My friends and I recently planned a reunion trip to Nashville, where we danced along to live country music and paid homage to some of our favorite country artists at the city’s many music museums. After a few days in Nashville, though, we felt as if we had gotten a great taste of the city, so we make a spur-of-the-moment decision to drive to Memphis to see what this other beloved Tennessee town has to offer.
As we drove out of Nashville, we pulled up HotelTonight’s app and booked a last-minute hotel in Memphis. People often assume that making last-minute travel arrangements can be difficult and overwhelming, but HotelTonight makes booking accommodations a breeze. After a little over three hours in the car, we had arrived in Memphis, the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” We quickly checked into our hotel room so that we could head out and start exploring Memphis.
The first stop on our Memphis adventure was the vibrant Broad Avenue Arts District, located in Memphis’ Binghampton neighborhood. Broad Avenue brims with great shops, so it’s a great area for visitors looking for unique shopping finds during their time in Memphis. This street has a variety of shops offering an eclectic mix of products, from handmade soaps to cool vintage clothes. We could have spent all afternoon popping in and out of one interesting boutique after another, but we eventually decided to leave the Broad Ave Arts District so that we could explore some of Memphis’ other cool neighborhoods.
Located in downtown Memphis, the neighborhood of South Main boasts beautiful architecture, rich culture, and plenty to do and see. South Main has a crucial role in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, as it was the place that rock ‘n’ roll was first played on the air. Sadly, it was also the neighborhood where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in 1968. While South Main is certainly steeped in history, today it’s also a trendy, vibrant neighborhood full of unique restaurants, bars, and attractions. We headed to South Main for a long, leisurely dinner, which we followed up with some dancing and mingling with locals at nearby bars.
The next morning, we wanted to soak in the beautiful spring Tennessee day, so we drove to Shelby Farms Park, one of the country’s largest urban parks. Shelby Farms is more than five times larger than New York’s Central Park, so while we definitely didn’t get to explore the entire park, we did get to see a significant part of this picturesque space. Locals were walking, running and biking along the trails throughout Shelby Farms, and we walked past beautiful lakes and wetlands during our three-mile trek. Immersing ourselves in the beauty of Shelby Farms was the perfect way to start our last day in Memphis.
After a refreshing walk through Shelby Farms, we headed to the hip historical district of Cooper-Young. This young, diverse entertainment district is not only full of architecturally unique homes, but it’s also home to great vintage and antique shops, galleries and restaurants. We ate lunch at one of the area’s trendy restaurants, and then spent a good part of the afternoon exploring the neighborhood’s unique shops and coffeehouses.
Before leaving Memphis, we knew we had to visit Overton Square. This Midtown Memphis neighborhood is the place to go if you want to enjoy great southern food, see concerts and plays, view interesting public art, and simply enjoy your day. It’s impossible to not have fun in Overton Square, where we spent the afternoon listening to great live music and sipping on cocktails. It was the ideal way to wrap up our quick trip to Memphis. As we loaded up the car and hit the road, we discussed the differences between Memphis and Nashville. Both of these Tennessee cities have rich histories and have played pivotal roles in the music industry, and both have plenty of fun, trendy areas to explore. However, Memphis and Nashville are, at their cores, very different cities, which is why we were so glad we had the opportunity to visit both.
Even though we only had a day and a half in Memphis, we were able to see some of the city’s highlights. We strived to experience Memphis like a true local would, and by doing so we tapped into the cool, exciting vibe of the city. There’s plenty of great entertainment options and activities in Memphis, but one of our favorite parts of this mini vacation was just sitting at local restaurants and soaking in the distinctly-Memphis atmosphere. We were so glad that we were able to make our last-minute Memphis getaway a reality, and we have HotelTonight to thank for allowing us to book a great hotel room at a moment’s notice.