Anne Costabile, Chattanooga, Tenn. – Ah, Memphis. Home of blues, brews and BBQ, just to name a few.
Most importantly, Memphis is known for the food. I’m a Memphis native, so I might be biased, but the food definitely lives up to all the hype. My favorite place to get BBQ is Central BBQ, a small joint offering big flavor. Their BBQ nachos are life-changing, no exaggeration.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love Chili’s baby back ribs, but nothing compares to the Rendezvous. The famous Rendezvous is located in downtown Memphis and they have been serving the best ribs and cheese platters in town since 1948.
Looking for the burger to end all burgers? Try Huey’s, voted “Best Burger” by Memphis Magazine every year since 1984, and rightfully so. I love the Bluff City Burger, a burger topped with all the fixings; smoked cheddar cheese, bacon, onion straws, BBQ sauce, lettuce & pickles.
For a combination of sports and hot wings, Ching’s Wings is the ideal place, with walls plastered with screens and 10 different wing sauces. My personal favorite is the Mild Hot sauce, but feel free to try the hottest flavor, called Suicide, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
Majestic Grille’s unique dining experience is located in an old theatre where classic movies and cartoons are projected on the wall. Nothing I love more than eating a waffle the size of my face and drinking mimosas while watching old cartoons.
Beale Street, named America’s Most Iconic Street in a USA Today National Poll, offers restaurants, clubs, shops, street entertainment, and plenty of blues music. Trust me when I say that there is nothing like walking off a deep fried PB&J from Dyer’s like walking it off on Beale.
Aside from food that will make your taste buds dance and blues music that will make you want to move your feet, Memphis is filled with historical artifacts. Take Tom Lee Park, Sun Studios and the National Civil Rights Museum for example.
One of my very favorite places in Memphis is Tom Lee Park. Tom Lee, an African-American Memphian, was in his motorboat on the Mississippi River when he witnessed a ship capsize. Lee, who did not know how to swim, was able to save 32 men, women, and children, including my great-grandparents, by pulling them from the river and making several trips back and forth to the shore. The city honored his heroic efforts by developing Tom Lee Park, overlooking the Mississippi River, where a statue proudly stands to tell his story.
If you’re a huge music fan, check out Sun Studios, an old recording studio. Visitors can tour Sun Studios and stand in the exact spot where the “million-dollar quartet” of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash recorded many of their biggest hits.
An emotional, and in my opinion, rather humbling, stop can be found at The Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot as he addressed a crowd from his motel room balcony. The Lorraine Motel has been restored as The National Civil Rights Museum, and is open to the public. King’s hotel room has remained untouched and serves as a monument to his work and the Civil Rights Movement.
Now it’s time for some famous Memphis attractions – Graceland, the Memphis Zoo, the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the AAA Redbirds baseball team.
Elvis Presley helped make Memphis a center of Rock N’ Roll, but he also made it his home. Since his death, Graceland has become a prime tourist spot where fans can tour his mansion and the grounds around it that include Presley’s cars, private planes, and his gravesite. I don’t know about you, but I could never get tired of looking at Elvis, and there are plenty of chances to see pictures and videos of the King during the tour of Graceland.
The Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals and 19 exhibits. Each exhibit is a world of its own, and there are many chances to interact with the animals and learn about the different species. Visitors can ride camels at the Camel Excursion, touch stingrays in Stingray Bay and feed giraffes in the African Veldt.
My favorite exhibit is the Northwest Passage because it truly feels like I am in a seclude sections of the woods. Thankfully, unlike actually being in the woods, there is a glass wall separating me from the grizzly bears.
Speaking of grizzly bears, it’s time to talk about The Memphis Grizzlies, the heart and soul of the city. Enthusiastic fans, much like myself, pour into the FedEx Forum, located just off famous Beale Street, to watch the Grizzlies shoot threes and slam dunk during the NBA season.
Being in the FedEx Forum and watching the Grizzlies defeat their opponent is something that everyone needs to experience at least once, trust me. This sports town also offers baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals affiliated team, the Memphis Redbirds, and don’t forget the University of Memphis Tigers who have a city full of fans that come out for their football and basketball seasons.
So there you have it, (almost) everything you need to know about the Grind City, the 901, Memphis, Tenn. I’ve said it all my life – I could travel the world and Memphis would still be one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. So, what are you waiting for? Put on your blue suede shoes and take a walk through Memphis.