Music lovers from all over the world flock to Memphis to experience the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll for themselves. This eclectic city is a unique combination of sullen, Baroque vibes, and a new, modern energy that has instilled life into the place. With hipster lofts, inviting microbreweries, and extensive music history, Memphis is not to be missed.
Only have a weekend free? No problem. You can easily get a taste of Memphis in a couple of days and experience the best the city has to offer. Our ultimate guide to Memphis in a weekend will help you plan the perfect mini-getaway.
What to do
With limited time, we recommend that you tick off these iconic Memphis attractions. Your days will be full, but you will leave satisfied.
- Sun Studio Tour
Sun Studio is at the heart of rock ‘n’ roll history. It’s where music legends like Johnny Cash recorded their music in the 1950s, and Elvis Presley was discovered in the front office! Head to the studio to get a tour that will take you back in time so you can learn all about music history.
If you’re headed to Memphis for the first time, we’re guessing Graceland is already on your list. Even if it’s not your first visit, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re headed back there for another look. The home of Elvis Presley has been preserved in immaculate condition and you will feel like you have been transported back to the 1970s when you walk through the door. You’ll be able to see the Jungle Room and Elvis’s awards as you explore the castle of the King.
We know there’s not time to see everything within a weekend, but you should make time for this. Located at the site of Rev. Martin Luthger King Jr.’s assassination, Lorraine Motel, the museum has a range of detailed exhibitions that outline the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Make sure to allocate a few hours here – you’ll need it.
- Beale Street
Beale Street is the beating heart of Memphis. Lined with blues bars providing live music, no trip to Memphis is complete without venturing here for a dance and a cocktail. If you’re only here for a weekend, you won’t have time to waste. Head straight to Beale Street after your day’s activities and drop off your bags at a Memphis luggage storage facility. This way you won’t waste time going back to your hotel!
Where to eat
- Rendevouz BBQ
Memphis is known for its BBQ, although it’s difficult to get a consensus on where to get the best BBQ food. Every local has their favorite place and very strong opinions on the matter. We recommend trying Rendevous BBQ. They have won awards for their charcoal-broiled pork ribs, so make sure to try a rack!
- Central BBQ
Central BBQ is another popular BBQ joint with all the crowd favorites including pulled pork and beef brisket. If you’re a vegetarian or have a vego in your group, this will be your best option. While the menu still revolves around meat, there is a portabella and gouda sandwich that is absolutely delicious and will ensure vegetarians don’t miss out.
- Gus World Famous Fried Chicken
This down-to-earth chicken shop is located in Downtown Memphis and is the perfect place for some high-quality, southern fried chicken. Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken makes a big claim when it says it has the ‘best-fried chicken on the planet’, but we can confidently say that it’s definitely a contender! The food is good and inexpensive – what more could you ask for!
- Jerry’s Sno Cones
A delectable combination of frozen yogurt and shaved ice, you’ll want to make a stop at Jerry’s Sno Cones for this sweet treat. There’s always a line but we think it’s worth waiting for!
- The Beauty Shop Restaurant
Having lunch at a revamped beauty parlor was something we didn’t know we needed until this restaurant. The Beauty Shop Restaurant is literally an old beauty parlor from the 1960s that has been transformed into a modern restaurant, retaining its salon feel including its original hair-dryer chairs! Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a drink, this is the ultimate restaurant for a weekend visit as you can slide it into your schedule wherever it fits.
Where to stay
- Peabody Hotel
The Peabody Hotel is a Memphis icon. Even if you decide not to stay here, we recommend still popping in for a visit to see this renowned Downtown hotel. The hotel was opened in the 1930s and retains a classic feel through its styling while having all modern amenities available. Keep an eye out for the group of Mallard ducks that live on the rooftop of the hotel. Every day, they hop in the hotel elevator and head down to the lobby for a swim in the fountain. Something worth seeing!
- Guest House at Graceland
Spend a weekend living the like the King by booking a room at the extravagant Guesthouse at Graceland. This hotel exudes luxury and will guarantee a memorable getaway. It also makes for easy access if you’re keen on exploring the Graceland Mansion!
- Hotel Napoleon
If you’re looking for a mid-range hotel located in Downtown Memphis, consider Hotel Napoleon. Set in a historic building, the hotel dates back to 1902. You will be greeted with old-world glamour from the moment you enter and it’s close to Beale Street if you’re planning on heading out for some blues.
While a weekend may not seem like a lot of time, it’s enough to tick off the main attractions in Memphis and get a good introduction to the city. Immerse yourself in the history and grungy vibes, and above all, enjoy the blues music!