2017 Liberty Bowl Quick Guide To Memphis
Are you an Iowa State fan traveling to Memphis for the 59th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl? Or an out of town Tigers fan coming home for the game? This post has most everything you need to know about where to stay and what to do in Memphis. I promise, I really did try to keep it as short and sweet as possible…
You can also check out the Memphis Cheat Sheet that has some of the same info, but with more descriptions and insider tips.
Also, Sports Illustrated ranks this year’s Liberty Bowl #2 on its list of most entertaining bowl games. Boom.
The Liberty Bowl game between Iowa State and University of Memphis is Saturday, December 30 with an 11:30 a.m. kickoff.
Park at the stadium or take and Uber/Lyft/cab. The Memphis cab number is 901-577-7777.
The Liberty Bowl has a clear bag policy and they will be enforcing it! You can’t bring bags unless they’re clear or tiny. Read more.
Where To Stay
If it were me, I’d stay in a hotel downtown or snag an Airbnb in the midtown area (Cooper Young, Overton Square, Liberty Bowl area). There are also plenty of hotels in East Memphis.
Downtown, you can walk to Beale Street and the river and other stuff to do. It’s about a 10-15 drive to the stadium from there. In East Memphis, you might need short rides to get to restaurants, but it’s still just a 15-20 minute drive to the stadium.
Other Liberty Bowl Tips
Get more details on tailgating, parking, game day tips here.
There are other Liberty Bowl events. You can get tickets to the team welcome party, a pro rodeo, a lunch with players and coaches, or a gala. Or, you can go to the free, non-ticketed Liberty Bowl Parade on Beale Street on Friday, December 29 at 3 p.m. There’s a pep rally afterward in Handy Park (on Beale) at 4:30 p.m.
If you’re not tailgating at the Liberty Bowl (we call that area Tiger Lane), then a few nearby bars are opening at 10 a.m. that day.
Five Things You Must Do In Memphis
1. Music History Pilgrimage
Visit Graceland, obviously, if you have the time and money. Other fun music museums/tours are Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and Sun Studio.
2. Eat BBQ
Locals love Central BBQ (pork sandwich, ribs, mac n cheese), Cozy Corner (game hen, ribs), Tops (pork sandwich or burger w/ pork), Payne’s (ribs, sandwich), Bar-B-Que Shop (sandwich on Texas toast, bbq spaghetti), One and Only (ribs, potato salads), among many others.
The Rendezvous is a world-famous tradition and definitely worth a visit (I’m personally a fan of the sausage and cheese plate, the brisket, and the BBQ nachos). Read more about the place that Southern Living praises as a “Memphis institution” and “the birthplace of Memphis-style dry rubbed ribs” here.
There’s a list of non-BBQ restaurants at the bottom of this post.
3. Walk/take short drives around Downtown.
If you’re up for a few miles, you can see a lot in an afternoon/evening. See the river at Beale Street Landing/Tom Lee Park or walk across it at Big River Crossing. Visit the historic Peabody Hotel for food, drinks, and daily kid-friendly duck marches.
Then, walk down historic Beale Street for live music, food, drinks, and some shopping. At night, Beale Street is a big party; hopefully you’ll see the flippers. If you want, take a picture in front of an I Love Memphis mural on the side of Wet Willy’s. You’ll be able to see FedExForum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies, even if they don’t have any games during Liberty Bowl Weekend.
4. Pick Some Attractions.
Memphis has a ton of things to do. Pick one or stay an extra few days and do them all.
– National Civil Rights Museum
– Memphis Zoo (one of the top-rated in the country, we have pandas and a baby hippo)
– Backbeat Tours (musical history on a bus, walking ghost tours)
– Memphis Hop (hop on-hop off bus)
– A Tour Of Possibilities (civil rights tour)
– Bass Pro Pyramid (worth it for the sheer spectacle of the thing)
– Shelby Farms Park
If you want to party and enjoy some live music off of Beale Street, check out a few of the local watering holes and music bars.
– Lafayette’s: spacious music room in Overton Square entertainment district
– Hi-Tone: dive-ish but legit music bar
– Bar DKDC: tiny snazzy venue for late shows
– Our taprooms/breweries: Wiseacre, Memphis Made, High Cotton, Ghost River, Meddlesome Brewing
– Hammer & Ale: serves all the local brews
– Young Avenue Deli: open late and has pool
– Earnestine & Hazel’s: famous dive bar with Soul Burgers served late
– Celtic Crossing Irish: pub/weekend brunch by day, chill club by night
– Bardog Tavern: awesome pub grub, late night bar (smoking)
– Railgarten: outdoor millennial hotspot with live music, big crowds
– SOB: good drinks and late-ish food
OK, if you need more food recs beyond BBQ, here ya go. Read up on any of the places that sound interesting to you, the breakfast spots especially tend to get crowded.
– Deja Vu
– Soul Fish
– Second Line
– Gus’ Fried Chicken’s
– Aldo’s Pizza Pies
– Lunchbox Eats
– The Brass Door
– Strano Sicilian Kitchen (especially for weekend brunch)
Most places in Memphis are casual. If you’re staying through the New Year, we’re glad to have ya! Check out the New Year’s Eve event guide here.
This isn’t close to everything I could tell you about what to see, do, and eat in Memphis.I’ll let the Memphians add their favorite must-dos and must-eats in the comments section. Feel free to leave questions in the comments, or ask me on Twitter!