Memphis offers everything from the blues to civil war history, with plenty of delicious eats in between. There’s so much to see and do, after getting a taste you might find yourself searching through the Memphis houses for sale so you can enjoy unlimited time there, but for now, if you only have one day here in this Tennessee city, here’s how to do it right.
Start your day the way many of the locals do, with a delicious country-style breakfast at Barksdale’s with classics like biscuits, cheese grits, omelets, eggs, and bacon. While it’s no-frills, you can expect a warm welcome with friendly service and a sense of community while surrounded by autographed glossies of famous Memphians like actress Cybill Shepherd, Grizzlies’ stars and political signs.
Just a 5-minute drive away is Sun Studio, often referred to as the spot where rock ‘n roll was born – public tours are available that reveal the Sun story and its stars, including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, with lots of memorabilia on display. They start at the bottom of every half hour until 5:30 p.m., and you can even have your photo taken in the very place where the legends once recorded.
From here you can easily check out the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel, paying homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (who stayed in room 306 in April 1968) and others who’ve fought for civil rights throughout history.
You can’t visit Memphis without seeing Graceland, the home Elvis Presley purchased in 1957 for $102,500 when he was just 22 years old. As tourists usually arrive in the morning, it’s usually less busy in the afternoon, with the last tour starting at 4 p.m or 5 p.m., depending on the time of year and day of the week. You’ll be able to explore the magnificent mansion, including The King’s legendary jungle room, his pink Cadillac, record collection, elaborate costumes, and the aircraft that he traveled on from show to show.
If you aren’t still full from breakfast, Graceland hosts two restaurants, Vernon’s Smokehouse, renowned for its Memphis BBQ, and Gladys’ Diner serving classic American cuisine. Just keep in mind that you might want to save room for dinner.
Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous is a long-time Memphis institution, serving BBQ in a downtown alley for over 70 years. Located just across from the famous Peabody Hotel, the ribs, dry rub done true Memphis-style, are a favorite of former President Bill Clinton and thousands come to sample them. Afterwards, enjoy the best show in town at The Orpheum, an opulent theater built in 1928 hosting Broadway productions, big-name concerts and entertainers, theatrical performances, and summer movie series.
Sample the nightlife, starting on famous Beale Street, enjoying the blues at B.B. King’s or among the beer-loving goats at the Irish dueling piano pub known as Silky O’Sullivan’s. In the heart of the scene is Alfred’s, famous for its live music, including popular cover bands for dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. If the weather cooperates, you can also enjoy the only rooftop patio on Beale, a fabulous place to spend the rest of the evening.