Welcome to Memphis, the home of famous Memphis BBQ, blues music and Elvis! After a fun-filled weekend in Nashville, we were slowly making our way home to California. However, our epic summer #HotMamaDoesAmercia road trip wasn’t over yet and we were determined to make the most out of our one day in Memphis. With so many things to see in Memphis we knew we wouldn’t have time to do it all, but our Memphis vacation was off to a great start with a stay at the Peabody Hotel.
The historical Peabody is home to the famous Peabody duck march, which is surprisingly one of the many popular Memphis attractions. In addition to seeing the Peabody ducks, we also planned on indulging in Memphis BBQ and live music, which was no problem to accomplish. So what do you say? Are ready to visit Memphis? Then keep reading for all the exciting details!
Don’t miss the fun. Watch trip highlights in our Memphis Video on YouTube!
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Best Places to Stay in Memphis:
When looking for places to stay in Memphis TN, the options are plentiful. However, if you are traveling to Memphis with kids, we highly recommend staying at the Peabody Hotel. Check Rates and availability.
Peabody Hotel History:
The Peabody Hotel Memphis dates back all the way to 1869 when entrepreneur Colonel Robert Campbell Brinkley secured funding to open the South’s grand hotel. Originally, the hotel was to be called the Brinkley House, but upon hearing of his buddy and humanitarian, George Peabody’s death, he changed the name to Hotel Peabody.
The location moved in 1925 to make way for a department store. Although the demolition was devastating to those who knew and loved the original Peabody Memphis, the move made room for a larger and grander Peabody Hotel. Thus paving the way for the glamorous establishment we know today.
Peabody Hotel Memphis Ducks:
It may surprise you, but the Peabody ducks are a pretty big deal. Like all good traditions, the history of the Peabody Hotel ducks dates back to 1933 after a few drams of whiskey. The general manager at the time had just returned from a hunting trip and thought it would be funny to place his live ducks decoys in the lobby’s fountain. People loved it and in 1940 the bellman, who was also a former circus trainer, taught the ducks the now internationally famous Peabody Duck March.
Places to Eat in Memphis TN:
There are a lot of great downtown Memphis restaurants, but you cannot visit Memphis without trying some of their famous Memphis BBQ. Our first order of business when we got into town was to find the best BBQ in Memphis and eat it! For us that meant a trip to Central BBQ Memphis TN. Now I will be honest, I was never a huge BBQ fan. That was until I tried Memphis BBQ. It blew me away! For the first time ever, my husband actually had to hoard some ribs before I ate them all. We tried a lot of BBQ throughout our time in the south and we all agreed Memphis had the best!
Sure there are many great Memphis restaurants to choose from, but you can eat very well without even leaving the Peabody. In fact, the Peabody restaurants are probably some of the best in town.
The only Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond restaurant in the mid-south, Chez Philippe is definitely worth a visit for those who love a fancy French meal in an opulent atmosphere. Unfortunately, we did not get to dine at the Chez Philippe this trip. Although I am not opposed to giving kids a fine dining experience, we did not have the time, the budget, or the wardrobe to attempt a luxury meal.
If you are looking for a good steak dinner in Memphis, Capriccio Grill is the place to dine. It is also great for breakfast and the Sunday Peabody brunch. The Peabody brunch is actually fairly reasonable for being located at a luxury hotel and kids under 4 are free.
Peabody Deli & Desserts:
Great for a quick lunch or dessert, the Peabody Deli & Desserts has sandwiches and sweets. Papa popped by here in for a yummy cup of morning coffee.
Beale Street Restaurants Memphis:
Beale Street is not only historical it is also where all the action is, especially at night. So, for a family on the hunt for places to eat in Memphis and that loves to enjoy the nightlife together, it may come as no surprise that Beale Street is where we headed!
Where to Drink in Memphis:
Even though we are always traveling with kids, we are always looking for a place to grab a drink. Luckily for us, some of the best bars in Memphis are also restaurants and that means the kids are welcomed! Yay for us! So we headed straight for some fun at the Beale Street bars.
BB King’s Blues Club:
Although we visited a BB King’s while we were Nashville, the one in Memphis is the original BB King’s Blues Club. As we were walking down the lively Beale Street looking for some fun things to do in Memphis, we could hear the band rocking out from the street. We knew this is where we wanted to spend the evening hanging with the kids. It was a great choice too, because the band was amazing. It was Memphis entertainment at its best. Not only were we adults having a great time, but the kids were also having a blast dancing the night away.
After rocking out on Beale Street, it was time to head back to the Peabody. However, it was not time for sleep. Instead we decided to enjoy a night cap at the Peabody Lobby Bar. So elegant and cozy, the lobby bar is also known as the living room of Memphis. It was the perfect place for us to discuss the day’s events.
They have a great selection of whisky cocktails and martinis if you are in the mood for a classic. The hubby sipped on a delicious Whiskey Mule that came in a darling Peabody keepsake mule mug. Yes, it had little ducks engraved on the mug! Love it! I was in the mood for wine, so I enjoyed a few glasses of the refreshing and dry Delta Canard Blanc, one of Peabody’s private label wines. Grams of course stuck with her beer, sipping on some Memphis local brews.
What did the kids sip on you ask? Well, what makes the Peabody bar even more special was there exciting mocktail menu. For the kids, we ordered a Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri and a Fuzzy Duckling. Having a fancy drink to enjoy makes the kids feel like grown-ups and behave as such in the beautiful atmosphere of the lobby bar.
Things to do in Memphis with Kids:
There are a ton of things to do in Memphis. The problem is finding the time to do it all. We only had a day in Memphis, so we didn’t get to explore all of the Memphis Tennessee points of interest. However, we did manage to accomplish a lot of Memphis sightseeing. To maximize your time, I suggest checking out the many Memphis tours beforehand.
Peabody Memphis Ducks:
Probably one of the top family activities in Memphis is seeing the famous Peabody Hotel Duck March. The cute little duckies make their grand entrance to the Lobby fountain at 11:00am every day and retire via red carpet at 5:00pm each evening. It is a surprisingly big event and huge crowds fill the lobby during these times. Kids have front row access as the Duck Master marches the ducks down the red carpet to and from their private elevator. It sounds silly, but it is quite a production and one we are glad we didn’t miss. Plus, it is FREE!
Things to do in Downtown Memphis:
Downtown Memphis covers the large area along the Mississippi River between Interest 40 and the 55. There are several different neighborhoods that make up downtown, each offering different vibes and takes on history.
Looking for things to do in Memphis at night? Head to Beale Street. Located in the entertainment district, Beale Street is not just a playground for adults. There are a surprising number of things to do with kids. For instance, most the live music venues, bars and blues clubs also act as restaurants. This means kids are allowed through the door and that makes it okay for us! There are even several all-ages concert venues, like New Daisy Theatre!
Located in the middle of the Mississippi River, Mud Island is actually a very luxurious community with the luscious Greenbelt Park. Families can enjoy a day of water activities, catch a show at the amphitheatre or check out the Mississippi River Museum.
This is where the story of the Civil Rights movement is told. It is this neighborhood where you will find the Civil Rights Museum. Interestingly enough, it is actually located at the infamous Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Although we didn’t have time to visit inside the museum, we did see the hotel and it was an eerie and sad feeling. It is an important part of American history that I think all families should try to make time to learn about on their trip to Memphis.
For a little music history, you might want to head to the Edge neighborhood. It is here that you can tour Sun Studios. See where music legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lewis and BB King recorded their hits. Although still an active recording studio, tours are given daily and kids 5 to 11 are free! Whoohoo!
Just outside of downtown Memphis is the private residence of Rock n’ Roll legend Elvis Presley. Visiting Graceland is probably one of the top things to do in Memphis and the more expensive. Again, we were in town for such a short time that we didn’t get a chance to visit, but sister visited with her family and loved it! There are several different tours available, so you would have to research which one fits your family, your time constraints and your budget.
That’s a Wrap!
Phew! That was a long one, but there are so many things to do in Memphis TN that I wanted to do it justice. All in all it was such a lively and spirited town, full of history and fun that we can’t wait to go back ourselves and spend more time. One day in Memphis was definitely not enough time, but we had a blast eating Memphis BBQ, hanging out on Beale Street with the kids and staying at The Peabody Hotel. There are few things we wanted to see that we didn’t get to, but it just gives us more reasons to come back!
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