48 Hours In Memphis

Memphis: home of the blues, barbecue and Elvis. On the East Bank of the Mississippi River, Tennessee’s second largest city is a great destination for a fall getaway. And, it’s only a two hour nonstop flight from RDU, perfect for a 48 hour trip away from home.

Getting There

Memphis at Night.

Memphis at Night.

Delta Air Lines offers daily nonstop service from RDU to Memphis International Airport. The flight leaves at 11:45 a.m. and lands at 12:49 p.m. local time. The airline serves the route using 50-seat Canadair regional jets.  Book your flight now.

Memphis International Airport is a 15-minute ride from downtown Memphis, where there are many hotels and attraction to keep you hopping for your weekend getaway. Several rental car agencies are also located at the airport. 


Arguably, the two most famous music spots in Memphis are Elvis Presley’s Graceland and the historic Sun Studio. Graceland is located a few minutes outside of downtown and is the world-famous home of the King of Rock & Roll. Downtown, take a tour of the legendary studio where music greats such as Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins found their start.

If you’re a fan of soul music, head to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music located in the southeast part of Memphis. There, see more than 2,000 artifacts including Studio A where almost all of Stax’s music was created.

After the sun goes down, head to Beale Street where numerous nightclubs and music joints line a three-block span of the street affectionately known as “neon-row.” If you want to get a more local taste of Memphis nightlife, head to the Overton Square entertainment district in midtown.

Family Fun

Taking the family for a getaway? Memphis has many options. Take a leisurely ride along the mighty Mississippi aboard a riverboat. Little ones will get a kick out of watching the marching of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel.

For older children and lifelong learners alike, a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum at the former Lorraine Motel is a must. The recently reopened site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gives an honest look at one of the more sobering chapters of American History.


No trip to Memphis is complete without a healthy portion of Southern soul food and barbecue. Famous locations on the tourist circuit and places locals call home dot the landscape of the city. Some of the more well-known include Rendezvous, The Bar-B-Q Shop and Central BBQ.

What else do you enjoy about Memphis? Tell me what’s on your must-see list in the comments below.

Thanks to the Memphis Visitor and Convention Bureau‘s web site for assistance with this blog.

About Andrew Sawyer

Andrew Sawyer is the External Communication Specialist for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and is the main writer for RDU’s website, electronic communication and airport publications. He’s also the primary face behind RDU’s social media channels. Andrew also assists with many other things, from media relations to event planning. In fact, he has an advanced degree in "other duties as assigned."
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