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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

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.

Beale Street

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

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.

Beale 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!

Miss Polly's

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.

Miss Polly's

Jeff had the chicken fried chicken.

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.

Chicken strips at Miss Polly's

Beale Street is fun to explore.  You never know what you’ll see.

Beale Street

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.

Holiday Inn Memphis

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.

Holiday Inn Memphis

The room was fine for a short stay.  And yes, as usual, Kristin leaped across the beds as soon as we arrived.

Holiday Inn Memphis

We didn’t stay in the room long; we had exploring to do!

Visit The Peabody Hotel Ducks

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.

The Peabody Hotel Lobby

Even without the ducks, the lobby is worth a visit.

The Peabody Hotel Lobby

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.

View from The Peabody Hotel

You also have a nice view of the sign.

The Peabody Hotel

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.

Central BBQ Memphis

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.

The National Civil Rights Museum

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

Bass Pro 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.

Memphis Pyramid

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.

Memphis Pyramid

Inside the Pyramid, you can take an elevator up to the observation deck.

Elevator in the Pyramid

You can shop, of course.

Shopping in the Memphis Pyramid

You can eat.

Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl Grill

You can even go bowling in an underwater-themed bowling alley.

Bowling at the Pyramid

The details are fun!

Mermaid at the Pyramid

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.

Cabin at 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.

Graceland

When it’s time for the tour, you cross the street to the house.

Graceland

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.

Elvis Presley's Jumpsuits

Our tour ended with the walk past the grave sites of Elvis and some of his family members.

Elvis's Grave Site

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!

Memphis Tennessee
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33 Comments

  1. This is our plan for girls 50th bday with my best friends in a few years! All these ideas work for us too!

  2. How fun! And what awesome pictures! I have always heard Memphis is a great place to visit….and I have heard lots about the food! Your pictures show off a great trip!

    • Stacey Reply

      Thank you! We do have a good time when we’re in Memphis.

  3. I’ve planned this trip twice, and both times it fell through. I will get to Memphis within the next year. Graceland and the Lorraine Hotel are on my Tennessee list. Looks like you all had a great time. Love the hotel … I will go there just to see the ducks!

    • Stacey Reply

      Oh, sorry your trips fell through. I hope when you do go, you have a wonderful time!

  4. Great photos! I felt like I was there. The ducks in the fountain are so cool. I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’ve been to Nashville but never Memphis. I would love to though!

  5. Was here years ago – cannot wait to go back! I have to check out the lobby ducks – they look adorable!

  6. I’ve only ever driven through Memphis on the way to somewhere else. I’ve got to do an overnight sometime and check out some of these places. I’d love to see the Civil Rights Museum. And that Bass Pro is extremely unique! I live in Joplin too so I’m very familiar with the Springfield store but wow the Memphis one would be worth popping in to.

  7. Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef Reply

    Memphis is an awesome town to visit, so rich in history there’s no shortage of things to do! I personally love checking out hole in the wall restaurants, sometimes you find magic! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Pauline Reynolds Reply

    It looks so amazing!! I would love to go to Memphis, it looks so colorful.

  9. This sounds like an exciting place to visit. I’ve never been there, so another place I need to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  10. We have driven through Memphis with every intention of stopping for lunch, but just never have. A post like this, though, gives me more and more reason to want to stop the next time we are traveling through the city.

  11. That looks like such a fun place! I loved the ducks! There is a ton to do there. I hope to visit Memphis someday.

  12. I have always wanted to visit Memphis! It seems like such a fun city, rich in history and music! Would you say it is baby and toddler friendly, or would you wait until they’re older?

    • Stacey Reply

      I think before dark it’s family-friendly. You can eat at the restaurants on Beale Street as long as they’re not predominately a bar. Things like the Bass Pro Pyramid would be great for kids. It just depends on what you want to do while you’re there and if you’re willing to sacrifice seeing some things because you have young kids along.

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