Bustling Beale Street at night
A glam night out at the Orpheum Theatre
An array of Elvis costumes at Graceland
Outside historic Sun Studio
The American Queen steamboat pulls into Beale Street Landing
Kayakers about to pass under Memphis Bridge
Wandering through the exhibits at Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Engaging with history at the National Civil Rights Museum
Rendezvous’ pork barbecue sandwich
- Major Airports:
- Memphis (MEM)
Music, barbecue and history in the Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll
Bluff City’s Southern Charm & History
Memphis, located in the southwestern corner of Tennessee, sits atop a bluff just across the river from Arkansas and a few miles away from the Mississippi state line. Like most places in the Mississippi Delta, it's brimming with traditional Southern charm and hospitality. Walk into any Memphis attraction (there are many!) and you’ll be greeted as though you were family.
Memphis is where blues music grew up, where rock ‘n’ roll was born and where important strides were made in the struggle for civil rights. This living history hits visitors right away during a stroll through Graceland, Elvis Presley’s final home, or on a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the site where Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life. The one-of-a-kind attractions and landmarks that give character and identity to the Bluff City now mingle with new residential and commercial developments, and restored historic buildings.
Modern Memphis has plenty of attractions to offer, especially for animal lovers. The Peabody, a famous five-star hotel in Memphis, is home to a regal brigade of ducks who spend their days basking in the ritzy hotel lobby fountain. Crowds gather daily at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to watch the critters on their ceremonious march from their penthouse home to the fountain (and vice-versa in the early evenings). Silky O’Sullivan’s, centrally located on Beale Street, serves great barbecue but the main attraction is the beer loving goats. Sit outside and watch the goats climb the goat tower and guzzle beer. And the impressive Shelby Farms Park Conservatory is an 1,820-hectare converted prison farm that was designed by the team behind New York City’s Highline. Explore the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid to see its unique cypress swamp, located inside and featuring an alligator habitat. Then, take the nation's largest free-standing elevator to the top for an unforgettable view of Memphis.
And then there’s the neon-lit Beale Street, where greats like Louis Armstrong and B.B. King performed and helped create the music style known as Memphis Blues. In 1977, the U.S. Congress officially recognized Beale Street as “Home of the Blues.” For a quintessential dose of Beale Street, head to Rum Boogie or B.B. King’s Blues Club. Like most attractions that draw folks to Memphis, the Blues reflect the soulfulness and grit that's so deeply rooted in the city’s history. Music buffs will also want to visit the Memphis Rock n’ Soul Museum (curated by The Smithsonian Institution), Sun Studio, where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash got their start and Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which sits on the site of the original Stax recording studio where greats like Booker T and the MGs and Otis Redding recorded their music.
Elvis Presley’s Graceland is the second most visited historic home in America, after the White House.
According to “Billboard” magazine, the name of the city “Memphis” is in over 1,000 song lyrics and titles, more than any other name of a city in the world.
In 1954, Elvis Presley recorded “That’s All Right, Mama” at Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue making Memphis the “Birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll.”