Graceland at Christmas

Explore Memphis Locations from Your Favorite Movies & TV Shows

Memphis is no stranger to the entertainment biz. Yet, beyond the music the city is known for, Memphis has made a name for itself as a location for big-name films, ad campaigns and TV shows. The Sept. 23, 2019, premiere of NBC’s “Bluff City Law” gives yet another reason to visit the city. Make note of these Memphis landmarks featured in favorite movies and TV shows before you go.
 

Memphis Culture Showcased in “Bluff City Law”

Memphis’ place in civil rights history is key to the premise of “Bluff City Law,” centering on a firm that has built its reputation on pivotal civil rights cases. 
 
“We worked to find some place that didn’t look like the same old show you see all the time with the New York City skyline or the Chicago skyline,” says David Janollani, “Bluff City Law” executive producer. “We decided on Memphis because of its deep history here. It’s a great backdrop to have a law show set in the town that’s really the start of the Civil Rights Movement."
 
You can learn about the city’s deep ties to social justice with visits to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Clayborn Temple and I Am A Man Plaza.
 
But just watching the trailer for “Bluff City Law” gets you in the mood for Memphis. Watch closely and you’ll see scenes from the city’s legendary Sun Studio, where Elvis got his start, and the “I Love Soulsville Mural” (at the corner of E. McLemore Ave. and Mississippi Blvd., just down from the Stax Museum of American Soul Music). 
You’ll also notice daytime shots of two iconic bridges over the Mississippi River. One of them, Big River Crossing, is the longest pedestrian bridge over the river, and you can walk or bike it using the city’s Explore Bike Share program. Return at night to see both bridges illuminated in a display called Mighty Lights
 
Memphis’ downtown skyline gets plenty of screen time in the trailer, too. Whether you’re searching out views of the skyline, the river or Mighty Lights, find good vantage points at green spaces like Beale Street Landing, River Garden and Mud Island Park; on a riverboat cruise; and from hotel rooftops (try The Lookout at Bass Pro the Comfort Inn, Residence InnThe Peabody Memphis or Hu. Hotel)
 
Don’t end your night without a walk down world-famous Beale Street, where you can duck into bars like the one shown in the trailer, B.B. King’s Blues Club, Rum Boogie Cafe and others.   
 

More Memphis Music History

Music fans should head to Graceland Mansion and the new, on-site Graceland Exhibition Center to relive another recent shoot—for the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays, starring Adrian Grenier and Kaitlin Doubleday, premiering Nov. 24, 2019. You can tour Elvis’ home or stay at the neighboring Guest House at Graceland while you soak up its history. 
Now for some trivia: During filming, Hallmark turned Memphis’ downtown riverfront into a winter wonderland with fake snow made from cotton and felt. From the river, it’s a short walk to the South Main Historic Arts District. The street and its retro-styled buildings have served as the backdrop for several films. Check out the historic marker outside The Arcade, Memphis’ oldest café, and pop inside for a hearty meal or boozy milkshake at the bar, where native son Justin Timberlake shot his recent campaign for Levi’s. 
 

YOUR FAVORITE MEMPHIS MOVIES

Add these memorable Memphis movies to your film tour as well:
 
1989’s Mystery Train: filmed primarily in South Main with a stop at Sun Studio.
1993’s The Firm: Recall the chase scenes? Tom Cruise was at Mud Island Park, trying to hide himself in the Mississippi River Museum.
2003’s 21 Grams: Drive through the leafy Chickasaw Gardens neighborhood, then head to Earnestine & Hazel’s on South Main for a cold one, to channel scenes with Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts.
2005’s Walk the Line: Follow Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon to Sun Studio, The Orpheum Theatre and South Main.
Mystery Train
The Firm
21 Grams
Hustle & Flow
Walk the Line

MEMPHIS’ HOMEGROWN STARS

Celebs with Memphis roots include Ginnifer Goodwin, Lucy Hale, Kathy Bates and Cybill Shepherd. (Shepherd was recently inducted into the historic Peabody Memphis hotel’s Duck Walk Hall of Fame for her significant contributions to Memphis culture.)
 
Memphis director Craig Brewer is best known for his 2005 film Hustle & Flow, now a cinematic symbol of the city. His upcoming Netflix dark-comedy, Dolemite Is My Name, stars Eddie Murphy and debuts in 2019. A pillar of Memphis’ creative community, Brewer remains involved in the annual Indie Memphis Film Festival. Most recently, he helped find space in the city’s revitalized Crosstown neighborhood for Black Lodge, a longstanding Memphis video store resurrected as a movie and music venue/movie library
Craig Brewer at Rendezvous / Leah Gafni
Explore Bike Share Big River Crossing Skyline / Craig Thompson
Rum Boogie Neon Sign / Craig Thompson
Earnestine and Hazels

Mouthwatering Food Shows

If you craft your culinary itinerary based on delectable dishes you’ve seen on television, check out some of these Memphis classics that have been featured on the top travel food shows.

Hog and Hominy – Heritage by Tastemade
Address: 
707 W Brookhaven Cir, Memphis, TN 38117
Tastemade's Heritage series tells the personal stories of some of the country's most brilliant chefs and what inspires them. This episode shows how Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman honor their Italian roots while embracing the local Southern culture. Maw Maw's ravioli is made with fresh pasta and formed with the trays their grandmother brought from Italy. Be sure to also stop by their other two hot spots: Porcellino's and Andrew Michael Kitchen. Their newest restaurant, Catherine & Mary's is opened it's doors in 2016 in the historic Hotel Chisca building in downtown Memphis.

Brother Juniper’s: The San Diegan – $40 a Day
Address: 
3519 Walker Ave, Memphis, TN 38111
Rachael Ray got a satisfying start to her one-day excursion at this East Memphis eatery. The San Diegan is an open-faced omelet topped with home fries, sautéed portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon, green onions, and feta and cheddar cheeses. It’s served with cheese grits and diner’s choice of toast or a biscuit (get the biscuit). Lines can get long, so be prepared for a wait, especially on the weekend.

Restaurant Iris: Surf and Turf – The Best Thing I Ever Ate
Address: 
2146 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
Memphis chef and television personality, Claire Robinson, declared Kelly English’s signature dish as one of the best things she’s ever put in her mouth. If you’re a meat lover, you don’t want to miss this hearty entrée. Chef English stuffs a NY strip with fried oysters, smothers it in a creamy bleu cheese sauces and serves it over a potato and bacon hash. It's like New York and New Orleans got married in Memphis.

Bar-B-Q Shop: Barbecue Spaghetti – Bizarre Foods
Address: 
1782 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
It may have piqued host Andrew Zimmern’s interest, but there’s nothing bizarre about barbecue spaghetti. It’s just good, old-fashioned, home-style cooking. This Midtown mainstay takes tender bits of smoked pork shoulder and tangy sauce and tosses it with spaghetti noodles. It’s classified as a side dish on the menu, but it’s substantial enough to be an entrée. Add a side of coleslaw and a piece of buttery Texas toast and you’ve got the perfect meal.

Kooky Canuck: Kookamonga Burger – Man v. Food
Address: 
87 S 2nd St #3009, Memphis, TN 38103
Extreme eater, Adam Richman, accepted the king of all food challenges when he took on the Kookamonga burger. Anybody who can consume this four-pound burger plus the bun and all the toppings (seven pounds total) in 60 minutes will be inducted into the Kooky Canuck hall of fame. Though the challenge has been successfully completed over twenty times, Richman fell short of the mark. Feel free to bring a couple of friends to help, but only solo eaters win the grand prize.

Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken: Fried Chicken – Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Address: 
3633 Millbranch Rd, Memphis, TN 38116
Triple D host, Guy Fieri, became a deep-fried believer after learning the secrets of Uncle Lou’s delicious chicken. Lou seasons up fresh chicken and fries it until it’s golden and crispy. Now you can stop there, and you’ll have his home-style version. Or, Lou can dip your chicken in a tangy and savory concoction he calls “sweet spicy love” sauce. Either way, make sure to order a couple of honey butter biscuits; they make the perfect accompaniment for the chicken.