"Thank you very much..."
May 2, 2008 3:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to Memphis March 31st (my wife is attending a conference there...) and am looking for dining and touristy suggestions.

Nothing too fancy for the dining (although we'll be on an expense account); looking more for "local flavor."

What else to see? Graceland? Worth seeing? Any good comic book stores? Museums? Neat neighborhoods?

I'm a geezer, so late night clubs aren't high on my list...

Thanks in advance.
posted by jpburns to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Rendesvous for ribs.
posted by nitsuj at 3:21 PM on May 2, 2008

At least when I lived there, Beale Street had a killer barbecue place and several clubs with good music.

You might like "The Pink Palace", an interactive museum. They had lots of cool, hands-on exhibits.

Graceland depends on your expectations. It's actually not as gloriously tacky as (and much smaller than) you'd expect, but the narration is pretty interesting.
posted by Gianna at 3:24 PM on May 2, 2008

Sun Records is better than Graceland. You should definitely see both, but Sun is really well worth a visit.
posted by pdb at 3:29 PM on May 2, 2008

Sun Studios, rather.
posted by pdb at 3:30 PM on May 2, 2008

Sorry you missed the trip Jim. Your wife went without you 32 days ago. You weren't kidding with that geezer stuff were you?

Seriously, Memphis museums.
posted by netbros at 3:44 PM on May 2, 2008

Go to the Civil Rights Museum in the Lorraine Motel, where MLK was assassinated. It's a fascinating museum and very moving.
posted by brookeb at 3:45 PM on May 2, 2008

Listen to nitsuj
posted by Pressed Rat at 4:16 PM on May 2, 2008

For at least one dinner I would absolutely make reservations and drive over to Taylor for the catfish (before).
posted by dawson at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2008

You say not too expensive, but I recommend Grisantis (Italian) and Automatic Slim's (ecclectic with Southwest hints). Both are worth it.
posted by fijiwriter at 6:43 PM on May 2, 2008

* IMHO Payne's has the best bbq sandwich in town, no contest. Don't let the location put you off. It is so good I have gone there during Passover, taken my own matzo and made my own matzo-and-treif sandwich. Yes, really.
* Cozy Corner is considered by many to have the best ribs in town.
* The National Ornamental Metal Museum is located at 374 Metal Museum Drive, Memphis, TN 38106. The museum is open Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from 12 PM to 5 PM. For tickets, call 1-877-881-2326. You will not see any museum like this anywhere else in the world.
* The National Civil Rights Museum is located at 450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN 38103. It is open 9 AM to 5 PM Saturday and 1 PM to 5 PM Sunday.
* The Memphis Zoo is one of the top zoos in the world.
* Dixon Gallery
* See a show at Playhouse on the Square or Circuit Playhouse
* Brooks Museum of Art
* Shoot dice in Tunica, Missisippi
* Central Gardens is my favorite neighborhood.
* Hang out on Beale Street and listen to music.
posted by charlesv at 6:43 PM on May 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Go to Graceland. Yes. Go.

Gus's Chicken (it's right downtown) is possibly the best fried chicken I've ever had. Maybe Frenchy's in Houston is better even. Damn. That is some amazing fried chicken. I'd drive back there for some.

Sometimes I think about that fried chicken in the middle of the day at work. A year later.

Obviously, my girlfriend liked it too. Maybe she was just cracked out from the sweet tea!
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:06 PM on May 2, 2008

Graceland. Meh, way, way overpriced and overhyped. Gus's is amazing. Our zoo is actually pretty surprisingly class, as well. Even one of the three places in the US to see Pandas.

If you want local BBQ. . . Well, ask 10 memphians and you'll get 11 answer. Any place that has gone regional/nation (corkys, Rendevous, etc. are way past their prime). Neely's out on Mendenhall used to be my favorite, but they've even started to slide as the owner takes on other interests. I don't really want to get into the Rendevous battle here, but suffice it to say, I think unless you can get in a time machine and set it to 1991, you're better off finding a more intimate and less commercial rib place. In fact, you'll never believe it, but Patrick's on Park Ave. has a VERY diverse menu, and has some of the best ribs in town. (Took 2nd or 3rd in last years World Championship BBQ Rib contest)

I actually stand by out museums. The Pink Palace is a museum of natural history that has some pretty cool stuff on PRe-Columbian cultures, memphis in the early 19th century, and some pretty cool dinosaur stuff. Some of which is probably out of date. Also a pretty active IMAX theatre, but I think they closed the Planetarium. (Bastards!) A lot of people seem to like the Ornamental Metal museum and the Botanical Gardens, both of which are quite nice. Especially this time of year, because in 1-2 weeks it's going to be fucking miserable to be outside. (Did oyu mean march or may?) The National Civil Rights Museum is also a really good attraction, as is the Stax Museum. Sun, as well. We have some museums, let me tell you.

Our coolest neighborhoods are certainly Central Gardens, or Cooper-Young.

The only comic book store of note in town is Comics and Collectables on Poplar Ave and Colonial (or thereabouts). YMMV as to what you are looking for there.

When you get in, if you are bored, pick up the Memphis Flyer, the local lefty-weekly, or look it up online. It has the most comprehensive list of events of all kinds 'round town. If you're coming in in may, like I expect you mean, there is (I think) the Memphis Italian Fest, as well, which some of my friends have at team in.

As for Gambling, believe it or not, Tunica is enormous and about a 45 minute drive south. It's pretty surreal, actually - it's like the anti vegas. Instead of being all kinds of casinos crammed on a strip or two, it's islands of light spread out over a lot of empty. Some of the Casinos are pretty nice. The Grand, or Sam's Town, maybe. My experiences with Hollywood and Fitzgeralds have been pretty uneventful. Although, oddly enough, if you're more interested in Hold Em, you might be better going across the river to West Memphis, AR instead. It's still supposedly a dog track, but it's been given the casino treatment to.

If you want a really intimate breakfast experience, go to Brother Junipers on Walker and Highland. If you want a kick ass buffet style breakfast with pitchers of mimosas, go to Owen Brennans on Poplar. Both are weekend only.

Sorry, no links. I am tired and drinking and lazy and most are provided above. Feel free to MeFi me if you'd like. I'm a total homer, god help me.
posted by absalom at 10:37 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nobody ever mentions the Peabody Hotel ducks in these Memphis threads, so I do. You can watch the ducks come down (or go up, depending on time of day) the elevator, see the red carpet rolled out for them, and see them march over the red carpet to the lobby fountain, to the tune of John Phillip Sousa's King Cotton March every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. It's charmingly bizarre, and the Peabody is a good place for a drink, or a meal, downtown.

A quiet place to sit and watch the river is down behind Channel 3's studios, at the Martyrs of Memphis Memorial park.

Unfortunately for your trip, the Memphis Redbirds are out of town until June 5.
posted by paulsc at 6:15 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Your wife went without you 32 days ago.


Of course I meant May...

Geez! I am a geezer!!

Thanks for the great suggestions!
posted by jpburns at 3:45 AM on May 5, 2008

« Older Please help tanslate or explain this foreign...   |   Help me get my cat back! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.