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Why Travelers Should Choose Memphis Over Nashville This Summer

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If you've been to Nashville lately, you've probably noticed how packed it is.

There's a current trend of bachelorettes and their bridal parties flocking to Nashville for one last wild weekend before heading to the altar — and they’re not the only ones overcrowding Nashville.

Music lovers and travelers searching for that Southern charm aren’t going to find it in Nashville anymore.

The true soul of Tennessee is in Memphis – The Home of the Blues.

People walking on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee

First Impressions

I didn't know anything about Memphis when I was recently given the opportunity to visit.

It exceeded all my expectations.

This was the first time I truly experienced Southern Hospitality, and it was so refreshing.

There is so much to experience and explore in Memphis that I couldn’t do everything that I wanted to do in the little time that I had there, but now I’m dying to go back!

Anticipation From The Start

My room at the Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis had an amazing view of the city that immediately got me excited to explore more of what Memphis had to offer.

For an even more impressive scene, the Hyatt Centric has a breathtaking view from its Beck & Call rooftop whiskey bar, where you can see the famous “M Bridge” light show that lights the way to Arkansas over the Mississippi River.

The rooftop also offers views of the Memphis Pyramid, downtown Memphis, and so much more.

Hyatt Centric Memphis Rooftop view of the river

Venturing Out Into Memphis

If you want incredible live music, then you should head to Beale Street and grab food and drinks at the infamous B.B. King’s Blues Club or try some of the many other famous spots up and down the strip.

Beale Street is filled with blues, soul, rock-n-roll, and jazz music every night. The heart of Beale Street is less than a five-minute walk from the Hyatt Centric.

Some of the world’s best barbeque is just down the street at Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous barbeque restaurant. Not only did they have incredible barbeque ribs and brisket, but the food was delivered to the table super fast.

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Exterior of BB Kings Blues Club in Memphis Tennessee

In The Footsteps Of The King

The city of Memphis is filled with famous locations that Elvis frequented.

The Arcade Restaurant was one of his favorite eateries, and it’s rumored that he went there so much that they put in a door at the back of the restaurant just for him to avoid the crowds and have easier access to his favorite booth.

Arcade restaurant in Memphis Tennessee

Elvis fans come from all over the world to sit in his booth and eat his favorite sandwich – a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich with mayonnaise.

If you’re like me, that sandwich combination doesn’t sound remotely appealing, but I was surprised that it actually tastes way better than it sounds (I know, I know… but try it!).

Elvis' booth in the arcade restaurant in memphis
Elvis' favorite booth, where fans come from all over the world to sit and eat like The King

Iconic Music Moments

For music lovers, Memphis has a rich history of famous R&B and Blues musicians around every corner.

Of course, there’s the famous Graceland, which is just a short drive from downtown Memphis. The incredible former home of the king of rock and roll is visited by dedicated Elvis fans every day.

For an even more interesting experience, head to one of my favorite spots in Memphis — Sun Studio, where the history of music was changed forever.

On the tour of the studio, you are brought to the recording room where both Elvis and Johnny Cash were discovered.

It's also the very spot where the infamous picture of the “Million Dollar Quartet” was taken of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.  

Million dollar quartet photo in Memphis

Step Back In Time

There’s more to Memphis than just music. Some of the most important moments in history happened in the heart of Memphis.

The Civil Rights Museum takes you on a revealing tour through the history of the civil rights movement and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The museum was founded out of the very hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was killed and holds a touching memorial to the civil rights leader.

Walking through the place where he shared his last moments was a powerful experience and one that I'll never forget.

Hotel where Dr Martin Luther King Was assassinated
Civil Rights Museum: The location where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated

Memphis Has Otherworldy Experiences

In true Southern fashion, Memphis also has a more eccentric history filled with legends of spirits and ghosts that haunt every corner of the city.

We took a fascinating Ghost Tour where we walked the spooky city streets at night. The tour was filled with playful, but sometimes chilling stories of the inhabitants of Memphis that never left the city after their death.

This was such a fun experience, but I would suggest sleeping with a night light on after the tour if you’re a scaredy cat like me 😁.

Orpheum in Memphis
The Orpheum Theater is one of the most haunted places in Memphis and was the first stop on our Ghost Tour

To help you recuperate from the spookiness of the Ghost Tour, I highly recommend taking a tour of the Old Dominick Distillery and discovering how Tennessee whiskey is made, along with a fascinating history dating back before the prohibition.

The tour includes a tasting at the end, where you can try my personal favorite, Old Dominick’s famous Toddy — my new go-to drink!

Where To Stay In Memphis

Speaking of the Old Dominick Distillery, the Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis is just a short walk down the street and is the perfect home base for exploring all Memphis has to offer.

The Hyatt Centric is in the perfect location, with the incredible views that I mentioned earlier. The room was so spacious and beautifully put together with a rustic modern Memphis vibe — and the bed was super comfy!

Exterior of Hyatt Centric Beale Street

There are so many amazing amenities on the property, but the best part about the Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis are the kind staff members who prove what Southern Hospitality is all about.

I simply cannot recommend this place more for your next trip to Memphis!

**Travel Off Path was a guest of Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis who helped with the creation of this itinerary by hosting some of our accommodations and attractions. Our opinions, recommendations, and suggestions remain our own.**

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Pam C.

Thursday 18th of May 2023

I just came back from Memphis and loved it! I was surprised at how clean the downtown area was (I live in Philly and I can tell you Memphis is cleaner.) I thought the food was fabulous, lots of culture, sights and great museums. I haven't been to Nashville yet (on my list of places to go) but I would recommend Memphis to anyone. I am a frequent traveler and I honestly had a great time there.

David Jackson

Tuesday 25th of April 2023

I just had the pleasure of visiting both cities this past weekend (4/22-4/25). Memphis would be considered Nashville's Broadway baby brother. Or varsity and junior varsity. Beale Street is only about three blocks long and marked by its arches as it's anchor. Broadway in Nashville however is at least twice as long and twice as wide. Both cities have sports arenas at that back door. However, Nashville is the home of the NFL Titans which just is a stone's throw away from the entertainment district of Broadway. They are far more stores and live venues in Nashville. The surrounding neighborhood of Beale Street rounding neighborhood, leaves much to be desired and can be considered sketchy by some. The area around Broadway is far more developed and economically thriving. I just can't say the same thing for Memphis. Nashville and Broadway the winner's hands now.

John Dalkiewicz

Monday 24th of April 2023

I have been to Memphis about 4 times...... Disappointed with the lack of good live Blues music.....

Glen

Monday 24th of April 2023

I you want to go have fun without fear of being carjacked or just shot for no reason, then just go to Nashville.

Sarah G

Sunday 4th of June 2023

@Bobby Jensen,you are right I am 41 and have lived in Memphis most my life. This town is not safe and you are crazy to come visit here when you don't know what is safe. Downtown can be ok but there are still shootings downtown as well and it's only a couple blocks not worth it.

Wes

Tuesday 16th of May 2023

@Bobby Jensen, you are douchebag

Splackvellie Smith

Saturday 29th of April 2023

@Bobby Jensen, don't make yourself a target. I haven't heard anything about anyone getting hurt in downtown Memphis.

Bobby Jensen

Wednesday 26th of April 2023

@Glen, Seriously, how much did you get paid to write this? And while visiting did you have a security escort the entire time or just while outside of your hotel? You’re gonna get people hurt recommending Memphis.