Dec 2, 2022 - Things to Do

Where to eat, play and stay in Memphis, 3 hours from Nashville

Visitors queue to enter the Graceland mansion of Elvis Presley on August 12, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Graceland Mansion. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Nashville may be Music City, but Memphis is the home of blues, soul and rock and roll — and it has a lot to offer, including good eats and plenty of attractions.

Here's what to do and where to eat, drink and stay.

Where to stay

1. The Peabody

There's a lot to love about this historic hotel, but the coolest thing may be that ducks visit the fountain in the lobby daily from 11am-5pm.

  • Features: Rooftop bar, day spa, same-day laundry and dry cleaning services
  • Rate: $219+ per night
  • Address: 149 Union Ave.

2. The Memphian

The Memphian is an eclectic 106-room hotel that reflects the artsy Overton Square neighborhood surrounding it.

  • Features: HDTV, free WiFi, 24-hour gym and pet-friendly
  • Rate: $219+ per night
  • Address: 21 Cooper St.
The Memphian. Photo: Sélavie Photography

3. Downtown Loft (Airbnb)

This fully renovated loft is in a historic building in downtown Memphis, a short walk away from AutoZone Park, Beale Street and FedExForum.

  • Features: Free parking, enclosed patio area and fire pit
  • Rate: $106+ per night
  • Location: Downtown Memphis
Where to eat

1. Gus's Fried Chicken

With dozens of locations, including two in Memphis, this restaurant is known for its spicy fried chicken.

2. Erling Jensen

Danish chef Erling Jensen's namesake is a home-turned-restaurant that has been a highly regarded fine dining establishment since the '90s. Notable dishes include the lobster pancakes and bison ribeye, and it offers a three-course prix fixe on Sunday nights for $45.

3. The Bar-B-Q Shop

The ribs might have once been ranked No. 1 by the Food Network, but this barbecue restaurant is known for its Bar-B-Q Spaghetti and Texas Toast Bar-B-Q Sandwich.

What to do

1. Graceland

The tour of Elvis Presley's iconic former home includes a look at the entire estate, his trophy and racquetball buildings, his car collection and private airplane, and the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and members of his family have been laid to rest.

2. National Civil Rights Museum

Located at the former Lorraine Motel — where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated — the National Civil Rights Museum offers tons of artifacts, films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts that guide visitors from slavery in America to the pivotal events inspiring the Civil Rights movement.

An exterior view of the Lorraine Motel during the National Civil Rights Museum Tour on January 20, 2019 at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. Photo: Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

3. Memphis Zoo

Much like Disney World's EPCOT, walking through the Memphis Zoo is like taking a trip around the world. The zoo includes more than 3,500 animals across a variety of habitats and is also available to host weddings.

  • Winter hours (Oct. 11–March 4): daily, 9am–5pm
  • Spring hours (March 5–Oct. 10): daily, 9am–6pm
  • Address: 2000 Prentiss Pl.

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