Top Places To Eat & Things To Do In Memphis, TN
Best Places to Eat & Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee
The Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll, Memphis is home to over 650,000 people. It has a rich past, both in music and the Civil Rights Movement, that makes it a historic and extraordinary location for our country and culture. This mix of stories and culture creates an environment where diversity thrives and there’s always something for everyone.
Best Food in Memphis
If you’re hungry in Memphis, you won’t be able to make it 10 feet without stopping for something. There’s so much incredible food everywhere you look and it can be hard to just pick one to try — we could barely get our list down to 25.
Best Chinese Food
Jim Neely's Interstate Bar-B-Que
Best Fried Chicken
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
Best Things to do in Memphis
Once you’re fueled and ready to explore the city, Memphis has a lot to discover. From famed locations to lesser-known spots where you could spend an entire day, this city really does have something for everyone. With so much history taking place on these streets, it’s hard not to simply walk through the city in awe — but we’ve narrowed down our list of must-see spots to keep you on track.
One of the most iconic and famous buildings in the country, Graceland and its 13.8-acre estate is the former home of the legendary Elvis Presley. Clearly, lots of people rank this highly on their list of things to do in Memphis, as it gets more annual visitors than any other private home in the country besides the White House. Whether you’re staying or visiting, Graceland has many events and tours that give you a peek behind the curtain of the life of one of the most renowned musicians of all time.
If Graceland is one of the most iconic buildings in America, Beale Street is one of the most iconic streets. With its history dating back to the 1800s, Beale Street has a variety of old and unique shops you won’t find anywhere else. A. Schwab is one example, and is the last original Beale Street store that’s still open. Selling an eclectic range of products, you can buy old candies, cookware, Hoodoo items, false teeth, and Confederate currency all in one place. Beale Street is also an incredibly important location in the history of blues music and was where early blues musicians would gather as early as 1899. In the early 1900s, musicians from Louis Armstrong to B.B. King would play along this street. It also played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement as a place for planning and protest demonstrations.
For some fresh air and time away from the downtown hustle and bustle, Shelby Farms is a 4,500-acre urban park in Memphis with miles of hiking trails, lakes, and more. It also provides a natural habitat for animal species like bison, a wide variety of birds, deer, bobcats, and others. Beyond spending an afternoon taking in the beautiful nature, they also host Starry Night events where you can experience the magic of the holidays with light shows and activities like the BuffaGLO Run.
32 floors, a hotel, a bowling alley, and an indoor swamp make up the fifth (or sixth, depending on who you ask) tallest pyramid on the planet. The Memphis Pyramid stands at 321 feet tall and opened in 1991 as the home court for the University of Memphis men's basketball team and the Memphis Grizzlies. When those teams relocated, the pyramid was eventually renovated and bought by Bass Pro Shop, which turned it into a megastore. It has a manmade swamp, 103-room hotel, and regularly hosts tournaments and events, so there’s always something for you to check out.
South Main Arts District
Just south of Beale Street is the South Main Arts District, which has converted early-1900s warehouses into a hub of bars, vintage fashion shops, shows at the Orpheum Theatre, and more. This area of Memphis is also home to a number of our food picks above as well as a museum we’ll discuss next. South Main is the perfect place if you’re looking to shop around the retro vibes that are brought to mind with the classic architecture of the surrounding buildings and warehouses. If you can’t get enough of that, you can also stay in one of the boutique hotels in the district so you can always be around the local art and murals.
With such a historic city, it’s no surprise that Memphis is home to many amazing museums and celebrated locations. For instance, the National Civil Rights Museum is located in the South Main Arts District mentioned above and is built around the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The Memphis Music Hall of Fame is another momentous museum that celebrates Memphis musicians and their achievements in music. Here, you can learn about and appreciate the music and lives of Al Green, Elvis Presley, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Johnny Cash, Maurice White, Tina Turner, Justin Timberlake, and many more. If you’re interested in the sciences or wildlife studies, the Pink Palace Family of Museums is a group of museums and science centers that have a range of facilities and exhibits from a planetarium and fossil finding site to an arboretum and historic Victorian homes. It’s also just down the road from our Memphis location at Poplar Commons, where you can grab a delicious burger and fries to share (or not) on your way to or from the museums or downtown.