The Essential Guide to Memphis
Collected by Chris Chamberlain , AFAR Local Expert
An important center of Tennessee’s Mid-South region, Memphis is known for its music, from blues to soul to gospel; its barbecue; its opulent hotels; and its many civil rights landmarks. It’s also home to Elvis Presley’s former mansion, Graceland, and a vibrant downtown, complete with the iconic Beale Street entertainment district and many fun attractions along the Mississippi River.
5668 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38119, USA
Commissioned as a public artwork for the Memorial Park Cemetery, Crystal Shine Grotto is the largest—and perhaps only—man-made quartz cavern in the country. In 1938, Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez had a 60-foot-deep cave dug into...
Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116, USA
Fans of The King flock to Graceland, making Elvis Presley’s former mansion the most-visited home in America after the White House. While the mansion is the main attraction, taking guests back in time to when Elvis ruled the zeitgeist from...
2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112, USA
Situated in Overton Park, the Memphis Zoo has been a city fixture for more than a century. Often named one of the top-rated zoos in the country, it’s among the few facilities on the continent with giant pandas—the most popular exhibit...
450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The site of everything from lunch counter sit-ins to the sanitation workers’ strike of 1968 that inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have been to the mountaintop” speech, Memphis occupies an important place in the history of civil rights....
305 S Front St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
An Italian immigrant to Memphis, Domenico Canale established food wholesaler D. Canale & Co. in 1866, selling, among other things, a whiskey he named Old Dominick and a novel bourbon-based cordial called the Dominick Toddy. He passed away in...
118 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
The Peabody Memphis has hosted many notable guests during its near century of operation. However, even more so than the presidents and movie stars who have spent the night at this opulent hotel, the resident ducks are the most famous. Legend has...
3050 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38111, USA
Located in a massive, pink Georgia marble mansion built by Piggly Wiggly grocery magnate Clarence Saunders in the 1920s, the Pink Palace Museum features much of what you’d expect from a typical tourist attraction, including laser shows, an...
531 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
Memphis is blessed with some great dive bars and burger joints, but no place combines the two concepts better than Earnestine & Hazel’s, an iconic spot on the edge of downtown, just a short walk from the debauchery of Beale Street. An...
39 N Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
In a world where many diners equate large portions with value, Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar understands that some people prefer to make a meal of several different dishes. The menu here does feature full-size entrées, but guests are...
707 W Brookhaven Cir, Memphis, TN 38117, USA
Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer operate several restaurants around Memphis and across the Southeast, but none of them express the duo’s Italian heritage and Southern sensibility better than Hog & Hominy. The food served up by these...
6300 Poplar Ave #115, Memphis, TN 38119, USA
Don’t let the unpretentious exterior and strip-mall location of this little deli fool you—Las Tortugas is deadly serious about crafting delicious, authentic Mexican cuisine with only the freshest ingredients. At locations in East...
2146 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38104, USA
Chef Kelly English trained in some of the best kitchens in New Orleans before opening Restaurant Iris, where he now serves his homey take on French-Creole cuisine. Here, dining spaces are spread throughout the rooms of a cozy bungalow,...
1782 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104, USA
A classic Southern smokehouse, the Bar-B-Q Shop is reputedly where the Memphis specialty known as barbecue spaghetti was invented. Riffing on traditional spaghetti with meat sauce, the dish features a mountain of pasta topped with pulled pork and...
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