Travel Guide Memphis Tennessee. Another thing to check off my bucket list y’all…”Go someplace I’ve never been before.” I’m so excited to share today’s post and dive into Memphis with y’all. Memphis is the home of blues, soul and rock-n-roll. As you may know, I just got back from Memphis. Fortunately enough, I was able to enjoy all of these amazing places thanks to Memphis Travel.
Where we stayed
We stayed at Hotel Napoleon which is located in downtown Memphis. Hotel Napoleon is a luxury boutique hotel housed in the historic Winchester building dating back to 1902. Our hotel was located in the perfect spot. Just about every restaurant we went to was within walking distance. Not to mention that Beale Street was only 2 blocks away! I will touch more on the hotel when I share my review with y’all!
Luna Restaurant and Bar (located in our hotel) – We actually did not eat here but the food looked amazing and such great prices. The drinks however, delicious.
The Rendezvous – We went here on our first night in Memphis. The Rendezvous is one of many BBQ spots in town and it was delicious. Located a block away from our hotel and in an alley way, it may not look like much from outside but it sure was delicious! What I ate: Appetizer – BBQ Pork Nachos and sausage and cheese. The sausage was so good. For dinner – Pork ribs & brisket combo served with baked beans and potato salad
The Arcade Restaurant – On our second day for breakfast we ate at The Arcade Restaurant. What I ate: 2 eggs, hash browns, bacon, biscuits and gravy
The Lookout (located in the Pyramid) – What can I say about The Lookout? First off, it’s located in the Pyramid which is also a Bass Pro Shops. This was my first experience being in a Bass Pro Shops and I’m pretty sure it’s one of the largest. The Pyramid is 300 feet, named the 10 largest pyramid in the world. Also, you have to take a free-standing elevator to get to The Lookout. It’s the tallest free-standing elevator in the world. You will see me ride on it in my vlog coming tomorrow! What I ate: Appetizer – Fried oysters. For lunch – Smoked turkey club w/ sweet potato fries
Itta Bena – Itta Bena is located above B.B. Kings Blues restaurant. It’s very low key and low lit. The feel of it is sort of like an exclusive restaurant or lounge. What I ate: Appetizer – She-crab soup and BBQ Shrimp (so good but spicy). Dinner – Salmon w/roasted potatoes and bacon hash (amazing)
Loflin Yard – Loflin Yard is a really cool indoor/outdoor restaurant set on an acre of land with a stream running through it. If you choose to eat outside, it actually feels like you are in a yard and there are hammocks, games like giant chess and more waiting for you. What I ate: Brisket Hash. Probably the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten in my life!
Evelyn & Olive – I just went to Jamaica for my honeymoon and this restaurant was Jamaican style. This restaurant was recommended to us by our hotel manager. It turns out I met the manager of the restaurant the night before so he took very good care of us. He gave us a free beef patty which was so nice. What I ate: Ziggy pasta and I had oxtails for the first time and I love them!!!
The Beauty Shop Restaurant – Our last meal before going to the airport. This was probably one of the coolest looking restaurants I’ve ever been to. As its name states, the restaurant was once a beauty shop. Actually, it was Priscilla Presley’s “curl and dye spot.” What I ate: Appetizer – Fruit salad. Brunch – Steak and eggs w/ sweet potato apple hash
Next Door Crosstown Concourse – This was on our itinerary to go to for lunch on our last day but I got a recommendation from our hotel manager to go to the Beauty Shop Restaurant instead.
Day 1// We flew out of Philly at 10:10am and connected in Atlanta at 12:18pm. From there we flew to Memphis and got there at 2:01pm CST. The flights were very short. Also, Memphis is in central standard time, so an hour behind Philadelphia/EST.
Once we got our bags, our host Milton came to pick us up from the airport to check into our hotel at 3pm. If you were to take an Uber it would probably cost about $20 or less.
We checked into Hotel Napoleon and got freshened up to watch the Peabody Duck March at 5pm. The duck march is located at the Peabody Hotel (2 blocks away from Hotel Napoleon) lobby. This famous duck march dates back to the 1940s. Everyday at 11am and 5pm the ducks do their famous march and people from all over the world come to watch.
After watching the march we went to The Rendezvous for dinner and then back to the Peabody Hotel for their rooftop party. Rooftop parties happen every Thursday from 6p-10p from April until August.
Day 2// This was our tour day. We started the day with breakfast at The Arcade Restaurant. Fun Fact, the photo below is a picture of me sitting in Elvis’s booth of the restaurant!
From breakfast we went over to the National Civil Rights Museum. What a humbling experience it was. First off, the museum is located in the Lorraine Motel which is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. You really notice that you are in the hotel at the very end when you get to see his room (you will see this more in the vlog). The rest of the museum doesn’t seem like you are in a motel.
Our next stop was to the Rock-n-Soul Museum. Fun fact, the Rock-n-Soul Museum was created by the Smithsonian Institution. It tells the story about musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create music that shook the world.
Now it’s lunch time! We ate lunch at The Lookout located in the Pyramid and Bass Pro Shops. If you want lunch with a view, here is the ultimate spot. Look at the photo below. Do you see the ledge that is above the “Bass Pro Shops” sign? That is how high up the Lookout is. It is 300 feet above the Mississippi River with a full 360 degree view. The Pyramid is also home to the tallest free-standing elevator in the world at 25 stories.
Our last tour of the day was to Old Dominick Distillery
After touring, we actually walked back to our hotel from Old Dominick Distillery. We probably should have driven but we wanted to take in downtown Memphis. This also gave us the opportunity to walk Beale Street for the first time. Once at the hotel we got changed for dinner. We had a drink at the hotel bar first and was given 3 drink vouchers by the manager. He told me I was the hotel guest of the day! Sure enough when I walked to the lobby to leave to read the sign that said it there was!!! Haha I was so flattered. Basically each day our hotel chooses a different person for it.
For dinner we ate at Itta Bena. Itta Bena is located above B.B. King’s Blues Club. I randomly saw Manny Gutierrez (huge Youtuber) sitting near our table with his team. I wanted to take a picture but felt it was too intrusive and chickened out…le sigh.
After dinner we walked back to the hotel (I changed outfits again) and then went to Margaritas and then Beale Street to celebrate Milton’s birthday. Beale Street is so fun y’all. I’ve never been to New Orleans but I hear it’s a lot like Bourbon Street. The street doesn’t come alive until after 5pm and you can get your drinks to go and drink them on the street.
Day 3// After that full day of tours, day 3 had a lot less action. We ended up skipping breakfast (not ideal for me) and we went kayaking at Mud Island River Park. This was my first time kayaking and it’s harder than it looks. While it was very relaxing, there is lots of torso action to get you moving. It’s not all about the arms. Also, the closer we got to the Mississippi River the more rocky the current. Go down stream is also way easier. Coming back to drop off our kayaks was tough. Those that love to go kayaking will be interested in the products available from this site – https://www.perceptionkayaks.com/us/kayaks/fishing
After kayaking we changed clothes and had worked up an appetite. Lunch was at Loflin Yard. Lofin Yard is this really cool restaurant that utilizes the indoor and outdoor space. There are two bars, one when you first enter and then one towards the back of the property. The space in between the bars is a giant yard with outdoor seating, tables, hammocks, a really cool stream and more. I had the brisket hash and it was amazing!
Once we got done eating we made an unexpected stop to “I Am A Man Plaza.” This plaza was just built for the 50th commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. Here, there is a monument that says “I Am A Man” and it represents the sanitation works strike of 1968. This strike was the reason that Dr. King was in Memphis at the time he died. In the photo below, the wall behind me has the names of each sanitation worker on it during the time.
At 4:30 we went back to the harbor that we kayaked on earlier. This time for a Riverboat Cruise. The riverboat cruise took us down the Mississippi River and the guide gave us all type of information. At one point we crossed the state line into Arkansas.
After our riverboat cruise we went back to the hotel to relax for a bit. Our first time relaxing since we got to Memphis. We got drinks at the hotel bar and then were trying to decide where to eat dinner. My cousin Eric really wanted to go to Gus’s Fried Chicken because we heard such great things about it. The only thing was that Gus’s is by Old Dominick Distillery and as I said earlier we would need to drive. It also started to rain and I didn’t feel like going. The hotel bartender and manager then gave some suggestions and we ended up at Evelyn & Olive. They serve Jamaican food and I even had oxtails for the first time!
Following dinner we made plans to go to Paula & Raiford’s Disco which was right near our hotel. I needed a nap and told Eric to wake me up. Turns out we were both exhausted from the day because we didn’t get up lol.
Day 4// For our last day we started off at Graceland! Graceland is/was Elvis Presley’s mansion and is now a tourist attraction. Apparently his daughter Lisa Marie and family still go to the house for family gatherings.
After Graceland we went to Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, the label changed its name to Stax in 1961. “Stax” comes from the first 2 letters in the founders Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton’s last names. The record label featured many popular ethnically integrated bands and artists, along with having an ethnically integrated staff. Otis Redding, Rufus and Carla Thomas were some of the many names that recorded here. Oh and Isaac Haye’s purple Cadillac is here!
Our last tour finished up at Sun Studios. Since we went to so many museums, some of the information we learned at Sun Studios was a little redundant. I did learn, however, that the first ever recording of Elvis was at Sun Studio. Elvis went to audition to be part of Sun Studio and when the producer, Sam Phillips, listened to his tape he was not impressed and passed on Elvis. It would take a whole year for Elvis to return to Sun Studios where he eventually got signed to a contract. Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Ike Turner all recorded in this studio.
We had one last farewell lunch with Milton at The Beautyshop Restaurant. This was one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever been to. The booths are beauty stations and hair dryers. Once a beauty shop, it was transformed into a restaurant but some of its original architecture remains.
Other ideas/ excursions
Paula & Raiford’s Disco – We were totally supposed to go here on Saturday but were so exhausted from our busy itinerary lol.
B.B. King Blues Club
The Peabody Ducks – Back in the 1930s the general manager of the Peabody and a friend returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. After having too much Tennessee sipping whiskey they thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys in the Peabody fountain. This started the Peabody tradition and it was to become internationally famous. Another fact, the ducks live at the hotel for only 3-months before retiring from their duties. They get to return back to the farm and live as free, wild ducks. Last fact, duck has not been served on the menu since its 1981 reopen. The Chez Philippe (located in the hotel) may be the only French Restaurant in the world that does not serve duck.
Memphis Pyramid – Initially known as the Great American Pyramid aka the Pyramid Arena and locally referred to as The Pyramid. It was originally built as a 20,142 seat arena located in downtown Memphis at the banks of the Mississippi River. The facility was built in 1991 and was originally owned and operated jointly by the city of Memphis and Shelby County. Shelby County sold its share to Memphis in April 2009. Its structure plays on the city’s namesake in Egypt, known for its ancient pyramids. It is 321 feet tall and has base sides of 591 feet; it is by some measures the tenth-tallest pyramid in the world.
We had an amazing time in Memphis and I would definitely like to make it back here again. Once again I want to send a huge thank you to Memphis travel and especially Milton for being so hospitable to us during our stay. Have y’all ever been to Memphis before? Would you ever consider going? Let me know below!
Thanks for reading!
*Today’s post was in collaboration with Memphis Travel. All opinions are my own.*