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Getting around Memphis

Public transport

The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) (tel: +1 901 274 6282; www.matatransit.com) operates buses and a streetcar service - the Main Street Trolley. Vintage trolley cars run along Main Street, Madison Avenue and on a Riverfront Loop. The service is inexpensive and runs every 10 to 15 minutes. Sunday service stops early.

You can pay single fares upon boarding (exact change required). Daily, weekly and monthly passes are available from MATA's transit centres.

Taxis

Taxis must be booked by telephone. Recommended taxi firms include Yellow Cab Company (tel: +1 901 577 7777) or City Wide Cab Company (tel: +1 901 324 4202).

Driving

Traffic can be heavy during rush hour, from 0730 to 0900 and 1700 to 1830. The city is mainly laid out on a grid, with avenues running east-west and streets running north-south.

Driving is on the right. Right turns on red lights are permitted unless otherwise stated. Metered street-parking or parking lots are available downtown. There is a free car park between Front Street and the river.

Car hire

Some companies require International Drivers Permits as well as a national licence, so check. Drivers must be over 25 years old.

All major companies have offices, including Alamo (tel: +1 888 826 6893; www.alamo.com), Avis (tel: +1 901 345 2847; www.avis.com), Budget (tel: +1 901 398 8888; www.budget.com) and Hertz (tel: +1 901 345 5680; www.hertz.com).

Bicycle hire

You can hire bikes at the Peddler Bicycle Shop (tel: +1 901 327 4833; www.peddlerbikeshop.com). Outdoors Inc. (www.outdoorsinc.com) has two locations, at 5245 Poplar Avenue (tel: +1 901) 767 6790), and 1710 Union Avenue (tel: +1 901 722 8988).

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Featured Hotels

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Gen X Inn

A chic boutique-style hotel in Midtown from the Best Western chain. It's in the heart of the Medical District and less than one block from Interstate 240, ideally located on the trolley line and only two miles from downtown. The décor in the 32 rooms is knowingly contemporary, and the king and queen rooms feature complimentary WiFi and cable TV. Breakfast is included and there's an exercise room and free parking.

The Peabody

The South's 464-room Grand Hotel is the epitome of elegant Southern hospitality, and the social hub of Downtown Memphis. This 1869 historic landmark was restored to its original splendour in 1981. See once, but only once, the famous Peabody Ducks' twice daily march at 1100 and 1700 to and from the marble lobby fountain. Sunday brunch and Thursday-night rooftop parties for dancing under the stars are the social highlights.

Days Inn Memphis at Graceland

Elvis fans on a budget should take a look at the Days Inn for an adequate alternative to the expensive Guest House at Graceland. With 60 rooms not far from the airport and a short walk to Graceland, the hotel has a guitar-shaped outdoor pool and inclusive WiFi, breakfast and parking.

Sleep Inn Downtown at Court Square

A none-more-central Downtown location is the draw for this higher-end motel, squatting between Court Square and the mighty Mississippi. There are 116 rooms on six floors, the place is clean and modern, and includes breakfast and free WiFi. Book early for big events.

The Hotel Napoleon

In the renovated five-storey Winchester building, this 58-room boutique hotel was opened in September 2016. Designed with modern touches to complement the historic 1902 building, it's conveniently located Downtown near to several Memphis sights including Beale Street. Part of the Ascend Hotel Collection, it includes the farm-to-table Luna Restaurant and bathrooms that feature wooden sliding barn doors and luxurious marble showers.

Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown

On the doorstep of barbecue and blues in central Memphis, this 230-room hotel has a free shuttle service covering a three-mile radius, dropping guests off at Beale Street, Sun Studio, the National Civil Rights Museum and other nearby sights. Fees include breakfast, WiFi, parking and use of the patio and outdoor pool.