OBB’s Travel Guide to Memphis

Is work or play taking you walking in Memphis for a few days or a long weekend? If so, here are tips from OBB Kristen Oliveri on what to see, do and stay while in the homeland of the King.

There’s still the old world charm alive and well in Memphis with this old milkshake counter.

There’s still the old world charm alive and well in Memphis with this old milkshake counter.

I’ve been to Memphis twice now and have had two uniquely Memphesonian experiences. In terms of where to stay, here’s the skinny.

Firstly, decide if a trip to see Graceland is in the cards for you. If so, seriously consider staying at the Guest House at Graceland. First thing to know is that Graceland is outside of the city proper in a very quiet area. The Guest House at Graceland, which was only newly opened a few years back, is directly across the street from the entrance.

On my first trip to Graceland for work, I checked myself into the Guest House at Graceland, knowing I would have a few precious hours in the late morning where I could get my groove on with the King, led by a guided audio tour brought to you by none other than John Stamos (HAVE MERCY!).

BBQ in Memphis? I think so!

BBQ in Memphis? I think so!

While I expected the hotel to have a killer location for what I wanted to do, I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much.

I grew up watching classic Elvis movies and always admiring the King for his spectacular talent, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to sleep on a pillow with his face on it, if you get what I’m saying.

Turns out, while there are some over-the-top themed restaurants and gift shops, the hotel was lovely, simply put. There was live music every night in the lobby bar (mostly Elvis, but other artists you know and love) and the rooms were spotless, new and quite spacious.

The Graceland experience itself was a downright hoot of a time. I saw the entire house, property, horse farm and Elvis’s two private jets. The park has expanded in recent years and has also added several exhibits including Elvis’s costumes, his gold records, his incredibly impressive car collection and an exhibit documenting his time spent in the service.

The only drawback from staying at the Guest House at Graceland was that it put me quite far away from downtown Memphis where most of my meetings were, as well as the famous Beale Street attractions. Uber and Lyft’s are quite cost effective in Memphis, however, and they came within minutes of me summoning one. In which case, it made it quite easy to see downtown and East Memphis on the same trip.

The second time I visited, I wanted to be closer to downtown so I booked myself into the famous Peabody Hotel—the home of the marching ducks. This spectacular grand dame hotel has all of the glam of a time long forgotten, but not many of the updated amenities found at the Guest House at Graceland. What the Peabody has in its favor is the daily tourist attraction of its famous duck walk and fantastic location in downtown Memphis, just two blocks from the one and only Beale Street.

A trip to Memphis isn’t complete without seeing The King!

A trip to Memphis isn’t complete without seeing The King!

When it comes to food and drinks, Memphis is having a culinary renaissance. While it still has what it’s known for: barbeque, fried chicken and down home Southern cooking, it also has newer, lighter fare, partly in thanks to the duo of Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman. Their restaurants including The Gray Canary, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy are all well worth the trip to visit.

OBB’s Memphis Guide

Where to Stay:

The Guest House at Graceland

The Peabody

Where to Go:

Beale Street

The Pyramid

East Memphis

The Peabody (for the Duck Walk)

Where to Drink:

Old Dominick Distillery

Hog & Hominy

Where to have Coffee, Soda & Ice Cream Shops:

A. Schwab Fountain Soda

Café Eclectic

Where to Eat:

Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen

The Gray Canary

Where to Eat Down Home Southern Cooking:

Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken

Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous

Corky’s Ribs & BBQ

Central BBQ

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