If you have been following the blog, you’ve learned some fun and interesting things to do in downtown Memphis.
3 Days in Memphis:
But downtown is not the only area in Memphis that has undergone a revitalization. To thoroughly experience Memphis, you need to go east and check out other attractions that make Memphis a fantastic place to visit!
Day 3: 24 Hours Outside Downtown Memphis
Start your morning at Brother Juniper’s, a University of Memphis and local favorite.
Brother Juniper’s is named after the original cook for Saint Francis of Assisi. The monks were poor, but Brother Juniper made it his mission to provide his fellow brothers with good food. This spirit of inexpensive, high quality food was the mission of the first Brother Juniper’s. First started in California, the Memphis location is now the only Brother Juniper’s still in operation.
Brother Juniper’s high quality food and friendly wait staff has earned the restaurant numerous “Best Breakfast” awards and visits from Food Network. Along with that reputation, comes longer lines and wait times. Be patient! The rolls and gravy all by themselves are well worth the wait.
Important Information: 3519 Walker Avenue, brother junipers.com
I don’t know anyone who lives in the Memphis area that hasn’t been to our award winning zoo. Trip Advisor and USA Today both ranked the Memphis Zoo in the top five zoos in the United States. Even those of us who don’t have young children, love spending the day walking around our beautiful zoo. And walking you will do! This zoo is HUGE, over 70 acres with more than 3,500 animals.
The Memphis Zoo was founded a hundred years ago, but has continually renovated its exhibits with the most up to date habitats available for its animals. Since the 1990s over $93 million has been spent on renovating and expanding the zoo. It’s newest habitat, Zambezi River, just opened this spring. Getting underwater views in this new habitat of hippos was super cool!
Tips: Pick up a map at the beginning of your visit and plan on staying at least 2-3 hours. It can be very hot at the zoo, but the zoo has water misters to help you cool down. There are splash areas so an extra change of clothes might be needed for the kiddos.
Important Information: 2000 Prentiss Place, memphiszoo.org
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is Tennessee’s oldest and largest art museum (over 9,000 pieces in its permanent collection). If you are in Memphis on a Wednesday, it’s free! So even if you are just kind of interested in art, it’s worth an hour or two during your visit.
Keep an eye on their events webpage because the museum has frequent “family days” that are free and geared towards kids of all ages. On Thursdays, the museum stays open later for gallery talks, wine events, and musical guests.
Cooper-Young Historical Area
This is a fun, little neighborhood in Midtown Memphis. A lot of locals will skip Beale Street and go to Cooper-Young for brunch, lunch, dinner, and after dinner drinks. The number of quaint shops is growing, but I wouldn’t come just for the shopping. If you want a unique dining experience surrounded by the locals, Cooper-Young is worth the drive. If you’re in Memphis during September, be sure to check out the Cooper-Young festival.
The Beauty Shop Restaurant
A frequent award-winner, The Beauty Shop gets its name from its 50s-style beauty shop decor. As fun as the atmosphere is, go to The Beauty Shop for its fabulous food!
Important Information: 966 Cooper Street, thebeautyshoprestaurant.com
Young Avenue Deli
It may be called a deli (half of their menu is sandwiches), but I would say it is more on the bar/grill side. It has a big open warehouse feel. Imagine a hipster place that the masses have discovered. The food is fresh and service is swift and efficient.
Important Information: 2119 Young Avenue, youngavenuedeli.com
Memphis Botanic Garden
Next, head to East Memphis to spend 1-2 hours at the Memphis Botanic Garden. If you have children, you could easily make it an entire afternoon. The gardens are absolutely beautiful and relaxing for the adults, but they also have this huge area devoted just for kids called “The Big Backyard”. Adults can park themselves under a big shade tree while their children run from one playhouse to another, crawl through tunnels, and wade through the mini ponds and streams.
In the summer, check out the “Live at the Garden” concert series. Bring your blankets and coolers for a relaxing evening under the stars.
Tip: Pay the small fee for koi fish food. The fish go crazy over it!
Important Information: 750 Cherry Road, memphisbotanicgarden.com
In the fifteen years that I have lived here, Overton Square has undergone a total revitalization. Already a major theater district, it is now a perfect place for a night of music and good food! Bring your lawn chair for free blues music every Tuesday night in the summer.
For a great meal, you can’t go wrong with Babalu. Definitely order the guacamole table side. Oh, and the tacos are filled with “fine-dining” flavors. Then head next door to the Lafayette’s for a great night of food and music! It’s loud, so don’t expect much conversation, but it’s been there forever for a reason–Great atmosphere!
Important Information: 2115 Madison Avenue, eatbabalu.com
Memphis Iconic Landmarks
There are two go-to places for Memphians and tourist alike to get their sweet-tooth fix.
College kids love Gibson’s! It is open 24 hours a day and after 11 p.m. the leftover donuts are only 25 cents a piece, a college kid’s perfect price for late night “study” sessions.
I’m more of a morning donut kind of girl. Gibson’s has a bacon-maple flavor that will send you over the sweet/savory edge. Alton Brown of Food Network said it was the best he had ever eaten! You have to try a Gibson donut!
Important Information: 760 Mount Moriah Road,
Jerry’s Sno Cones
I’m not a sno cone fan. Let me repeat that. I am NOT a sno cone fan. So why in the world would I drive 35 miles and stand out in the Memphis sun for one? You can be guaranteed at least a thirty minute wait. It’s in the middle of a “not so nice” part of the city. So why go to Jerry’s?
Well, Jerry’s has been around for 30+ years for a reason. There are over 70 flavors. The ice is SMOOTH. Most importantly, you can order it ‘supreme’ and soft serve ice cream will be swirled into the snow cone, turning this ice cream lover into, surprisingly enough, a sno cone enthusiast.
Tip: Bring cash. That’s all they accept. “Supreme” snow cones are $4 each.
Important Information: 1657 Wells Station Road, closed on Sunday
Which of these attractions would be your favorite place to visit? Has our 3 posts about Memphis convinced you to plan a visit? Please let us know by commenting below! We just scratched the Memphis surface. In fact, we’re currently sampling 20 of the 100+ barbecue restaurants for a future post. Keep up with all of our travel, camping, and cycling tips by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Leave us your email (blue box at the bottom of the post) to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and never miss a post!