Listen to the music when you explore the Southern city of Memphis, Tennessee, advises Tim Lamb.


When Kiwis visit, they love:

The music and memories. Feel up close and personal to Elvis Presley at Graceland, Johnny Cash at Sun Studios and Otis Redding at Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Best walk: During the day, stroll down Beale St and take in the street performers before making your way down to the Beale Street Landing recreation area next to the Mississippi River.


Best adventure: River cruises are still a popular way to see the South and the American Queen Steamboat Company goes from Memphis to New Orleans.

Best-kept secret: Overton Square was popular in the 70s and has been reinvented as an entertainment and dining hotspot in Memphis.

Must do: Graceland. No trip to Memphis should be complete without visiting the home of Elvis Presley.


Best coffee spot: Grab a brew at Bluff City Coffee in the South Main Historic District and ask about their duffins (a donut and muffin crossbreed!).

Best spot to get a sweet treat: Muddy's Bake Shop has a cool selection of cupcakes.

The best local flavours: There are two things you should try in Memphis: barbecue and biscuits (similar to a scone). The best biscuits I've tried are at the Madison Hotel, just make sure to sample them with the traditional white meat gravy to get the full southern experience.

Where should families eat? Central BBQ. There are three outlets of this restaurant in Memphis.


Where should couples dine? Flights restaurant has the small plates dining scene nailed. In this downtown Memphis joint you can try trios of food paired with three wine samples.

Where to hang out when the sun goes down: Head to the rooftop of the Madison Hotel and enjoy a wine with a view of the sun setting over the Mississippi River.

The historic Sun Studio in Memphis. Photo / iStock
The historic Sun Studio in Memphis. Photo / iStock

Best shop:

It's okay to be a tourist and get that personalised coffee cup with Elvis' face and your name on it at the Graceland gift shop.

Be one of the first to: Visit the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. This is the newest of several musical museums dedicated to all genres of successful local musicians.

Best sporting event to catch: Head three hours and 15 minutes east to Nashville to watch the state's NFL American Football team, the Tennessee Titans.

Best selfie spot: Grab a photo in the recording studio of the famous Sun Studios, where Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis all laid down tracks.

Best place to swim: Drive three hours west to Hot Springs, Arkansas, for options of relaxing natural spring pools or fast water slides.


Best couple's retreat: Madison Hotel for a musical experience and convenience to downtown. The hotel has loaner guitars you can use in your room.

Best family retreat: Big Cypress Lodge has the most unique accommodation in the city; cabins set among a wilderness theme and located within the Memphis Pyramid.

Other highly recommended accommodation: If Nashville is also on your itinerary, stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.


Fly into Memphis International Airport from Houston (90 minute direct flight).

For more information: Visit