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things to do in Memphis (1 Viewer)

bryhamm

Footballguy
Wife and I are thinking about heading to Memphis for a long weekend some time this spring or early summer.  As St. Louis Cardinals fans, the only thing that we know we want to do is catch a Redbirds game.  Also obviously want to hit Bealle Street.  But, we don't know any bars or restaurants  that are "must see".  I've heard of Rendevouz (or however it's spelled), but I've heard some folks say it's overrated.

Looking for suggestions from folks.  Don't know who all is from there, other than  @icon

 

Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
There is a lot to see there besides the obvious Graceland and food/bars.

The Civil Rights museum is large and takes several hours to see it fully. It is built into the Lorraine Motel, where King was shot.

One sleeper was a place called Mud Island. It has a museum of the Mississippi, restaurants and an exact outdoor scale model of the lower Mississippi (every city, bend in the river, etc.). 

 

TheFanatic

Footballguy
Wife and I are thinking about heading to Memphis for a long weekend some time this spring or early summer.  As St. Louis Cardinals fans, the only thing that we know we want to do is catch a Redbirds game.  Also obviously want to hit Bealle Street.  But, we don't know any bars or restaurants  that are "must see".  I've heard of Rendevouz (or however it's spelled), but I've heard some folks say it's overrated.

Looking for suggestions from folks.  Don't know who all is from there, other than  @icon
@[icon] is practically mayor of that burg. He'll take care of you

 

[icon]

Insoxicated
bryhamm said:
Wife and I are thinking about heading to Memphis for a long weekend some time this spring or early summer.  As St. Louis Cardinals fans, the only thing that we know we want to do is catch a Redbirds game.  Also obviously want to hit Bealle Street.  But, we don't know any bars or restaurants  that are "must see".  I've heard of Rendevouz (or however it's spelled), but I've heard some folks say it's overrated.

Looking for suggestions from folks.  Don't know who all is from there, other than  @icon
What’s up @bryhamm

A few questions: 

1) Have you firmed up timeline? I see spring or summer. There are quite a few festivals in the spring (BBQFest, Wing fest, Italian fest, crawfish feats, etc) that you can build your trip around if that sort of thing interests you. 

2) Long weekend = 4-5 days? 

3) Redbirds are a pretty good time. Nice stadium right in the heart of downtown. Attendance isn’t great despite winning the league recently... so tickets are easily had on the cheap. 

4) You’ll want to stay downtown. Depending on your budget I’d suggest Westin, Peabody, The Hu... but there are quite a few spots. AirBNB is also an option. Get with me before you book... you want to be west of 3rd street and South of Madison. 

5) will you have a car? If not, Uber/Lyft are everywhere and cheap as hell. 

6) What kind of dining/cuisine do you like? My favorite fine dining places in town are Flight, Iris, Folks Folly, Erling Jensen, Southern Social. We have phenomenal vietnamese (in divey parts of town) like Lotus and Vietnam Restaurant. Gus’s Fried chicken downtown is a MUST do downtown. Give me more info and I can give you a list of options. 

Rendezvous is an experience with solid but inconsistent food. It’s worth stopping by, but if you want the best BBQ in Memphis, that is at Central BBQ. 

If brunch is your thing, we have many great options. 

7) Bars/Entertainment: You mention Beale... It’s worth a night but understand that it’s a tourist trap and can get a bit dicey on late weekend evenings. BBQ Kings, Silky’s, Tin Roof, Rum Boogie are the big names... Blues Hall is a nice hole in the wall. Don’t eat on beale. 

Other great bar/dining districts downtown are along main (north and south) a short-moderate walk from Beale. Also you’ve got Raifords (very eclectic OG dance club), Flying Saucer (endless beer options), Bardog (great community locals pub downtown).... etc 

Overton Square is a GREAT new dining/bar strip a few miles from Downtown and is where most locals go. Tons of dining and bar options along a larger (albeit less dense) strip than Beale. I suggest checking for a show at Lafayette’s, hitting local, Boscos (brewery), etc. There’s a HopDoddy if chajn burgers are your thing. LBOE (last burger on earth) has the burger that won World Food Championshps last year. You have ramen, Mexican, pizza, bbq, Italian, fine dining, you name it. 

Touristy stuff: Graceland and stax are both worth seeing. I can elaborate on these or any others if you’d like. 

What kind of bars do you guys like? Lounges? Dives? Whiskey? Irish? 

 
Last edited by a moderator:

bryhamm

Footballguy
What’s up @bryhamm

A few questions: 

1) Have you firmed up timeline? I see spring or summer. There are quite a few festivals in the spring (BBQFest, Wing fest, Italian fest, crawfish feats, etc) that you can build your trip around if that sort of thing interests you. 

2) Long weekend = 4-5 days? 

3) Redbirds are a pretty good time. Nice stadium right in the heart of downtown. Attendance isn’t great despite winning the league recently... so tickets are easily had on the cheap. 

4) You’ll want to stay downtown. Depending on your budget I’d suggest Westin, Peabody, The Hu... but there are quite a few spots. AirBNB is also an option. Get with me before you book... you want to be west of 3rd street and South of Madison. 

5) will you have a car? If not, Uber/Lyft are everywhere and cheap as hell. 

6) What kind of dining/cuisine do you like? My favorite fine dining places in town are Flight, Iris, Folks Folly, Erling Jensen, Southern Social. We have phenomenal vietnamese (in divey parts of town) like Lotus and Vietnam Restaurant. Gus’s Fried chicken downtown is a MUST do downtown. Give me more info and I can give you a list of options. 

Rendezvous is an experience with solid but inconsistent food. It’s worth stopping by, but if you want the best BBQ in Memphis, that is at Central BBQ. 

If brunch is your thing, we have many great options. 

7) Bars/Entertainment: You mention Beale... It’s worth a night but understand that it’s a tourist trap and can get a bit dicey on late weekend evenings. BBQ Kings, Silky’s, Tin Roof, Rum Boogie are the big names... Blues Hall is a nice hole in the wall. Don’t eat on beale. 

Other great bar/dining districts downtown are along main (north and south) a short-moderate walk from Beale. Also you’ve got Raifords (very eclectic OG dance club), Flying Saucer (endless beer options), Bardog (great community locals pub downtown).... etc 

Overton Square is a GREAT new dining/bar strip a few miles from Downtown and is where most locals go. Tons of dining and bar options along a larger (albeit less dense) strip than Beale. I suggest checking for a show at Lafayette’s, hitting local, Boscos (brewery), etc. There’s a HopDoddy if chajn burgers are your thing. LBOE (last burger on earth) has the burger that won World Food Championshps last year. You have ramen, Mexican, pizza, bbq, Italian, fine dining, you name it. 

Touristy stuff: Graceland and stax are both worth seeing. I can elaborate on these or any others if you’d like. 

What kind of bars do you guys like? Lounges? Dives? Whiskey? Irish? 
1) Nothing is firm.  Wife looked into the Redbirds schedule and they play the Iowa Cubs on Fri, 5/10 and some other team on Sat, 5/11.  That is one option.  But, I know the MiM stuff is going on.  Looks like the music fest is the weekend before 5/3-5/5 and the bbq comp is the weekend after 5/17-5/19.  Don't want the price of a hotel being doubled or tripled when it is just a "visit the city" type trip.  Probably going to avoid the festivals the first time down.  Maybe catch those in future years.

2) We are thinking either leave Thu after work and stay Thu night thru Sat night and come back on Sunday, or leave mid-day on Fri and stay Fri night through Sat night and come back on Sunday.  So, either 2 or 3 nights.

3) Definitely want to see the Redbirds.  Thanks for the info on the stadium & ticket prices.

4) We do plan on staying downtown.  Will look into the places you suggesting.  When we get closer to actually going (ie making reservations), I'll shoot you a PM.

5) We will have a car as we are driving down, but not sure how much driving we want to do while actually in Memphis vs just wandering around.  Kind of up in the air at this point.

6) Definitely want to try a BBQ joint or 2.  Maybe hit both Rendezvous and Central.  Neither of us are fine dining folks.  I like the Gus's idea.  Maybe a burger joint.

7) Thanks for the tip/info about eating on Beale.  We are mainly looking for places to grab a drink and maybe catch some live music.  We are both rock folks (me a bit harder), but would not be opposed to catching some blues.

No interest in hitting Graceland.  What is Stax?  Gimme more info on that, please.

We mainly go to sports bars here in St. Louis.  But, we've done some lounges and enjoy the atmosphere.  Wife doesn't drink whiskey, mainly beer.  I drink beer 80% of the time, but will drink some bourbon on occasion.  We both enjoy Irish bars.  Never afraid to go into a dive bar, as long as it's "safe".

THANKS so much for the info you've provided already.

 

SWC

Bromigo
memphis tn has not one not two but in fact at least three parneras so look all i am sayin is there is more than enough to do in memphis you gots one stop for each of the three main meals take that to the bank brochacho 

 

TheFanatic

Footballguy
1) Nothing is firm.  Wife looked into the Redbirds schedule and they play the Iowa Cubs on Fri, 5/10 and some other team on Sat, 5/11.  That is one option.  But, I know the MiM stuff is going on.  Looks like the music fest is the weekend before 5/3-5/5 and the bbq comp is the weekend after 5/17-5/19.  Don't want the price of a hotel being doubled or tripled when it is just a "visit the city" type trip.  Probably going to avoid the festivals the first time down.  Maybe catch those in future years.

2) We are thinking either leave Thu after work and stay Thu night thru Sat night and come back on Sunday, or leave mid-day on Fri and stay Fri night through Sat night and come back on Sunday.  So, either 2 or 3 nights.

3) Definitely want to see the Redbirds.  Thanks for the info on the stadium & ticket prices.

4) We do plan on staying downtown.  Will look into the places you suggesting.  When we get closer to actually going (ie making reservations), I'll shoot you a PM.

5) We will have a car as we are driving down, but not sure how much driving we want to do while actually in Memphis vs just wandering around.  Kind of up in the air at this point.

6) Definitely want to try a BBQ joint or 2.  Maybe hit both Rendezvous and Central.  Neither of us are fine dining folks.  I like the Gus's idea.  Maybe a burger joint.

7) Thanks for the tip/info about eating on Beale.  We are mainly looking for places to grab a drink and maybe catch some live music.  We are both rock folks (me a bit harder), but would not be opposed to catching some blues.

No interest in hitting Graceland.  What is Stax?  Gimme more info on that, please.

We mainly go to sports bars here in St. Louis.  But, we've done some lounges and enjoy the atmosphere.  Wife doesn't drink whiskey, mainly beer.  I drink beer 80% of the time, but will drink some bourbon on occasion.  We both enjoy Irish bars.  Never afraid to go into a dive bar, as long as it's "safe".

THANKS so much for the info you've provided already.
Looks like I'll just miss you. I'm heading down for the comp. 

 

Van Dyman

Footballguy
7) Bars/Entertainment: You mention Beale... It’s worth a night but understand that it’s a tourist trap and can get a bit dicey on late weekend evenings. BBQ Kings, Silky’s, Tin Roof, Rum Boogie are the big names... Blues Hall is a nice hole in the wall. Don’t eat on beale. 
BB King's.

(Not everything is about BBQ.  :P )

What time to Beale St. bars close nowadays?

 

Beef Ravioli

Footballguy
What’s up @bryhamm

A few questions: 

1) Have you firmed up timeline? I see spring or summer. There are quite a few festivals in the spring (BBQFest, Wing fest, Italian fest, crawfish feats, etc) that you can build your trip around if that sort of thing interests you. 
Great write up, thanks!  Of the festivals, which have you been to and how would you rate them? 

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
When I saw the thread title, I knew you would not be far behind. First comment 👏
:rolleyes:  Shocker. :lmao:

Have fun @bryhamm

Icon is the expert so listen to him.

The Stadium is downtown and seems cool. Like a lot of medium-sized towns, they've done a good job of bringing minor league baseball downtown.

Rendezvous is definitely worth the visit. It's not a normal BBQ place as it feels too nice. The ribs are good but won't change your life. The servers though are fantastic and many have been there for years. It's a fun good picture of Memphis.

Sun Records is a fun tour if you like old music and Elvis. 

Wiseacre Brewing is rad. As are several other breweries downtown.

The original Gus' Fried Chicken is great. With them franchising so many places, it's fun to see where it started.

Gibson Donuts is classic. 

I've not been but heard great things about the Civil Rights Museum. Obviously tons of history there. 

A few more specifics here https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/memphis/things-to-do-in-memphis

Have fun.

 

DocHolliday

Footballguy
I really liked the Sun Records tour and gift shop. Doesn't take much time but it was very interesting.
I came to post this when I saw the thread.  The Sun Records tour only takes 30 minutes since it is a tiny place but it is where Elvis and Johnny Cash made magic.  It should not be missed.  

 

bryhamm

Footballguy
:rolleyes:  Shocker. :lmao:

Have fun @bryhamm

Icon is the expert so listen to him.

The Stadium is downtown and seems cool. Like a lot of medium-sized towns, they've done a good job of bringing minor league baseball downtown.

Rendezvous is definitely worth the visit. It's not a normal BBQ place as it feels too nice. The ribs are good but won't change your life. The servers though are fantastic and many have been there for years. It's a fun good picture of Memphis.

Sun Records is a fun tour if you like old music and Elvis. 

Wiseacre Brewing is rad. As are several other breweries downtown.

The original Gus' Fried Chicken is great. With them franchising so many places, it's fun to see where it started.

Gibson Donuts is classic. 

I've not been but heard great things about the Civil Rights Museum. Obviously tons of history there. 

A few more specifics here https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/memphis/things-to-do-in-memphis

Have fun.
Thanks for mentioning the breweries.  I'm a HUGE fan of craft beers.  The wife has picky tastes, but will try a few craft beers.

@icon  if there are others that you know of that I should make sure to hit up, let me know.

 

[icon]

Insoxicated
1) Nothing is firm.  Wife looked into the Redbirds schedule and they play the Iowa Cubs on Fri, 5/10 and some other team on Sat, 5/11.  That is one option.  But, I know the MiM stuff is going on.  Looks like the music fest is the weekend before 5/3-5/5 and the bbq comp is the weekend after 5/17-5/19.  Don't want the price of a hotel being doubled or tripled when it is just a "visit the city" type trip.  Probably going to avoid the festivals the first time down.  Maybe catch those in future years.
No doubt hotels are nuts (if not gone) during MIM events. They shouldn’t be horrible for 10/11th between the events though. 

2) We are thinking either leave Thu after work and stay Thu night thru Sat night and come back on Sunday, or leave mid-day on Fri and stay Fri night through Sat night and come back on Sunday.  So, either 2 or 3 nights.

3) Definitely want to see the Redbirds.  Thanks for the info on the stadium & ticket prices.

4) We do plan on staying downtown.  Will look into the places you suggesting.  When we get closer to actually going (ie making reservations), I'll shoot you a PM.

5) We will have a car as we are driving down, but not sure how much driving we want to do while actually in Memphis vs just wandering around.  Kind of up in the air at this point.
Downtown Memphis isn’t very big and very walkable. However some of the stuff (Overton square, sun studios, wiseacre brewing) will require driven. Uber/Lyft are easy options though. 

6) Definitely want to try a BBQ joint or 2.  Maybe hit both Rendezvous and Central.  Neither of us are fine dining folks.  I like the Gus's idea.  Maybe a burger joint.
Gus’s is must do. Put some Cash or BB on the juke, order a 40oz beer, and eat your chicken. Trust me. 

LBOE on Madison is the best burger in town and their brunch burger won the world food championships. 

Rendezvous and Central would be great stops. Both are downtown. Corky’s isn’t a horrible backup plan. 

7) Thanks for the tip/info about eating on Beale.  We are mainly looking for places to grab a drink and maybe catch some live music.  We are both rock folks (me a bit harder), but would not be opposed to catching some blues.
Most of Beale is Blues / southern rock. Top spots are BB Kings, Blues Hall, and Rum Boogie. Also the Blues City music hall across from BB’s. You’ll get the usual dueling pianos stuff at Silkys. Tin Roof a bit more country. 

No interest in hitting Graceland.  What is Stax?  Gimme more info on that, please.
Totally spaced on Sun Records. Must do. Stax is Soul museum (Otis Redding, issac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, etc). Sun is known as the birthplace of Rock and is more Elvis, Jerry Lee, and Cash. Both are about $15 a head and very cool. 

We mainly go to sports bars here in St. Louis.  But, we've done some lounges and enjoy the atmosphere.  Wife doesn't drink whiskey, mainly beer.  I drink beer 80% of the time, but will drink some bourbon on occasion.  We both enjoy Irish bars.  Never afraid to go into a dive bar, as long as it's "safe".

THANKS so much for the info you've provided already.
If you love beer, you should hit flying saucer downtown. Once you book your hotel we will firm up nearby bars. :)  

Regarding safety in Memphis... 

All the areas I will point you to are “safe”... but the usual rules of a major city apply. Be aware of #### around you, don’t flash cash, etc. Even in the safest areas downtown there are occasional incidents but almost always involve someone alone drunk at 2am or something. Just be smart. 

 

[icon]

Insoxicated
:rolleyes:  Shocker. :lmao:

Have fun @bryhamm

Icon is the expert so listen to him.

The Stadium is downtown and seems cool. Like a lot of medium-sized towns, they've done a good job of bringing minor league baseball downtown.

Rendezvous is definitely worth the visit. It's not a normal BBQ place as it feels too nice. The ribs are good but won't change your life. The servers though are fantastic and many have been there for years. It's a fun good picture of Memphis.
Thx joe. 

What joe said on rendezvous...it’s a fun experience. Servers are career guys and work there their whole lives. They hustle, talk ####, but are a lot of fun.  

Sun Records is a fun tour if you like old music and Elvis. 

Wiseacre Brewing is rad. As are several other breweries downtown.
Wiseacre is Great! Damn good beer and a good interior but GREAT outside area. If the weather is nice, definitely go. 

Another great brewery is Crosstown brewing at the new Crosstown concourse. HUGE new development area close to downtown with dining, shops, condos, etc.. all in a massive remodeled concourse building. Have heard great things about the complex and the beer at that brewery is very good. 

Meddlesome also makes great beer but is a bit out of the way. 

Boscos In Overton square is the original Memphis microbrewery and has good food and a nice patio too. Plus TONS going on around it. 

The original Gus' Fried Chicken is great. With them franchising so many places, it's fun to see where it started.

Gibson Donuts is classic. 
Yep! Alton brown himself has anointed Gus’s and Gibson’s the best Fried Chicken and Donut (respectively) in America. Gibson’s is probably a 15-20 min cab ride from downtown. There is another gus’s next door, ironically. Downtown location is much better though. 

I've not been but heard great things about the Civil Rights Museum. Obviously tons of history there. 

A few more specifics here https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/memphis/things-to-do-in-memphis

Have fun.

 

[icon]

Insoxicated
Great write up, thanks!  Of the festivals, which have you been to and how would you rate them? 
I have cooked/competed in: 

MIM BBQFest: the granddaddy. It’s absurd in scope and has an incredible location (literally On the banks of the river downtown). The biggest and best and a must do if you’re a BBQ fan. 

Italian Fest: a souped up church picnic that models themselves after BBQFest. More family oriented, but still a good party. Much smaller. Serious cooking teams down there though. Large Italian community here. 

Wingfest: growing every year. Teams selll samples to the public unlike the other two. Lot of fun. More of a open party atmosphere than Italian fest but only one day long. 

Crawfish fest: there are tons. Overton square is a great one. Tons of food vendors and bands. Rajun Cajun downtown is also very big and a lot of fun. Both one day festivals. 

Cooper Young fest is popular in the fall. TONS of vendors with decent live music options, 

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Thanks for mentioning the breweries.  I'm a HUGE fan of craft beers.  The wife has picky tastes, but will try a few craft beers.

@icon  if there are others that you know of that I should make sure to hit up, let me know.
Wiseacre is a good “safe” choice for beer. Lots of their stuff is very approachable and pretty normal. Their Tiny Bomb is a great all around choice. 

 

[icon]

Insoxicated
Wiseacre is a good “safe” choice for beer. Lots of their stuff is very approachable and pretty normal. Their Tiny Bomb is a great all around choice. 
Yep. I’d say they’re best all around in town, with some great limited releases. Tiny Bomb takes awards in a national scale and won some best of by GQ or Something. 

 

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