What To Do In Memphis This Weekend – Here’s an itinerary for the best weekend getaways in Memphis, including where to go, where to eat, and where to stay!
When we decided to travel to Tennessee, I knew we had to stop in the great city of Memphis. The Bluff, the birthplace of rock and soul, is an easy drive from where we live in Houston, Texas. But somehow, I’ve managed to live my whole life without spending a weekend in Memphis. Now that we’re back, my only regret is waiting so long! [Also see our post on fun things to do in Franklin, TN!]
What To Do In Memphis This Weekend
If you’re interested in spending the weekend in Memphis, we’ve got everything you need to know about things to do in Memphis, the best places to stay in Memphis, and where to eat while you’re there. This route we followed exactly. Feel free to mix and match the activities that suit you, but be aware of their opening times. Some of them close quite early, while others don’t open at all on Sundays.
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As this article is being written, we are in the midst of a viral pandemic. However, Memphis has taken very good security precautions. Each location listed here offers limited capacity, increased sterilization, temperature control, social distancing, or all of the above. This is reflected in the city’s commitment to operate safely and responsibly.
Find your inner rock and soul at the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum on the first day of the weekend in Memphis [Friday].
The Rock n Soul Museum was one of our favorite stops during our weekend in Memphis. The city claims the name as the birthright of rock and soul music, so a visit here gives you the opportunity to see not only the history of the city, but the history of music as well. The museum is small, giving it an intimate feel.
It’s also interactive [making it a great stop for kids]. Here is an audio guide where you can listen to detailed information about each exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum. There is also a jukebox where you can listen to full songs.
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[Tip: Add them to Apple Music so you can listen to them later! It’s a great tune and will remind you of your weekend in Memphis every time you hear it.]
Beale Street is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, so it doesn’t make sense to visit it on the first day of a weekend in Memphis. If you’re looking for violence and fun, you’ll find plenty here. It’s three blocks long, each with a selection of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. There are many live music performances on Beale Street. Walk down the street and let your ears guide you to the music venue of your choice.
If you prefer more entertainment, you can experience the fun of Beale Street during your weekend in Memphis! It’s surprising how many options you can find on Beale Street. Stop by Beale Sweets Sugar Shack for a taste of their delicious fudge or a. Have a beer at Schwab Trading Company. [If you’re a minor, check out other things to do on Beale Street here.]
The National Civil Rights Museum is a must-do every weekend in Memphis. I have been to many museums in my life, but this one tops the list of my favorites. It was built around the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died. This tragedy was also covered in more detail.
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It’s a huge museum [wear comfortable walking shoes] but everything is so beautifully done that you don’t notice how much time it takes to complete. It covers everything from the origins of slavery to the Montgomery Bus Boycott to Memphis’ “I’m a Man” movement to the election of the nation’s first black president.
The experience begins with an outdoor presentation of the Lorraine Motel and an audiovisual lesson in a mini-kiosk. Once inside, every area from floor to ceiling is filled with content and history. You can join Ruby Bridges Public School, ride the bus with Rosa Parks, and sit at the student desk when public transportation changes. There’s a lot here, so spend at least 2 hours on your weekend in Memphis to see and experience it all.
This is one of the most popular spots in Memphis, so I recommend arriving early if you want to avoid the lines.
It’s worth adding a little more “chill” to your weekend in Memphis. So your next stop is Chez Philippe in Peabody Memphis for a traditional English afternoon tea. Chez Phillippe is the only place in town that offers this service, and it’s truly one of a kind.
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The girls turned around as we entered the restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is as beautiful as you can imagine, with high ceilings, glass walls and gold trim and perfectly spaced seating.
It was a three-course menu with a selection of small sandwiches, the best hot biscuits I’ve ever had in my life, various sweets and, of course, tea. We couldn’t pick which part of the afternoon tea we enjoyed the most [everyone had their own variety when the dessert tray came out] so it’s safe to say we enjoyed every bit of it.
If you’re visiting Chez Philippe for afternoon tea with kids like us, don’t worry – it’s all very family friendly. There are also decaffeinated tea options.
The Peabody Duck is world famous and is the next thing you should do on your weekend in Memphis. What started as a joke between friends turned into a water event for tourists and locals alike. Every 11 a.m., the Peabody Ducks take the elevator from the “duck” on the roof to the lobby. At 5:00 p.m., they reverse their movements and walk down the hall to their rooms.
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They are led by Kanon Walker, the master of duck animation, who masters one of the most amazing performances ever. The duck is, as expected, very funny, but the canon is undoubtedly as funny as the duck. Their energetic attitude makes the show enjoyable, and who knew a person needed to know so much about ducks? If you get a chance to chat with him during your weekend in Memphis, I highly recommend it.
It is recommended to arrive 30 minutes before the show starts. However, if you can spring, the earlier you arrive, the better seats you will get. You can also get their Duck Day Pack which includes all kinds of goodies like your very own Duck Master prop and t-shirt.
If it’s crowded, check out the top floor for a bird’s-eye view. [You understand? Because they are ducks. Thanks for the jokes that still make me laugh, Canon.]
Escape the hustle and bustle of Memphis and visit Shelby Farms Park. This was one of our favorite stops during our weekend in Memphis. Shelby Farms Park is a 4,500-acre green oasis in downtown Memphis. There are hiking trails, bike rentals, playgrounds, water games, kayaking and more.
The 10 Best Things To Do In Memphis
What is really special about this park is that it is also a conservation area. Various wetland birds, fish, rabbits, snakes and others call the park home. The most famous inhabitants are the buffalo family, which thrives around the park. In 1989, a park ranger brought in 6 buffalo and they have called the park home ever since. Shelby Farm Park now has about 15 buffalo and they are often seen on park tours.
[Note: If you’re looking for other places in Tennessee that offer great outdoor activities, check out our list of fun things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN!]
Tired of all the fun from visiting Shelby Farms Park? Nice! Next stop: Rest and relax in Overton Square. It is a shopping center in the Memphis Theater District with more than two dozen restaurants, entertainment venues and small shops. If you’re visiting with kids [or even if you’re not], visit Sweet Noshings for delicious popcorn, loose candy, fudge, and ice cream. There are also art installations [perfect for the Gram] and a green space where everyone can stretch.
There’s no better way to spend a weekend in Memphis than with a visit to Big River Crossing. It is the longest pedestrian bridge over the Mississippi River and connects Main Street in Memphis with Main Street in West Memphis. Visitors are invited to walk, bike or run across the bridge to enjoy the unique scenery.
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