As a year-long downtown Memphis resident, I have to say there are a few things downtown I do with most friends and family that visit. Some are obvious, and some are pleasant little nuggets that can go overlooked. Regardless, they are all within walking distance of each other and can be done in a day!
I still walk down Main Street between Jefferson and Beale with wide-eyed wonder. The fact that there are no cars on one section, just trolleys and horse drawn carriages makes me giddy like a little kid. You can’t appreciate Main Street though unless you commit to taking a nice stroll and really opening your eyes to the sights, sounds, and smells. Definitely look up when walking to see architecture that you won’t believe.
Obvious one here folks! Don’t miss it. Riverboats, barges, parks… it’s the Mighty Mississip! It flows from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, separates east from west and is as American as baseball and apple pie. You can’t come to Memphis and NOT see it.
It doesn’t matter if you drink alcohol or not, go to Beale Street and order a beer or cocktail at a take out window. Why? Just because you can. There’s something about being able to legally walk down the street with a beer that’s just freeing. Then, sit on the curb for ten minutes and watch the Beale Street Flippers. Hot sun, cold beer, and back flips down Beale.
The Music of Ms. Barbara Blue
There’s music everywhere but the one place I take everyone I know is Silky O’ Sullivan’s to see Ms. Barbara Blue.
Going to see Barbara sing a few songs is like going to your big sister for some great advice that makes you feel better, except you don’t tip your big sister. I’ve taken my friends, 7-year-old nephew, my parents; they’ve all loved Barbara. Take the kids for dinner early, send them home with Grandma and stay a bit later when her banter gets more colorful. She’s a fixture on Beale Street… blues, Dolly Parton, the Stones, Adele… you get it all with Barbara and her smoky voiced Barbara twist.
Years ago I saw on the national news that an old restaurant moved and had a police escort for the nearly 100 year old grease they still cooked their hamburgers in. I lived in Memphis 6 months before I realize that the 100 year old grease was at Dyer’s Burgers on Beale Street. There is no debate here on meat, grease, health, anything. When in Memphis, you can’t you pass one up!
Each Thursday, MemphisConnect publishes a piece by one of the graduates of the Leadership Academy’s Fellows Program. Writing about what moves them to live and work in Memphis, their connections to the community are as diverse as the Fellows themselves. Learn more about the Fellows Program here.