By Suzanne Corbett, STLSportsPage.com Food/ Travel Editor
Mizzou fans will be celebrating the New Year a little early this December 31, thanks to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Tigers earned an invitation to the Memphis classic along with Oklahoma State’s Cowboys, who will kick-0ff the celebration at 2 :45 CST, at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. A city that promises to spoil fans with southern hospitality, an excellent reason to plan on arriving early to explore Memphis. The jewel the Mid-South and the Home of the Blues and Rock n Roll.
Fans planning to take in the game are encouraged to take in the pre-bowl events beginning December 27 at 5 PM at the Bass Pro Shops Team Welcome Party, or the pre-game all-you-can-eat and drink buffet .at the Pipkin & Creative Arts Building. Tickets and ticket action packages for the game and events are available at liberybowl.org.
Beyond bowl game action, and whether or not the Tigers win, Memphis is worth celebrating. It’s one of the best places along the mighty Mississippi to stop and visit the sites and to ring in the New Year.
Sun Studios: The Birthplace of Rock n Roll and home of the million-dollar quartet -Elvis, Jerry Lee, Cash and Carl Perkins. The Sun preserves and displays exhibits on two floors. Top floor features Sun Studio’s history, established in 1950 by Sam Phillips as the Memphis Recording Service. Downstairs is the original front office where Elvis walked in and impressed receptionist Marion Keisker who kept bringing his name forward to Phillips for consideration. Pass through the office into the recording studio and look down and note the X’s on the floor. You are standing where rock n roll history was made – one X marks where Elvis sang That’s All Right Mama.
STAX: Museum of American Soul Music, home of Soulville USA, began as a record shop in an old movie theatre before opening as a recording studio in 1959. STAX, the only Soul music museum in the world exhibits over 2,000 rare artifacts, memorabilia and films throughout its galleries. It’s renown for the legendary artists who recorded within its walls such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and African -American comedy pioneers as Richard Pryor, and Moms Mabley. STAX shares its history with Elvis, who recorded three albums in its studios in 1973. www.staxmuseum.com
Graceland: The Home of Elvis Presley: Elvis loved Christmas and always decorated his Memphis mansion. The tradition continues with the mansion dressed for the holidays along with special exhibits at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a multi-venue of museums, exhibits and entertainments, located across directly across from Graceland. The must for die-hard Elvis fans, take the White Glove Experience. The white glove experience is part of the VIP tour package that allows guests to hangout in the VIP private lounge, which holds the archival cabinets holding an ever-changing collection of Elvis articles. Once the white cotton gloves are on, the cabinets are unlocked and you’re invited to hold a piece of Elvis history. Don’t forget, ELvis’ birthday in January 8 so you may want to extend your visit to include a chance to get your slice of birthday cake . www.graceland.com.
Memphis Travel has assembled a few more suggestions for Mizzou fans to enjoy. Take a look. There’s lots to see and taste Memphis. But don’t worry if you can’t get it all in on one visit. Memphis will welcome you back anytime.
In fact, Cardinals fans can come back sooner rather than later as the St. Louis Cardinals will visit AutoZone Park in Downtown Memphis for an exhibition game against the Memphis Redbirds on Monday, March 25, 2019.
Grab Barbecue: Football, isn’t the only pigskin popular in Memphis. No visit to Memphis is complete with barbecue.
Somehow just the mention of Memphis brings to mind music, history and barbecue. The emphasis is on barbecue with Memphis being home to more than 100 barbecue restaurants and every local has their favorite.
Eat like a champion with a rack of ribs or a pulled pork sandwich at The Rendezvous, grab a plate of barbecue spaghetti at The Bar-B-Q Shop, or try Central’s award-winning wings. Let your taste buds lead you. You’re sure to find a meal perfect for you.
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid: Outdoor enthusiasts won’t want to miss this mega-store selling fishing, boating and hunting gear. Take a ride 28 stories to the top of the Pyramid on America’s tallest free-standing elevator. At the top you’ll find 360-views of Memphis and the Mississippi River on the outdoor observation deck. basspro.com
Sunday Brunch: It’s a southern tradition like no other. From down-home to fancy, brunch Memphis-style is a savory experience not to be missed. Sip a mimosa or two at restaurants like Hog and Hominy and Catherine and Mary’s or eat at The Beauty Shop, Priscilla Presley’s former hair salon. For more hot spots visit www.memphistravel.com/brunch-memphis.
The Peabody Duck March: Thery’re Memphis’ favorite celebrities. The Peabody Ducks, which march to or from The Peabody Hotel’s lobby fountain. To a crowd of adoring fans to stop in at 11 am and 5pm for the VIP (very important poultry) parade. It’s a Memphis tradition dates back to the 1930s when the general manager at the time left live decoy ducks in the fountain. peabodymemphis.com
New Years Eve in Memphis: Head downtown for a great time with thousands of party goers on Beale Street. Complete with fireworks, live music, and a guitar drop, this event is a Memphis must. And that’s just the beginning. For a complete list of Memphis hot spots to ring in the New Year check of .memphistravel.com/new-years-eve-memphis.