36 Hours in Memphis

A new bike share program, museums, music and, yes, barbecue await visitors. Of special interest this spring: the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Comments: 29

  1. Nice article on a wonderful, culturally-rich city. There's so much to see and do, and while you covered the two most famous musical sites - Graceland and Sun Records - you left out an underrated gem: The Stax Museum, which documents Memphis' other great musical export - the gritty, powerful sound of Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Issac Hayes, Booker T and the MGs and many more of Stax Records finest. It's also housed in an inch-by-inch recreation of its converted movie theater headquarters at the original McLemore Ave location. A fascinating tour and tribute to one of the world's great labels. If Motown was the Beatles, Stax was the Stones (and a major influence on Jagger, Richards and company). Check it out... and long live Stax!

  2. <i>If Motown was the Beatles, Stax was the Stones</i> I like that comparison. Interestingly, I preferred the Beatles to the Stones, but the Stax sound to Motown (although I loved both the Stones and Motown.)

  3. Thanks for the info, but you left out the great Beale Street promenade where there is music on both sides of the street at night: blues, country, rock 'n roll. Don't miss the dueling pianists and outdoor patio bar at Silky O'Sullivan's. And then there are the BBQ places: Central, BBQ Shop, Rendezvous, Interstate, Neely's ... The possibilitis are almost endless.

  4. Only tourists go to Beale St., but you are right about the BBQ choices all being better than what article recommends.

  5. Come back and see us for our first Diner en Blanc event and let us show you even more of our Memphis! <3

  6. The absolute gem of my trip to Memphis was the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. From the interactive exhibit about the history of jazz, rock, and blues through spirituals and traditional slave songs to Isaac Hayes' Cadillac: it is an essential stop for any music lover. STAX is the greatest soul music label in history: this museum is a national treasure. www.staxmuseum.com

  7. Why mention of the Staxx Museum and it’s renowned musicians?

  8. Loflin Yard is the only BBQ mentioned? Yikes...check out Central BBQ, Germantown Comissary, Rendezvous, Tops, or even Corky’s over Loflin!!

  9. Any of these are better than article’s suggestions. Someone must have played a joke on the Yankee writer sending them to Loflin’s.

  10. Cozy corner! She fed my pregnant wife like family. Much love

  11. For more information, check out Holly Whitfield's excellent I Love Memphis Blog at http://ilovememphisblog.com/. Memphis also has some great dining choices for herbivores, comprehensively cataloged and meticulously maintained by Bianca Philips at http://vegancrunk.blogspot.com/p/memphis-vegan-dining-guide.html

  12. Wonderful recommendations, thank you!

  13. Having just returned from my first-ever trip to Memphis, may I say it is a both a music lover's and foodie's paradise. I highly recommend Rizzo's, near the Civil Rights Museum, for an elevated twist on Southern classics, as well as pretty much all the "sights" recommended in this article. But, as others have mentioned, do add Stax to your list if music is the primary driver of your trip, as well a stop at some of the smaller, off-Beale St. music venues. Enjoy!

  14. Mansion-only tix for Graceland, including house, grounds, and gravesites (without the exhibits across the street), start at $39.75--you should clarify this.

  15. Take a coupon from the tourist guides to save money

  16. I moved to Memphis a year ago and have fallen for this city. These are some great suggestions to get started in this vibrant city. In summer there are festivals of some kind nearly every weekend as well as free concerts at the Levitt Shell. Come visit and enjoy.

  17. Good article. Regarding parks and gardens, don't forget the Memphis Botanic Garden, and also the lovely Dixon Gallery and Gardens, both in East Memphis. Memphis is very easy to get around, nothing is more than a 30 minute drive. I would recommend staying at an Airbnb location - there are hundreds here, and much better priced than at our sister city Nashville.

  18. Juliet, can you recommend which neighborhood in Nashville is best to stay in, for a fist time visitor?

  19. Replying to Left Coast: Unfortunately I don't know Nashville well enough to say. I will try to find out, and get back to you (if NYTImes will allow multiple posts!)

  20. Franklin or right next to vandy

  21. The Metal Museum!!

  22. I lived in Memphis for 3 years in the 90's. I still look back on those times with a big smile on my face. The people, the music, the food, festivals...it was all good. Reading this - I need to go back.

  23. I wholeheartedly agree with the other comments that the Stax Museum of American Soul should be be included in this list. If you tour the Civil Rights Museum first, you learn that many of the songs recorded there were penned around the pool at the Lorraine Motel as it was one of the few places where black and white musicians could gather at the same place and time due to segregation. Just a note on the Sun Studio tour - it is highly advisable to book ahead for that - especially if you are on a tight schedule.

  24. The first 36 Hours in Memphis from 3 years ago is still relevant and covers some of what's missing from this one: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;source=web&amp;rct=j&amp;url=https:/...

  25. It is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. If you are going to Memphis, I would highly recommend going to the Withers Collection on Beale Street. https://www.thewitherscollection.com/

  26. Thank you for reviewing our city! I also second getting some more barbecue besides Loflin Yard (Central BBQ is a favorite). And Shelby Farms is amazing, but Overton Park is in the heart of Midtown, and after going on a walk in the old forest, you can walk over to the zoo (and join celebrations for the first birthday of Winnie the Hippo).

  27. Why would you go to Memphis for oysters? Inland ain't oyster country! I'll take the BBQ for sure, though.

  28. Re the Sun Studio tour. We went on a Saturday, first thing, and the crowds were so large we opted for the second (also crowded) tour. There were no lines for the one after ours, so my advice is to arrive about 45 minutes to an hour after Sun opens for the day. Re Graceland (which, although four times the cost, I didn't find as interesting or informative as the Sun Studio tour): The best time to visit Elvis' home is around 2 pm in the afternoon, when the many devotees (a lot of them from Europe) who made it a point to arrive early are heading back to their hotel rooms. As others have noted, also make time to visit the Civil Right Museum and Stax Records, which tend to get overlooked because of all the Elvis mania.

  29. Big River Crossing! Walk or bike across the Mississippi to Arkansas. And definitely give yourself a few hours for the National Civil Rights Museum.