When you think of Tennessee, many people including myself, immediately think of Nashville. With country bars for days, hockey and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville is the more mainstream choice for a trip to Tennessee. Memphis has it fair share of notable music history as well, including the origination of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll and of course, it is the home of Graceland! Admittedly, I was not a Memphis expert before I arrived, but after spending an extended weekend in this beautiful city, I have put together a Memphis Travel Guide that you will love!
You may recognize some of the ladies in the photos from this trip. That’s because this is the same group of girls as my NYFW squad! Every year, I head into NYC to attend NYFW. Not only is this a great time to enjoy all of the latest fashion, attend some fun parties and events and meet with amazing brands, but it is also the time where I get to see some of the friends I have made through blogging. It may seem weird that many of these friendships originated through Instagram, but I have met and hung out with all of these ladies in person (some for many years now) and I can honestly say that they are some of the most genuine and amazing girls that I know! The best part is that we all share a love for fashion and blogging! While at dinner during NYFW, a few of the girls were talking about a trip they were planning to Memphis and invited me to join. From that moment, we started planning our weekend getaway to Memphis!
Check out the details of my Memphis Travel Guide below!
HOW TO GET TO MEMPHIS
I happened to be on a work trip leading up to the Memphis weekend, but I was able to take a direct flight from DC to Memphis (Airport Code: MEM) as well as a direct flight from Memphis back to NYC. The drive from the airport into the city center is less than 15 minutes, making for a quick trip in and out!
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WHERE TO STAY IN MEMPHIS
Lucky for me, two of the ladies who were already planning the weekend getaway in Memphis are locals (Megan & Collins). They were already scoping out some amazing Airbnb listings by Pettigrew Adventures, which are luxury vacation rentals owned by a fellow attorney, Morgan! Obviously this peaked my interest, being an attorney with a creative hobby myself! At this time, Pettigrew Adventures boasts 8 gorgeous luxury rentals in Memphis. A group of us stayed in Lucky Number 7 and the rest of the girls stayed in Juanita! Both houses are adorable and are perfect if you are travelling with a large group because they are a 2 minute walk from each other! Each is decorated to the tee with the cutest eclectic style ever! Morgan has such an eye for style…I seriously didn’t want to leave! The Airbnb’s are in a great central location that allows you to get to and from the airport, downtown, etc. in around 10-15 minutes!
If you are planning a trip to the Memphis area, I highly recommend booking through Pettigrew Adventures! Check out our amazing digs below!
We had an amazing itinerary planned for our stay, including sightseeing, eating and drinking (obviously) and even some more low key activities, like yoga! No matter what you like to do, there is something in this travel guide for you for sure!
WHAT TO DO IN MEMPHIS
I think it is safe to say that Graceland is the single most iconic location in all of Tennessee. Not only has it been featured in countless movies, but The King himself once lived there! I grew up listening to Elvis because my Aunt loves him! I have memories of dancing around my Grandmother’s house listening to Elvis songs on repeat like Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock! I’m pretty sure if we went back into our home movie collection, there are Elvis dance parties live and in living color! I also grew up watching his movies, including my ultimate favorite, Viva Las Vegas! Elvis was such a huge part of my childhood, so to have the opportunity to step into his home, a huge piece of history, is absolutely amazing! If you are planning your first visit to Memphis, this is a must-see! I was really bummed because I didn’t arrive in Memphis until after the Graceland tour, so I will definitely need to make a trip back to see the epic home of Elvis another time!
ORPHEUM THEATER & BEALE STREET
“At Main and Beale, what started as a vaudeville palace has become much more than that – a landmark performing arts campus and a promise for the next generation.” – https://orpheum-memphis.com/
The Orpheum Theater is a landmark, first built in 1890 and renovated and rehabilitated countless times over the past century as well as being completely rebuilt after a fire in the 1920’s. The iconic exterior was the backdrop for a quick photoshoot. While we didn’t spend a ton of time at the theater, it just gave off the air of historical significance and architectural beauty!
You guys know that song from the early 90’s…Walking in Memphis! Well, Beale Street is the street from that song! Home of the Blues and one of the most iconic streets in the South, Beale Street is full of bars and restaurants as well as plays host to the Beale Street Music Festival. Even if only for a few minutes, I suggest you head here to experience a little slice of history!
OLD DOMINICK DISTILLERY TOUR
You all know that if I am visiting a new place, I am most certainly going to be checking out the local booze! Old Dominick Distillery had roots going back to before Prohibition! While the company started out as a grocery store, it has morphed and reinvented itself over the years, including into a distillery and food and beverage distributor. Ultimately, the great great great grandsons of the original owner reinstated the distillery after finding an old and forgotten bottle of the renowned Old Dominick Toddy from the 1800’s. Though I am not much of a Whisky or Bourbon drinker, I would consider myself a connoisseur of Vodka (not really though). We had a great time touring the distillery facility and taste testing everything, including their famous Toddy! If you love tours that include some spirited beverages, this is a great option!
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PAULA RAIFORD’S DISCO
Aside from all of the history and sightseeing, us ladies also wanted to have some fun! With that in mind, we headed to Paula Raiford’s Disco on Saturday night and danced the night away! We had such a blast! We danced to 70’s disco, which eventually switched over to today’s hits after midnight! If you are looking for some happening nightlife while in Memphis, definitely check this place out! Tourists beware, this place is old school – ie. cash only!
BUFF CITY SOAP
Of course we needed to fit in some fun, girly stuff while away. Obviously, that includes shopping! We headed into Buff City Soap, drawn in by the heavenly smells and vibrant colors! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen soaps, body butters or beauty products that were quite so lovely! I was also introduced to the coolest thing ever…a Shower Fizz! All of you bath people have bath bombs, but I’ve never been a bath person. I am a shower girl through and through and Buff City came up with a shower version of a bath bomb for us! I’m dying to try one of these, which is said to fill the air with amazing smells and it will also leave your bathroom smelling great too! If you are in the Memphis area, take a quick stop in here, I promise you won’t be disappointed! Even if you don’t have a trip planned, Buff City has a Subscription Program too!
We also spent some time shopping…obviously since it was a girls trip! We stopped at the cutest boutique called Pickering Boxwood to check out their Spring items. I loved everything in the store, and ended up picking out a few really cute items to take home with me! If you are visiting Memphis with a big group of girls, or if you are looking to bring back something cute for your friends and family, definitely stop at Pickering Boxwood and check out their store!
WHERE TO EAT IN MEMPHIS
You guys know that I am a big fan of Tapas, so when I found out we would be heading to Babalu for Mexican inspired small plates, I was ecstatic! There’s nothing I love more than sharing food and catching up with friends, which is exactly what we did on our first night out! The ambiance at Babalu is light and airy and the food was really well-made. Of course we immediately ordered the Guacamole, which is made fresh table-side. No matter what you order, you will love it!
On Saturday morning, we headed to an early breakfast at Staks Pancakes. I know, I know…I had you at Pancakes, right? If you are looking for the cutest retro kitchen ever, you won’t be disappointed! Decked out in a vibrant blue and white theme, Staks will make you feel like you are eating in your own kitchen at home! They pride themselves on using fresh and locally supplied ingredients that will make you think twice before passing on that second helping of pancakes! If you’re not into carbs…have no fear! Staks had a huge menu, including eggs, omelettes and so much more! They also make a mean almond milk latte AND they have a s’mores latte!
Because we got such great weather on Saturday, we hit up an indoor/outdoor restaurant for lunch. Boasting huge garage door openings, a live band and the most delicious sliders in town, Slider Inn is the perfect Spring or Summer spot to spend some time eating and day drinking! We had so much fun sharing appetizers and picking a trio of burgers for lunch. You can choose anything from a vege burger to chicken, pulled pork and a traditional beef burger. No matter what, you will find a delicious option!
WHIMSY COOKIE COMPANY
Although not on the original itinerary, we stopped by Whimsy Cookie Company, owned and operated by one of the girls in our group, Collins! This cookie shop is so so so cute and smells heavenly from the moment you walk in! They make all kinds of specialty cookies, but are best known for their cookie-wich and gooey butter cookies! Definitely make some time to stop in a pick out some amazing treats!
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If you’re looking for an authentic food experience, then make sure you check out Rendezvous, which is famous for their charcoal ribs! This restaurant is filled with tons of history, especially since it has been family owned for over three generations! In the late fifties, in an effort to diversify their menu, Rendezvous started cooking their signature ribs, which before then, were mainly considered backyard bbq food. Patrons of the restaurant loved the ribs so much, resulting in Rendezvous changing the view of ribs forever! We had dinner here on Saturday night and, I can tell you from experience, that the ribs are as good as advertised…especially with their famous BBQ sauce! Even better than the ribs though was the Sweet Tea! I have never had proper Southern Sweet Tea. All of the girls were making fun of me all weekend, so they made a big deal when I had my first sip….which I LOVED! Also, keep an eye out for a documentary featuring Rendezvous coming to TV in early 2021. You might even catch a glimpse of us there!
When I hear the word alchemist, I immediately think of a mixologist hard at work creating a delicious cocktail concoction. Alchemy did not disappoint, boasting a huge menu of signature cocktails ranging from Bourbon to Whisky to Scotch and so much more! Although the cocktails were a huge draw, the food menu was vast and delicious as well! We went to Alchemy for brunch on Sunday morning and the choices range from Chicken and Biscuits/Waffles and Shrimp and Grits to the more traditional Steak and Eggs! The brunch drink menu was also amazing, including signature cocktails like the Fizzy Button and the Alchemy Bellini. Each had a twist from the tradition brunch cocktail that made them unique and delicious! I myself wolfed down a BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and fried egg) sandwich, which was heavenly after a night at the disco!
There is nothing more adorable than spending time with your girlfriends at high tea! 17 Berkshire is the perfect place to host a small event, like a bachelorette brunch or birthday party. They have all different types of delicious teas (Amanda M and I had the Rouge) and their tea sandwiches and pastries were to-die-for! The shop is so cute, boasting all-white decor and the cutest china tea sets ever! I may have eaten all of the macarons from our pastry section….sorry girls!
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Ok, if you are looking to do something a bit different, consider hiring a chef to cook for you in the comfort of your own home/Airbnb rental! Andrea, owner of Andrea’s Cooktales, is a self-taught chef who likes to get creative with her recipe creations! She cooks food that has a Southern Vibe, but with a fresh new look, including unique ingredients! Additionally, Andrea’s creations are all inspired by a story or memory from her past. Andrea cooked for us on Sunday night and her food was simply delicious! Her menu included homemade pasta and vegetables, served warm (not hot)! It was such a light and refreshing meal, which was just what we needed on our last night! We also started the evening with an amazing private Charcuterie and Cheese Board experience by Greys!
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What would a girls trip be without a little sweetness? On our last night in Memphis, after our dinner in, we all threw caution (and out diets) to the wind and dug into some amazing treats from Gibson’s Donuts! Gibson’s is known for their ultra-delectable donuts, including seasonal specialties – I’m talking Turkeys, Santa’s and American Flags. Honestly, my mouth is watering right now thinking about them! I dug into a standard glazed donut, which was light and airy, and some lemon donut holes, which were surprisingly delicious! Overall, this was the perfect end to what was an absolutely unforgettable trip!
A big thank you again to Morgan Pettigrew and Pettigrew Adventures for hosting us in Memphis!
I also want to thank GLDN Tans, Graze 901, Bikram Yoga Memphis, Juice Brothers, Greys, Janie Rose Boutique, Janey Bee Jems and Pickering in a Box for making this experience so amazing!
Special thanks to Elizabeth Looney Photography and Faith Pool, Caitlin McGill & House of Aglaia Salon for Photogrpahy, Hair & Makeup!
Thank you so much for stopping by! Be sure to check out my other Travel Guides as well!