2018 Liberty Bowl Quick Guide To Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | December 26th 2018 10806 0

Updated December 2018

Are you a Mizzou or Oklahoma State fan traveling to Memphis for the 60th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl? 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.

The Game

The Liberty Bowl game is Monday, December 31 with a 2:45 p.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 – if you want to do the whole guitar-drop-with-ten-thousand-of-your-closets-friends-on-New-Year’s-Eve 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.

Click here for info on local hotels.

Other Liberty Bowl Tips

Get more details on tailgating, parking, game day tips here.

You can go to the free, non-ticketed Liberty Bowl Parade on Beale Street on Sunday, December 30 at 3 p.m. There’s a pep rally afterward in Handy Park (on Beale) at 4:30 p.m.

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. At night, check out the Mighty Lights show on the “M” bridge. Visit the historic Peabody Hotel for food, drinks, and daily kid-friendly duck marches.

In the daytime, you calk 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

For the Kids
– Memphis Botanic Garden (has “My Big Backyard” playground)
Children’s Museum of Memphis
Pink Palace Museum
The Art Project Memphis

5. Nightlife

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, Crosstown, Meddlesome Brewing
Hammer & Ale:  serves all the local brews
Young Avenue Deli: open late and has food and pool
Earnestine & Hazel’s: famous dive bar with Soul Burgers served late
Celtic Crossing Irish: pub/weekend brunch by day, 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, see below. Read up on any of the places that sound interesting to you, i.e., the breakfast spots especially tend to get crowded.


Blue Plate Cafe
Sunrise Memphis
The Liquor Store
Brother Juniper’s
Tamp & Tap
Gibson’s Donuts
Bardog Tavern
Cafe Eclectic

Lunch/Dinner Casual:
Deja Vu
Soul Fish
Second Line
Gus’ Fried Chicken’s
Aldo’s Pizza Pies
Lunchbox Eats
The Brass Door

Lunch/Dinner Nicer:
Felicia Suzanne’s
Majestic Grill
Bounty on Broad
Hog & Hominy
Strano by Chef Josh (especially for weekend brunch)

Muddy’s Bake Shop
City & State
Bluff City Coffee
Tamp & Tap
Cafe Keough
I Love Juice Bar

Most places in Memphis – even the “nice” ones – 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!

Show Comments


  1. Don says:

    If you are looking to catch the Premier League or just want some great Irish food head over to The Brass Door downtown off of Madison Ave.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Don’t forget the Crosstown Concourse and the Grand Carousel at the Children’s Museum. Soul food at Jim & Samella

  3. Brian Thompson says:

    Spot on, but you need to add Bryants to your list for breakfast and the 2017 Best Burger World Food Champions from LBOE on your list, and Folks Folly, Half Shell… arghhh the list could be endless.

  4. Jack Pirtles Chicken (Tawanda Pirtle) says:

    Don’t forget us at Jack Pirtles Chicken, 8 Memphis locations, we have been supporting our hometown Tigers and Memphis since 1957.. our store on the Highland Strip was one of the first drive thur’s in the area.

  5. Kari Elbert says:

    This is great info. However, I am an editor of a magazine so I constantly proofread everything and I thought you should know you have Gus Friend Chicken instead of Fried in the video.

  6. Kymberlie says:

    Thank you for this!

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