24 Hours in Memphis: Hitting the Hotspots on a Quick Business Trip

I’ve had several requests for a Memphis travel guide and this opportunity to partner with TravelBank couldn’t have come at a better time. We actually have business guests in town all the time for my job and my husbands job and I feel like we’ve been able to show them all of the hotspots around town in 24 hours easily.

Memphis Building

Please know that this is a quick, 24 hours in Memphis guide – showcasing a snapshot of what the city has to offer – and for more to do in Memphis, you can always visit my blog where I’m always adding new resources like a comprehensive Memphis guide coming soon.

Where to Eat?

If there’s one thing that Memphis is known for, it’s our good food … particularly BBQ. You really can’t come to Memphis without going to at least one BBQ Restaurant, so of course I had to include one of those on the list. Central BBQ is a Memphis staple and if you don’t like traditional BBQ, you must try their BBQ nachos!

Memphis Gus's Fried Chicken

Another cheaper place to get something to eat is Gus’ Fried Chicken downtown. But get there early because there is always a line.

Memphis Cafe Keough
Memphis Cafe Keough
Memphis Cafe Keough

If you’re in need of a coffee shop with WiFi, look no further than Main Street’s Cafe Keough. Cafe Keough is based off of traditional European cafes and has outdoor seating as well as ample indoor seating. They offer coffee, lattes, and pastries as well as a full lunch menu.

If you’ve got a client in town with you and you need a nice dinner spot, I’ve got two recommendations for you.

Memphis Beauty Shop Restaurant

Number one is Beauty Shop, which is a funky eclectic restaurant that actually looks like an old beauty shop (hence the name). You can sit at the bar and just have drinks, or get a table and dine on their delicious dishes. The Beauty Shop does tend to get busy, so grab a reservation if you know you’ll be going.

Memphis Restaurant Catherine Marys

Number two is Catherine & Mary’s which is an Italian restaurant downtown. This place has beautiful architecture inside, and people rave about the Italian food options there. This would be the perfect spot if you need a nice place to take a client, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Memphis Arcade Restaurant

The Arcade Restaurant is an iconic Memphis diner located in South Main historic district, and is actually Memphis’ oldest cafe, operating since 1919. The Arcade Restaurant is family-owned and offers delicious home-cooked food in a family-friendly atmosphere.

Things to Do

Beale Street in Memphis is akin to Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Walk down Beale and you will find plenty of jazz clubs, blues venues, lots of greasy food, and plenty of fun things to do. It’s definitely a “must see” if you’ve never been to Memphis.

Memphis Orpheum Theater

Located right off of downtown is Harbor Town on Mud Island. Harbor Town has lots of cute little shops, restaurants, and plenty of places to sit and people watch. You can cross the street and go over to the riverwalk area where you can actually walk right along the Mississippi River.

Memphis Stax Museum

Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a must-see if you are ever in Memphis because you get to learn about all of the iconic musicians that got their start right here in Memphis.

Memphis National Civil Rights Museum
Memphis Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is a complex of museums and historic buildings in Memphis, Tennessee. The exhibits trace the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 17th century to the present.

Where to Stay?

Memphis Peabody
Memphis Peabody Bar

The Peabody Hotel is the iconic Memphis hotel where you can see the ducks march twice daily at 10:00am and 5:00pm. The Peabody is located in the heart of downtown Memphis and has an always entertaining lobby bar with live piano players in the evening. Be sure to check out the views from the rooftop while you’re there.

Pro Travel Tips

Memphis Bass Pro Shop

For a great view of the city and the Mississippi River, head to the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid and pay $10 to go to the rooftop bar. From the rooftop, you can see some spectacular views of the Mississippi and enjoy a drink while you’re up there.

Memphis River

If you want to get some fresh air and a little exercise, try walking, biking, or scootering across the Big River Crossing Bridge, which is an old railroad bridge that was turned into a pedestrian walking bridge to go across the Mississippi river.