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On a tour of one of the Southern USA’s top destinations, Zoe Macfarlane discovers the best way to experience all that Memphis has to offer in 48 sweet hours. Read on.

You may know Memphis as the home of the King, but this city has a ton more to cram in on a whirlwind visit. It’s a whole lotta music, food, beer, music, coffee, and music (did I say music?).

Here’s how to spend 48-hours epic hours in this iconic destination.

 

DAY ONE

Rock On

Image: Zoe Macfarlane

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum acts as a foundation course of the city’s musical history. Experience Memphis’s formative music year at your own pace with the museum’s handy audio guide.

Everyone’s individual hip-wiggles to the accompanying soundtrack creates the effect of an amusing silent disco.

 

Sunny Side Up

Sun Studio is the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” where BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley put in the hard yards to find their fame. Still a working studio, Sun Studios is a 4-star stop, made 5-star thanks to the puns, wit, and bad Dad jokes of our guide, Lahna.

 

Living on the Edge

A museum so shiny you could pluck your eyebrows as you wander, the Edge Motor Museum segues delightfully from Sun Studio. Both because it’s only a short walk away, and due to the connection between the sounds of the era and their iconic
1950s American sports car collection.

 

Amazing Grace

Elvis’s treasured home, Graceland, was an unexpected Memphis highlight; a memorial since his death in 1977. Graceland was lavish back in those days, though more a standard McMansion-sized American home now.

The iPad-lead guided tour offers fascinating insights into how Elvis liked to relax, how sociable he was, and
what $103k could get you back in 1957. The Graceland experience recently expanded to include his car collection, wartime experiences, and more. For convenience, grab a meal at Graceland’s Vernon Smokehouse.

 

Easy Street

It’s more likely you’ll get kicked out of Tennessee for not heading to the bars on Beale Street than you will get thrown out of this row of iconic joints. Bars like BB King’s or Rum Boogie made Beale Street a Tennessee nighttime treasure.

If you’ve the stamina, head to the disco-tastic Paula Raiford’s where you can party until 6am!

DAY TWO

The King of Breakfast

A traditional American diner is a bucket-list item on any USA road trip. And where better to enjoy a Southern breakfast of grits, biscuits, and cornbread than at Elvis’s fave diner, the Arcade Restaurant. The coffee is perfect, too, especially if you stayed
out late on Beale Street.

 

National Treasure

The sombre setting of the Lorraine Motel, the location of the shooting of Martin Luther King, has been transformed into the incredible National Civil Rights Museum, arguably one of the most important historical museums in the country.

Carefully curated and artistically delivered, this compelling and moving exhibit delves deep. Allow three hours to explore history from the resistance of African-Americans during slavery, to the civil rights movement of the 1950-60s, and the modern-day battles to still obtain equality for all.

 

Chick Magnet

It’s time to put your MKR hat on and be the judge of whether Gus‘s Fried Chicken lives up to its claim as the ‘best in the world’. With flavours that united the community over 60 years ago, this is a Memphis tradition that should not be overlooked!

 

Retail Therapy

Memphis has a range of indoor and outdoor shopping options, with the eclectic boutiques and art galleries on South Main the most accessible on day two of your Memphis itinerary. It doesn’t hurt that Wayne’s Candy is in the neighbourhood, with over 2,000 sticky treats in stock, including retro candy.

 

Ducks in a Row

Karryon - Peabody Memphis

The Duck March – Credit: Peabody Memphis

The Peabody Memphis is a downtown institution thanks to its famed Duck March. At 11am and 5pm daily, visitors witness five feathered stars waddle from Duck Palace to the lobby’s pond, via the elevator.

The Duck March is popular, so get there early for the 5pm viewing to enjoy cocktails while you watch.

 

A Sizzling Finish

How do the city’s most famous pork ribs and brisket sound? Round out your Memphis travels at Charlie Vergos Rendezvous for some traditional Memphis barbeque. Leave your vegan friends at home, though, this is a meat-feast of epic
proportions.