Fun Things to do in Memphis, TN with Kids

Memphis makes for a rockin’ family getaway. From Sun Studio, birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, to Graceland, home of the King, there are so many things to see. Active learning opportunities abound thanks to the beautiful botanic garden and the outstanding National Civil Rights Museum. And don’t forget the finger lickin’ food. If you love BBQ, spicy fried chicken and fresh donuts, Memphis will keep your bellies filled and smiles on your faces. Here are our picks for the best things to do in Memphis, TN with kids.

Top Memphis Attractions
The National Civil Rights Museum (450 Mulberry Street) is an absolute must-visit. This evocative museum, built around the former Lorraine Motel, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, brings the history of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement to the forefront.

Graceland (3734 Elvis Presley Blvd.), once the home of Elvis Presley, stands as one of the most visited private homes in the U.S. Take the interactive iPad tour, which will give you more insight into the life of Elvis and his family thanks to music clips and personal narratives from family members.

Rock ‘n’ roll was born at Sun Studio (706 Union Avenue). In the summer of 1954, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and Elvis recorded That’s All Right in Sam Phillips’ studio in Memphis. The guided tour is informative and will keep your toes tappin’ thanks to the fun music clips played throughout.

You won’t want to miss the Peabody Duck March, which kicks off at 5:00 pm at the historic Peabody Hotel (149 Union Avenue). The ducks, who spend their days splashing around the hotel lobby’s central fountain, parade down the aisle towards the elevator, where they then head up to their room for the night.

My Big Backyard garden at the Memphis Botanic Garden (750 Cherry Road) is perfect for families with kids that love to run, jump, climb and play outdoors. Thirty local artists transformed this beautiful garden into an unforgettable play space. Imaginative playhouses, swings, slides, and musical elements dot the lovely landscape.

If you love playing in the great outdoors, you’ll want to plan on spending a few hours at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid (1 Bass Pro Drive). Formerly a 20,142-seat pyramid-style arena, this megastore features shopping, a hotel, restaurants, a bowling alley, an archery range as well as many friendly animal residents, including a team of alligators. Ride the tallest, freestanding elevator in America (28 stories) to the top of the Pyramid where you’ll find an outdoor observation deck at the apex. The beautiful, bird’s eye view of Memphis makes this a perfect final stop in your visit to Memphis.

Best Restaurants in Memphis
For donuts, plan to stop at Gibson’s Donuts (760 Mount Moriah Road). Known for their maple bacon donuts and buttermilk donuts coated in blue and white sprinkles for the University of Memphis. You won’t be able to resist having just one donut at Gibson’s.

Overton Square is a shopping and dining hub in midtown Memphis. Enjoy lunch at Belly Acres (2102 Trimble Place), home of farm-to-fork burgers in an upbeat, family-friendly setting. Afterwards, let the kids get creative at The Art Project (2092 Trimble Place). While the kids craft with the onsite helpers, mom and dad can participate or sit right nearby and relax while overlooking all the fun.

At Another Broken Egg Cafe (6063 Park Avenue) you’ll find eggs made every way you like, including a selection of six different eggs benedicts and eggs-straordinary omelets. Also highly recommended are the biscuit beignets and fried green tomatoes.

Indulge in award winning barbecue at Central BBQ (147 E. Butler Avenue, plus two other Memphis locations). All meats are rubbed with a secret combination of dry spices, marinated for 24 hours, then smoked low and slow in the pit over a combination of hickory and pecan woods. Live music and picnic table seating make it a great fit for families.

Don’t miss Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (730 S. Mendenhall Road), home of the best fried chicken in Memphis. The chicken has a spicy kick that little ones might not appreciate, but the creamy mac and cheese, zesty baked beans, and coleslaw will please everyone in your crowd.

Or head to Huey’s (77 S 2nd Street) for burgers and blues. On Sundays you can count on live music.

Where to Stay in Memphis

Hilton Memphis, located in the East Memphis business district, is a perfect fit for families. Just a short distance from these fun things to do in Memphis, the hotel offers convenient parking and quick highway access so it’s a good pick if you’re looking to visit all the main attractions in town. The onsite outdoor swimming pool and hot tub are perfect for relaxing after a busy day of touring.

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Know Before You Go

  • The National Civil Rights Museum is at the Lorraine Motel, which is known for being the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.
  • The Fire Museum of Memphis is unique with entirely interactive exhibits along with a Fire Escape Maze and a Fire Safety Arcade.
  • Known as “The Official Home of the Blues,” Beale Street is the ideal spot to hear the best music Memphis has to offer.
  • Elvis Presley’s home Graceland will provide hours of exploration, entertainment, and history. The tour of the property is entirely interactive with an iPad tour.

Graceland photo by Joseph Novak / CC BY 2.0

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Amy B. Are you interested in traveling to Memphis? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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