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The ultimate guide to Memphis: Where to stay and what to do

HELLO!'s top recommendations for Memphis, Tennessee

memphis travel guide
Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
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There's a reason why Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, and more have included homages to Memphis, Tennessee, in their music – it is the "home of the blues and birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll" after all.

Memphis is definitely a city for music lovers, especially fans of its most famous resident, Elvis Presley. But it has so much more to offer than just Graceland and shouldn't be overlooked when planning your next vacation.

downtown memphis beale street at night© Photo: Getty Images

Memphis is a music city

Of course, you can expect to hear world-class live music, especially on Beale Street, but visitors can also indulge in tasty Southern food, and soak up an abundance of thought-provoking history at attractions like The National Civil Rights Museum.

Check out our top recommendations below for what to do, where to stay, and what to eat in Memphis, for a trip that's totally unforgettable.

Where to stay in Memphis

Caption By Hyatt Beale Street Memphis

ground floor lobby caption by hyatt beale street memphis© Photo: Custom

The Caption by Hyatt Beale Street opened in 2022

A newcomer on the scene, Caption By Hyatt Beale Street Memphis is a vibrant boutique hotel that has paved the way for the next generation of travel. Since opening its doors in June 2022, the hotel has already become a popular choice for visitors.

Its location is hard to beat, with easy access to Beale Street, FedExForum, The Orpheum, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum, B.B. King's Blues Club, and the South Main Arts District.

The property offers 136 guest rooms and suites that feature heavenly beds, bold designs, and modern comforts, and nearly every room boasts a spectacular view of the Mississippi River, the Memphis skyline, or the South Main Arts District.

The thoughtful amenities really help to make your temporary lodgings feel like home, with strategically placed power outlets, a coffee maker, an ironing set, and a 55" flat-screen TV. The bathroom is incredibly spacious and features large barn doors, KenetMD bath toiletries, an expansive vanity, and a Memphis-themed artist mural painted on the walls surrounding the rain shower.

king suite at caption by hyatt beale street memphis© Photo: Custom

Most rooms feature spectacular views

Make sure to fuel up at Talk Shop at Ellis located on the ground floor. The breakfast offerings are a particular highlight, especially the French toast, but there are also pastries, freshly baked goods, snacks, and small plates to choose from.

Other highlights include a fitness center, meeting facilities, and an indoor/outdoor beer garden that offers guests a custom beer to try, the Wm. C Pilsner, through the hotel's partnership with Grind City Brewing.

What really sets this hotel apart is the seamless check-in process. In place of a front desk is a mobile 'Welcome Area' and key cards are digital with access via the World of Hyatt app – although you can create a physical card on arrival should you wish.

Guests of the Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis also have additional perks, as they can visit the neighboring Hyatt Centric and take advantage of the full-service restaurant at CIMAS, Beck & Call rooftop bar overlooking the Mississippi River and the M Bridge, and the option to purchase day passes for the pool.

A stay at Caption By Hyatt Beale Street Memphis starts from $159 per night. For more information visit

The Peabody Memphis

king bedroom at the peabody hotel memphis© Photo: Custom

The Peabody is Memphis' most famous hotel

Undoubtedly the most recognizable hotel in Memphis, The Peabody is legendary for its elegance and rich history, it has been dubbed the 'South's Grand Hotel' after all. The newly renovated guestrooms and suites offer timeless luxury with opulent designs and furnishings.

Each of the 464 rooms boasts new bathrooms with upgraded lighting, white Carrara marble tiled floors, and Quartz vanity tops. Plus, the rooms are decorated with commissioned wall art that subtly pays tribute to Memphis, the blues, Mississippi River sunsets, and the Peabody Ducks.

A stay at The Peabody – or even a trip to Memphis – wouldn't be complete without experiencing the legendary Peabody Duck March. Each day at 11 am and 5 pm, five resident Mallard ducks march through the lobby before enjoying a swim in the fountain. It really is a unique experience not to be missed.

peabody ducks in lobby at the peabody memphis© Photo: Custom

The Peabody Ducks are legendary

There is so much on offer at The Peabody, it wouldn't be surprising if you struggled to leave the hotel. With several eateries and bars to choose from, including Chez Philippe which offers classic French cuisine, Italian steakhouse Capriccio Grill, and the Peabody Corner Bar, you really are spoiled for choice.

Other amenities include The Peabody Athletic Club which offers guests all-new Cybex cardio equipment, a Grecian-style heated indoor pool, a whirlpool spa, and a tanning bed. A full-service resort-style spa that features a variety of luxurious treatments, including a Vichy Shower Bed complete with steam massage, chromo light therapy, and aromatherapy.

There are also several shops where you can purchase Peabody-branded gifts, fine jewelry, and the notorious Lansky men's shop named after Bernard Lansky, who was known as the 'Clothier to the King' for dressing Elvis.

A stay at The Peabody Memphis starts from $199 per night. For more information visit

What to do in Memphis

Beale Street

memphis beale street at night© Photo: Getty Images

Beale Street is the place for music lovers

You can't visit Memphis and not take a stroll down Beale Street, one of the most iconic streets in America. It is three blocks of nightclubs, restaurants, and shops in the heart of downtown, and a melting pot of delta blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, R&B, and gospel.

Beale Street is serious about its music, and you'll hear a variety spilling out of clubs and restaurants like Rum Boogie Café, B.B. King's Blues Club, Silky O'Sullivan's, or the Hard Rock Café.

Memphis Mojo Tour with Backbeat Tours

backbeat tours memphis tennessee© Photo: Custom

High-energy and live music await

If you're short on time or just want to soak up sights you may otherwise overlook, Backbeat Tours is rated as one of Memphis' top attractions and offer a variety of options to help you see the city.

The Memphis Mojo Tour is a particularly good option, and whether you choose the 90-minute or three-hour tour, you can expect high-energy fun and live music while learning about Memphis' greatest attractions.

Sun Studio

exterior sun studio memphis© Photo: Getty Images

Sun Studio is where Elvis was discovered

A must-see destination on your trip to Memphis is Sun Studio, a recording studio opened by rock 'n' roll pioneer Sam Phillips in 1950. This is the spot where music icons Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis were discovered – you can even stand in the very same spot where Elvis first recorded.

As well as learning the history of its hallowed halls, you'll also listen to outtakes from recording sessions and see priceless memorabilia from musical legends.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

exterior stax museum memphis© Photo: Getty Images

The museum was once Stax Records

Sitting on the original site of the Stax Records studio, which launched and supported the careers of artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Wilson Pickett, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is home to more than 2,000 artifacts, interactive exhibits, films, and galleries.

Among the collection is an exact replica of Studio A, the legendary converted movie theater where Stax artists cut records. You'll also see Isaac Hayes' glittering custom Cadillac Eldorado, which has some unique amenities like a refrigerated minibar, a TV, white fur carpeting, and 24-carat gold exterior trim.

National Civil Rights Museum | At the Lorraine Motel

exterior lorraine motel memphis© Photo: Custom

Visit the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination 

The National Civil Rights Museum explores the history of the Civil Rights Movement and its impact on our culture today. It features 260 artifacts, more than 40 new films, oral histories, interactive media, and external listening posts that guide visitors through five centuries of history.

It is also the site of the Lorraine Motel, the building where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. With the historic façade still intact, visitors can see Room 306 where Dr. King spent his final hours.


graceland mansion exterior memphis© Photo: Getty Images

Spend hours soaking up Graceland

No visit to Memphis would be complete without a trip to Graceland: The home of Elvis Presley. Expect to spend hours basking in the history of the King of Rock 'n Roll. Explore his notorious mansion where you'll see the living room, pool room, and the famous Jungle Room, among other highlights.

Walk the gardens where he found peace, tour the aircraft that he traveled on from show to show, and see his favorite automobiles, including his iconic Pink Cadillac.

As if all that wasn't enough, you can also visit Elvis Presley's Memphis, an entertainment complex that enables you to follow the life path that Elvis took. It also features his legendary costumes, collection of gold and platinum records, memorabilia from his movies, personal mementos from Elvis and his family, and more.

Memphis Grizzlies

fedexforum memphis© Photo: Getty Images

Catch a Grizzlies game

For an electrifying and unforgettable night, a trip to the FedExForum to see the Memphis Grizzlies play on home soil is an experience like no other, whether you're an NBA fan or not.

Where to eat in Memphis

Gus's Fried Chicken

chicken and sides at guss fried chicken memphis© Photo: Instagram

Sumptuous fried chicken can be found at Gus's

If you're searching for crispy and succulent chicken, then Gus's should be your first stop. Renowned for its hand-battered southern fried chicken with their trademark cayenne-heavy seasoning, it's no wonder the place is often packed daily with Memphians and visitors from all around the world.

Add in their sides like beans, greens, fried okra, and a variety of pies and it's easy to see why Gus's declares itself 'World Famous'.

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar

platter at flight restaurant and wine bar memphis© Photo: Instagram

Flight offers up some exquisite dishes

Whether you're grabbing a quick bite or looking to impress on date night, Flight in downtown Memphis is an elegant option.

The two-level restaurant offers the perfect setting for meeting friends or dining alone on the main floor, while the balcony level features booths and small tables for more privacy. Dishes include Wagyu beef short ribs, Bison ribeye, Chilean sea bass and so much more.

The Beauty Shop

food at the beauty shop restaurant memphis tennessee© Photo: Instagram

The Beauty Shop pays homage to its past

This hip and trendy restaurant in the Cooper-Young district of midtown Memphis is in the former beauty shop loved by Priscilla Presley. The décor pays homage to the space's beauty parlor past – with 1950s-style hair dryers and original mint green wash basins filling in as sinks still on display.

The Beauty Shop's fabulous menu is not for the faint of flavor as they are both bold and quirky and make for an out-of-the-ordinary dining experience.

The Rendezvous

rendezvous bbq food memphis© Photo: Instagram

The charcoaled ribs are notorious

Charlie Vergos Rendezvous is a quintessential Memphis experience. The smoky aroma is grilled meat and barbecue shake, and the Rendezvous' charcoaled ribs are undoubtedly their calling card.

But if ribs aren't your thing, you've got options. Salads, brisket, chopped chicken, red beans, and rice are all on the menu too.

For more information on visiting Memphis go to

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