Memphis, Tennessee, is great for family visits, offering a mix of old Southern charm, historic sites, music traditions and fine dining. It’s a perfect city for families to visit, as many of the sites and attractions appeal to all ages, allowing for a lot of group activities.
Memphis’ musical legacy is another important thing to expose to kids, and just may give them a new perspective and some new music to discover and add to their iPhone. The city offers music history through sites like Graceland and Sun Studios, along with new live music in its jazz and blues clubs.
How to get there
Memphis International Airport (MEM) served by Delta, American, Continental and US Airways. The city is within about three hours by air from most major U.S. cities, which is why FedEx makes Memphis its domestic hub.
The venerable Peabody Hotel attracts tourists and other visitors for the lobby parade of duck families daily at 11 am, and is within easy walking distance of many Memphis attractions, including Beale Street, Rock N Soul Museum, National Civil Rights Museum and Convention Center. While the ducks are cute, this is a AAA Four Diamond property that takes your comfort seriously. Add Southern Hospitality to the mix and you get a magical experience.
The hotel has some kid-friendly packages, “Memphis Family FUN-cation” rates start around $235., and kids under 12 stay and eat free, with each adult. The package includes a kids welcome kit and a carriage ride, which our kids loved. Kids can even lead the duck parade as honorary Duckmaster with the hotel’s “Ducky Day Family Package”.
The Peabody Memphis
149 Union Ave.
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone (901) 529-4000
Four Way Restaurant is the place for authentic soul food and traditional Southern cooking. The fried catfish, black-eyed peas and sweet potato pie are traditional and delicious. The Southern-fried chicken is a delight, and you can actually get fried green tomatoes. It’s gonna be crowded, but the service is wonderful and the crowd is as much fun to watch and talk to, as the food is good to eat. It’s one of those places that is popular with both tourists and locals, the food is that good. Come hungry.
998 Mississippi Boulevard
Phone (901) 507-1519 .
Graceland is a must for Elvis Presley fans. The elegance and memories of how The King of Pop lived in luxury after rising from poverty. The site offers some “kids tour free” specials online and you can purchase your tickets in advance on the website as well. Adult prices range from $70 for the Entourage VIP Tour with everything you could ever want to see and know about Elvis, to a $35 basic Graceland Mansion tour.
3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard
National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum was once the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated. The museum houses collections of Dr. King’s private papers and Civil Rights artifacts. There are tours, educational programs and special events. The museum was a highlight of our trip there and should be a part of any family visit to Memphis. The museum is closed on Tuesdays, adult admission is $13, kids are $9.50.
National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry Street
The Sun Studio has become a Memphis shrine to those who honor the many famous Southern musicians who got their start here in the 1950s. Elvis recorded his first song at the Sun Studio. Others whose careers blossomed here include Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others.
Tours are $12 for adults and kids are free, although no kids under five are allowed. The studio is right in downtown Memphis, close to Beale Street and other cool things to see and do.
706 Union Avenue
Beale Street, famous for being where the blues were born a century ago, is a slightly less-hectic version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. During the day, it’s a fun, family touristy place, with souvenir shops, street musicians and a variety of Southern-style restaurants. At night, Beale Street is much a more rowdy adult playground, with bars, dance clubs and lots of loud music.
Whether for a long weekend or a week-long journey, Memphis provides a great range of fun, food, music and education the whole family can enjoy together.
Ted Sherman is a world traveler and loves to share his experiences and knowledge. You can follow him on Twitter: @travel4seniors.
More from this contributor:
Four Incredible Dream Hotel Suites Around the World
Macau Travel Guide
Antwerp, a great day trip from Amsterdam