memphis you gotta visit the king's mansion, so before eating our last meal in Memphis, we headed over for a tour of Graceland Mansion to see where Elvis lived throughout his successful career. Take note that this isn't just a pitstop, you need to take a shuttle to the house and have an iPad led tour which takes about an hour, the front of the mansion is a great photo opp on your way out!
After the tour we then headed back out to Germantown for dinner before heading to our next destination. We ate at The Germantown Commissary, which was so incredibly delicious and located in a small, wooden building with random kitschy items covering the walls.
I'd love to hear your take on Memphis! Join the conversation in the comments below and let us know you're favorite thing about the home of Elvis and the Blues!