This year we wanted to take a long weekend away in a city we never visited before and we quickly decided on Memphis! We went with my mom and my sister and the entire reason for our trip was one place, Graceland! My father was a MASSIVE Elvis fan (we naturally are too!) but he never got to visit Graceland so we wanted to finally take that trip in honor of my dad. While we did go to Graceland, we also checked out all the other things Memphis has to offer and squeezed as much in as we could to 3 days!
It was nice and warm down there, which was SO welcoming from the 30 degree Jersey temperature, and it was fun being around such nice southern hospitality and people saying “y’all” in every sentence. I LOVE the south and found everyone to be so charming! Memphis itself wasn’t AS charming – it’s a bit run down and beat up. Also, Graceland was 10x more touristy than what we were expecting and that was a bit upsetting. I think we were expecting to just pull up to the gates and walk right up to Elvis’ house lol but there was so much more added around to it and it all felt like one big money making scheme and not a good tribute to the King. We came for Graceland but that was maybe my least favorite part of the whole trip lol and I seriously wondered if my Dad would have liked it at all. I loved seeing Sun Studios though and felt THAT was a better representation of Elvis Presley then anything else!
Memphis wasn’t all bad though – I loved seeing the Civil Rights Museum (it’s heavy in there and I cried 3 times while walking around it – very powerful stuff but I loved it and think every American should visit that museum), Sun Studios (the minute we got home, we listened to Johnny Cash!) & seeing the famous Peabody Hotel ducks!! We got some southern BBQ, checked out the Gibson factory, came back more than once to the hip and trendy Cooper & Young district & visited the famous Beele Street! I honestly don’t know if I would ever go back to Memphis but I’d definitely go back to Tennessee to check out Nashville! The south and all the sweet southerners warmed my heart for sure 🙂 It’s not typical to find people SO kind & willing to go out of their way to help you in the tri-state area, as sad as that sounds! (The perfect example of that southern hospitality was my mom, who has MS and walks with a cane, was offered a seat while we waited for breakfast one morning by THREE people at the same time! They all JUMPED to give her a seat!)
I took a bunch of photos while we were there – some with my camera and some with my iPhone 🙂 Here are some of our highlights from our weekend in Memphis!
Our first stop was the Gibson Factory, located right off Beele Street!
We visited Beele Street on Thursday afternoon and it was bumping and lively! Full of restaurants, bars and blues clubs.
We then went to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks! It’s so cute the entire hotel is themed after the ducks 😉 Everyday the ducks march from their home on the roof to the lobby and hang out in the lobby’s fountain all day until they march back up to the roof. It is the cutest!!
We hung out in the lobby and ordered drinks – my mom and I ordered the adorable (and yummy) Rubber Duckey cocktail and got to keep the little duck!
The next day we woke up and went to Stak’s for breakfast! I LOVED it! I didn’t take any photos of the food we ate on vacation because we ate it all so fast! lol But it was all so good!!
We then went to Graceland!
We then visited Graceland mansion, which still looks exactly the way Elvis and his family left it. SO gaudy and 70s inspired lol
It was all so tacky looking but I LOVED this light fixture lol
It was a tourist trap but it was still fun and we learned a lot we never even knew about Elvis. I admittedly got a little choked up at the end of the tour when we saw Elvis’ grave site and the tour played his song “If I can dream“, one of Elvis’ best performances ever and one of my Dad’s favorite songs. Click the link and give it a listen because it really is amazing. fun fact – the song is inspired by Martin Luther king’s I have a dream speech.
Seeing Graceland isn’t all you can do there! You can see his outfits, all his automatibles (my god he had a TON! lol) and so much more memorabilia!
If you don’t know Elvis and want to know him better, just watch his ’68 comeback special. He not only shows off his talent but his charm and charisma – and he has NEVER looked better! He wore this infamous leather outfit in it!
The next day we visited the Civil Rights Museum, which is built around the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed. This museum is not just about MLK but is focused heavily on him. It covered all aspects of black history and was a very moving museum. I learned so much and was so emotional throughout it all. Definitely a MUST-DO!
We did a complete 360 after the Civil Rights Museum and lifted our spirits when we visited Sun Studios, which was another favorite part of visiting Memphis! I LOVED learning more about Sam Philips and Sun Studios. On the plane home, I listened to the soundtrack to “Million Dollar Quartet”, which was recorded at Sun! Conveniently, there’s a new show on CMT all about Sam Philips and Sun Records I think I’m going to start watching! lol it was so fun learning about it! It was cool because they played a bunch of music that was recorded there and had a little cafe you could order from while you waited for your tour to start. It’s a short tour so it’s definitely worth it! 🙂 Trust me – you won’t get any of the music out of your head for DAYS!
And that is our time in Memphis!! 🙂 This is only HALF of what we did and doesn’t even include the great places we ate (like I said, I just enjoyed my food and didn’t photograph it lol). If you have any recommendations for a great city to check out for a weekend, let me know! 🙂 All traveling does to me is make me want to do it more and more!