Last Updated on May 3, 2023
Memphis, Tennessee is a city known for being full of character and personality from its strong ties to the blues and rock and roll communities, and its significance during the civil rights movement. Memphis has a rich history that is evident on every street corner, and the city has a lot to offer in the way of amazing food, music, and shopping. If you’ve never been to this vibrant Tennessee town, we higinstaghly recommend planning a weekend visit. This Ultimate Weekend in Memphis Itinerary will take you through the very best of Memphis that you have to experience for yourself.
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Is Two Days Enough in Memphis?
One of the great things about Memphis is how compact the downtown area is, making it the perfect place for a weekend getaway. With almost all of the city’s top attractions located in generally the same area, you can easily explore Memphis in just one weekend. Two days is the perfect amount of time to visit the top sights of Memphis, try some of the city’s famous barbecue, and listen to some blues and rock and roll music.
How to Get Around Memphis
One of the most convenient ways to travel to Memphis is by Memphis International Airport. The airport is small but was recently renovated, making it an easy and convenient transportation option. From there, we recommend catching an Uber or Lyft into the downtown area, which is only about a 20-minute drive from the airport. Once downtown, you can easily walk virtually everywhere, as Memphis is a very pedestrian-friendly city. For any trips that may be too long to walk to, rideshare services are very popular in town so you can easily grab a ride.
The Ultimate Weekend in Memphis Itinerary: Day One
Day one of our weekend in Memphis itinerary will take you to some destinations where you can experience the history of Memphis firsthand. Memphis has so much to offer that there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re a foodie, a sports fan, a history buff, or a lover of a music. Your first day in Memphis is a great introduction to the city and some of the must-visit attractions the city has to offer.
Start the Day with a Great Breakfast
We’re starting this Memphis 2 day itinerary on a delicious note by grabbing a hearty breakfast at one of the best spots in town! After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not make it count by enjoying a delicious and filling meal at The Arcade Restaurant?
While there are lots of great restaurants throughout Memphis, though we highly recommend The Arcade Restaurant for breakfast on day one of your trip. The restaurant is known for being the oldest café in Memphis and serves up breakfast classics in a fun, retro environment. You’ll really feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you enjoy eggs and pancakes in this 1950s-styled diner. You can even grab a mimosa or Bloody Mary to go with your breakfast – it is vacation after all!
Location: Arcade Restaurant
Hours: The Arcade Restaurant is open daily from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Helpful Tips: One of the diner’s most popular dishes is Eggs Redneck, which consists of biscuits, gravy, eggs, hashbrowns, and the meat of your choice!
Visit a Memphis Museum
A weekend in Memphis itinerary would truly be incomplete without a visit to one of the city’s many amazing museums. There are a number of museums that are easily accessible from the downtown area and cover a variety of topics and interests. Music lovers will be especially interested in the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and the Blues Hall of Fame Museum.
Also nearby is the National Civil Rights Museum, which is our personal recommendation if you only have time to visit one museum. This museum is unique because it’s actually a whole complex of historical buildings that trace the city’s role in the civil rights movement from the 17th century to today. The National Civil Rights Museum is also notable for being the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. A visit to the National Civil Rights Museum is a very eye-opening and moving experience that is a must-do during your short time in the city.
Location: National Civil Rights Museum
Hours: The National Civil Rights Museum is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Wednesday through Monday.
Cost: Admission to the National Civil Rights Museum is $18 USD for adults, $16 USD for seniors 55+ and college students with ID, and $15 USD for children ages 5-17.
Helpful Tips: The museum features a huge number of artifacts and exhibits, so be prepared to spend a solid chunk of time exploring.
Catch a Sports Game
Aside from blues and barbecue, Memphis is also known for being a very sports-centric city. One of the great things about Memphis is you can easily walk to a number of sporting venues in the downtown area, so the next item on our Memphis itinerary is to catch a game. For those interested in basketball, we suggest paying a visit to the FedExForum where the NBA Memphis Grizzlies play.
Fans of baseball, meanwhile, can check out AutoZone Park to watch a Memphis Redbirds minor league game. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of sports, it’s really fun to feed off the energy of the crowd and see this unique side to Memphis that you may not experience otherwise.
Hours: Schedules for Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Redbirds games vary, so check their respective websites for details on when you can catch a game.
Cost: Prices to catch a sports game in Memphis are very reasonable. You can find more details on the teams’ respective websites.
Helpful Tips: Walking to FedExForum or AutoZone Park is a great option so you don’t have to worry about parking logistics. Both locations are located right in downtown Memphis.
Go Out on Beale Street
Since Memphis is considered the home of blues, we knew we had to include a visit to see some live music on our weekend in Memphis itinerary! Beale Street is one of the most historic and famous streets in the entire city. We also included Beale Street on our guide to the Top 15 Most Instagrammable Places in Memphis.
Beale Street is full of restaurants, bars, and live music venues that make it a great place to go out for the evening. One of our favorite spots on Beale Street is B.B. King’s Blues Club, a popular barbecue restaurant that hosts live music performances. In our opinion, kicking back with some delicious food and great live blues and rock and roll music is the perfect way to close out day one of your weekend in Memphis!
Location: BB Kings Blues Club
Hours: B.B. King’s Blues Club is open from 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 AM to 1:00 AM Friday through Saturday.
Cost: The live music at B.B. King’s Blues Club is free to enjoy though you can expect to spend some money on food and/or drinks.
Helpful Tips: This spot in particular gets very busy on weekends, so consider reserving a table in advance!
See all the best sights with a Memphis City Tour!
The Ultimate Weekend in Memphis Itinerary: Day Two
Day two of our weekend in Memphis itinerary highlights even more of the city’s top attractions while also giving you the option of a choose-your-own-adventure! With so many amazing things to see and do in Memphis, we want to make sure you have some flexibility to tailor your weekend trip to your specific interests. That’s why we’re giving you two options for afternoon activities, and both are great ways to spend your time in Memphis!
Drink Independent Coffee
Memphis is home to some amazing local coffee shops and roasteries, so grabbing some coffee is the perfect way to kick off day two of this Memphis itinerary. Many of these coffee shops are located in the heart of downtown, or just a short walk down one of the many side streets that branch off from the central area.
One of our top recommendations to try local coffee in Memphis is Crazy Gander Coffee Company. Crazy Gander offers all kinds of coffee creations and specialty drinks in a super hip setting. Venture over to this awesome spot to grab a cup of joe and a breakfast pastry to start your second day in Memphis!
Location: Crazy Gander
Hours: Crazy Gander Coffee Company is open from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday, and 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Saturday through Sunday.
Helpful Tips: Interestingly, the building Crazy Gander is located in used to be occupied by a bank!
Visit the Peabody Ducks
While Elvis Presley is probably Memphis’s most famous resident, the Peabody Ducks are a close second! Every day at the Peabody Memphis hotel you can find a group of five North American mallards, known as the Peabody Ducks, marching through the lobby and into the fountain.
The tradition began almost 100 years ago as a prank when the hotel’s general manager at the time placed a duck in the fountain for laughs. Since then, the ducks have become a beloved addition to the Peabody Memphis, and visitors from all over come to watch their signature march. This is a really fun and quirky experience that is probably one of the most unique additions to this Memphis 2 day itinerary! The Peabody Hotel is also known as one of the best places for afternoon tea in Memphis.
Location: The Peabody Hotel
Hours: The Peabody Ducks march at 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM, so we recommend watching them at 11:00 after grabbing some coffee.
Cost: It’s entirely free to visit the Peabody Ducks!
Helpful Tips: The Peabody Ducks are a very popular attraction in Memphis, so you’ll want to arrive at least 30 minutes early to secure your spot in the viewing area.
Option 1: Head Out to Graceland
The first option on how to spend your second afternoon in Memphis takes you to one of the most iconic spots on this Memphis itinerary: Graceland. If you love all things Elvis, Graceland is absolutely worth an afternoon visit. The estate, which is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Memphis, was once the home of the King of Rock and Roll, and also the location of his untimely death.
Aside from the mansion, the property also boasts a vintage car museum, an entertainment complex, and a number of custom jets. There are a lot of exhibits and artifacts to see at Graceland, so Elvis fans will love getting the opportunity to experience a slice of the musician’s life firsthand.
Hours: Graceland is open to visitors daily from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Cost: Ticket packages vary in price, but the basic option to see the Graceland mansion, Elvis’s jets, the car museum, and the entertainment complex is $77 USD for adults and $44 USD for children ages 5 to 10.
Helpful Tips: Since you can’t walk to Graceland from downtown Memphis, we suggest using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.
Option 2: Visit Mud Island Park and the Memphis Pyramid
If you’re not a big fan of Elvis, another option for day two of this weekend in Memphis itinerary is to visit Mud Island Park and the Memphis Pyramid. Mud Island Park is a beautiful urban oasis located on an island in the Mississippi River. You have the option of walking or biking to the park, or you can also rent kayaks or paddleboards to cross the river to the park as well.
On Mud Island Park you’ll find a museum dedicated to the Mississippi River, an amphitheater that hosts events and performances, and an iconic Memphis sign. In fact, the Memphis sign is so picture-perfect we also included it on our list of the Most Instagrammable Places in Memphis! After exploring Mud Island, pay a visit to the Memphis Pyramid, an iconic structure modeled after the pyramids of Egypt. The building was actually constructed in honor of Memphis’s sister city in Egypt, and is now home to a Bass Pro Superstore that features a bowling alley and an arcade!
Hours: Mud Island is open from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and the Memphis Pyramid is open 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday through Saturday, and 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Sunday.
Helpful Tips: The Memphis Pyramid is also a very Instagrammable spot to snag some photos for your feed.
Watch the Sunset from a Memphis Rooftop
As the sun begins to set on your weekend in Memphis, we suggest heading to one of the city’s many rooftops to catch amazing views of the sunset. There are a large number of rooftop bars, restaurants, and live music venues to be found throughout Memphis, and all offer a stunning perspective of the city from above. You’ll also be able to catch a glimpse of the Mississippi River which is especially striking in the golden glow of sunset.
One of our favorite rooftop destinations in Memphis can be found at the Hyatt Centric on Beale Street. Atop the hotel you can find Beck & Call Rooftop Lounge, a whiskey bar that offers sweeping views of downtown Memphis. Grab a cocktail and enjoy the sunset as we near the end of this Memphis 2 day itinerary.
Location: Hyatt Centric Beale Street
Hours: Beck & Call is open 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM Friday through Saturday.
Helpful Tips: Tennessee is known for being a huge producer of whiskey, so Beck & Call is a great place to sample some for yourself!
End Your Weekend with World-Famous Memphis BBQ
Our very last recommendation for this weekend in Memphis itinerary is to close out your trip by trying some of the city’s world-famous barbecue. Memphis-style barbecue is one of the most famous kinds in the United States, aside from Carolina, Kansas City, and Texas style. Memphis-style barbecue is slow-cooked in a pit and can be served with a dry spice rub or wet barbecue sauce.
There are seemingly countless barbecue restaurants throughout Memphis, and all are great options to sample the city’s signature dish. We personally recommend Central BBQ, an award-winning restaurant that serves slow-cooked ribs, pulled pork and chicken platters, and barbecue sandwiches. Everything at Central BBQ is delicious, so you really can’t go wrong!
Location: Central BBQ
Hours: Central BBQ is open daily from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
Helpful Tips: If you love the food at Central BBQ, you can even have some of their items, like ribs and pulled pork, shipped to you!
What is the Best Time to Visit Memphis?
For beautiful weather and mild temperatures, we recommend visiting Memphis in spring or summer/early fall. These are also the best times of year to visit Memphis to enjoy some of the various outdoor activities and events that the city has to offer.
Winter in Memphis
Expect chilly temperatures and overcast skies if you visit Memphis in the winter. The average temperature during this season ranges from 35 to 50 F (2 to 10 C), which isn’t too unpleasant if you come prepared with layers. Winter is not a very popular time to visit Memphis, so you can expect few crowds at the city’s top attractions.
Spring in Memphis
Spring is a great time to visit Memphis if you want comfortable conditions and plan to attend some outdoor events. Temperature during spring range from 55 to 80 F (13 to 27 C), which is perfect for exploring Memphis by foot. Spring is also the perfect time to plan your weekend trip if you want to avoid the large summer crowds.
Summer in Memphis
Memphis, like many other cities in the Southeast, tends to experience very hot and humid weather conditions during the summer. Temperatures this time of year typically range from 70 to 90 F (21 to 32 C). Summer is also peak tourist season in Memphis, so expect large crowds at most of the city’s top sights. As Memphis doesn’t become overwhelmed with tourism, visiting during the summer is no problem as long as you don’t mind the heat and humidity.
Fall in Memphis
If you want to avoid large crowds and enjoy cooler temperatures, consider visiting Memphis in the fall. The fall weather in Memphis is beautiful, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 F (18 to 27 C). If you’re working with a tighter budget, fall is also a good time to plan your Memphis trip to score great deals on lodging and activities.
Where to Stay in Memphis
There are a surprising number of hotels available right in downtown Memphis. With this many options, we’re sure that you can find the right hotel for your weekend in Memphis itinerary.
Budget Hotel Options
For a budget-friendly hotel option in the downtown Memphis area, we recommend Hotel Indigo. This hotel offers comfortable and casual accommodations and is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Memphis. At $130 USD per night, Hotel Indigo is a great budget hotel option that puts you within walking distance of some of the best activities, shops, and restaurants in all of Memphis.
Mid-Range Hotel Options
A great mid-range hotel option in Memphis is Hyatt Centric, home to Beck & Call which we featured earlier on this Memphis itinerary! Hyatt Centric is located at the end of Beale Street, putting you right at the center of Memphis’s best attractions as well as some great dining and shopping options. With rooms starting around $150 USD per night, Hyatt Centric is a great upscale option that won’t break the bank.
Luxury Hotel Options
For those seeking a luxurious stay during their weekend trip to Memphis, The Peabody is an excellent option. Home to the iconic Peabody Ducks, the Peabody Memphis is a historic hotel that offers beautiful accommodations. Rooms average around $300 USD per night, and the higher price tag is definitely worth it in our opinion for the convenience and comfort that the Peabody Memphis provides.
The Ultimate Memphis 2 Day Itinerary Summary
If there’s one word that can be used to sum up the overall atmosphere of Memphis, it’s definitely “soulful”. The Home of the Blues music is full to the brim with soul and character, from historic sites that played a significant role in the civil rights movement, to live music around every corner and delicious barbecue that is world-renowned. This lively city is the perfect weekend destination for visitors of all backgrounds and with all kinds of personal interests. Artists, foodies, history buffs, and casual tourists alike flock to Memphis for its welcoming nature and wide variety of activities.
We hope this Ultimate Weekend in Memphis Itinerary is helpful as you plan your trip. If you’ve been to Memphis before, what was your favorite thing to do or see? Let us know in the comments!