A lively entertainment district is just one reason to make the trek to Memphis.
Strangely enough, one of my favorite moments from my recent excursion to Memphis was a nap. It was late Saturday afternoon, and my brother and I had been hitting the sights pretty hard. We walked back to our hotel to freshen up a bit before dinner. As we rounded the corner to the hotel pool, we noticed it was unoccupied. Then, without even saying a word to one another, we each headed to shaded lounge pods on opposite sides of the pool, kicked off our shoes and took a little siesta. It was one of those serendipitous moments that stands out if for no other reason than, unlike most everything else during our trip, it was totally unplanned.
Our weekend jaunt started on Friday night, when we checked into the Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis. It had only been open a few weeks when we arrived, so everything was fresh and new. What’s most notable about the hotel, though, is its location. It sits along the banks of the Mississippi River and is the only hotel on Beale Street, Memphis’ equivalent of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street or Austin’s Sixth Street.
You can stroll out the front door, walk across the street and be knee-deep in the bars and clubs that make up a chunk of the happening live music scene that has earned the city the nicknames “The Birthplace of Rock-and-Roll” and “The Home of the Blues.”
The Hyatt Centric is also within walking distance of multiple area attractions, including the National Civil Rights Museum, Tom Lee Park and the handful of riverboats that take passengers on daily cruises along the Mighty Mississippi. In fact, everywhere we went wasn’t more than a 10- or 15-minute drive from the hotel.
That included the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, where we perused everything from pre-Columbian artifacts to 20th-century pop art; Carolina Watershed, where we enjoyed brunch in the backyard while being serenaded by singer/acoustic guitarist Steve Schad; Central BBQ, where we happily stood in line for a taste of its famous ribs, pulled pork and other smoked meats; and The Arcade, Memphis’ oldest cafe, where we sat in the same booth Elvis once favored so he could easily slip out the back door if need be. The only exception was our 30-minute trip to Shelby Farms Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, where we rented a canoe for an early morning paddle around Hyde Lake.
My brother and I could have just as easily not bothered to get our car out of the hotel valet, though, as the Hyatt Centric has plenty to keep guests entertained, from the pool and fitness center to the lively rooftop bar and Latin-infused restaurant, both of which offer views of the Hernando de Soto Bridge connecting Tennessee and Arkansas. Not to mention the easy access the hotel affords to the multitude of events held along the river throughout the year. We agreed it was the perfect home base for a whirlwind weekend exploring the sights and sounds of Memphis. Now, if I could just find one of those shaded loungers for unscheduled naps in my own backyard.
Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis
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