Chasing Davies: 24 Hours in Memphis, with Kids!

July 18, 2016

24 Hours in Memphis, with Kids!

On our way to our beach vacation, we made a point to stop in Memphis and live it up for about 24 hours before continuing on our road trip.  I know I love Memphis, and I've been there a few times for work and without kids - so I was a bit unsure on what we'd be able to do with our young kids (when really, I just wanted to go out on Beale St. and listen and dance all night to music!).  

But! I was pleasantly surprised how fun it was with my little tots - and how entertained they were.  And really, after researching a bit before going (and let's be honest, mostly while driving the 7.5 hours from KC to there), I found a lot of kid-friendly things to do.  So, while there is way more to do, see and eat in the city of Memphis (with and without kids), here is our 24 Hours to Memphis, with (young) kids and 6 things to do:

1. Stay at the Peabody!  It's situated in the perfect spot - walking distance to Beale St., the river, museums, restaurants, Main street, etc. And they have the ducks.  Kids eat this up (my kids loved it).  Every day at 11am they have the "duck march" to the fountain, and at 5pm, they do the "duck march" from the fountain.  

Get there a bit early (like 15-20 mins) to get a good spot to view, or really early (like an hour or more) to get a seat at the bar/cafe near the fountain.  They allow young kids and one parent to sit along the red carpet - which I did with my two, thus didn't get any photos (but you might have seen my snaps ---> ChasingDavies on Snapchat).

2. Beale St - while this visit I wasn't going out and dancing all night to live music, we still walked down the iconic street. We hit the street at about 5:30pm on a Thursday (right after the Peabody duck march) and it wasn't too wild yet (crowded, but the street is blocked off for only pedestrians, which really helps with the crowd).

3. Flying Fish for dinner - My husband and I were craving fish (the kids had chicken fingers...which came in a cute cardboard boat that both kids were really enthusiastic about), for some reason, but more importantly, this restaurant seemed super kid friendly (casual - order at the front and then sit kind of place), and the hundreds of fish on the wall kept my kids super entertained.  Flying Fish is situated just off of Beale St. across from Peabody, so it was less crowded and an easy hop home.

4. Stroll down Main St. for Breakfast at Blue Plate Cafe - After our one night staying at the Peabody, we woke up and went out to look for breakfast. Main Street is a closed street to cars - just buses runs along it, so it's a great street to walk along.  There are several really vibrant murals along the way, and a court yard with a 3-tiered fountain worth checking out.  Within this court yard, we hit up Blue Plate Cafe for breakfast, which was really cute and perfect for families.  They have tons of options - and of course pancakes for my kiddos (they're most favorite food).

5. Bass Pro Shop & Observatory Deck - The iconic Memphis Pyramid that used to be their NBA team's arena, but sat empty for a decade was reopened last year by Bass Pro (it also contains a hotel!).  We didn't go to shop for camping or outdoor gear - but to take in all the aquatic tanks and ponds of alligators, and of course ride the 28-stories up to the observatory deck which had my knees shaking a bit (ok, a lot). 

But what a view!  The elevator is glass walls - so you can get a good look at the whole store on your way up (so, I was told - as I was hiding my eyes!). Once at the top, there is another be aquatic tank, bar and restaurant, along with two observatory decks that overlook Memphis.  It was a pretty awesome view!

6. Tour Graceland - I visited Graceland as a kid with my family, and I've always remembered it!  So, I was especially excited to take my kiddos.  This was #1 on my list (as touristy as it may be!).  What I didn't remember (or more likely has evolved since I've been many moons ago) is everything else there is to do besides just seeing Graceland!  

You park across the street - that's where you buy tickets (kids 6 and under are free!), and there is a ton else to see and do over there.  You wait in line to take a shuttle bus to the mansion, and it moves pretty fast - but while you're waiting in line, take turns to go check out the other exhibits and grab a snack!

Once over at Graceland, you get an iPad to help guide you through Elvis' house - it shares stories, images and videos from the different areas in the house. Nora and Liam totally hijacked the iPads from Greg and I - and Liam really got into it. He told me about a video he watched where Elvis was really nervous before going out on stage. I figure he probably knows a lot more about Elvis than I do now. :)

24 hours in Memphis (one night, an evening and a morning into afternoon) was certainly not enough! Still on our list to do next time we're back: Mud Island, South Main neighborhood, Sun Studio, Stax (for Greg and the kids - I've been!), and I'm sure a ton more!

Where are some of your favorite cities to travel to with a family?  

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