A Getaway to Memphis
While often overshadowed by Nashville’s growing popularity, Memphis is every bit as deserving of a weekend getaway. (May 2014)
Written By: Kristin Luna
With acres of parks and green space (avid cyclists should check out the Greenline), an impressive jazz scene, and BBQ ribs that will knock your socks off, Tennessee’s largest city—Memphis—is guaranteed to wow you with its history and own unique identity.
Head west on I-40 for three hours. You can’t miss it.
Where to stay:
The Peabody is Memphis’ grand dame—and the daily parade of the ducks at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. is not to be missed, even if you don’t stay there. If you’re looking for a more contemporary stay, consider Madison Hotel, a hip downtown boutique with a distinctly urban feel.
Best weekends to go:
You can eat BBQ and see top-notch music any day of the year, but Memphis in May is a month-long celebration of the city’s finest culture.
Hop on the old-fashioned trolley (just $1) and head down Main Street to start your Memphis visit the way the King would—with breakfast at Arcade Restaurant, a well-known diner where Elvis was once a regular. Pop into the boutiques of South Main if you have money to spend before venturing over to the National Civil Rights Museum to learn about the struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. Celebrating its grand reopening on April 4—the date Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in that very spot at the Lorraine Motel in 1968—the renovated facility will focus on immersive exhibits, activism, and how the past can be applied to the future.
For lunch, true Memphis barbeque is a must. There’s an ongoing debate over which establishment wears the crown, but you can’t go wrong with a pulled pork sandwich from Central BBQ, Rendezvous, or even Southern franchise Corky’s, which was born in Memphis.
Adjoining neighborhoods Cooper-Young and Overton Square get a lot of foot traffic from the young, in-the-know crowd. Order a coffee at Otherlands, sift through piles of LPs at Goner Records, and peruse the new specialty shops like The Square Olive and Sweet Noshings that populate up-and-coming Overton.
Arrive at Wiseacre Brewing Co. right when the doors open to grab a seat in the city’s first taproom (wait any longer and it will undoubtedly fill up). If you get hungry, there’s always a food truck—like Fresh Gulf Shrimp, Rock’n Dough Pizza, and Fuel—parked outside the brewery’s patio. Or you could wait and dine at Hog & Hominy, the innovative Italian concept that was listed as a 2013 James Beard Award semifinalist, before heading back downtown for a live music hop along iconic Beale Street.
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