A diverse mix of history, food and music makes Memphis Tennessee’s most popular city. Visit the place where many iconic musicians got their start, learn about the career of Elvis Presley and view the site of Martin Luther King's assassination.
Many visitors to Memphis head straight to the iconic Sun Studio, known as the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” This is where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison all recorded their first albums. Take the hour-long tour which guides you through decades of music history.
For more musical history, take the studio’s free shuttle to Graceland Mansion, once the home of Elvis Presley. Take the self-guided audio tour that takes you through each room. Learn the history behind much of the memorabilia that commemorates The King’s prolific music and acting career.
Beale Street, known as the “Home of the Blues Movement”, is where many artists such as B.B. King, Louis Armstrong and Muddy Waters were discovered. Today, live music spills out of the area’s many nightclubs and bars, making it a great place to explore. Learn more about the city’s blues scene at the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum or enjoy a meal surrounded by music memorabilia at the Hard Rock Café.
Head to the South Main Arts District and stop by the National Civil Rights Museum. The site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, this museum tells the story of the civil rights movement through a series of interactive exhibits. Afterward, browse through the neighborhood’s vintage stores and galleries.
Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon along the banks of the Mississippi River at Tom Lee Park. Every spring, the park hosts Memphis in May, a monthlong event that includes The Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Sunset Symphony. The park also provides an ideal vantage point to admire the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge and Hernando de Soto Bridge. These historic structures stretch across the Mississippi, linking Tennessee and Arkansas.
Memphis is tucked into the southwestern corner of Tennessee. You can fly in to Memphis International Airport and hire a car there. If you prefer public transport, take a shuttle bus to downtown and use the local buses or the trolley to discover all this city has to offer.