Memphis is a city with tons of soul + personality. It’s a place everyone should visit at least once. There is so much to do, see, and eat. I’ve written a basic guide to visit the Bluff City before, but I wanted to expand on that + give you the ultimate Memphis bucket list – perfect for tourists or even lifelong Memphians.
My Memphis Bucket List
Even I can’t say I have checked everything off this list but I hope to complete it in the next few years. Below you will find some of the most quintessential Memphis-y things to do. Get started completing the list this weekend!
Graceland – Elvis’ mansion is about as Memphis as Memphis can get. Take a tour of the King’s house where you can see the jungle room + look on board his personal planes.
Earnestine & Hazel’s – The history of this pharmacy turned eventual dive bar is deep + rich. It has been featured in several movies, including on the road trip in Elizabethtown.
Sun Studios – The birthplace of Rock’n’Roll has hosted legends like Elvis, Johnny Cash, B.B. King + more. They still offer recording sessions today as well as a gift shop + tours. Be sure to check out Nine01 II Five04 next door.
Stax Museum – Stax is next on the tour de music located in Soulsville. The function of the museum is to preserve the history of those who recorded there + those influential in the soul genre.
Beale Street – Some call it “America’s Most Iconic Street.” Made up of bars, restaurants, and music joints, Beale Street is a fun place to visit any time of day with tons to do + see.
Central BBQ – No Memphis bucket list is complete without BBQ. Central is one of Memphis’s best places to get pulled pork. I recommend you get the BBQ nachos + their sweet tea.
Jerry’s Sno Cone – When I lived away from Memphis, I went to Jerry’s almost every time I came back to visit. Jerry’s mixes sno cones + delicious soft-serve. All the flavors are amazing but wedding cake is a crowd favorite.
Gus’s Fried Chicken – Nashville isn’t the only city in Tennessee known for chicken. Gus’ is so good it branched out with locations across the country. It is good.
Gibson’s Donuts – Open 24/7, Gibson’s is the place to get donuts in the Bluff City. They are light + fluffy + made all day long. Their glazed are classic but their cake donuts are incredible, too.
Chings – We may be known for BBQ, but Memphis also makes good wings! We even have our own classic flavor: honey gold.
Things to See
Peabody Ducks – One of my favorite items on my Memphis bucket list is seeing the ducks parade at the Peabody Hotel. It is seriously the cutest show + the hotel is gorgeous.
Grizzlies – We’ve always been the Bluff City but more recently we have become known as Grind City thanks to the Memphis Grizzlies. Seeing an NBA game is a ton of fun + I highly recommend it.
BBQFest – If Central doesn’t give you everything you want, get tickets to the World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest. People come from all over the country + even world to show off their BBQ + take home the prize.
Views of the Mississippi – Enjoy a meal on Mud Island or grab a drink at Grind City Brewery to get some amazing river views. You can also go for a jog on Big River Crossing to see it from all sides.
Places to Visit
Memphis Botanic Gardens – 96 acres of beautiful landscape in the heart of Memphis will help you better connect with nature. You can attend events among the flowers or even host your own!
Pink Palace Museum – More than just a science museum, the Pink Palace set in a historic mansion also includes a planetarium + IMAX theater. There is so much cool stuff to check out there you will never be bored.
Memphis Zoo – I don’t want to toot our own horn, but we have one of the best zoos in the country. Pandas? Got em. Penguins? Got em. Tigers? You know we got em.
National Civil Rights Museum – Not all of Memphis’ history is roses + sunshine. The city has a significant history in the Civil rights music + this museum can show you some of the realities of the movement.
The Pyramid – It may be a Bass Pro Shop now, but the Pyramid used to be a sports arena + venue. You can take the elevator up to the top for a great view of downtown.
Orpheum – See a touring broadway show right in the city. The theater also does movie showings + concerts.
Paula Raiford’s Disco – Spending a night at Raiford’s should be on everyone’s Memphis bucket list. When they say disco, they have the lights + mirrors to prove it.
Areas to Explore
Overton Square – Located in the heart of midtown, this district is a great place to spend the day or night. Go to Babalu’s for good eats, get macaroons at 17 Berkshire, and enjoy live music at Lafayette’s.
Broad Avenue Arts District – If you want something a little funky, this area is for you. Filled with murals + artsy shops, strolling down Broad is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Cooper-Young – Explore this area for funky shops + good eats. Young Avenue Deli is a must + stop by House of Mews if you want some coffee with a side of kitties.
South Main – This district is going through some real revitalization. Amazing boutique hotels have popped up in the area as have fun shops + restaurants.
Shelby Farms – If the outdoors are your thing, Shelby Farms is made up of about 4,500 acres filled with activities for adventure seekers, kids, dogs, and more!
No Memphis bucket list is ever complete as the city is always growing + adding more must-see attractions. What is on your Memphis bucket list?