Memphis is one of the largest cities in Tennessee and offers the traveler a unique blend of southern and Mississippi River culture. In this city you’ll find sweet tea and seersucker next to blues and jazz music. While there is plenty to do in Memphis (much more than we’ll feature here), we visited a few local spots, both popular tourist destinations and local favorites.
One of Memphis’s most popular tourist attractions is its zoo. The entrance to the zoo features an ancient Egyptian theme since the city borrows its name from its counterpart in northeast Africa. The zoo itself is a very pleasant zoo to visit. There are plenty of animals to see, but the zoo is laid out well and is walkable. Perhaps the most famous residents of the zoo are the pandas. Memphis is one of the few zoos in the United States that has pandas, so getting to see them is a real treat. Some other highlights were the several exhibits featuring animals from northern Canada and Alaska, the large cat exhibits, and the red panda exhibit-the red pandas were especially active the day we visited.
Another famous Memphis attraction is the march of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The Peabody is a grand hotel in the center of Memphis and is worth visiting in its own right. The Peabody in Memphis, however, features a unique sight. Every morning at 11 am, hotel staff leads several ducks from the top floor of the hotel, down the elevator, and into the large fountain in the center of the hotel lobby. Each evening at 5 pm, the ducks are led back up to their home on the top floor of the hotel. The duck march is a fun activity to see, especially for children, but be sure to get there early-good places to see the ducks disappear quickly.
We’ve noted a couple things to see on your visit to Memphis, but we also got to try several places to eat on our trips. Huey’s is a local Memphis chain that features a low-key atmosphere and American pub food. There are plenty of burger options, but also salads, seafood, and lots of appetizers. Huey’s was a nice place just to hang out and grab a nice burger. There are TVs for those wanting to catch a game, but also plenty of seats where you can sit with family or friends and have a nice conversation.
For those looking for a little more upscale dining, but still a casual flair, Local Restaurant may be a great selection. There are two locations, one in downtown Memphis, and another in Midtown Memphis. Local features a fine dining twist on pub food and Southern favorites. The restaurant creates the perfect environment to dress up a little and have a higher grade, and more flavorful, comfort food meal.
We had the opportunity to visit an up-scale restaurant while in Memphis, a steak house called Folk’s Folly. The restaurant is one of the best steak restaurants in the Memphis area and is a favorite among locals; it did not disappoint. We had a filet mignon and a New York strip, both of which were juicy, tasty, and tender. The restaurant itself was cozy but swanky and matched the quality of the fare.
A final place we’d like to mention is 409 South Main, a historic building in downtown Memphis that can be used as a reception venue or other similar event. The building itself is a beautiful brick structure with lots of large windows, making it a lovely spot for an event. There are several floors, but all of the floors overlook the main area, making the building feel light and airy.
Although Nashville has grown in popularity as Tennessee’s primary destination, Memphis offers activities for every type of personality and is well-worth a visit. Be sure to check out Memphis’s other fine dining options and activities that we haven’t mentioned, and we think you’ll have a great time exploring one of the South’s great and historic cities.