1. Go down in very weird history by completing the Kookamonga Challenge at Kooky Canuck.
This 7.5-lb. burger at the only Canadian restaurant in Memphis might set you back 12,000 calories, but if you can finish it in under an hour you’ll score a coveted spot on the hall of fame. That’s got to be worth 17 hours on an exercise bike.
2. Mysteriously end up Alex’s Tavern for hot wings.
A traditional last stop before the sun comes up, Alex’s official motto should be “How did I even get here?”
3. Swing by Elwood’s Shack for lunch.
This shack is in a Lowe’s parking lot. Get over it. The beef brisket and trout tacos are the best in Memphis.
4. Shoot a frill pick into the ceiling at Huey’s.
This cheeky Memphis tradition combines award-winning food with an innate desire to blow sharp objects through straws. Oh, and it’s not as easy as it looks.
5. Experience the sweet spicy love you can only find at Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken.
Uncle Lou’s amiable atmosphere and signature sauce make this a fool-proof first stop after landing at nearby Memphis International.
6. Gorge yourself on mudbugs at the annual Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival.
Serving up 18,000 pounds of crawfish along the Mississippi River, this charity event is a pretty popular one. And it officially kicks off festival season in Memphis.
7. Join the rest of the world in praising pork at the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest.
With more than 250 teams from around the world competing in three categories, this is the largest BBQ competition worldwide. Savor your shoulder while watching the often frightening Ms. Piggie Idol contest.
8. Experience the dry side of pork ribs at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous.
The Rendezvous may be hidden in a downtown alley basement, but the charcoal-broiled ribs, served smothered in dry rub instead of traditional BBQ sauce, are something you should take very seriously.
9. Chill out with a soul burger at Earnestine & Hazels — America’s most haunted bar.
The soul burger with its secret “soul sauce” is actually the only item on the menu at this haunted, downtown former brothel.
10. Enjoy breakfast at the Arcade— Memphis’s oldest restaurant and an Elvis favorite.
This retro-style diner in Memphis’ South Main district has served as the setting of many a Hollywood movie. Sit in the Elvis booth, the King’s favorite, for that authentic flashback experience that is probably the only reason you came to Memphis in the first place.
11. If you’re a vegetarian stuck in Memphis, there’s hope for you at RP tracks.
It’s the home of the BBQ tofu sandwich and it’s actually not bad. Like at all.
12. Ride the world’s tallest free-standing elevator to drinks and apps at the Pyramid Lookout.
This is what you do for the best views in Memphis. I’m talking about the multiple outdoor glass observation decks and not necessarily the colossal catfish tank in the center of the bar.