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Unlock the Best of Memphis: Free Travel Guide with Things to Do in the City

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Greetings from Memphis! I recently embarked on a trip to Nashville and decided to rent a car to make the short two and a half hour drive to Memphis, in order to experience the city’s culturally rich history.

From the delightful downtown area to the civil rights museum, there is a multitude of things to see and do in Memphis, even if you’re just here for a brief visit.

During my recent stay, I had the pleasure of exploring the many attractions and cultural offerings of Memphis, while staying at the trendy and modern ARRIVE Memphis hotel. This charming hotel is situated in the lively South Main Historic District, providing a unique and exciting experience for anyone visiting the city.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to explore Memphis and the ARRIVE served as the perfect home base for my weekend adventure.

Discover Memphis: 10 Fascinating Facts About the Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll

Here are 10 interesting facts about Memphis:

  1. Memphis is known as the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the “Home of the Blues”.

  2. The famous “Memphis Sound” developed in the 1950s and 1960s and was influenced by blues, gospel, and R&B.

  3. Memphis is the largest city on the Mississippi River and the third-largest in Tennessee.

  4. Memphis is home to the National Civil Rights Museum, which is located at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

  5. The Memphis Pyramid, a former sports and entertainment venue, was once the largest pyramid in the world.

  6. Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley, is located in Memphis and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.

  7. The Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis is known for its famous resident ducks that live on the hotel’s rooftop and make a daily procession to the lobby fountain.

  8. The Beale Street Music Festival, held every May, is one of the largest music festivals in the United States and features a diverse lineup of musical acts.

  9. Memphis is also known for its barbecue, and there are numerous restaurants throughout the city that serve up delicious pork ribs, pulled pork, and other tasty dishes.

  10. The city is home to a thriving arts scene, with many galleries, theaters, and music venues showcasing local and national talent.

Experience Southern Hospitality at its Finest at ARRIVE Memphis

During my trip to Memphis I stayed at ARRIVE hotel in downtown Memphis.

ARRIVE Memphis is a boutique hotel located in the South Main Arts District of Memphis, Tennessee.

The hotel boasts a modern and chic design, and features various amenities such as a rooftop bar and pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

The rooms at ARRIVE Memphis are stylishly decorated and come equipped with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, minibars, and free Wi-Fi.

The hotel is located close to popular attractions such as Beale Street, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, making it an ideal spot for visitors looking to explore the city.

ARRIVE Memphis Rooms: A Look at Your Accommodation Options

The hotel offers various room options to suit different preferences and needs.

  1. The Queen: A cozy room equipped with a queen bed and features exposed brick walls, an armoire, and a private bathroom with a walk-in shower.

  2. The King: A spacious room with a king bed and an armoire, with an exposed brick wall that adds a rustic touch to the decor. The private bathroom has a walk-in shower and luxurious bath products.

  3. The Double: A room with two double beds perfect for families or small groups traveling together. It also features exposed brick walls, an armoire, and a private bathroom with a walk-in shower.

  4. The Balcony King: A room with a king bed and a balcony that offers views of the Memphis skyline. The room also features an armoire and a private bathroom with a walk-in shower.

  5. The ARRIVE Suite: A luxurious suite with a king bed, separate living area, and a balcony overlooking the city. It also features a minibar, a record player, and a private bathroom with a large soaking tub and a walk-in shower.

  6. The Balcony Suite: A spacious suite with a king bed, a separate living area, and a balcony with views of the Memphis skyline. The room features an armoire, a minibar, and a private bathroom with a walk-in shower and luxurious bath products.

  7. The Terrace Suite: A stunning suite with a king bed, a separate living area, and a private rooftop terrace with a hot tub and outdoor seating. It also features a minibar, a record player, and a private bathroom with a large soaking tub and a walk-in shower.

Each room has unique decor, luxurious linens, and modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.

Discovering Memphis: Best Things to Do and See Around the City

Memphis boasts an abundance of history ranging from its music legacy to its pivotal role in the civil rights movement.

While I was in Memphis, I had the opportunity to visit The National Civil Rights Museum, an awe-inspiring and worthwhile experience.

The museum boasts a collection of 260 artifacts, over 40 new films, oral histories, and interactive media that guide visitors through five centuries of history.

From the earliest days of resistance during slavery, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, and into the late 20th century, the museum’s exhibits inspire people around the world to stand up for equality.

As you make your way through the museum, prepare yourself to experience a range of emotions, as I certainly did.

The exhibits offer an up-close look at the impactful yet somber history of the United States, leaving no doubt as to the deep pain and struggle woven into the country’s DNA.

The museum does an exceptional job of educating visitors on the harsh realities of this history.

I was moved to chills as I walked through the exhibit and witnessed the room where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, preserved in pristine condition as if the act had occurred just the day before. This experience is truly awe-inspiring and well worth having for yourself.

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

The Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum is yet another remarkable museum worth visiting in Memphis.

The building that houses the museum was once a bustling stop on the Underground Railroad, where enslaved Africans found refuge in the attic and cellar of Jacob Burkle’s home.

The home sat a mere six blocks away from a major slave auction site, making Burkle’s actions all the more daring.

I was particularly drawn to the Slave Haven’s captivating history and story, including the fact that Jacob Burkle, a German immigrant who fled his home country’s oppressive government in the 1850s, risked his life to aid enslaved people in their pursuit of freedom.

Considering the risks involved, Burkle’s selflessness and that of the network of people who supported him exemplify the purest form of altruism by offering their resources to help.

As I walked through the lower chamber of the house where slaves were hidden until the cover of night, I could sense the fear they must have felt, knowing that one mistake could cost them everything. Yet, the hope for freedom made the risk worth it.

The Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum provides a unique and unforgettable experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in history like few other museums can.

When you purchase a tour, set aside about an hour or two for sightseeing within the Burkle home at your own pace, getting the chance to further speak with the tour guide, etc.

Best Restaurants and Eateries in Memphis: A Foodie's Guide

Get ready to be amazed because this dining destination in Memphis is hands down one of the cutest spots in town!

Located in the heart of the Cooper-Young Entertainment District, The Beauty Shop is the brainchild of Memphis-native Karen Blockman Carrier. It’s a hip restaurant that’s situated in a former 1940s-style beauty shop.

Yes, you read that right, a beauty shop that has been transformed into a restaurant, complete with original hair dryers as seats and glass-bricked booths.

The vibe at The Beauty Shop is truly one-of-a-kind, and you won’t find anything like it elsewhere in town.

Tiger and Peacock

You absolutely must pay a visit to Tiger and Peacock – the stunning rooftop bar and lounge located inside The Memphian Hotel.

During my visit, I had the pleasure of indulging in their mouth-watering olive dish and garlic herb shoestring fries, which were both absolutely delicious.

And let’s not forget about their zodiac-inspired cocktail drinks, which were simply divine.

Make sure to add Tiger and Peacock to your list of must-visit places in Memphis!

Final thoughts

As my time in Memphis comes to a close, I can confidently say that staying at the ARRIVE Memphis was the best decision I made for my trip.

The hotel’s prime location and exceptional hospitality made exploring this fascinating city an absolute breeze.

From learning about the city’s rich history at the National Civil Rights Museum and Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum to discovering the city’s food scene through unique and delicious restaurants like The Beauty Shop and Tiger and Peacock, I truly had the trip of a lifetime.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable Memphis experience, I highly recommend staying at the ARRIVE Memphis and immersing yourself in all that this vibrant city has to offer.

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