My brother-in-law called asking what the Three Boys and an Old Lady family had planned for 2016 Spring Break. Ever since our first family vacation together last year, my sister and I vowed to vacation with our combined families at least once a year. Since I have a couple of trips scheduled for this year (BlogHer ’16, D.C. and a couple of college tours with Los Tres Amigos), I suggested we save a few bucks and vacay a little closer to home.
A couple of places came to mind. Dallas. San Antonio. Nashville. Memphis. After careful consideration, we opted for Memphis. Woohoo!
The Three Boys and an Old Lady family has visited Memphis dozens of times but this is the first time my sister and her family have gone and of course they know I’m the ultimate tour guide.
First thing that comes to mind when most think of Memphis is barbecue, rhythm and blues and all things Elvis. Funny thing, I polled a few friends and those were their exact responses. Yes, Memphis is home to some tasty BBQ, amazing music and yes, ALL things Elvis but there is so much more to this fabulous city that makes it a great place for families to visit.
Memphis is home to tons of barbecue joints but there is much more to Memphis cuisine than barbecue.
The Arcade, the oldest restaurant in Memphis, is a great place for breakfast. Be forewarned, it’s a tourist-y place and so the wait is long. Lucky visitors can snag the infamous Elvis booth where the King sat and even order the King’s favorite fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.
|Photo Credit: Arcade|
Dyer’s Burgers is a the spot for a good ol’ greasy burger. Not just any hamburger greaser, but legend has it that the grease at Dyer’s is over a 100 years old. Dyer’s is located on historic Beale Street, which is the place to be for people watching, great food and great fun.
The South has fried chicken, Nashville has hot chicken, but Memphis is home to spicy fried chicken. No one and I mean no one does spicy fried chicken like Gus’s Fried Chicken. I’ve had Gus’s Fried Chicken at several locations but the Memphis location near the Lorraine Hotel is the place to go for the best spicy fried chicken ever. The recipe is guarded so don’t ask and the chicken is spicy, that’s it and that’s all. Legend has it that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dined at Gus’s whenever he visited Memphis. Oh, Gus’s is just a few steps away from the historic National Civil Rights Museum located at the Lorraine Motel.
|Photo Credit: Sky Full of Bacon|
National Civil Rights Museum
We stopped at the Lorraine Motel during our first few trips to Memphis never venturing inside the National Civil Rights Museum. Being the frugal mommy I was, I always thought the price was way too high and there were other “attractions” we could spend our money one. I am so glad that I opted for a family membership, which is good for a year’s worth of visits to the museum for our entire family + we get a few passes for our family and friends.
We love to visit museums during our road trips and Stax Museum is a Three Boys and an Old Lady Favorite. Stax Museum celebrates the classic R and B sounds of Memphis and the artists who created this one of a kind sound. Familiar tunes envelope you once you enter the doors and you will find yourself watching others groove along to the music as you fight the urge to join in. You can boogie your way onto the dance floor.
|Photo Credit: Stax Museum - Wall of Sound|
Memphis is a wonderful place for American history buffs like myself. The Slave Haven Underground Museum is said to have been a stop along the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. The house is full of artifacts and the kids will have quite an adventure exploring the trap doors and secret passages throughout the house. The tour guides engage visitors with stories and songs of this difficult era. The museum is just a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of Beale Street.
|Photo Credit: Slave Haven Underground Museum|
W.C. Handy Pavillion and Park
While on Beale Street, stroll down to W.C. Handy Park. Handy Park pays homage to the legendary, “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy and is a great place to catch up and coming artists. No concert? No worries, there are usually a few street vendors and always a snow cone vendor nearby. The park is minutes away from the W.C. Handy Home and Museum.
Speaking of parks, one of the best kept secrets in Memphis is Shelby Farms Park. Shelby Farms is 4,500 acre of AWESOME! Visitors can rent bikes, canoes, enjoy a game of Frisbee golf, Lasertag or paintball or ride horses BUT wait there’s more. You can zipline through the trees courtesy of the Go Ape Treetop Adventure . At around $60, the Go Ape Treetop Adventure is a little pricey but it is so much fun. While there be sure to check out the herd of buffalo who roam free on the grounds of Shelby Farms. It’s an amazing sight to see. Shelby Farms is also home to one of the coolest playgrounds in the world.
I-40 Welcome Center
The I-40 Welcome Center is a must see when visiting Memphis. Unlike other “tourist-y” attractions, the Welcome Center is open 7 days a week and open late. It’s a Welcome Center so you can pick up pamphlets of things to see and do around Memphis and throughout Tennessee. The Welcome Center is full of Elvis and B B King memorabilia and the accompanying grounds offer many photo opps. Plus, it’s FREE!
You can walk across to nearby Mud Island on the Skybridge or ride the monorail for a few bucks. Mud Island is a Memphis treasure and a great place to explore the rich history of the region. You can visit the Mississippi River Museum, rent bikes, canoes and even catch a concert at the Mud Island Amphitheatre.
Memphis is a great place to visit and there are tons of affordable, family-friendly things to see and do and I am so looking forward to sharing our favorite things to see and do with my sister and her family.
Have you ever visited Memphis? What are some of your fave spots? Let me know, leave a comment below.