Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Memphis because they love music, barbecue and partying. But many of you who read this blog regularly live here (and most of you still haven't been to Graceland).
Here are some touristy things that every Memphian should do (even if it's so you know where to send out-of-towners). They may remind you how lucky you are to live in a place that has so many things going for it.
1. Tour Ghost River
If you're a Memphian, you probably drink your share of locally-brewed Ghost River beer. Take advantage of the fact that it's brewed locally and go on their free Saturday brewery tour. Beer nerds will love it for the facts and technical information, beer drinkers will love it for the samples.
2. Go to the Stax Museum
Tourists flock to Memphis for our blues and rock'n'roll history. But Memphis isn't just blues and rock'n'roll – the city also has a soul legacy to rival Motown. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located in a neighborhood where tons of soul visionaries were born and is home to the artifacts, records and equipment of the greats (including Isaac Hayes' car). They're also the only museum that I know of that has a dance floor.
3. Ride the Trolley
As a local, you may never take the trolley in your daily life. It doesn't serve a wide area and there are definitely days when I'm pretty sure I could walk faster than it. Stop thinking about the trolley as a form of mass public transit and start thinking about it as a cheap, fun excursion. For less than $2 you can ride the Riverfront Loop. It takes about 45 minutes, and you'll get to see the skyline, the river, the Main St. mall, the Arcade and more. Do it at night for even better views (plus, sometimes when it's packed, the trolley can seem a little like a party).
4. Go to an Elvis Tribute Artist Contest
I've been to some of the Elvis Tribute Artist contests that happen in conjunction with Elvis Week, and I have to recommend that everyone go to one at least once. They're amazing for the ammount of effort that the contestants put in. They're amazing for the guys that have the look, attitude and sound completely right. They're amazing for the guys who may not quite pull it off, but were so inspired and moved by Memphis' music that they're trying.
5. Commune with nature.
There are several ways to do this. You could always go to the Memphis Zoo, which is so well thought out that you could go ten times and still not get sick of it. You could check out the sweeping views of the Mississippi while having a picnic on the grounds of the National Ornamental Metal Museum.
6. Have a drink on Beale.
Though it's history is as the center of Memphis' bustling African American business district, now Beale St. is known for being three blocks of straight party. There are a few locals only spots hidden on Beale (the Absinthe Room and Itta Bena are my favorites). But you're on Beale. So, just once, drink a Diver Bucket (and whatever you do, don't put said bucket on your head). Have a Call-a-Cab at Wet Willie's. Order a beer out of a giant neon extra longneck through a window.
What touristy things do you love? Where do you always take your friends from out of town?