DURATION: 1 DAY
Located on the banks of the great Mississippi River, Memphis is a city with a wealth of history packed into its short life, being the birth place of rock n' roll and playing a central role in the Civil Rights Movement. The gritty city also has a vibrant cultural scene with music, food and southern hospitality evident throughout the city streets.
One recording studio just outside downtown is considered the birthplace of rock n' roll. Admittedly I was only an average Elvis fan but thoroughly enjoyed being transported back in time to this era. Finding myself being awestruck to be in the room where Elvis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, U2 and many more artists had recorded.
While Memphis can appear a little sleepy during the day, one street more than comes alive at night. The pavements of Beale Street fill with people flowing from bar to bar, following the best Blues Musicians long into the early hours of the morning.
Memphis and Beale Street is the home of the blues and is a place any music fan would appreciate. Pull up a bar stool, order a glass of the local Tennessee Whiskey and enjoy a unique musical experience.
Wednesday night is bike night on Beale Street. Neon lights, customized bikes and larger than life characters are all on show. Be sure to bring your camera to catch all the action on the street that was recently voted 'the most iconic street in the USA'.
The museum at the Lorraine Motel gives a very interesting and moving account of the Civil Rights Movement. The museum is set within the apartment that the assassin fired the shot the killed Martin Luther King, retelling the series of events of that faithful day as well as many other accounts from the era. Worth bearing in mind when making plans, that the Museum is closed on Tuesdays.
Two cars parked outside room 306 as they were on the morning of 4th of April 1968. A rarity in our modern world to visit such a historic site preserved, making this that bit more unique.
A long time curiosity of Southern cooking meant the first place I visited was the Blue Plate Cafe for a traditional breakfast. In the evening I headed down into the basement of the alley restaurant, 'Rendez Vous' for a taster of the famous dry Memphis BBQ ribs.
I stayed in the 'Sleep Inn' in downtown having not found many hostel options, the hotel is located within walking distance of most of the above locations. Hotel taxis however can difficult to come by at 6am if you are heading to the airport / trains station by the way!
As quickly as we rolled into town from the Windy city we rolled out of town headed for the Big Easy. The Amtrak is a lesser used mode of transport in the States but certainly a novel one. The first leg of the journey being spent in a private berth / bed for the night. The highlight was dinner in the dining carriage, sharing a table with an elderly couple in their 80's travelling across the USA, hearing tales of their life being quite an experience.
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