Beginner's Guide to Memphis
Collected by Caroline Eubanks, AFAR Local Expert
Memphis is known for two things, blues and barbecue, but there is so much more to it than most visitors get to experience. Use this wanderlist as a guide to the lesser-known experiences as well as the classics.
2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112, USA
As one of the top-rated zoos in the USA, the Memphis Zoo is only one of a few zoos that exhibit Giant Pandas. If you'd like to see the Pandas, they are usually up and about when it's feeding time and napping the rest of the time. There's a lot to...
2265 S 3rd St, Memphis, TN 38109, USA
I've included the question mark because, to be fair, it was the only BBQ I've tried in Memphis. But it was certainly sold to us on that premise: a friend of mine had been told that, in what claims to be the BBQ capital of the world, there were 2...
567 S Front St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
From April through October, much of Downtown Memphis’ residents—not to mention those who live throughout the region—can be found at the Memphis Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. Farmers and producers from around the Mid-South region bring...
531 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Looking for a dive bar where you can drink with ghosts in a former brothel? Earnestine & Hazel's is the spot. The longtime Memphis favorite is a quintessential dive bar complete with one of the best burgers in town, the Soul Burger. Pull up a...
450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The National Civil Rights Museum symbolizes one of the darkest moments in the history of Memphis while serving as one of its great tourism points of pride. The museum opened in 1991 at the site of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King...
Riverside Dr, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The river is the city's greatest asset, but surprisingly, Memphis doesn't have many vantage points to truly enjoy the Mississippi. Tom Lee Park, at the foot of Beale Street, is one of the few spots. The long swath of open space adjacent to the...
361 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
South of Beale is the city's first gastropub, a title the restaurant's owners earned when they opened for business in 2009. Since then, the establishment has become one of Downtown's go-to spots for great food and drinks. Located just a couple...
147 E Butler Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Want to witness a "heated discussion" among Memphians? Ask five people for a favorite barbecue joint, and the answers are sure to be five different restaurants. But there is one spot most Memphians agree is at least on their list of finalists, and...
4458, 505 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Looking for a quiet spot Downtown to relax with a hot cup of coffee, maybe work on the Great American Novel? Bluff City Coffee is a shop frequented by residents and employees of the hip South Main neighborhood. The coffee is good; the setting is...
251 Riverside Dr, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Beale Street Landing has taken years to come to fruition, but the riverboat docking facility is a welcome sight for those wanting to photograph the beautiful Mississippi River. In the planning and construction phases for about 10 years, the...
288 S 4th St, Memphis, TN 38126, USA
One of the city’s more obscure and geographically isolated restaurants is also one of its best. Lunchbox Eats, located a block south of FedExForum at 288 S. Fourth St. near Pontotoc Avenue, serves good down-home cooking in a nondescript building....
125 N Front St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Mud Island River Park gives visitors the opportunity to get close to the Mississippi River while getting their toes wet along every inch of the Big Muddy. The park's Riverwalk is an exact replica of the entire length of the river from its...
706 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The birthplace of rock and roll—it’s that simple to describe what makes Sun Studio significant. In the summer of 1954, a young, unknown truck driver picked up a guitar during a session at 706 Union Avenue and made history with his recording of “...
145 Lt. George W Lee Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Ever wonder about the instruments your favorite musicians play on stage? At the Gibson Beale Street Showcase in Downtown Memphis, you can learn about the famous guitar and see where it’s made. Lasting about 45 minutes, tours take visitors into the...
200 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
When AutoZone Park opened in the spring of 2000, it was widely considered to be the best ballpark below the Major League Baseball level. Fourteen years after that first season for the Redbirds’ home ballpark, it remains one of the best minor...
Beale St, Memphis, TN, USA
Where the historic cobblestone landing meets Tom Lee Park, and the tip of Mud Island joins the Wolf River Harbor and the Mississippi River, you'll find Beale St Landing. This modern river dock is home of the Mother of all riverboats. Longer than a...
122 Gayoso Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
There's no reason to decide if you're in the mood for coffee or beer before settling on Tamp & Tap. Downtown's newest bar offers coffee and tea as well as plenty of beer options. Tamp & Tap opened in the summer of 2013 and has quickly grown into a...
83 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Automatic Slim’s Restaurant was one of the trendy dining spots in Downtown Memphis before the neighborhood had fully begun making its resurgence in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The restaurant is in a funky and eclectic space filled with works...
95 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
One of Downtown Memphis' sexy nightspots is Local Gastropub located along the Main Street Trolley line. Whether it's for happy hour, cocktail hour, dinner, or late-night drinks, Local fits the bill. The Downtown spot is the original; a newer...
100 S Main St #101, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Memphis is known for barbecue and good Southern cooking, but a number of pizza restaurants have come on the scene recently to add to the mix. Aldo’s was opened in the summer of 2012 by Aldo Dean, the man who brought Bardog Tavern to Downtown and...
52 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Ask 10 Memphians their favorite barbecue restaurant and you're likely to get 10 unique recommendations. Downtown's Rendezvous restaurant, if it doesn't make the top choice, is often on everyones list. The Greek-flavored, dry-rub ribs are the main...
118 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
At the historic Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis,TN, every morning, 5 ducks (North American mallards) clamber down from their rooftop Royal Duck Palace. They ride the elevator down several flights to the lobby floor. Accompanied by the Duck...
105 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38104, USA
Flying Fish is a dive specializing in, you guessed it, fish. I recommend the catfish basket and a beer by local brewery Ghost River. Poor boy ("po boy") sandwiches and salads are also on offer for the health conscious. Chow down before a night at...
Stax Museum, 926 E McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN 38126, USA
“Well, after Graceland and Sun Studio we just didn’t save time for Stax. Guess we were a little music-museum’ed out.” -People who recently visited Memphis, offering an excuse that simply won’t fly! Memphis definitely has a great share of musical...
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