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Holidays to Memphis
Memphis - city of music
Sitting on the Mississippi River as it does, you could be forgiven for seeing Memphis as equally languid. Things happen at a slightly slower pace here. People are more relaxed and, as a consequence, you'll relax too!
Memphis is a river town, a trading town and a central port and has drawn characters from all over the US. People flock to Memphis because of the sub-tropical climate, and the live scene in Beale St. It's also responsible for a huge amount of musical talent. For some reason the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, B.B. King and more were all born and bred in Memphis. As such you'll find a good many of Memphis' delights are music based. No bad thing.
Getting to Memphis Tennessee is easy. There are plenty of daily flights to Memphis from international airports along the east coast and once there, securing a hotel in Memphis is also easy - but do book ahead on Holiday Supermarket for better rates and a good choice of hotels.
There are plenty of things to do in Memphis - watch the ducks crossing at the Peabody Hotel, check out Beale St, get your blue suede shoes on for a visit to Gracelands. Downtown Memphis is full of activities (and a great place to find a hotel in Memphis).
Eating out in Memphis
Cheap, expensive and everything in between.
The visitor dining options in Memphis centre around Beale St. This is where it all (mostly) happens. That said there are several good options within the downtown area.
The budget options - bbq is always good and even better when it's cheap. Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken is at 310 S Front St in the Downtown area and it's a masterful slice of good eating at a decent price. What's more southern than fried chicken? Nope, didn't think so. It's spicy with a crispy skin, comes with mashed potatoes and is an institution in the city. Just don't tell your cardiologist. Las Delicias Mexican Bar and Grill is in East Memphis on 4002 Park Avenue. Think guacamole, tortilla, an all-in-one steak, pork chops, and excellent sandwiches.
Mid price options - sometimes, when you've been on the road for some time, all you need is a little, quality sushi. We've found it in Memphis. It's called Sakura and they do sushi, plus tempura, sashimi, gyoza and more. Healthy and delicious! You can't go to America without dining at an American bar. The Bardog Tavern on Monroe Ave in the Downtown area is such a beast. This is chili, island club sandwiches, burgers, burritos and sliders.
Splurge - Erling Jensen is a serious splurge restaurant. Nothing is left to chance here; service is impeccable, the wine list is meticulously maintained and the food is exceptional. Wine-infused figs, baked fish, delicate gazpacho, bison with lobster sauce, pear and spinach salad, lobster pancake - we could go on, but just do yourself a favour, head to Erling Jenson at 1044 S Yates in East Memphis. Outstanding.
The weather in Memphis, Tennessee is humid and hot in summer and can get ice storms in winter. The climate generally is a sub-tropical one. Temps get into the low 30s C during summer and can get to zero with the occasional snow shower. Autumn is warm but often wet and spring can heat up quickly. Bring an umbrella during summer and autumn and you should be fine.
Memphis is a music experience
Don't worry, there are plenty of other entertainments to keep you occupied in Memphis; but music does make up the mainstay, and is likely the reason you came to Memphis in the first place.
Gracelands - make this your first stop and spoil yourself for everything else. Sure, it's a little tacky, the souvenirs garish and the money-raking and taking aspect slightly galling. But this is where he lived and died, parked his car at the end of a hard day and stayed up 'til dawn mooching about with his mates. There's nothing subtle about the home of Elvis; but you do have to do it, so just join a queue and get into it.
Elmwood Cemetery - while we're on the subject of death, take a detour to Elmwood for a touch of history. This is the old south and to see the monuments and statues residing under soaring elms is something else. The leave-spotted paths are a delight to meander down as you read the poignant and sometimes funny inscriptions and take in the old time look and feel. Civil war graves, yellow fever and more; all made their mark on Memphis.
Main Street Trolley - this is the perfect way to see a big chunk of Memphis while seated in comfort! Catch the Main St Trolley. Go up and down for a dollar and get your fill of people watching. There's also a loop that goes down to the river.
Peabody Hotel - this glamorous denizen of the old South is a monument to taste and discretion. There's even a parade of ducks that takes place every day. The shoppes (yes, those kind of shoppes) are sweet and you can sit in the lobby for a drink. It's a grand old hotel in the centre of downtown.
Full Gospel Tabernacle - if you've never seen good, old, and full on gospel, this is the place to whet your appetite. The Reverend Al Green sings up a storm as does the choir - if you're lucky enough to strike a day when they're there! It's a feet-tapping, arm-swaying full-on experience and you'll leave definitely feeling the love.
National Civil Rights Museum - is at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot and it's a walk-through of the turbulent times. Set in the actual motel, the museum features artefacts, memorabilia and MLK history.
The must see - if you love music, or are just slightly interested, a visit to the historic Sun Studios where Elvis recorded his first tracks is a must. Johnny Cash laid down tracks here as did Jerry Lee Lewis and others,. The studio is small and the recording equipment primitive but the tour is enthralling and the history of pop, rock and country writ large within the hallowed halls.