Why go to Memphis?
You can visit Graceland, home of Elvis, and the hallowed ground of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fares for taxis can be uneven; if you visit the Peabody Memphis Hotel in shorts, you might be underdressed
Memphis serves up nothing short of fabulous music, barbecue and a powerful homage to the Civil Rights Era
Memphis Cruise Port Facilities?
Beale Street Landing's floating dock has a spiral walkway (and golf carts with drivers to transport boat guests when the river is high) to the top of the riverbank and the Riverside Bar and Grill, where sandwiches, salads, fried green tomatoes, catfish and Memphis peach pie are among menu items. There's also a gift shop. Both are open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in spring and summer, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in winter. Unfortunately, when the American Queen docked here to disembark passengers at 8 a.m. on a Sunday in December, nothing was open.
However, the six-acre site is a haven in good weather for those who relish being outside. There are walking and biking trails, fitness stations, spots to settle in and contemplate the river, and Island Play @ Beale Street Landing, a children's playground with misting devices in summer, dancing fountains and a giant catfish sculpture. It's a 10-minute walk to downtown, with crosswalks over Riverside Drive
The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau is at 47 Union Street, walking distance from Beale Street Landing. It's open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, but is closed Saturday and Sunday.
The 1-40 Tennessee Welcome Center, at 119 N. Riverside Drive, is near the Brass Pro Shops at The Pyramid (about a mile from Beale Street Landing). However, the Memphis CVB is open only during weekday business hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. So plan your Memphis visit in advance.
Good to Know?
There's a friendly, casual atmosphere in Memphis, although those who venture to The Peabody Memphis will feel more comfortable if they leave their T-shirts and Nikes in their suitcases and dress up a wee bit.
When a local asks a bartender for Jack, he means Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey.
If you hear someone mention "the Grizzlies," they're not talking about bears, but about the local NBA team.
"Grit and grind" is a favorite Memphis saying, which is plastered across T-shirts and signs at NBA games. Tony Allen said, "All heart. Grit and grind," after his transformative performance when the Grizzlies beat Oklahoma City's Thunder in a wild game on February 8, 2011. Fans call the FedEx Forum (where the team plays) the Grind House.
Check fares in taxis. One driver posted a $4 Sunday surcharge on his meter, while the next two posted $2.
By Trolley: Memphis' downtown trolleys have been undergoing restoration since 2014; local officials promise they will return! In the meantime, they've been replaced on the same routes by buses painted to look like trolleys.
By Bus: There's the Hop On commercial tour bus, which operates Tuesday through Saturday in spring and summer, but only Thursday through Saturday in fall and winter. There is a free hourly shuttle between Graceland, Sun Studio and the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum.
By Taxi: On a pretty day, passengers making a Memphis port call as part of a longer cruise can walk to from the port to downtown. If you have luggage, it's best to take a taxi; they line up for disembarking passengers when riverboats dock. Uber is also active in Memphis.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
There is no ATM in Beale Street Landing, where the riverboats dock (see Where You're Docked), or at the National Civil Rights Museum. However, there are ATMs on every block of busy Beale Street downtown, a center for music, bars and cafes. There's also an ATM near the corner of downtown's Main and Peabody, a busy pedestrian intersection.