Experience This 360


2 San Diego Travel Guide The Coastal Neighborhoods

Ep. 2

Welcome to Experience This 360 Episode Two San Diego The Coastal Neighborhoods

The largest of its kind in the world, Mission Bay and Beaches are over 4,600-acres of aquatic playgrounds. Surrounded by 27 miles of meandering shoreline, with a variety of waterways to explore, Mission Bay is bordered by several beach communities, each with their own distinct vibe. You will quickly discover that this bustling bay area is action packed from sun up to sun down and it is only minutes away from downtown San Diego.

The area can be divided into sub categories, but we really feel you should explore them all.

Let's start of with Mission Bay....

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15 Elvis Presley's Graceland Visitor's Guide

Ep. 15
Welcome to our Memphis Travel Guide, this is part 5 of this series. On this episode we will provide you with information about visiting Memphis' top attraction - Graceland.Graceland Farms was originally owned by Stephen C. Toof, founder of S.C. Toof & Co., the oldest commercial printing firm in Memphis, who was previously the pressroom foreman of the Memphis newspaper, the Memphis Daily Appeal. The "grounds" (before the mansion home was built in 1939) was named after Toof's daughter, Grace. She inherited the farm/grounds from her father in 1894. After her death, the property was passed down to her niece Ruth Moore, a Memphis socialite, who together with her husband, Thomas Moore, built a 10,266 square foot Colonial Revival style mansion in 1939.After Elvis Presley began his musical career, he purchased a $40,000 home for himself and his family at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis. As his fame grew, especially after his appearances on television, the number of fans that would congregate outside the house multiplied. Presley's neighbors, most of whom were happy to have a celebrity living nearby, soon came to find the constant gathering of fans and journalists a nuisance. After several complaints, Presley decided it was necessary for him to move to a property more suitable.In early 1957, Presley gave his parents, Vernon and Gladys Presley, a $100,000 budget, and asked them to find a "farmhouse" type property to purchase. At the time, Graceland was located several miles beyond Memphis' main urban area. In later years, Memphis would expand with housing, resulting in Graceland being surrounded by other properties. Presley purchased Graceland on March 19, 1957 for the amount of $102,500. which is nearly million in today's money.Graceland would remain Elvis' home until he died in 1977 and today remains one of the best kept rock n roll museum-homes of all time. Elvis fans flock to the house to get a peek into Elvis' life and those not too fond or too young to remember the music, the actor and the entertainer, will also be surprised that this is a fun tour with a lot to see and do. Even if you are travelling with younger children, you will find that the house and museum is accommodating, and includes personal ipads with children specific themes.And that is what is great about Graceland – it is very accessible for the young, the old and those with physical disabilities.Graceland is open from 9-5 each day, but there are specific days and holidays in which it is closed, or that the hours of operation change. It is best to check with the official web site for updates and special schedules.The ticket office opens promptly at 8:30 and staff are more than welcoming, engaging and helpful in determining what tour you should do.Once you have your ticket in hand you can proceed to a waiting area in which while waiting to board a motorcoach, you are provided headsets and a personal ipad. The ipad will offer up an interactive experience once you enter through Graceland's doors. It is narrated by actor John Stamos and provides information, insight and interactive elements such as photos and videos. It is really simple to use and is an outstanding inclusion on the tour.The bus ride to Graceland takes less than 5 minutes from the ticket boarding area. Once inside you are guided through the house, at your own pace.Once inside Graceland you are immersed in Elvis' personal world. John Stamos naarrates the salient events of Elvis’s life and introduce the relics that adorn the rooms and corridors. The story celebrates the life of an extraordinary man, emphasizing his generosity, his kindness and good fellowship, how he was at once a poor boy who made good, an extraordinary musical talent, a sinner and substance abuser, and a religious man devoted to the Gospel and its music. One is able to visit the entire house, except for the top floor which is off limits. The rooms in the upper floor have been kept a sanctuary and left just the same as Elvis had had them when he died. They also decided to not allow tourists on the top floor because they did not want the focus on the house to be on the bathroom floor where Elvis had collapsed and died.After visiting the main house you can also tour parts of the yard, the swimming area, Vernon's Office, the record room, and the racquetball court area. The entire house tour can take up to 2 hours and once you are completed you can board a bus back to the main ticket area where you will now begin to go through a series of brand new museums and buildings dedicated to Elvis.First up is the Elvis The Entertainer Career Museum where you immerse yourself in Elvis’ incredible career through hundreds of artifacts and photos from significant events in his life, as you tour the extensive Graceland Archives, including Elvis’ amazing collection of gold and platinum records, his stunning jumpsuits, and other clothing, memorabilia from his movies, and more! The museum is massive so be prepared to do a lot of walking.Up next is the Presley Motors Automobile Museum where you walk among some of Elvis’ favorite automobiles, including his iconic Pink Cadillac, Stutz Blackhawk, 1956 Cadillac Eldorado, Dino Ferrari, Mercedes Benz limousine, Rolls Royce sedans and more. Elvis had some great taste in cars and he had some of the most unusual as well. This is a fantastic museum that is very open so crowds will not be an issue.And there is theElvis Discovery ExhibitsIt is a themed discovery space showcase Elvis’ influences, important facets of his incredible life, and his role in launching a music and pop culture revolution. Elvis Discovery Exhibits include:Presley Cycles ExhibitIcons: The Influence of Elvis Presley ExhibitMystery Train: Celebrating Sam Phillips ExhibitElvis’ Tupelo ExhibitHollywood BacklotThe Country Road to Rock: The Marty Stuart CollectionPrivate Presley ExhibitArchives ExperienceElvis Fashion ExhibitGraceland Soundstage AThe whole area is enclosed and is designed to look like an old fashioned street and includes restaurants and cafes as well as a lot of souvenir shops. Some of the restaurants include Vernon's Smokehouse, Glady's Diner, and Minnie Mae's Sweets.You will find all the dining options to have inflated prices and the food quality is not that great. Likewise all the merchandise is priced higher than in other retail locations.For the best priced souvenirs I would suggest visiting Boulevard Souvenirs which is just a short walk from the main gates of Graceland. Here you will find great customer service as well as the very best prices.For dining options I would wait until outside of the museum area and head to Marlow's Ribs and Restaurant just south of Graceland.Just outside the main museums is another section devoted to some of Elvis' planes. Step aboard Elvis’ customized airplanes to see how he traveled in luxury. The Lisa Marie includes a living room, conference room, private bedroom and features gold-plated seatbelts, leather-covered tables and 24-karat gold-flecked sinks. Plus, you can take a glimpse at Elvis’ smaller Lockheed Jetstar, the Hound Dog II. There is an additional charge to see the planes, but it is certainly worth it.The museums will take an extra 2 to 3 hours to visit and be prepared to do a lot of walking.Graceland is a very, very busy attraction, being the second most visited home in the United States, the first being The White House. We arrived first thing in the morning and got our tickets promptly at 8:30 and yet, we were the second full motorcoach to arrive at the house. Behind us the lines and buses were full. I would suggest visiting in the morning or at 2pm when the crowds have already built up and gone through. During Elvis week and other key celebrations be prepared for long lines and crowded rooms. You can also avoid ticket lines by buying tickets online.Parking at Graceland is $10, which includes security. There is also free parking a short distance away by the RocknRoll Cafe and the shops around it – called Graceland Crossing. There are about 80 spaces, but keep in mind, these businesses pay for the parking area and it would be kind of you to visit them on your way in and out of Graceland. Additionally, you can also get a free shuttle from Sun Studios if you are visiting that attraction avoiding driving and parking fees.If you don't want to visit any of the museums and interior of the Graceland mansion, you can still stop by the iconic front gates and get a photo. You can also visit the meditation garden, where Elvis and his family are buried free of charge.There is currently a $4 off per ticket coupon available online and in the past there have even been 50% off coupons available. It is best to check online before you make any purchases. Only coupons from Graceland itself are accepted.A visit to Memphis without a visit to Graceland, to some is sacrilegious. It is an absolute must do attraction for any Elvis fan or for anyone who loves music and rock-n-roll. For some of those on the tour with us, it was their 50th visit to the home. It is easy to see why it is so popular. It is fun, educational, inspiring and motivational.Until Next time, happy travels.

14 Memphis Tennessee Travel Guide Part Four

Ep. 14
Thanks for joining us on the Memphis Destination Guide Part 4 – Memphis Good Eats and Good Sleeps.Memphis is not surprisingly a very active, entertaining city, and with that comes a very unique culinary experience – from Memphis BBQ to Creole to Elvis inspired delights – Memphis has an enormous amount of variety and spice.And since we are in Memphis and you are probably here because of the King, let's get two places that are must visit out of the way first.The oldest cafe still in operation in Memphis is the legendary Arcade Cafe. Located at 540 South Main St. You can't miss the neon signs inviting you into the comfy cafe and the plush booths. It is reported that Elvis visited this restaurant frequently and enjoyed their breakfasts and burger options. Today, you can sit in the same booth that Elvis sat in and order Elvis inspired treats. The restaurant's seating is limited and it can get very, very, busy, so plan on waiting for some time if there are events going on in town related to Elvis. An interesting fact is that the Arcade was the location that sparked Memphis' film industry in 1988. Night Train was filmed here as well as many other films including Great Balls of Fire!, the docu-film about another Memphis legend – Jerry Lee Lewis.Next up on the Elvis gastronomic tour is Marlow's Ribs and Restaurant, located just minutes from Graceland and immediately recognizable by the fleet of pink Cadillac limosine shuttles that offer transport to and from the restaurant. Previously known as the Whitehaven Ranch House, it was a favourite BBQ of the King himself. This family operated BBQ offers up some excellent ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket, along with catfish, burgers and the best hunka hunka apple pie in the USA. Along with the food, you will find the service and friendly family atmosphere to be excellent. Prices are also affordable for both lunch and dinner. In the evening they offer live entertainment on some days.The next restaurant we highly recommend if you are looking for unique and romantic atmosphere and incredible food is restaurant iris. Named best restaurant, best service and best chef by Memphis Magazine restaurant iris serves up some of the most creative and delicious creole dishes in the south. Located near the historic Overton Square of Midtown the restaurant is located right inside a victorian mansion house. Parking is available free of charge across the street. There is also cheap parking at the overtone parking garage and valet service is only $8. The parking may be cheap, but the iris is a high end restaurant offering up an ever changing menu. If you want to treat yourself and your loved one to an exceptional and unique dinner, this is the place.Now I know a lot of listeners are looking for not only good eats, but cheap eats. And you can have both in Memphis. If you are looking for another Memphis delicacy that does not include BBQ sauce, check out Gus' world famous friend chicken. It is located in downtown Memphis at 310 s front st. And even though the exterior has its own southern wear and tear, get inside for the best fried chicken you have ever had. Try the coconut cream pie of the pecan pie to top off the meal. Other franchise locations are available so check online to the one closest to you.And if you are still craving southern treats, head over to Memphis' own Miss Polly's Fried Chicken and Waffles. Located right on Beale St. This simple eatery offers up some fabulous fried chicken and waffles. After a night on Beale St. This may be the best spot to cure that hang over.The summers in Memphis can be brutal and the best spot to cool down is at an old gas station. No, we are not kidding. Back on the 1920s, a Sinclair gas station began giving away free snow cones to children as their parents filled up their automobiles. The snow cones were a bigger hit than the gas filling station so by the 1960s the snow cones became the main business, along with of course, a car wash. Today, the car wash is defunct, but the snow cones and the roadside foodstop is serving up some of the best cool treats in the south. You may recognize the location from the movie Great Balls of Fire, the story of Jerry Lee Lewis.Of course, Memphis has some amazing BBQ joints and top end restaurants. Memphis loves its restaurants and I am sure you will find some amazing ones on your stay.Now you are probably going to Memphis and thinking that the best bet would be to stay near Graceland, as all the attractions should be there and there should be a great number of hotels. Even though there are some hotels in the area and the newly built Guest House at Graceland, we recommend that you stay downtown close to Beale Street.The area around Graceland has seen better times and there certainly are motels in the area that offer low rates – but there is usually a reason for this. If security is of importance to you, or you are travelling solo or with younger children, I would not recommend this area, especially if you need to come and go at night.There is, of course the huge Guest House at Graceland, that is available right next to Graceland itself, but the rooms are very costly, the food is overpriced and from the multitude of guest reviews, the service is hit and miss. If Graceland is your only stop in Memphis, then you may want to consider this, but if you wish to enjoy everything Memphis has to offer, you may want to check in elsewhere.Downtown and the areas around Beale Street offer up much more for your money. There are exceptional hotels in these areas including the Peabody, with the ducks. I just checked on experiencethis360 and it is 18% off for the suite. Check out the web site for the current promotions.We recommend The Best Western, La Quinta Inn and Suites, The Holiday Inn Express and the Westin Memphis on Beale Street. All of these hotels range from $70-250 per night but also offer discounts every now and then from 10-40% off.For the budget conscious and those with a rental car or their own transportation, you can look for some out of the area hotels and motels. East and North Memphis and some hotels around the airport are as low as $44 per night. Again, you get what you pay for and it pays to look at the reviews of other guests before making a decision.There are very limited B&Bs in Memphis so if you are looking for this type of accommodation start searching and book in advance.If you vacation to Memphis falls into any of the festivals or especially during any celebration of Elvis' life, be prepared to find a lot of restaurants booked as well as limited options when it comes to hotels. It is best to book well ahead of time and make reservations whenever possible.On our next episode we will feature our Graceland Visitor's Guide that will help you plan an enjoyable trip to Graceland.

13 Memphis Tennessee Travel Guide Part Three

Ep. 13
By now you have probably figured out that there are a lot of exciting activities and great museums in Memphis, so lets slow things down a bit and talk about some easy going, relaxing travel activities that are also great with families with young children.If you have young children and are particularly fond of water fowl, head over to the Peabody Hotel to watch the famous duck march. The Legend of the Peabody Memphis Ducks started back in the 1930s, and they still visit the lobby fountain at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day.They hop out of the fountain, walk the red carpet, step into the elevator and ride to the rooftop. The whole procession only takes 20 seconds, but the “duck master” talks for about 20 minutes about the history of the hotel and the ducks. Now you might think this is an odd tourist attraction, and you are right and that is probably why it is so popular.If you have little ones and you need to wear them out for the day, head over to the Memphis Children's Museum. Children will have the opportunity to learn about transportation, camping, art, weather, nutrition and health in a hands-on environment. Exhibits are located both indoors and outdoors, creating year-round fun.Here you can also ride the historic Dentzel Memphis Grand Carousel. The original carousel was constructed in 1909 and has been fully restored. Admission to the museum costs $15 per person and most people spend a great deal of a day here.The next spot we recommend is the Pink Palace. The Pink Palace is unlike what most people think of when it comes to museums. Learn about everything from agriculture, to dinosaurs, to the civil war! The Pink Palace looks back at the history of Memphis from many perspectives. The museum is undergoing renovations and new and improved exhibitions will soon be made available. It is best to check out their website for updates.For those who want a little outdoor activity head over to Mud Island. Located on the Memphis riverfront, Mud Island has various activities to entertain the family. The Riverwalk is an exact scale replica of the Lower Mississippi River. Part splash pad, part history lesson; it provides a unique opportunity to have fun while learning.$4 per person gets you on the monorail which goes across the harbor to the Riverwalk while enjoying spectacular views of Downtown Memphis and the river. Once you’ve walked down the Mississippi you arrive at the ‘Gulf of Mexico’. The ‘Gulf’ is represented a mile acre pond. You can rent paddleboats for $5 per person.If you are still enjoying the sunshine head over to Overton Park where you will find biking trails and picnic areas as well as the Memphis Zoo and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. You might find a free concert going on at Levitt Shell, the place Elvis was first paid to entertain in 1954. That show is also known as the first ever rock-n-roll concert. Today, Levitt Shell hosts 50 free concerts each year.Another great park to unwind in is Shelby Farms. Not only is it a huge green space, there is horseback riding and one of the coolest playgrounds you will ever see. In fact, it was named one of 16 coolest playgrounds in the whole world. Look for signs pointing you to the Woodland Discovery Playground.Another great experience for children is the Fire Museum of Memphis which showcases and exhibits firefighting trucks and equipment. Also, the Railroad & Trolley Museum located downtown is a popular spot for train enthusiasts. Keep in mind, however, there is some major renovations going on and they expect to be open in the fall of 2018.Now the next place we recommend going to may seem a bit odd but it is a pretty neat attraction.Located inside Memphis Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery, the Crystal Shrine Grotto was designed by Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriquez and has been inspiring visitors since the 1930s.Dionicio dug a cave almost 60 feet into a hill on the grounds of the cemetery and decorated the interior with faux crags made of cement and quartz crystals. Beautiful crystals are exposed to the sunlight on the exterior end to create gorgeous glowing effects. The stonework around the grotto showcases a series of biblical tableaus with two-dimensional figures depicting the life of Jesus Christ. The peaceful scenes are a mixed media of paint and sculpted by a variety of artists. There is a peaceful ambience for those visiting and it’s easy to be in awe of its majestic scenery.On our next episode we'll talk about where to stay and where to eat.