Exploring Downtown Memphis

A Winter Weekend Exploring Memphis’ Vibrant Downtown

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Has the weather been totally schizophrenic where you are? Because it sure is here: 75 degrees one day, 30 the next. I’m over winter. And I don’t know how to dress…ever. I left home on Wednesday, for example, in bare legs and Hunter boots as the temperature was 65 degrees at the time but it looked as if God might rain down his wrath at any moment. An hour later, I got to a meeting, and the mercury had dropped to 45 (before noon!). That night, I drove home in 35-degree weather, still in my rain boots and rain jacket, freezing but…no rain. I simply can’t win. Let’s hope it doesn’t start snowing during the wedding I’m going to tonight as I don’t even plan to take a jacket.

Weekend Getaway to Memphis

But last weekend, I found myself in Memphis for four days tackling three magazine assignments during a rare mild period, and while it was hardly my first time there—I visit a couple times a year due to extended family living in the Bluff City—I did get the chance this go-around to adopt full on tourist status and show SVV (a Memphis newbie) the ropes. (Isn’t he cute? Fresh off the Greyhound, trying to blend in with the locals.)

Weekend Getaway to Memphis

We spent most of our Saturday downtown, bumming about South Main Street and doing our thing (mainly taking photos with my iPhone and Instagramming if we’re being honest; I didn’t even bother to pack my camera equipment on this quick trip).

South Main is one of my favorite districts in Memphis with its beautiful, old, red, brick buildings and cute indie shops. It’s also got an Amtrak station, and one day I would love to hop the train from here and head south to New Orleans or north to Chicago. I love train travel, and each trip is about the same amount of time (if not less) than were you to drive.

Train Station in Memphis

In the same neighborhood is the National Civil Rights Museum, possibly my favorite museums in the world, so we stopped by to pay our respects to Dr. King.

National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

It was a quick visit, as the facility has been undergoing one massive reno and the Lorraine Motel section was not open, but the new exhibits debut on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on April 4. Once done, it’s going to be incredible, and you can believe we’ll be back soon.

National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

I gave SVV the quick walk-through of Beale Street; as it was a sunny Saturday and the University of Memphis basketball game just let out from the FedEx Forum, the place was a madhouse. We popped into A. Schwab to poke around the three levels of curiosities, ran into one of my college friends, then vacated Beale quickly (we’re not much for crowds).

A Schwab's in Memphis

We walked past the Peabody and opted not to go in, though I have seen those cute little ducks on parade on numerous occasion.

Weekend Getaway to Memphis

We pretty much ate the whole city over the three days we were there—and as such, I’m now back on the Paleo bandwagon again. I can’t help it, though; Memphis is just so damn delicious.

Weekend Getaway to Memphis

Downtown Memphis

I really do adore Memphis, and I don’t think its due to the passion I have for my home state. It’s just plain cool and one of Tennessee’s most underrated parts, and as Nashville inevitably falls off its pedestal of popularity—c’mon, it happens to every “it city”—I can see Memphis one day taking its place in the spotlight.

View over the Mississippi River in Memphis

  • March 15, 2014

    Nice pics. thanks for posting nice views….

  • March 15, 2014

    Gorgeous photos, but (apologies) someone has to ask the obvious – No Graceland visit?

    • March 15, 2014

      Valid question! I’ve been to Memphis so many times throughout my life and never attempted Graceland…until this visit. We got there on an overcast, chilly Sunday morning already with tickets in hand, and the place was an absolute mad house. We still had to wait in the ticket line to even get in even though we had ours, and as we’re not huge Elvis fans, we opted to leave and come back sometime soon on a weekday (passes are valid through Dec. 31).

      • March 15, 2014

        Can’t argue with that logic. I think even as non-fans of ‘the King’ you’ll appreciate it when you do go though – simply for how surreally iconic yet ordinary it is. Still, not nearly as much fun as the mid-town smorgasbord of blues & bbq (please do do a post on your dining adventures)!

        • March 15, 2014

          Will do! I’ll probably post one a little before BBQ Fest as friends are gearing up to invade the city for Memphis in May 😉

    • April 11, 2014

      I was going to ask about Graceland but someone beat me to it! I’m glad that you plan on going– I am not really a huge Elvis fan, but still had a blast when I went. It’s so over the top in so many ways, but there’s really nothing else quite like it. Looking forward to your take on it!

  • March 24, 2014

    I have driven through Memphis a million times but never stopped! Looks cute!

  • April 15, 2014

    It was a great experience! We definitely will be back–thanks!

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