The Ultimate Weekend Guide To Memphis, Tennessee – In Socially Distanced Times

I was invited to Memphis Travel and here’s my weekend guide! All opinions are my own. 

I was lucky enough to experience the magic of Memphis once again this year. Known as the ‘Home of Blues, Soul and Rock ‘N’ Roll’, I knew that I would have an exceptional time – even if only for a weekend get-away.

I first visited Memphis back in 2014. My best friend was attending the University of Memphis and she invited me to spend the weekend exploring the city with her. I had a great time but I must admit – that trip was a bit of a blur on Beale street. This trip would be different though. Aside from eating my way around the city, I’d spend my time learning about the culture, music, and history that makes Memphis. 

Safety note: When it comes to safety amidst the pandemic, I felt good knowing that local Memphis businesses were taking precautions to ensure that masks were worn, people we’re social distancing, and temperatures were being checked before entering businesses. Click here for safety resources and information from policies to business openings.

Note: Please click here for Coronavirus information and resources

Whether you plan to visit 3 months from now or 3 years from now, here’s a weekend guide for visiting Memphis: 

Before jumping into the good stuff, I want to share a few fun facts about Memphis: 

  • The name Memphis actually means Beautiful and Established. 

  • According to Billboard Magazine, Memphis is mentioned more than 400 times in songs making it the most mentioned city in the world!

  • The city is named after Egypt’s ancient capital.




Your hotel will be the launchpad of your trip and I couldn’t think of a better place than Arrive Memphis. This boutique hotel is located in the heart of downtown next to several prominent sites. Featuring vintage decor and exposed brick walls, every room is full of character. You ever been to a hotel that makes you want to unpack your bags and move in? That’s the kind of hotel this is. There is a cute cocktail bar and a bomb bakery on-site, which makes it a great place to eat, drink & stay. 



How Arrive is Protecting Guests Amidst Covid 19

 Masks are required and temperatures will be taken upon entrance. The entire property is treated with hospital-grade sanitation and touchless hand-sanitizer dispensers are located throughout the hotel. After check-in, all communication takes place over text messaging in order to reduce contact. They are going above and beyond to keep their customers and employees safe. 


Visit the National Civil Rights Museum – If you don’t see or do anything else during your Memphis Visit, you’ve gotta visit the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is located in the former Lorraine Motel, which is where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. From the Middle Passage to the MLK’s final moments, the museum will take you on a journey that details the Civil Rights era. The exhibits are extremely sobering, yet extremely necessary to remember the past and consider the future of this nation. You’ll need about  2 hours to truly take everything in.

Note: Masks are required and social distancing is enforced throughout the museum. 

Explore Downtown Memphis By Bike

Get active and get out into Downtown Memphis by through the Explore Bike Share program. Download the BCycle App and take on a whole new perspective of the city. Don’t forget to snap a few shots of all the street art along the way! 

See the Mightly Lights Over Mississipi River 

Watch the sunset over the Mississippi River at Big River Crossing. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can bike or walk across the bridge into Arkansas. Once the sun goes down, see the nightly light show that happens place at the top and middle of every hour from sundown to the 10:30 pm

Go Horseback Riding at Shelby Farms 

At 4500 acres, Shelby Farms is one the largest urban parks in the US and it’s definitely worth a drive. You can see the best of the park by horseback on a trail ride with Shelby Farm Stables. Trust me when I say this will be the most relaxing hour of your trip. 

Marvel at The Edge Motor Museum

You don’t have to be a car-lover to appreciate the marvels in the Edge Motor Museum. This interactive car exhibit showcases the parallels between America’s favorite sportscars and society itself over the past 30 years. You’ll leave with a greater appreciation for these stunning automobiles and a deeper understanding of the post-war era US. 

Note: Masks are required and social distancing is enforced throughout the museum. 

Tour the Slave Haven Underground Railroad  

Take a step back in time as you tour a home that once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. You’ll take a guided on a tour throughout the home as you learn about the role and history of the Underground Railroad in the Civil Rights era. Trust me when I say you’ve never seen anything like it. This may have been my favorite stop throughout my entire trip. 

Note: Masks are required, temperatures are being taken, and reservations must be made to limit capacity which allows for proper social distancing.

Step Inside the Stax Museum of American Soul Music 

From Otis Redding to Booker T,  you can witness the legacy of some of Memphis’ best musicians at the Stax Museum. Stax is a must-see. In fact, Isaac Hayes’ special edition Cadillac El Dorado is worth the visit alone. 

Note: Masks are required and social distancing is enforced throughout the museum. 

Tour Graceland 

I must admit that I didn’t know much about Elvis before visiting Graceland, but I’m so glad I got the chance to see it for myself. Whether you’re a fan or not, Graceland gives you a look inside the home and heart of Elvis Presley. I simply loved seeing the interior decor in his funky mansion. Let’s just say this stop definitely exceeded my expectations. 

Fun fact: Graceland is the 2nd most visited home in the US, just after the White House. 

Note: Masks are required, capacity is limited, and social distancing is enforced throughout the museum. 

Tour Sun Studio 

Sun Studio is known as the ‘Birthplace of Rock & Roll’. If you’re a big fan of rock stars like Elvis and Johnny Cash, then this stop is sure to please. 

Note: Masks are required, capacity is limited, and social distancing is enforced throughout the museum. 

Stroll Beale Street

While you may not be able to make the most of Beale Street during these socially distanced times, it’s definitely worth a stroll. Drop by during the day-time to snap a few photos on this historically famous street!

Get Off The Beaten Bath on Germantown Greenway Trail

Want to get a bit off the beaten path? Head to the ‘Beach’, which is a local’s favorite along on Germantown Greenway Trail.  

Note: Visit the respective link for each respective activity to review safety standards amidst the coronavirus.


  • You can’t leave Memphis without trying some slow-smoked Memphis style barbecue at Central Barbecue. Believe me when I say, “Best. Ribs. EVER!”. If you have any room leftover, don’t miss out on their decadent Banana Pudding. 

  • Grab some fresh pastries at Arrive Hotel’s Hustle & Dough. (Isn’t that name just…genius?)Get there early to beat the line. It’s definitely worth the wait. 

  • Did you even go to Memphis if you didn’t eat some soul food? The Fourway is the real deal. You’ll get to choose from soul food favorites like Fried Chicken, Fried Catfish, Neckbones, Smothered Pork Chop Black Eyed Peas, Smothered Cabbage, Yams, Turnip Greens, Cornbread Dressing, and more. Oh & order the Fried Green Tomatoes. Thank me later.

    -I’ll give you a chance to wipe the drool from your mouth before proceeding –

  • Looking for tasty cajun food, drinks, cocktails, outdoor dining, and live music? Railgarten has got you covered. There will be plenty of space for you to social distance as you enjoy your food in this eclectic beer garden. 

  • Eat-in a beauty shop! No, but really. Enjoy brunch, dinner, or lunch in a refurbished hair salon – hairdryers and all! You can’t go wrong with anything on The Beauty Shop’s menu. Reserve outdoor seating on their patio ahead of time!

  • Run by Makeda’s Cookie shop for freshly baked butter cookies. 

Note: While dine-in services may not be available in all establishments, you can still order take-out and eat in a private or outdoor area. You may visit the respective links for current safety policies and procedures.


Whether you plan to road trip to Memphis soon or visit in the future, I can assure you that you’ll have an unforgettable time. It carries a history, culture, and soul that’s unlike any other destination I’ve been to. Fortunately, there’s still a way to see the best of Memphis while staying safe and socially distancing. Bluff City is the perfect weekend getaway and I hope I’ve convinced you to add it to your US bucket-list.

Note: Please click here for Coronavirus information and resources

Have you visited Memphis, Tennessee? If not, has anything on this weekend guide convinced you?

Thanks to Memphis Travel for inviting me and sponsoring this adventure!

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Hey, I'm Ciara. I’m a global citizen and lover of travel. Want to know more? 

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