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Memphis may not be the first place you think of when you think of “family fun,” but our daughter had a great time. When we visit Walt Disney World in Florida, we often drive from our home in Joplin, Missouri. We try to find some fun stops along the way, and Memphis has become one of our favorites. Since we are on a road trip to another destination, we don’t spend more than a night here. We make the most of the time we do have, and here are some of our favorite activities–perfect if you have a weekend or a couple of days. Or do it the way we do–a couple of activities here and there.
Explore Beale Street
This historic street is a must-do in Memphis. While it may not be as family-friendly later at night, we’ve never had any problems strolling along in the late-afternoon to evening.
On our most recent visit, we happened to arrive right ahead of a thunderstorm. As you can see, the weather didn’t deter us.
Beale Street has a fun vibe. The live music playing in the clubs leaks out into the street, and we heard blues versions of popular songs like “Ignition” by R. Kelly. Sometimes you can hear live musicians actually playing in the street.
On our most recent trip, we wanted to eat on Beale Street at least once in our lives. We’d had barbecue for lunch (more on that in a moment), so we went for some chicken. Yum!
We’re not afraid to try a little dive every now and then. Okay, I’m not, but my picky companions can be nervous. This place looked safe enough for them. It’s not fine dining; it’s just good chicken.
Jeff had the chicken fried chicken.
And Kristin and I shared chicken strips! The little muffins are cornbread with jalapenos. Jeff and Kristin were not fans, but I thought it was an unusual twist. The chicken was delicious, though.
Beale Street is fun to explore. You never know what you’ll see.
Stay Within Walking Distance From Beale
We looked for a place within walking distance to Beale, and we found a Holiday Inn nearby. Since we had some reward points saved, we booked it.
It was nice to have valet parking for the car when we weren’t using it. This hotel is right across the street from The Peabody Hotel. More on that in a moment.
The room was fine for a short stay. And yes, as usual, Kristin leaped across the beds as soon as we arrived.
We didn’t stay in the room long; we had exploring to do!
Visit The Peabody Hotel Ducks
As I mentioned previously, our hotel was right across the street from The Peabody Hotel. This historic hotel was on our walking route to Beale Street, so we popped into the lobby to see The Peabody’s famous residents. These ducks play in the fountain all day long, so you can see them anytime during the day. You can also watch them march to the fountain from the elevator in the morning or watch them make the return march, but we weren’t around at the right time of day. The lobby is gorgeous.
Even without the ducks, the lobby is worth a visit.
You can also go to the roof to see the duck’s “penthouse.” While the penthouse is cute, it’s difficult to photograph. The views from the roof are nice, though.
You also have a nice view of the sign.
Eat Some Memphis Barbecue
Earlier, I mentioned that we’d had some barbecue for lunch. One of the best places to give Memphis barbecue a try is at Central BBQ. This place is so yummy, I gave it its own post. You can read about our Central BBQ experience here.
Visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel
If you’re eating at the downtown Central BBQ location, you’ll be near the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine, the location of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.
This museum was so moving and educational, especially for my nine-year-old who had limited knowledge of the Civil Rights movement. You can read the full post on our visit here.
Check out the Bass Pro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid
This is just one of those places you have to see to believe. The facility was originally an arena, but Bass Pro Shops purchased this unique building and reopened it as one of their stores in 2015.
We live about an hour away from the original Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri, so we are familiar with the concept. You can read about our Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield experience here. We’re used to the outdoor decor and aquariums. But this place takes it to a whole other level.
Inside the Pyramid, you can take an elevator up to the observation deck.
You can shop, of course.
You can eat.
You can even go bowling in an underwater-themed bowling alley.
The details are fun!
You can even sleep at this Bass Pro Shops location. I would love to stay in one of the cabins that overlook the main room of the Pyramid.
Tour Elvis Presley’s Graceland
When people think of Memphis, many people think of Elvis’s home, Graceland. I think it’s worth taking a tour once in your life, even though the ticket is a little pricey. You can purchase tickets at the visitor’s center across the street.
When it’s time for the tour, you cross the street to the house.
Our tour included seeing the jumpsuits and the gold records. These jumpsuits happen to be by the gift shop, but you can see many more in the exhibit area.
Our tour ended with the walk past the grave sites of Elvis and some of his family members.
Memphis really is a fun city with a lot of history to explore. We plan to visit again on some of our road trips because we still have some attractions and experiences we want to do. I hope you have some great family adventures when you visit Memphis!