Memphis Weekend trip report

Jul 5th, 2006, 05:22 PM
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Memphis Weekend trip report

I got some good feedback from the board regarding our 4th of July weekend trip to Memphis. Here are the details:

We stayed at the Springhill Suites Marriott downtown. I got a really good deal by bidding on Priceline. The hotel was fine, the only issue being that there are a lot of vagrants and homeless people in close proximity to the hotel. It is really dark and even though it was a holiday weekend, we would often walk down the street in front of the hotel without anyone else on the street except some bums that were intoxicated/on drugs. Just something to consider. There was a nice Hampton Inn & Suites right by Beale Street that would be a good pick.

We had great food in Memphis. We ate at Cafe 61 (great great great!), Huey's, Sawadaii, and Gus's. All of the food was memorable and excellent.

We visited Graceland and it was very busy, which was to be expected considering it was a holiday weekend. A recommendation- if you plan on taking the tour, call ahead to the 1-800 number on the graceland website to reserve your tour. That way, you can walk up to the reservations window and pick up your tickets, rather than wait in the hour long line. I enjoyed Graceland and was surprised that we were able to take pictures (albeit w/no flash) within the house. The only place off limits was the upstairs portion of the house, which contains the king's bedroom and bathroom (where he was found dead).

We also visited the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel, the site in which Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Mondays from 3-6 are free! The whole museum was thoughtfully done and really moving.

Finally, last but not least, we spent a lot of time at Beale's Street and several pubs. My husband is a huge beer afficianado (think expensive beer that is hard to find) and found a place he really enjoyed called Flying Saucer. They had a huge beer menu, and Monday was their $2.50 pint night. We had a great time there. It is about 1 block from Beale Street, and they also have a website.

We also enjoyed walking around the Peabody Place complex. It's essentially a mall, with movie theater.

We took some time to watch the ducks at the famed Peabody Hotel. However, I would strongly advise against staying at the Peabody. It seems way past its prime. They have a bunch of crappy shops (think Canal street knockoff goods) within the Peabody. Plus, it just seems like it's not well maintained and is more of a circus atmosphere with the non-guests taking over the hotel for the daily duck production. It's fun to go there and have a drink as well as watch the ducks, but I wouldn't stay there. The Madison, a boutique hotel, would be a better upscale pick. They are also building a Westin bordering Beale Street.

A couple of notes: if you go to the memphis visitor's website you'll find a lot of good coupons. We didn't get to go on the Gibson Guitar Factory Tour (on Beale you a tour of the guitar making process) because it was closed on the 4th of July. I think that would be interesting.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks again for everyone's help!
mah1980 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 07:25 PM
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I was just in Memphis last week, Sunday-Tuesday. Had a great time, stayed at the Hampton Inn at Peabody Place, nice, but expensive. I can't believe you thought the Peabody Hotel isn't well maintained, it looked beautiful to me.
The various Lansky shops at the Peabody are very nice. Enjoyed cocktails in the lobby and also the Duck march, it was fun and not at all "circus" like.
isabellasu is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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Thanks, mah1980, for a good, concise report! I agree that the Civil Rights Museum is very much worthwhile.

smalti is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 04:47 AM
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Do you think it is safe for two women in that area. We are staying at the Springhill Suites this weekend and plan on walking down to Beale Street at night. Sounds sorta scary.
Hoosiergirl is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 05:52 AM
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Having stayed at the Peabody several times (including as recently as last week) I can assure readers that it is far from past its prime. It is very very well maintained. The lobby and rooms are very well appointed. The shops there are Memphis landmarks - Elvis shopped at the Lansky stores.
bennnie is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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Enjoyed your trip report, mah. I only get down to Memphis about once a year now that I'm living in New England, but I sure do enjoy my visits there.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 04:43 PM
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I'm sorry that I haven't replied... I've been out of town for work.

Re: the Peabody, I understand the old grande dame element of a stay there, but I know from speaking with others as well as looking at the circus atmosphere surrounding the ducks that I would not want to stay there. The public areas are nice in an over the top way. However, the shops there are awful and they sell a lot of kitsch that I'm surprised that the Peabody would allow to be affiliated with. One of my colleagues recently stayed at the Peabody for a conference and she said her room needed major updating. This view is commonly held on Tripadvisor. Since watching the ducks is one of the top tourist things to do in Memphis, I think that perhaps the hotel staff would be too busy managing that to really provide exemplary service (a point that is supported by Tripadvisor).

I do not think Memphis is unsafe but my comments regarding the homeless/vagrant situation is something to take into account when you're walking to and from Beale Street. I could not believe that the police didn't come around periodically to get the homeless population away from the general tourist areas. You'll be fine at the Springhill Suites but just make sure that you're aware of your surroundings as you would be in any city.

Ejcrowe: Thanks for your helping in getting this trip together. I was really impressed with the food in Memphis. We are spoiled with our New Orleans food and weren't expecting to have that caliber of food at extremely reasonable prices. We wanted to try Encore but it was closed the day we wanted to go.
mah1980 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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ttt for LLindaC
mah1980 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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Sawadaii is a great Thai restaurant downtown. I can recommend all of the restaurants that we ate at.
mah1980 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 01:47 PM
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I also have to say I was really looking forward to staying at the Peabody but highly disappointed. The room I had was in severe need of an update. The Hampton Inn across the street was the Ritz compared to the Peabody. It's a shame because it could have such charm but I fear it's riding on the Ducks' feathertails.
Minooka1145 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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Good grief I miss Huey's!!
lisettemac is offline  
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