24 Hours in Memphis

Wesley and I were fortunate enough to get away for a whole week and explore the southern part of the country. We visited Arkansas (briefly), Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas. This will go in the books as one of my most favorite vacations of my life.

Our first real stop was Memphis, Tennessee.

Before we arrived, we were intimidated at the prospect of visiting such a “big city”. Thankfully, Memphis is actually really easy to navigate and the people are warm, and are the epitome of “southern hospitality”. I like to think of it as a slightly bigger Des Moines with southern charm.

 Beale Street.

Beale Street.

When we planned to visit Memphis, I knew I wanted to visit the Lorraine Hotel, the location of the National Civil Rights Museum, and where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray. The museum has preserved everything in his room, 306, exactly as it was on the day he died, and has even more to offer.

The museum visit was a powerful experience. It’s immersive, and provides you with an important perspective on the tiring, seemingly never-ending fight for equal rights for people of color. If you’re ever in Memphis and are interested in a powerful history lesson, this place is for you. This visit stayed with me long after we left the parking lot.

 Room 306, a preserved memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Room 306, a preserved memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Once we found a place to stay downtown, we made our way to the vibrant and colorful Beale Street, which was probably a mile away. We enjoyed walking up and down the street enjoying the rock-and-roll and blues vibes that Memphis has to offer. We also enjoyed some amazing barbecue, because you can’t visit Memphis without indulging in some sweet,sweet barbecue (well, you probably could, but it would be tragic).

 

Sunday evening, we went to B.B. King’s Blue’s Club for a night of amazing music and, again, some amazing food. The staff were laid-back but professional, dancing to the music while also making sure that you were taken care of. The band was world class, and I felt so alive. Live music, amazing barbecue, and enjoying the evening with my husband -- to me, it was a moment that I really tried to soak in and never want to forget.

Although we were in downtown Memphis for nearly less than 24 hours, there is not a moment I regret or would have done differently. To visit Memphis and enjoy it to the fullest, have a loose itinerary, keep an open mind, and follow your heart. Or follow the sound of amazing blues and the smell of barbecue -- you won’t be disappointed.