Memphis Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- You'll find road rage It's contagious and Memphis residents routinely give it to their friendly visitors. Rush-hour traffic is bad enough to bring out the worst in Memphites. Don't make yourself susceptible; remind yourself that you are on vacation and that you're not pressed for time.
- You'll find Elvis mania The King has been dead for several decades now, but the citizens of Memphis have had a difficult time letting him go (especially since his legacy is integral to their tourism industry). Many tourists get irritated by the onslaught of Elvis memorabilia. Again, stay calm!
- You'll find heat exhaustion This condition is a frequent one for tourists in the summer. While seeing the sights, be sure to drink lots of water and take breaks indoors.
Memphis is constantly grooving, either to the songs of Elvis echoing throughout the city or to the tunes of up-and-coming musicians along Beale Street. Graceland is the major draw for many; however, audiophiles who come only for Elvis will be surprised that Memphis has much more to offer. Johnny Cash, Issac Hayes and B.B. King also nurtured their unique sounds in Memphis' bars and recording studios. This city also serves as a poignant reminder of the Civil Rights Movement. It was here that Martin Luther King, Jr. petitioned for the equal rights of black sanitation workers in 1968. Days later, he was assassinated at the Lorriane Motel, now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.
There's a third, sometimes overlooked reason to plan a Memphis visit. The "Cradle of American Music" delivers good eats as well as good tunes and good history lessons. Consider a spring or fall trip (the summer heat here is staggering) to try out a few culinary -- and distinctly Southern -- favorites. The region's finger-lickin' barbecue and buttery grits should be at the top of any aspiring foodie's list.
How To Save Money in Memphis
- Save gas money Sitting in traffic burns a lot of gas. But if you take the bus, you'll keep that change in your pocket and ride comfortably on the city's gas.
- Avoid tourist traps Of course you want a picture with Elvis, but that one outside the gates of Graceland will charge you a lot more than the one around the corner. Be smart and avoid the most convenient impersonator or water bottle stand. We promise there will be others.
- Enjoy the freebies Several attractions are extremely cost effective (in other words: free). Mud Island River Park, the duck march at the Peabody Hotel and the art museum at the University of Memphis are just a few of the no-cost-to-you activities.
Memphis Culture & Customs
This city is more than just a haven for audiophiles, and those who come simply to visit Graceland will be overlooking the bulk of Memphis' charm.
Memphis residents are known for their Southern hospitality, so don't be afraid to ask for directions or strike up a conversation. If you're looking to mingle, skip touristy Beale Street in favor of a night out at Overton Square. And don't forget about local cuisine; those looking to watch their weight will be missing out on one of the major components of Memphis culture. So take a break from the diet and indulge in Southern favorites like finger-lickin' barbecue and buttery grits.
Traditional Memphis cuisine is not for the faint-of-stomach. Though the city boasts many types of restaurants, the city's culinary delight is barbecue. It's some of the best in the country -- and each of the city's 70 or so barbecue joints offer their own individual recipes. Barbecue aficionados will not want to miss the city's annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which takes place every year in May.
Don't miss your chance to sample some of Memphis's other traditional treats, such as fried pickles, meatloaf and fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches (the only sandwich fit for "the King"). However, if deep-frying isn't really your taste, check out some of the city's other dining options, which offer everything from Japanese cuisine to Mexican favorites.
You'll find the widest variety of restaurant options in Downtown Memphis. However, finding a barbecue joint in the surrounding areas is not a difficult feat, and hole-in-the-wall joints are both tasty and easy on the wallet.