Budget, Travel

Experience Memphis: Budget Edition


budget guide to Memphis

Memphis isn’t just for the music lovers. This city has something to offer everyone. From the foodie to the cyclist. From the sight-seer to the relaxer. Consider Memphis for your next trip! Planning a weekend getaway? Here is the perfect resource for you!


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For more travel tips check out these posts:

Planning a Vacation on a Budget

Packing a Carry-On for 2 Weeks

Planning the Perfect Weekend Getaway


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Where to Stay

If you haven’t stayed in East Memphis then you are truly missing out on a gem. It has a completely different feel than West Memphis (downtown Beale Street). During a recent trip to Memphis, we stayed in Germantown. What a great area! The hotel rates are a lot cheaper than the rates of hotels on Beale Street.


Picture via Holiday Inn Express & Suites

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Wolf River Blvd. was our accommodation of choice. It was the perfect location for us because the hotel parking lot actually connected to the Shelby Farms trails (more on that later). It was also a great price. Most nights you can stay here for less than $100 or right around that price per night! This hotel offers these amenities:


  • Black-out Shades

  • Option of firm or soft pillows

  • Crib Available

  • Iron/Ironing Board

  • Hanging closet

  • In-Room Heating and A/C Controls


  • Private Bathroom

  • Bathroom Amenities Available

  • Bathtub

In-Room Features

  • Mini Refrigerator

  • Microwave

  • Keurig Coffee Maker

  • Flat-screen TV

  • iPod Docking Station with Clock Radio

  • Work Desk with Lamp

  • Premium Channels

  • Stereo/Radio

  • Direct-dial Phone

  • Phone with Voicemail

  • Complimentary Morning Newspaper (weekdays)


  • Breakfast area is large

  • Choices of food include pancakes, pastries, fruit, biscuits, gravy, sausage, omelettes (already made), bacon, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt (regular and Greek), apple and orange juice.

  • Large TV in breakfast area

  • Owner is available at breakfast; very friendly and helpful


  • Heated indoor pool

  • Fitness center with equipment

  • Access to Shelby Farms trail behind hotel

  • On-site laundry facilities for guests

Hotel Resources


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Must-See in Germantown

City Hall of Germantown

*The houses down Dogwood Road*

It may sound crazy, but we stumbled across mansion-like houses in Germantown. There were actually parking spots so that people could get out and look at the houses. I kick myself for not taking photos of these houses. They are GORGEOUS! It’s also a free activity to do on the way to dinner. 🙂

*Crystal Shrine Grotto*

me at Crystal Shrine Grotto

This site turned out to be so much cooler than I thought it would be. It is inside  the Memorial Park Cemetery. Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez built this cavern filled with crystals in the 1930’s. The shrines depict various spiritual dioramas. It is breathtaking. The garden outside the grotto is stunning as well. The hours are 7:30 am-5:00 pm. This is another free activity.

TripAdvisor has more information about this perfect spot. Check it out here.


*Shelby Farms Park*

I have to confess that this was the MAIN reason for our quick trip to Memphis. Shelby Farms Park is amazing. Some of the amenities at the “heart of the park” are:

  • 2.3 miles paved trail for pedestrians

  • 2.45 miles paved trail for cyclists (doesn’t include trails outside the heart)

  • Boathouse for canoe, kayak, and SUP rentals

  • Boat launch

  • Cricket pavilions

  • Event stage and great lawn

  • FedEx Event Center (Garden Room Bridal Suite, Kitchen Bistro, Lakeside Ballroom, Redbud Room and Cypress Room)

  • Visitor Center (information desk, kitchenette, gift shop, restrooms, water fountains+water bottle filling station)

  • Kite lawn

  • Water Play Sprayground (purchase passes at boathouse)

  • Wetland and Forest walks

  • Bike rentals

There are 4,500 acres of lush green land with 40 miles of trails, lakes, and buffalo! This is a must-see if you are in the Memphis area. 🙂 Oh, and it’s FREE. Check out their site here.


*Wolf River Trails*

We started our adventure on the Wolf River Greenway and Germantown Greenway Trail. We cycled 18.8 miles on this section. Many more miles are possible on these trails.

This section is considered Shelby Parks Farm so the trails all connect. I loved these because they were through the woods and had tons of cool bridges. It was awesome! This set of trails can be accessed behind the Holiday Inn Express & Suites that I listed above.


Must-Eat in Germantown

*Germantown Commissary*
Germantown Commissary

The Germantown Commissary is such a cool restaurant to eat at. The quarters are tight inside, but the food is amazing, and the service is warm. No one minds rubbing elbows inside of this joint because everyone is enjoying mouth-watering barbecue and sweet tea. I’m drooling now. The price is right. We ordered a TON of food and sweet tea for $40 (including tip)!


While cycling through the neighborhoods in Germantown, we noticed how all of the yards were well landscaped. We never worried about safety and passed numerous other cyclists/walkers/joggers during our trip.


Must-See in Memphis

*Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid*

Even if you aren’t an avid “outdoors-man”, you HAVE to check this Bass Pro Shop out. We walked around looking at all of the live animals that are inside the store. We also “splurged” on tickets on the Sky High Ride. It is the tallest free standing elevator in the country. Plus it offers GREAT views of Memphis. The price is $10 per adult. $5 for children before 5pm, after 5pm children are $10 each too.

Sky-High Elevator Ride


Must-Eat in Memphis

*Central BBQ*

Central BBQ has amazing food and a great atmosphere. I had this awesome picture of our lunch, but it was accidentally deleted off of my phone. 🙁 Sad day. Here is what we ordered, and I HIGHLY recommend it!

  • pork sandwich with cole slaw and french fries

  • BBQ nachos with jalapenos (half order)

  • Buffalo wings (half order)

  • sweet tea

Don’t be surprised if you see a line. The food is that good! 😉


Memphis, you’re fun.

Here are some of the attractions/restaurants that I had planned to visit, but we didn’t have enough time.

  • Memphis Botanic Garden

  • Mud Island River Park

  • Paddle boat on Mississippi River

  • Gibson’s Donuts

This isn’t the “typical” guide to Memphis. For a 2 day trip we spent less than $250 for everything. We accomplished that by staying in Germantown (love), finding cheap/free activities, and eating at local diner-style restaurants.


Don’t forget to order your FREE guide to Memphis before you leave. The information is vital!

Have you visited Memphis? What did you think? Let me know in comments below!

48 thoughts on “Experience Memphis: Budget Edition

  1. I LOOOOOVE memphis. I can’t wait to use some of these recommendations next time I go – I’ve only stayed near Beale, but love East Memphis too.

  2. I’ve only been to Memphis once, many years ago, for a work convention. We never really strayed out of the Beall st area, except to visit Graceland (which I insisted on, lol). I would love to go again, at my leisure and be able to explore other things.

    1. Haha yes! I’m from the south so I definitely know the HOT that you are talking about. It makes the sweet tea even sweeter. 😉 Central BBQ is UH-mazing!

  3. I have been to Memphis once before and would love to go back! The Germantown Commissary is truly amazing, and I love all of the other low-cost ideas you shared. Thank you!

  4. Hmmmmm I didn’t know much about Memphis, I just know about their food, so this post is very helpful! Thanks for sharing, and I will keep your post in mind if we decide to visit there! 😉

  5. My husband and I have been thinking about taking a long weekend trip to Memphis & this guide is definitely going to be pinned for future reference! Thanks for sharing all those free activities 🙂

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

  6. Thank you so much for including free options! Also, did you take all of your pictures with a GoPro? I’m considering getting one. Thanks!

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