This is our real-life trip itinerary. Follow along as we recap our adventures in Memphis & Nashville over the next few months, or use it to plan your own musical Tennessee vacation. Either way, we've got you covered.
One of the biggest challenges of taking a "whirlwind" trip is designing an itinerary that allows you to experience everything you want while still leaving room for some relaxation and a little serendipity. Mr B and I have no interest in relentless nightmare itineraries that keep us running every single moment of the day: we always like to keep a little wiggle room in our plans, because you just never know.
What follows is our real-life trip itinerary.
This vacation plan - with all the scheduling details already mapped out for you - is designed to take four complete days: a total of two days each in Nashville and Memphis. (Obviously, if you need to travel very far to get to Tennessee, as we did, it will take six days including travel.)
If you think you want to plug more action into your days and nights, go for it. As it was, we stayed pretty darn busy!
Day 1: Nashville
Note: "Day 1" is the most tightly scheduled day on this four-day itinerary.
Book in advance:
- Nashville hotel (2 nights)
- The Sound Nashville Music (11 am tour)
- Studio B (1:30 pm Tour)
- Hatch Print Museum (3:30 pm tour)
- Enjoy a delicious breakfast (and maybe a pitcher of mimosas!) at Another Broken Egg Café. (It’s half a block from where The Sound tour begins.)
- Get an introduction to Music City on The Sound Nashville Music Tour. [Guided Tour Bus]
- Grab a quick lunch at Bajo Sexto Taco at the Country Music Hall of Fame. (We ate here mostly because it is located right in the Hall of Fame and the timing between our bus tour and our Studio B Tour was a bit tight.)
- Start your self-guided walking tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame. [1:00 pm]
- Take the Studio B Tour. [Bus leaves/returns directly from the Country Music Hall of Fame.]
- Continue touring the Hall of Fame.
- Take the Hatch Show Print Tour. [Located at the Hall of Fame]
- Continue touring the Hall of Fame until closing time. [5:00pm]
- Walk on down the Honky Tonk Highway on Lower Broadway. Be sure to swing by Legend's Corner, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.
- Have a late-night, lip-smacking, finger-licking Nashville Hot Chicken for dinner at Hattie B’s. (The lines will be significantly shorter after 8pm.)
- Wrap up the evening listening to some talented up-and-coming singer-songwriters at The Listening Room Café.
Day 2: Nashville to Memphis
Book in Advance:
- The Guest House at Graceland (2 nights. Inquire about available packages)
- Ryman Auditorium Tour (11 am or earlier)
- Check out of your Nashville hotel. Enjoy a relaxing breakfast at one of many delicious Nashville breakfast spots.
- Take the Ryman Auditorium Backstage Tour
- Eat a fast lunch at White Castle (Oh, yes we did.)
- Drive to Memphis (3 hours)
- Take the Sun Studio Tour (Tours start on the half-hour. You should easily get into Memphis in time to catch the 4:30 tour. Last tour is at 5:30.)
- Check into The Guest House at Graceland.
- Drive on out to Beale Street and take a walk to enjoy the sights, sounds, and all the feels.
- Stop in for dinner & blues at BB King’s Blues Club on the corner of Beale & 2nd Avenue.
- Return to The Guest House and get a good night's sleep!
Day 3: Memphis
Book in advance:
- Elvis Presley's Memphis VIP passes
- Gibson Guitar Factory Tour (4 pm or 5 pm tour)
- Eat breakfast at Delta’s Kitchen at the The Guest House at Graceland.
- Ride the hotel shuttle to Elvis Presley’s Memphis.
- Take the early tour of Graceland Mansion.
- Return to Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and grab some lunch at Gladys’ Diner.
- Explore Elvis Presley’s Memphis until mid-afternoon. Be sure to stop at the VIP room to relax and get some great pictures.
- About Drive back down to Beale Street.
- Tour the Gibson Memphis Guitar Factory.
- Tour the Rock & Soul Museum. (Literally right across the street from Gibson. Open until 7 pm most days.)
- Enjoy an amazing dinner at Marlowe’s BBQ, just a mile down the road from The Guest House. (Try the BBQ Spaghetti!)
- Stop by and sign the Graceland Wall on your way back to The Guest House.
Day 4: Memphis to Nashville
Book in advance:
- Elvis Presley's Memphis passes
- Nashville hotel (1 night)
- Grand Ole Opry Concert
- Eat an early breakfast at Delta’s Kitchen at the The Guest House.
- Check out of The Guest House. (Be sure to get a pass for the parking lot so that you can pick up your car later. You can take your car with you, but it will cost you an extra $10 to park at Graceland.)
- Ride The Guest House shuttle to Elvis Presley’s Memphis. Revisit your favorite exhibits from the previous day, check any you might have missed, and be sure to pick up a little something in one of the many gift shops for the folks back home.
- Ride The Guest House shuttle back to The Guest House parking lot and pick up your car.
- Grab a quick lunch at Krystal. (We did this so that we could compare the two sliders and report back to you. See how we are? 😉 )
- Drive back to Nashville. (3 hours)
- Visit Carter Vintage Guitar Shop. (Do not skip this. It's a quick stop, but totally worth it.)
- Check into your Nashville hotel.
- Ice your vacation cake by attending an iconic Grand Ole Opry Concert.
- Catch some late-night live music on the Honky Tonk Highway.
Why didn't you just fly into Nashville, stay two days, and then drive over to Memphis for two days and fly out?
Sigh. Sadly, Mr B and I don't have a trust fund or unlimited disposable income. We are what is known as "budget travelers," and one of the ways we keep costs down is by flying in and out of the same airport. (Car rental fees skyrocket when you drop off at a different location from your pick-up.)
This itinerary is offered simply as a guide: if you are planning a trip to Tennessee, you can do anything you want - it's your trip!
More Tennessee Travel
- Nashville Travel Tips for Music Lovers
- 50 Miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway
- One Day in Tupelo, Mississippi
- Elvis Presley's Memphis Entertainment Complex
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Great ideas and presented in such a fun way. We have not been to Tennessee but would love to visit on our next travels to the US.
I have always wanted to visit Tennessee! My husband went to Nashville earlier this year for work but had some time to explore... he had such a great time.
This looks like such a fun trip. I really want to explore Memphis the next time we are in Tennessee. It seems like such a charming area.
Krystle Cook says
I would love to visit both of these places. There is so much history to be learned and fun to be had in them.
Michelle Paige says
You fit so much in!!! When I moved to Colorado last summer we stayed in Nashville for a night. If we didn't have my dog with us, I would have totally stayed longer. That city is amazing.
Michelle | She's Not So Basic
Journa Ramirez says
My husband and I are both music lovers and this would be a great experience for us! I hope we can do it soon. FUN!