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Matt's Guidebook

Matt

Matt's Guidebook

Food scene
Memphis is known for bbq, and everyone has their favorite. If Central isn’t their favorite, it’s usually their second. Two recommendations: always get your ribs dry rub - you can add sauce on the side. Also, at Central they have bbq nachos, we recommend getting nachos on house potato chips. Central has many locations, one is close to the house, but the downtown location is perfect to grab a lunch or early dinner after sightseeing.
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Central BBQ - Downtown
147 East Butler Avenue
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Memphis is known for bbq, and everyone has their favorite. If Central isn’t their favorite, it’s usually their second. Two recommendations: always get your ribs dry rub - you can add sauce on the side. Also, at Central they have bbq nachos, we recommend getting nachos on house potato chips. Central has many locations, one is close to the house, but the downtown location is perfect to grab a lunch or early dinner after sightseeing.
If you’re going to Beale, usually the cheapest parking is just above Flying Saucer for usually $1/hour unless there’s a special event. If you’re really looking for a night on Beale, this is a spot to start with a ton of beer and food and just a street over from the start of Beale.
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Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
130 Peabody Place
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If you’re going to Beale, usually the cheapest parking is just above Flying Saucer for usually $1/hour unless there’s a special event. If you’re really looking for a night on Beale, this is a spot to start with a ton of beer and food and just a street over from the start of Beale.
There’s something here for everyone. Tons of food options, movie theater, live music, and the square has occasional movie nights. Our favorite restaurant: Babalu Best high end restaurant: Iris Favorite bar: speakeasy hidden in Bari Best dessert: Sweet Noshing
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Overton Square
2101 Madison Avenue
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There’s something here for everyone. Tons of food options, movie theater, live music, and the square has occasional movie nights. Our favorite restaurant: Babalu Best high end restaurant: Iris Favorite bar: speakeasy hidden in Bari Best dessert: Sweet Noshing
Another place with lots of restaurants, you can’t go wrong. Cafe Ole usually has live music. Young Ave Deli has great sandwiches and beer selection. Alchemy is home to Memphis’ best happy hour: most of the menu - including drinks! - is half off.
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Cooper Young Historic District
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Another place with lots of restaurants, you can’t go wrong. Cafe Ole usually has live music. Young Ave Deli has great sandwiches and beer selection. Alchemy is home to Memphis’ best happy hour: most of the menu - including drinks! - is half off.
If you don’t know what Gibson’s is, go grab one in the morning while it is fresh. Alton Brown once described it as the perfect doughnut. It has a great chew, and the icing is great. It’s not earth shattering, but it’s a great doughnut. If you’re out late, Gibson’s is also open 24hours. ****see the post about Gus’ chicken****
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Gibson's Donuts
760 Mount Moriah Road
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If you don’t know what Gibson’s is, go grab one in the morning while it is fresh. Alton Brown once described it as the perfect doughnut. It has a great chew, and the icing is great. It’s not earth shattering, but it’s a great doughnut. If you’re out late, Gibson’s is also open 24hours. ****see the post about Gus’ chicken****
There are two locations: downtown and East Memphis next to Gibson’s. The chicken has a little spice to it, so if you have a sensitive palate, you might want to skip. *** this might sound crazy. Go to Gibson’s, grab a glazed doughnut in a paper bag. Bring it to Gus’. Put a piece of fresh fried chicken in the bag. Shake. Let the icing melt a few minutes. You now have a spicy piece of chicken with some sweetness. You also have a warm sweet doughnut with some kick.***
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Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
730 South Mendenhall Road
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There are two locations: downtown and East Memphis next to Gibson’s. The chicken has a little spice to it, so if you have a sensitive palate, you might want to skip. *** this might sound crazy. Go to Gibson’s, grab a glazed doughnut in a paper bag. Bring it to Gus’. Put a piece of fresh fried chicken in the bag. Shake. Let the icing melt a few minutes. You now have a spicy piece of chicken with some sweetness. You also have a warm sweet doughnut with some kick.***
Sightseeing
Graceland may get the most buzz, but Beale has the most places to see. During the day people of all ages can go, but at night the streets are blocked and it’s 21+. You can enjoy live music almost anywhere, play pool at the Absinthe Room, grab a slushie at Wet Willies, a diver bucket at Silky’s, or see blues at BB King’s.
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Beale Street Entertainment District
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Graceland may get the most buzz, but Beale has the most places to see. During the day people of all ages can go, but at night the streets are blocked and it’s 21+. You can enjoy live music almost anywhere, play pool at the Absinthe Room, grab a slushie at Wet Willies, a diver bucket at Silky’s, or see blues at BB King’s.
If you’re looking to get out and enjoy some outdoors without traveling too far, this is the place. The playground alone will keep children occupied for hours, but there is also kayaking/SUP on the lake, paddle boats on a pond, trail running, fishing, disc golf, other things I can’t even remember.
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Shelby Farms Park
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If you’re looking to get out and enjoy some outdoors without traveling too far, this is the place. The playground alone will keep children occupied for hours, but there is also kayaking/SUP on the lake, paddle boats on a pond, trail running, fishing, disc golf, other things I can’t even remember.
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National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry Street
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Imagine the Chrysler Building laying down. It has some small boutiques, places to eat, and a free art gallery. If you want to grab a bite and look around, it’s a great stop. We recommend global cafe: typically refugee run, they have three or four cuisine menus and you can pick what you want cafeteria style. If you prefer something less adventurous, Farm Burger is great, especially the pimento cheese fries. Grab dessert at one of the bakeries, Mempops popsicles, or Area 51 ice cream. The gallery is great and you can take a break and enjoy the view from the free library (the bookshelves in the middle of the giant staircase).
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Crosstown Concourse
1350 Concourse Avenue
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Imagine the Chrysler Building laying down. It has some small boutiques, places to eat, and a free art gallery. If you want to grab a bite and look around, it’s a great stop. We recommend global cafe: typically refugee run, they have three or four cuisine menus and you can pick what you want cafeteria style. If you prefer something less adventurous, Farm Burger is great, especially the pimento cheese fries. Grab dessert at one of the bakeries, Mempops popsicles, or Area 51 ice cream. The gallery is great and you can take a break and enjoy the view from the free library (the bookshelves in the middle of the giant staircase).
Yes, it’s a bookstore, but it is just down the street from the house. You can grab a kitschy souvenir on Beale, but for a more personal touch, why not take a look at novel.’s local authors, local history books, or gifts? Bonus: the attached bar/cafe is great, especially for Sunday brunch. Sip a “Sun also rises” while reading Hemingway.
novel.
387 Perkins Extd
Yes, it’s a bookstore, but it is just down the street from the house. You can grab a kitschy souvenir on Beale, but for a more personal touch, why not take a look at novel.’s local authors, local history books, or gifts? Bonus: the attached bar/cafe is great, especially for Sunday brunch. Sip a “Sun also rises” while reading Hemingway.
Family friendly
If you have kids, here are some places to go.
If you end up in Memphis on a rainy day and looking to take the kids somewhere, this is the spot. It’s not the cheapest place, but it usually keeps the kids occupied for a full day. During the summer, they open up a splash pad as well.
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The Children's Museum of Memphis
2525 Central Avenue
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If you end up in Memphis on a rainy day and looking to take the kids somewhere, this is the spot. It’s not the cheapest place, but it usually keeps the kids occupied for a full day. During the summer, they open up a splash pad as well.
The Memphis Zoo packs in a ton of exhibits in a small walkable area. In the summer this place is packed, but if you can brave the cool air, the winter still has plenty of things to see. For young children, bring a swimsuit in the summer to splash in the small river and 18 inch pool. You can usually watch the Pokemon Go players buy a tram pass and ride the loop to hit all the stops. They also have a couple of pandas, if you feel like watching them sit there.
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Memphis Zoo
2000 Prentiss Pl
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The Memphis Zoo packs in a ton of exhibits in a small walkable area. In the summer this place is packed, but if you can brave the cool air, the winter still has plenty of things to see. For young children, bring a swimsuit in the summer to splash in the small river and 18 inch pool. You can usually watch the Pokemon Go players buy a tram pass and ride the loop to hit all the stops. They also have a couple of pandas, if you feel like watching them sit there.
If Shelby Farms seems too big, Overton is Memphis’ central park. It houses the zoo, the Brooks Museum of Art, a golf course, multiple playgrounds, and walking trails.
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Overton Park
1914 Poplar Avenue
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If Shelby Farms seems too big, Overton is Memphis’ central park. It houses the zoo, the Brooks Museum of Art, a golf course, multiple playgrounds, and walking trails.
Beer!
Some people have a passion for brewing, good beer, or just relaxing with something more than Miller. Here are most of our breweries (inside the 240 loop).
This is our biggest brewery(?) and the outdoor area makes it great for large groups. They also probably have the biggest selection of beer. Occasionally they have food trucks, but this is on Broad Ave which has multiple restaurants.
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WISEACRE Brewing Co.
2783 Broad Avenue
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This is our biggest brewery(?) and the outdoor area makes it great for large groups. They also probably have the biggest selection of beer. Occasionally they have food trucks, but this is on Broad Ave which has multiple restaurants.
On the edge of Cooper Young, this is a good place to relax before or after dinner. And if you don’t want to leave, Aldo’s Pizza is next door. Just call in an order, pick it up, walk back to your beer(s).
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Memphis Made Brewing Co.
768 Cooper Street
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On the edge of Cooper Young, this is a good place to relax before or after dinner. And if you don’t want to leave, Aldo’s Pizza is next door. Just call in an order, pick it up, walk back to your beer(s).
On the far edge of downtown, this is an out of the way place to visit. One of the first craft breweries, if not the first in Memphis.
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Ghost River Brewery & Taproom
827 South Main Street
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On the far edge of downtown, this is an out of the way place to visit. One of the first craft breweries, if not the first in Memphis.
One of the newest breweries to pop up in Memphis, it quickly became a staple in stores and bars. This is a great place to go before you check out the Crosstown Concourse.
Crosstown Brewing Company
1264 Concourse Avenue
One of the newest breweries to pop up in Memphis, it quickly became a staple in stores and bars. This is a great place to go before you check out the Crosstown Concourse.
Probably the smallest of the breweries on this list, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get love. There’s a small cafe and boutique stores attached and you’re welcome to grab a pint and go browse.
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High Cotton Brewing Company
598 Monroe Avenue
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Probably the smallest of the breweries on this list, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get love. There’s a small cafe and boutique stores attached and you’re welcome to grab a pint and go browse.
Ok, it’s not beer, but don’t let that stop you. It’s a great place to tour, grab a taste, an then head over to Gus’ fried chicken next door.
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Old Dominick Distillery
305 S Front St
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Ok, it’s not beer, but don’t let that stop you. It’s a great place to tour, grab a taste, an then head over to Gus’ fried chicken next door.

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Driving.
Driving or Uber is the best way to get around. Worst case is you pay about the same about for an Uber as you would a premium parking spot downtown.
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Parking
Parking is very affordable in Memphis, however the cheapest downtown parking is above the Flying Saucer. As long as there is not a special event, it is $1/hour.