March Madness and basketball-obsessed Memphis go hand in hand. Mix in the excitement of spring, and it’s the time to visit.
The 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship South Regional Tournament takes place March 24 and 26 at FedExForum, a world-class venue in the heart of the Beale Street Entertainment District. With plenty of restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions within walking distance of the arena, Downtown Memphis offers a great setup for fans to enjoy both the NCAA Tournament and the city.
The Sweet 16 games are set for Friday, March 24. Plan to hang around until the Elite 8 round on Sunday, so you’ll have a full day to soak up plenty of what makes Memphis awesome.
Whether you have tickets to the tourney or just want to know the best sports bars to catch the games, we’ve got you covered with this guide to the NCAA Tournament in Memphis.
Arrive in town early Friday for a little pre-game fun before the ball is tipped that night. Since your March Madness weekend will focus on Downtown, book a room in one of the many great hotels there.
If you’re in the mood for Memphis’ specialty – barbecue – then we recommend you follow the awesome aroma of smoked pork wafting from Central BBQ, or from Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, tucked into an alley across from the Peabody. Rendezvous opens for lunch on Fridays, and it’s a good way to beat the crowds that line up in the evenings.
For your afternoon, venture to the Edge District just east of downtown for a tour at Sun Studio and a beer at High Cotton Brewing’s taproom. You could make a day of tasting Memphis beer, but tonight is all about the games!
But first, dinner. FedExForum has an array of concessions, but if you want to grab food before the game consider pizza at Aldo’s, a burger at Huey’s or the duck fried rice at South of Beale. After a quick meal, stroll up Beale Street and party with other fans … but make sure you leave enough time to make it through security to enter the arena.
If you don’t have tickets and want to hang with other basketball fans, try a hotspot downtown like Blind Bear, Local, or The Flying Saucer (possibly the largest beer selection in town and usually puts out projection screens for March Madness).
Charlie Vergo's Rendezvous by Craig Thompson
There are no games on Saturday, so you have some time to explore Memphis. The Bluff Walk provides peaceful views of the Mississippi River, or get a more sweeping view (and great selfies) as you walk across it on the 1-mile-long Big River Crossing, a pedestrian bridge that connects Downtown to Arkansas.
Looking for coffee and breakfast? Tamp and Tap serve up both equally well, along with brunch-time music from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the Downtown location’s Bluegrass Brunch (weekends only).
After breakfast, you have plenty of options for your day. Here are a few:
National Civil Rights Museum - powerful overview of the U.S. civil rights struggle
South Main Historic Arts District features galleries, boutiques and restaurants.
Graceland is an easy 10-minute drive south of downtown.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, where you can learn the story of soul music in Memphis...and see Isaac Hayes’ gold-plated Cadillac.
Families always enjoy the Memphis Zoo, among the top zoos in the U.S.
Cooper-Young District by Craig Thomposon
After two action-packed days, what remains on your agenda? You have a few hours before basketball starts back up, so consider touring the Gibson Guitar Factory or Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, both located adjacent to FedExForum. Want to see Memphis from high above the city? Accomplish that feat from the observation deck at the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid ($10 per person, which can be taken off of your dinner after 5 p.m.) or the rooftop of the Peabody Hotel.
Try breakfast at the city’s oldest restaurant, The Arcade or brunch at the Majestic Grille, a converted historic theater-turned-local eatery. You also could consider lunch at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. The name is not an overstatement, and you’re sure to agree after the first juicy (and spicy) bite.
If your team is still playing today, that means you’re one win from the Final Four. Head back out to Beale Street and celebrate your victory with other fans.
Lookout at Bass Pro byLarry Kuzniewski
Be there to Share The Experience™ with your family and friends at the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship South Regional, March 24 & 26, 2017, at FedEx Forum, hosted by the University of Memphis.
The following ticket purchase options are available for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship South Regional in Memphis:
- Purchase all-session tickets today (Three Games, Two Tickets/Sessions)
- Purchase The NCAA Experience® official ticket and hospitality packages now through PrimeSport, the Official Ticket and Hospitality Provider of the NCAA. View Packages
- Tickets can be bought and sold directly with other fans through the official NCAA Ticket Exchange. The NCAA Ticket Exchange allows fans to sell and buy official tickets online in an NCAA approved, safe and 100% guaranteed environment. Learn more about the NCAA Ticket Exchange
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