In our second of three weekend options for Taking a Break – Spring 2021, there are plenty of options that get your student out of town for a bit of fun after midterms. This next round is all within driving distance of Oxford and are among the most iconic and even unforgettable destinations in the South.
Memphis is the closest getaway destination of this trio with about an hour and a half drive from Oxford. Known around the world for their Barbecue, Blues and as the home of Elvis and Graceland, Memphis also has a broad variety of great shopping available in the area known as Germantown. Including favorites like Lulu Lemon, FreePeople, Urban Outfitters and so many more!
Famously known for barbecue, two local Memphis favorites are Hueys and the Charley Vergos’ Rendezvous. Huey's offers live music, the most savory burgers in town and is located only a couple minutes from the Overton Park golf course and scenic trails. Charley Vergos’ Rendezvous, located in a 1940’s era downtown basement, is a the world renowned BBQ joint offering classic racks of smoked ribs and sausages seasoned with dry-rub spices that should not be missed!
Memphis also offers a variety of night life options for visitors, whether it is cocktails at a rooftop bar overlooking the Mississippi River at sunset or visiting a favorite local spot. Paula & Raiford’s Disco is a two story nightclub known for their soulful ambience and a guaranteed good time! If a disco is not the answer, try a visit to Beale street! There visitors can listen to live music covering a broad variety of genres. Or they can explore the Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum or the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
Memphis is loaded with museums and historic locations throughout the area. Including the National Civil Rights Museum. Founded in 1991 the National Civil Rights Museum is not one building but a complex of buildings that trace the civil rights movement from the 17th century to the present.
No weekend in Memphis would be complete without a visit to the home of the King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley. Take the full tour of Graceland and be sure to sign the wall in front of Graceland. Last on our list of must visits when in Memphis is the iconic Peabody Hotel. Built in 1925 this historic downtown hotel is best known for the “Peabody Ducks” that live on the roof of the building but parade through the lobby of the hotel daily at 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Even though Memphis is close, there is so much to do and see there while away from home!
Next on our driveable weekend trips for spring 2021 is Nashville, Tennessee. With a 4 and half hour drive from Oxford, Nashville offers a broad variety of things to do over a weekend. First up is what to eat!! Credited for creating hot chicken, a local Nashville favorite hot chicken restaurant is Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. With heat ranges ranging from Southern to Shut the Cluck Up! Everyone can find exactly what works for them in this version of fried chicken heaven. Another mouthwatering meal Nashville is well known for is the “meat and three.” This is classic Southern cooking, typically cafeteria style, with options like fried chicken or meatloaf, mac and cheese or mashed potatoes. Loveless Cafe is among the most well known for having this tasty authentic Southern dining. Also be sure to not skip out on their beloved biscuits!
For a mix of dining and nightlife, Florida Georgia Line House is full of food, music, and rooftop views and is the official bar and restaurant of country music band Florida Georgia Line.
For the sports enthusiast, check the schedule for and perhaps take in a Predators hockey game. Home games are played at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. For the music lover, no trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to The Johnny Cash museum or The Grand Ole Opry which is one of the most popular music venues in the United States and is a must to see one of the oldest live radio shows ever. If museums are not on your agenda, consider taking a ride on The Honky Tonk Express with your friends. This world famous, open air party bus is an entertaining way to visit the most famous destinations in Nashville. Looking for a cool photo op? The What Lifts You wings mural is a classic located at 302 11th Ave S. Gulch, Nashville, TN 37203.
Did you know Nashville also has a Graduate Hotel? It is different from our own but is also a vibrant and fun place to stay. Guests can enjoy the skyline views of the unique restaurant and bar on the rooftop of the White Limozeen. The name inspired by a Dolly Parton album, this rooftop bar can best be described as a “Barbie Dreamhouse-esque” space that is loaded with whimsy and all sorts of things pink.
New Orleans, LA
Our last stop on the driveable weekend trips is a little less than a 6-hour drive from Oxford we give you, New Orleans, Louisiana. NOLA is known for its Cajun culture, Creole cuisine, and its annual celebrations and festivals. Famous for food, music and nightlife, no trip to NOLA is complete without a stroll down Bourbon Street to one of the most well known courtyard restaurants and bars in The French Quarter, Pat O’Brien’s. Home of the world famous rum based cocktail served frozen or on the rocks, The Hurricane; talk about a storm in a glass!
Iconic New Orleans food stops have to include Cafe Du Monde near Jackson Square for Beignets (Square puffy donuts topped with mounds of powdered sugar) and classic New Orleans coffee. Another foodie heaven MUST for a weekend in New Orleans, Mother’s Restaurant serves breakfast all day and also lunch, and dinner.. They are well known for their astounding jambalaya and Debris.
Looking to do something other than eat or drink? Ride the steamboat and enjoy a river cruise along the Mississippi River, stroll through the Botanical Gardens or take a trolly through the Garden District and enjoy Audubon Park and the New Orleans Zoo right next to it. The WWII Museum is close to the French Quarter and Jackson Square as well. And of course there is Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, another fun option to try your luck!
For live music, check online for a variety of venues. As CoVid restrictions begin to ease, venues may begin to open up. Preservation Hall and The Spotted Cat on Frenchman Street might be an option. Also, check with hotel bars like the Carousel Lounge at the Hotel Monteleone for musical offerings.
There are many great hotels right in the heart of New Orleans, but my favorite is the JW Marriot New Orleans. Located right on Canal Street, it is easily accessible and an amazing place to stay. Be warned hotel valet parking is really the best way to park anywhere near the French Quarter and it can be expensive per night. Taxi’s and Ubers are the best way to get around the city so you do not need to worry about a designated driver, especially at night. With over 300 years of history that comes with this Southern gem, New Orleans has something for everyone!
So there you have it, our top three weekend getaway options within driving distance of Oxford, Mississippi. Stay tuned for our last group, three knock your socks off, weekend destinations that are easily reached by air.
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Instagram and website links:
● Rendezvous: @rendezvousmemphis https://hogsfly.com
● Huey's: @hueysrestaurant hueyburger.com https://paularaifords.com/home.html
● Paula & Raiford’s Disco: @paularaiforddisco
● Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum: @memphisrocknsoulmuseum rocknsoul.org
● Memphis music Hall of fame: https://memphismusichalloffame.com
● Graceland: @visitgraceland https://www.graceland.com/visit-overview?&source=ads&campaign=&medium=cpc&keyword=sun%20studio&target=kwd-330269955994&loc=9013748&device=c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAhP2BBhDdARIsAJEzXlEkOH7wMByD3YPdwAKYnwQfDdQHGnHIJz8z978gg4ekia5_AZStZ24aAqVnEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
● Peabody Hotel: @peadbodymemphis https://www.peabodymemphis.com
● Hattie B’s Hot chicken: @hattiebs https://hattieb.com
● Loveless Cafe: @lovelesscafe https://www.lovelesscafe.com
● Graduate Hotel Nashville: @graduatehotels @whitelimozeennash https://www.graduatehotels.com/nashville/
● Florida Georgia Line House: @fglhouse https://www.fglhouse.com
● Grand Ole Opry: @opry https://www.opry.com
● Nashville Predators: @prednhl https://www.nhl.com/predators
● Honky tonk express:@nashvilleultimatepartybus https://honkytonkpartyexpress.com
● Johnny Cash Museum: @cashmuseum www.cahsmuseum.com
● Pat O’ Brien’s: @patobriens https://patobriens.com/new-orleans/
● Cafe Du Monde: @cafedumonde www.cafedumonde.com
● Mother’s Restaurant: https://www.mothersrestaurant.net/
● Botanical Gardens: @botanicalgardennola neworleanscitypark.com/botanical-garden
● Audobon Park https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/audubon-park
● Audobon Zoo https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/zoo
● Harrah’s New Orleans Casino: http://www.harrahsneworleans.com
● JW Marriot New Orleans: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/msyjw-jw-marriott-new-orleans/