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Beale Street, Memphis | © David Brossard / Flickr
Beale Street, Memphis | © David Brossard / Flickr
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How to Spend 24 Hours in Memphis

Picture of Leena Kollar
Updated: 11 October 2017
Headed to Memphis for a quick weekend getaway? Passing through the city on a business trip? You won’t be able to see everything that Memphis has to offer in such a short period of time, but if you know the best places to go during your short stay, the visit will be well worth it. Here’s how to make the most of Memphis in just 24 hours.

Day 1

Morning

Upon arriving in Memphis, check into a local Airbnb for the coziest, most private, personalized lodging experience. Make yourself at home in an actual home where you’ll be close to most of the city’s hottest attractions. Once you’ve had time to settle in, grab breakfast or brunch at a popular restaurant in the area, and then spend the rest of the day exploring some of the top hot spots in Memphis.

Afternoon

Begin your sightseeing adventure by heading over to Elvis Presley’s former mansion, Graceland. You can’t possibly visit Memphis without learning more about the legendary performer. Explore the home inside and out to imagine what life was like for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and his family. Check out his airplane collection, the automobile museum and his final resting place in the Meditation Garden. Actor John Stamos hosts the interactive iPad tour, which includes commentary by Elvis and his daughter, Lisa Marie.

Elvis’ pink Cadillac
Elvis’ pink Cadillac | © Britt Reints / Flickr

Even if you aren’t staying at The Peabody Hotel, the Peabody ducks are worth checking out. They visit the hotel lobby every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. The tradition of the ducks and their duck march began in 1940 by then-bellman Edward Pembroke. A former circus animal trainer, he was the Peabody Duckmaster for 50 years until he retired in 1991.

Evening

For your first dinner in Memphis, hit the nearest BBQ joint. The city is known for its pulled pork, ribs, and fried chicken. Load up on traditional Southern cooking before continuing with your evening.

After your belly is full, walk off your dinner by taking a stroll down Beale Street. Pop into some of the blues music clubs and bars. The area will be packed with tourists and downtown area residents looking for a place to enjoy live music or mingle with intoxicated strangers. Wherever you spend the evening on Beale Street, it’s sure to be a good time.

Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street
Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street | © Heath Cajandig / Flickr

Day 2

Morning

If your Airbnb doesn’t provide breakfast, grab something quick and casual at a local eatery. Brother Juniper’s is an award-winning restaurant that is one of the best breakfast spots in Memphis. On the menu are classic breakfast items such as omelets, pancakes, cereal, and egg sandwiches, as well as potato dishes, tofu, and breakfast burritos.

After breakfast, head over to the National Civil Rights Museum, which is where you’ll learn about the history of civil rights in Memphis. The museum has several permanent exhibits that explore slavery in America, famous boycotts that occurred in the African-American community, and the rise and fall of the Black Power movement. It’s also the location of the Lorraine Motel room where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel
National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel | © Stuart Seeger / Flickr

Afternoon

Memphis is the largest spot-cotton market in the world, and the historic Cotton Row district was the center of the worldwide cotton trade for many generations. Located on the former trade floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange, the Cotton Museum takes visitors through the history of the cotton industry in Memphis. Through the use of hands-on exhibits, the museum provides in-depth information about cotton production and how the industry has changed since the 1940s. The displays compare the original techniques to the methods used by modern-day cotton manufacturers.