Travel & Destinations

A Guide to Memphis

Blues, barbecue, and Beale Street

Memphis, with its rich musical heritage, delectable cuisine, and the vibrant atmosphere of Beale Street, beckons North Texans in search of a lively weekend escape. 

Catch a direct flight from DFW or Love Field for a short journey to Memphis and immerse yourself in the soulful rhythm of this city along the Mississippi River. 

Blending cultural richness with southern charm, Memphis is the perfect destination for a three-day getaway. 

Here are my favorite attractions and unforgettable experiences.

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Guitars and spirits at Rum Boogie Cafe

A melodic welcome: Beale Street and beyond

Begin your Memphis escapade on the legendary Beale Street, a three-block stretch pulsating with the echoes of blues legends like B.B. King and Louis Armstrong. Elvis had his first paid gig here, making it a must-visit for music enthusiasts. Feel the vibe as talented musicians bring the street to life. Begin at B.B. King’s Blues Club, then groove at Rum Boogie Café. 

Explore surrounding historic districts adorned with vibrant murals, unique boutiques, and craft breweries.

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The historic Arcade Restaurant

Barbecue bliss and foodie favorites

Your Memphis visit is only complete with savoring its world-famous barbecue. Indulge in Central BBQ‘s slow-smoked, dry-rubbed delights and experience the inviting charm of Itta Bena above B.B. King’s Blues Club. The historic Arcade Restaurant, Memphis’ oldest café, offers a chance to dine where Elvis Presley enjoyed his iconic fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Catherine and Mary’s brings the heart of Tuscan and Sicilian grandmother cooking to Downtown Memphis with James Beard-nominated chefs. It has a fantastic ambiance in a reclaimed expansive space.

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Elvis Presley’s iconic 1955 pink Cadillac | Photo by Andrea Zucker

Historic landmarks: From Graceland to the Lorraine Motel

Explore Memphis’ rich history at iconic landmarks like Graceland, the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Take the Elvis Experience Tour, which grants access to the mansion and the 10 museums showcasing his life and style. The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel provides a poignant journey through civil rights history, offering a glimpse into the city’s past and critical aspects of American history.

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The famous Sun Studio

Home of the blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll

Music is the heart of Memphis, a city with contributions to various genres. The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum captivated me for hours with its displays. A visit to Sun Studio is a must for music enthusiasts. This iconic recording studio played a pivotal role in launching the careers of legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Stax Records helped put Memphis on the map, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a gem featuring exhibits on artists like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and the Staple Singers.

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The ducks are on the march at The Peabody Hotel.

Don’t miss the Peabody Ducks and Central Station Hotel

Experience the famous duck march at The Peabody Hotel, where a flock of dandy ducks parade through the lobby daily, taking center stage and enjoying swimming in the fountain. The tradition started in the 1930s as a joke by The Peabody’s general manager, but the mallard ducks grew so popular that they became a permanent fixture. When not on duty, they reside in their luxurious Royal Duck Palace on the hotel’s rooftop. 

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Lobby bar & lounge at the renovated Central Station Hotel

Restored railway hub and a trolley, too

Experience a unique stay at the Central Station Hotel, a beautifully restored brick railway hub with a rich musical legacy. Amtrack stops here twice a day, going between New Orleans and Chicago. On the weekend, a DJ spins records in the comfortable lounge. The centerpiece is a wall of more than 4,000 records, each with some connection to the city’s rich musical legacy. For a buck, you can hop on the trolley that stops in front of the hotel and ride it to Beale Street. 

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Step back in time on a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River.

Stroll along the Mississippi Riverfront

Discover the transformation of Tom Lee Park, a renewed and dynamic space along the riverfront. Enjoy the beauty of the sunset, observe paddlewheel boats navigate the waters, or indulge in a leisurely 90-minute Memphis riverboat cruise on the mighty Mississippi.

Whether you’re a history buff, music lover, or foodie, Memphis lingers in your memory. This birthplace of the blues and rock’n’roll is more than a destination; it’s an experience. 

Explore a complete guide to Memphis at Memphis Travel at  


Sharon Kurtz

Sharon Kurtz is a freelance writer and photographer. Her passion is travel, telling stories, and tussling with her four-legged friends. As a baby boomer who loves adventure, she welcomes opportunities to share stories of people, places, food, and flavors around the corner or around the world. A regular contributor to fyi50+ Magazine, she's published 200 articles in various digital and print publications. Austin, Texas, is home with her husband and three spoiled dogs when not searching out new adventures. You can follow her travels on Instagram and Facebook.

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