Five ‘Must See’ Places in Memphis:
1 – Graceland, Elvis’ beloved home in Memphis. He bought in for his mom in 1957 and lived there until he died 20 years later. You don’t have to be an Elvis fan to appreciate Graceland, proof of the American Dream realized. Besides the mansion, you can tour his airplanes, his car, his clothes and many shops. Refer to my post a few days ago called Graceland, the happiest place on earth, for more details. Graceland is located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard.
2 – Sun Studio, where Rock n Roll was born. Forget Cleveland, Rock n Roll started in Memphis when Sam Phillips opened Memphis Recording Service and Sun Records. He recorded such greats as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, BB King, Howlin Wolf, and Rufus Thomas. You can tour the original studio today, even the tiles on the wall are same. Sun Studio is located at 706 Union Avenue.
3 – Beale Street, Home of the Blues. Beale Street represents a place where all kinds of people get together to enjoy good music, good food and good times. The best places are the Blues Hall, Rum Boogie, Blues City and BB Kings. There are also great places to shop to bring home souvenirs from Memphis. Beale Street is located between 2nd and 4th streets.
4 – National Civil Rights Museum, at the Lorraine Motel where Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The hotel was turned into the National Civil Rights Museum, but the front of the hotel remains the same. The balcony is still in tact, as is Dr. King’s room. The museum tells the whole story of the civil rights with displays, artifacts and photographs. You can look into Dr. King’s room and onto the balcony where he stood for the last time. You can also go into the boarding house where it is said the shot came from that killed Dr. King. The National Civil Rights Museum is located at 450 Mulberry Street.
5 – The Mississippi Riverfront, Tom Lee Park. This is my favorite place to hang out and just relax. It’s a great place to walk the dogs, or fly a kite, or sit on a bench and read. The view of the route 40 bridge and the pyramid symbolize Memphis for me. Tom Lee Park is located at 357 South Riverside Drive.
Five ‘Must Eat’ Places in Memphis:
1 – Paula Deen’s Buffet at Harrahs’ Casino. True this is not in Memphis, but it is only a short 30 minute drive and too fantastic to miss. You think buffet and you think processed, stale, mass produced. Not at Paula Deen’s buffet. Every dish tastes like she just took it out of the oven. My favorites are the chicken casserole, mac n cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, and sweet tea. Definitely go during lunch because it is the same food as dinner, but less money. Paula Deen’s Buffet is located in Harrah’s Casino at 13615 Old Highway 61 Robinsonville, MS.
2 – Cupboard Restaurant. I started going to The Cupboard years ago, even before I lived in Memphis. Then I ended up moving right down the street from it. The waitresses are sweet and the atmosphere is homey, and the food is great. My favorite is the eggplant casserole, banana pudding and sweet tea. The Cupboard is opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but lunch is my favorite meal there. The Cupboard is located at 1400 Union Avenue.
3 – Blue Plate Cafe, east. There are 2 Blue Plate locations, but I have never been to the one downtown, even though it’s closer to me. I always go to the orginial, the one out east on Poplar. I happened upon Blue Plate years ago when I was visiting Memphis. It is a local restaurant, not really a tourist spot. The food is amazing, both lunch and breakfast. It is the best breakfast in Memphis. The best biscuits in Memphis! The omlettes and pancakes are also great, as is the sweet tea. If you go on a Saturday or Sunday, get there early or expect to wait about an hour. Blue Plate Cafe is located at 5469 Poplar Avenue.
4 – Marlowe’s. Marlowe’s was the first restaurant I ate at in Memphis when I visited in 2002. And to be quite honest, I love it because of its atmosphere. It is an Elvis hangout. Elvis didn’t hang out there, but his fans do. It is right down the street from Graceland. But it has the best bbq in town and of course great sweet tea. The waitstaff is amazing! If you’re visiting Graceland and staying at a nearby hotel, Marlowe’s delivers or you can catch a free ride in their pink limousine. Marlowe’s is located at 4381 Elvis Presley Boulevard.
5 – The Arcade Restaurant, oldest cafe in Memphis. The Arcade has been in business since 1919 and has been used in many movies filmed in Memphis. It is a diner style restaurant, and one of the only places you can get a friend peanut butter and banana sandwich. In fact, Elvis used to eat at the Arcade and there is a plaque to show you where. Get a freshly mixed mikshake to go with your burger and fries. The Arcade Restaurant is located at 540 South Main Street.