Layover Life : 5 Things You Need to do in Memphis, Tennessee

Ahh Friday, what a glorious day you are and one that I actually have off so major plus!

This week I got sent to the airport to sit standby and was quickly informed I’d be working to Memphis for a 30 hour layover.  I have actually been to Memphis when I was younger and did both Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum (both absolute musts if you’re in the area) but I wasn’t sure what I’d want to do for one day and one day only. I texted my sister who lives in Nashville what one should do in Memphis and she said “nothing! Ha. Peabody Hotel, Arcade for Brunch & Graceland.”

Having already done 2 out of the 3 of those things I set off to make a new plan and here’s what I came up with to fill my last minute layover in Memphis!

1. Take a Tour of Sun Studio.

Sun Studio is where greats like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley all recorded some of their early work in. In fact Elvis & Johnny both recorded their very first songs in the single room that still stands virtually untouched today. The tour is $14 and lasts about an hour. It’s guided by incredibly passionate music fans- our guide Jason sang along with every song he shared and you couldn’t help but at least tap your foot in solidarity. The moment I left I found myself down a rabbit hole researching all of the amazing songs that had been recorded in that room and of course creating a very dorky playlist to go along with it. I loved the tour! Bonus: when you purchase a ticket you also receive use of a free shuttle service that brings you to Beale Street and also to Graceland which is a great value!

2. Stuff your face at Central BBQ.

Memphis BBQ where can you really go wrong? Honestly, you can’t. Let me tell you though, when you want to go really right, you go to Central BBQ. This place is so good it has 4 locations in the greater Memphis area so no matter where you are you can enjoy it! The brisket was so tender and I loved the hot BBQ sauce that came along with it. Everyone who worked there was really nice and made me feel like I was home- well except Jeopardy! wasn’t on and though my mom’s mac & cheese is my forever favorite it’s quite different! Oh and she sure as hell never made us brisket. This place is special folks, you’ve got to try it.

3. Live Music & Big Ass Beers on Beale Street.

Of course what is a trip to Memphis without testing out the open container law on Beale Street? I’m just kidding but I did stop for a “Big Ass Beer” at King’s Palace and listened to some live music in their courtyard which was a great way to spend an afternoon despite the fact that it was 100 degrees and I felt like I was dying a little inside sitting out there (my New England/Irish blood has a serious aversion to humidity haha) To be honest, I actually don’t know that I’d care to spend any time on Beale at night- call me a loser but I don’t even like Bourbon Street after 5 PM so for me an hour during the day was perfect.

4. Watch the Peabody Ducks Waddle through the hotel lobby.

If you don’t already know about the historic duck march through the lobby of the Peabody hotel, click here immediately to find out. Now you can continue this post… I decided to check out the 5pm session when the ducks are marched from the fountain back to their penthouse suite on the roof. I arrived around 3:30 because I was in desperate need of some air-conditioning and I’m actually glad I did. I got a seat at the bar and met a nice older couple who put the duck walk ever so simply “they roll the red carpet out, the Duck Master makes a 5 minute entertaining speech, the ducks walk to an elevator and we clap like morons.” They made sure I had as good a spot as possible though because even as morons, it was still unbelievably special! There were probably 150-200 people on multiple floors of the hotel lobby looking down at these birds waddling away on a Tuesday afternoon. You’ve just got to check this out friends!

5. Take in the sunset on the rooftop at Hu. Hotel.

This was my favorite part of the day, easily! The rooftop bar at Hu. Hotel is small but mighty in it’s spectacular views of the Mississippi River and cozy rooftop seating. The bar menu had some great options for beer & wine but their cocktail list looked inspired! Still pretty full from the BBQ lunch I ordered an appetizer with a glass of rose (#basic) and sat for an hour enjoying the views. The hummus was delicious! I don’t know how busy it would be on a weekend as I was going up on a Tuesday (ayy) but I can’t recommend it enough! I loved it so much that I’d love to see what the rest of the hotel and it’s rooms were like on my next visit.

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From the moment crew scheduling called me to basically last night when I got back from working my trip “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn was stuck in my head. If you follow me on my Instagram you’d know that I went a little hard on using the song lyrics to dictate my day but hey, I had a prayer in Memphis! So the next time you find yourself in Memphis even just for a day like me, you should absolutely add these stops to your to do list! I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Oh but if the shuttle driver puts her hand out to grab your luggage, do not shake it. The alarming look on her face will shake both of you to your core. I’m so awkward

I hope you have a great weekend filled with rooftop bars, great views and all of the BBQ- or cleaning, like me. I mean, we can’t always be walking in Memphis!

Kari

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