Memphis in November
October 30, 2006 9:51 AM   Subscribe

I'll be visiting Memphis for the first time by train in November. Will have one weeknight and two weekdays there. I'll be alone (I'm female and in my 40s) and am specifically looking for a good (centrally located, not too expensive, safe, fun) place to stay and things to do.

I like walking, good photography ops, bookstores, trying new beers, wine bars, theater, and I want to hear some Memphis music. Not into shopping. I've read through the AskMeFi queries tagged with "Memphis" ( and gleaned good ideas there, like a tour of St. Jude's and a visit to the Flying Saucer. Anything else, especially for a woman alone in cold weather?
posted by mmw to Travel & Transportation around Memphis, TN (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
warning: I've been there only once, in 1992.

what's "not too expensive" for you? compared to, say, NYC hotel prizes or rest of the US prices?

I got a crazy deal (like, 50% off) at the, yes, Peabody. I see on their website that they have rooms for 245 bucks. maybe since you're traveling alone you'll manage to shave money off of that and get one for under 200, that's not a bad price. I had a blast there, loved it
posted by matteo at 10:05 AM on October 30, 2006

(and I'm trying to remember where I had the awesomest ribs evar, it was a small place, old, something like Cozy Burgers or Cozy BBQ)
posted by matteo at 10:10 AM on October 30, 2006

Cozy Corner!
posted by matteo at 10:12 AM on October 30, 2006

The best night of my cross-country driving trip, oh, 15 years ago, was spent on Beale Street. It was a random weeknight in May, but there was a fantastic impromptu street concert going on. If I ever go back, I'd do that again.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:25 AM on October 30, 2006

Second the Beale Street suggestion. If you stay at the Peabody you can walk to Beale Street. I'm not sure I'd stay anywhere else downtown – it's the safest and nicest, plus you'll get to watch the duck parade.

Graceland is, gee, about 5 miles south of downtown, so you'll have to take a cab if you want to go there. There's a huge road construction project over by St. Jude Hospital that I think has been going on for 26 years. (Not really, it just seems like 26 years. But it's nowhere near complete and traffic is a mess over there.)

Mud Island is great too. There's a scale model of the Mississippi River (which is open to barefoot wading, if it's warm enough) and a river/steamboat museum. If you've seen the movie version of The Firm, near the end there's a tram that Tom Cruise takes to and from Mud Island.

Have a good time!
posted by lambchop1 at 1:15 PM on October 30, 2006

The Memphis Zoo is good (Overton Park), and you can take MATA buses to and from downtown. The trolleys down in the old waterfront district save some steps, and get you out of cold winds off the river, but don't run through the most scenic parts of town. The Orpheum theatre may be worth checking out, and it's right down in the Beale Street area.
posted by paulsc at 3:39 PM on October 30, 2006

The National Civil Rights Museum is also relatively close to the Peabody. I spent my childhood seeing the Lorraine Motel sitting empty, always on the verge of being torn down.

Just outside of the downtown area is the Victorian Village, which is pretty good for photo ops, and not a major tourist hub.
posted by kimdog at 5:10 PM on October 30, 2006

Rendezvous (unless you are one of those vegitarians, in which case, I'm sorry, Memphis will not be that great)
posted by Pollomacho at 6:08 PM on October 30, 2006

Just went for the first time myself recently. I can give you some recommendations of what I found useful and what was a waste of time.

I found Beale Street to be touristy and trashy. Worth a half hour visit and a drink, and a visit to the Schwab Dry Goods Store, and that's about it (unless you want to get trashed yourself).

Rendezvous was overpriced and had the WORST ribs I've ever had. The BBQ chicken sandwich was pretty lousy too. We had much better BBQ at Corky's in the suburbs - that was fantastic.

Al Green's church was very cool, even without Al Green being there. As a Jew from Philly, it was unlike anything I've ever seen before, and I would go again if I ever return to Memphis. If you get lucky and Mr. Green himself is there, it's a day you'll never forget.

The National Civil Rights Museum was much better than I anticipated. Really well done, and not at all tacky or touristy. Being a few feet away from where MLK was shot was pretty moving for me.

Sun Studios was probably one of the highlights of my visit (along with Corky's). Definitely worth a visit if you're a music fan.

Hope that helps. I have photos of all of the above, good and bad, here on my Flickr page.
posted by kdern at 8:48 PM on October 30, 2006

I spent a weekend in Memphis in February.

Things I loved: Graceland, Memphis Zoo, Dixon Museum & Gardens, Corky's BBQ, Peabody Ducks

Things I didn't love: Beale Street, Rendevous BBQ, being approached by panhandlers everywhere downtown (I'm a 30-something woman, and I would not have felt comfortable walking around alone. YMMV)

My husband works part-time in Memphis and they put him up in the Peabody, and he LOVES it. Very nice place to stay.
posted by xsquared-1 at 5:35 AM on October 31, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all --

The Peabody was not affordable, unfortunately -- cheapest room they have available right now is $300. I'm staying at the Holiday Inn Select across the street from the Peabody (whoo-hoo) and will go into the Peabody to see the ducks. I've scheduled a tour of St. Jude's. Thanks for the info about panhandlers, trolleys, Beale St. being not so great. Unfortunately, I won't be there on a Sunday to go to Al Green's church or I would! (They do have Bible study on a Wed. night and I am thinking about it!). I am a pesce-vegetarian, so ribs are out. Someone on a previous thread mentioned the Flying Saucer for drinks/eats and that sounds about my speed.

Anyone done The Pink Palace Museum (and Mansion??) -- is it worth it? Are there any bus, walking, or trolley tours of the city? I'll have to research Mud Island -- hadn't heard about it.

If the Holiday Inn Select isn't deemed safe, I'd love suggestions other than The Peabody. (I can still cancel the reservations.)

Thanks again ...

( I'm also going to Minneapolis in Nov. for a few days for the first time and will post a query about that next Monday! Didn't realise it was one per week for Ask MeFi ... )
posted by mmw at 2:29 PM on October 31, 2006

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