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Advice wanted

Lincoln, Nebraska
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5 posts
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Advice wanted

We have driven through Memphis, but have never stopped. This time we plan to arrive on Friday, July 19 about 4:00 p.m. We will be meeting our son from Mobile, AL to return 2 grandkids (boy, age 14 and girl, age 10). We plan to stay until 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Other than thinking we want to go to Graceland (none of us have been there + we figure the grandkids have heard of Elvis), we need advice:

1. Where ought we stay (by location, and please offer hotel names)? Since we only see our son once or twice a year, we want a nice and safe place to stay (money does not really matter, but who wants to waste $$$$) where we will enjoy hanging out. Are we better off staying outside of town and driving in to Graceland (like on Sat. a.m.)? (We will be coming south, down I-55 and our son will be coming north, up I-55.)

2. How long will a tour of Graceland probably take (platinum tour, I figure???)? While we want to give the kids "something to do," what else might we want to do?

3. Is Bealle Street for the kids?

We have no great desire to spend lots of time in the car driving around.

Help! Thanks.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Advice wanted

We liked the Talbot Heirs Guest house DT--apartments for the price of a hotel room. That would give you living room space for hanging out.

I'm not a zoo fan, but I've heard good things about the Memphis Zoo.

Mud Island, with the kid-friendly museum and walkable topographic model of the Mississippi River is an option.

The Pink Palace had exhibits that would appeal to kids.

The National Civil Rights Museum is wonderful, and I think your kids are old enough to appreciate it.

We spent about 3-4 hours at Graceland.

Memphis, Tennessee
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2. Re: Advice wanted

If you can afford it, I'd suggest staying downtown if possible. This will enable you to walk or take the trolley to many attractions, restaurants, etc. Also, there's a free shuttle from downtown to Graceland to Sun Studios, but you must take the studio tour to use it.

Not all downtown hotels have pools, which might be important with the kids. Some that do include the Hampton Inn, the Peabody (indoor pool), Madison (indoor pool), the Double Tree, Comfort Inn, Spring Hill, Marriott, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. There may be others. The Residence Inn downtown is really nice, but they only have a hot tub and no pool.

The platinum tour at Graceland will take about four hours. It takes a couple of hours just to see the mansion and keep in mind that weekends are busier. Ideas that might appeal to the kids would be Mud Island, our amazing zoo, seeing the ducks at the Peabody, a Redbirds game or the Pink Palace. Depending on how into history they are, you might want to check out the National Civil Rights Museum. If they like music, check out the Rock and Soul Museum. You'd all probably enjoy taking the trolley for a good overview of downtown, including the riverside loop.

Beale does have things that interest kids, but keep in mind that the later it gets at night, especially on the weekends, the wilder it gets. Lots of kids enjoy spending some afternoon time on Silky O'Sullivans patio, complete with goats. There's lots of music to be heard both inside and outside the clubs and restaurants and they'd definitely enjoy investigating A. Schwab's store on Beale.

Lincoln, Nebraska
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3. Re: Advice wanted

Thanks for the post. How about some more help? Keep in mind we plan to arrive on Friday, July 19 about 4:00 p.m. We will be meeting our son from Mobile, AL to return 2 grandkids (boy, age 14 and girl, age 10). We plan to stay until 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning. We will be coming south, down I-55 and our son will be coming north, up I-55.

I see your suggestion about downtown hotels. Let me clarify and see how you react to the following:

We only see our son once or twice a year, so we want a nice and safe place to stay (money does not really matter, but who wants to waste $$$$) where we will enjoy staying and hanging out. I think we will only do Graceland and Mud Island. Otherwise, choosing a hotel with a pool for the kids (inside, probably) so we can "hang out" together Friday night and Saturday night seems most logical to me. Where we eat is irrelevant as we may simply get a burger.

My logic would be in most towns it is better staying outside of town (and driving in to Graceland and Mud Island, like on Sat. a.m.). We have only passed through Memphis on I-55 and a lot of lodging does not seem at all appealing. I can't say I've seen that "clean and new" interstate exit where the newest set of motels have been built.

Am I making sense?

St. Louis, Missouri
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4. Re: Advice wanted

It seems like Deb answered all of your questions. But in regards to a hotel near Graceland and Mud Island (your activities of choice) you're just going to have to choose to be close to one and not the other. If you want a safe and clean part of town, stay in Downtown Memphis (hotel suggestions noted above) which are near Mud Island. If you would rather be in close proximity to Graceland and in a rather unkept, less-charming part of town, stay at the Heartbreak Hotel. Keep in mind, you are limited on food choices and therefore will have to drive everywhere. It only takes 2 1/2 3 hours for the Platinum tour, maybe 1/2 more on a busy Saturday and a 15 minute (very easy) drive from a downtown hotel.

To make your trip memorable, I recommend staying downtown. We stayed at Springhill Suites at Court Square (read my review). This is an ideal location - we loved it so much. Surprise your family with a carriage ride through the city (any time of the day). We booked through Carriage Tours (read my review) and it was the highlight of our trip. Just call and arrange and they will pick you up from your hotel. Your grandchildren will LOVE it and Gramps will be even more special in their eyes. The trolley stops right out in from of Springhill, which your grandchildren will also really enjoy. There is just something about the design and sounds of the trolley that just make you feel like you're in a movie made just for you. I know that seems sappy, but you just have to experience it. If you don't want to use the trolley for a specific location, consider taking a ride from one end to the other.

For other ideas, read my 'Trip Report.'

St. Louis, Missouri
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5. Re: Advice wanted

I forgot to mention that the monorail entrance to Mud Island is within walking distance of the Springhill Suites or maybe a two minute drive.

Edited: 03 July 2013, 01:35
Memphis, Tennessee
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6. Re: Advice wanted

You asked about Beale, which is also downtown. Its convenient to stay downtown if you plan to have adult beverages on Beale so you don't have to worry about driving.

If you want to stay outside of downtown, I'd suggest north MS, around I 55/Goodman Rd. (I know the Drury Inn has an indoor/outdoor pool and there are probably others) or in east Memphis, around I 240/Poplar Avenue (I know the Embassy Suites has an indoor pool and, again, there are probably others). Downtown, north MS and east Memphis are all safe, nice areas for lodging.

If you do decide you want to stay around Graceland, the Days Inn is an additional option along with the before mentioned HH. If you're looking for clean, nice and new, you don't want to stay near Graceland and its a struggling area.

Illinois
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7. Re: Advice wanted

There's also a VERY nice Comfort Suites in West Memphis AR just off I-55 across the river from Memphis, has a great indoor pool and a nice seating area downstairs where you could visit with your family. Downside is there's no restaurants in sight, but you could always order in or have the hotel staff recommend something. Another option is the Comfort Inn at Marion AR (also on I-55 about 5 miles from W Memphis) just off the interstate but the pool is outdoors. Wonderful steak restaurant you can walk to.

8. Re: Advice wanted

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