Spanning several city blocks in the heart of downtown Memphis, Beale Street is a hub of music, entertainment and history. Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Elvis Presley and Johny Cash all played here at various times, helping to develop the musical style known as the “Memphis Blues.” Today Beale Street is packed with nightclubs, concert venues, restaurants and galleries, making it a great place to wander.
Explore decades of music history at the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum. Commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution, this exhibition showcases stories of the artists that influenced the blues movement.
Grab a meal and a drink at the Hard Rock Café. The site was once a recording studio for emerging musicians but today it serves as a time capsule of the rock ‘n' roll movement. Even if you don’t make it to Graceland, the restaurant’s top floor is filled with Elvis paraphernalia that will give you a glimpse into the life and career of The King.
Save room in your suitcase for souvenirs from A. Schwab Dry Goods Store. Since 1876, the shop has been a focal point in the neighborhood and is Beale Street’s oldest store. Browse the shelves for everything from trinkets to household goods. Afterward, head to nearby Dyer’s Burger, one of Memphis’s most famous restaurants since it was founded in 1912.
Beale Street also has a thriving contemporary music scene. Visit some of the small clubs which showcase unsigned artists or watch one of your favorite current artists perform in an intimate venue.
Walk along the length of Beale Street to take in the neon lights, historic landmarks and modern clubs. The iconic strip ends at Tom Lee Park. Located on the banks of the Mississippi, the park is an ideal place to finish your exploration of the area. Every May, the park hosts the Beale Street Music Festival, an event that showcases both world-renowned artists and emerging talent.
Beale Street is one of Memphis’s most-visited tourist attractions. It also serves as the gateway to other destinations around the city. The Peabody, Memphis Botanical Garden and Graceland are all within a 20-minute drive.