Established in 1819, Memphis is a town with many accolades. It has national acclaim as the Cleanest City, the Safest City and the Quietest City. In Agriculture it is known as the cotton center of the world and in medicine, Memphis has the largest medical center. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, it also plays a large role as a distribution center for 1,100+ manufacturing plants, and is a port for millions of tons of river cargo each year.
Memphis is known worldwide as home to Elvis Presleys Graceland and Meditation Gardens where he is buried making it a popular destination for over 1,000 visitors each year. You will find the accommodations and attractions to be first class, no matter whether its barbecue at the Rendezvous or watching the Peabody Hotels resident ducks, eating a meal of meat and three at the Cupboard or playing blackjack or slots at the Sheraton Casino and Hotel, you cant help but have a fantastic time!
There is so much to do in Memphis it may be difficult to choose a place to begin. However, should you take the Downtown Mall Trolley, it will save you a few steps as well as be a delightful experience. The electric antique Trolley runs up Main Street into the Pinch Historic District, and provides transportation to hotels, Beale Street and other local attractions. Another way to discover Memphis is by water. You can cruise on area rivers by contacting the Delta Queen Steamboat Company . You can choose from 3-12 night cruises on the Mississippi Queen, the American Queen, or the Delta Queen paddle wheelers.
Perhaps the most famous street in Tennessee is Memphis Beale Street where W.C. Handy got his start in the early 1900s. Part of a seven block section of activity, Beal Street offers you epicurean delights, a wide array of shops such as the Gibson Guitar Plant, parks, theatre, and a smorgasbord of festivals such as the Zydeco Festival in February, the Labor Day Fest in September and the Beale Street Music Festival in May. The Beale Street Music Festival is a must, if you love music. This Festival has national and international musicians all gathered in one place.
For more music merriment, then you dont want to miss visiting Sun Studio. This small studio gave birth to first recordings by music legends like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, and Roy Orbison. While here, you can make you custom recording and take a 45 minute tour. More music history can be found at Stax Museum of American Soul Music where you can view more than 2,000 exhibits featuring items from stars like Isaac Hayes, Ottis Redding, Sam & Dave, and many other stars from the 1960s and 1970s. If you still havent had enough music, then check out the Memphis Rock n Soul Museum which showcases the combination of rock, blues and country music. You will see great memorabilia like B.B. Kings first Lucille guitar and Dick Clarks podium from American Bandstand.
Most tourist come to Memphis not only for the music but the man that made music what it is today, Elvis Presley. Make sure to tour the home of Elvis, Graceland, while in Memphis. It's a touching experience that offers more than you can imagine if you've never been.
Memphis has a variety of museums which the whole family can appreciate. The National Civil Rights Museum, opened in 1991, is Americas first civil rights museum. It pays tribute to those who worked for equality from colonial days to the present. Located at the former Lorraine Motel, the museums exhibits include light and sound displays, audio-visual presentations, visitor participation exhibits, as well as special exhibits, an auditorium, gift shop and courtyard.
The largest art Museum in Tennessee is the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Here you will find drawings, paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs and decorative arts. It has over three centuries of works of art from all over the world. At the museums Brushmark Restaurant you will enjoy incredible views of Overton Park through the floor to ceiling windows or on the outdoor terrace. For more outdoor adventure, be sure to visit Crystal Shrine Grotto where you will find a Crystal Cave made of natural rock, quarts, crystal and semi-precious stones. This carved out hillside was made by naturalist Dionicio Rodriguez in the late 1930s.
If you love science and history, then you dont want to overlook the Memphis Pink Palace and Planetarium on Central Avenue. Here you can learn about natural and cultural history in the mid-South region, its animals, medical history, pioneer life, commerce and the Civil War. There are dioramas, exhibits, audio-visual, a planetarium and an IMAX theatre. For interactive learning fun got to The Childrens Museum of Memphis where hands-on learning is designed with kids in mind. Here kids are encouraged to touch things as they learn through sculpting, painting and drawing. They can run and play at the kid-sized city, fly a real airplane or watch a hot air balloon ride.
Memphis has many parks which provide recreation and pleasure for your whole family. Each of the parks have activities unique to their special design but you will find that they all provide opportunities for outdoor fun. Whether it is hiking, swimming, fishing, or picnicking, you will be glad you stopped by. Some Memphis parks are Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, the T.O. Fuller State Park and the Mud Island River Park.
Gardening enthusiast will be especially delighted by the 96 acre Memphis Botanical Garden with its 20 formal gardens which include the Japanese Garden of Tranquility, the Rose Garden and the Wildflower Garden. For more flower frivolity, visit Dixon Gallery and Gardens where you can see 17 acres of formal gardens, a camellia house and garden statuary. While there, be sure to tour the exhibition art galleries and see the antique furnishings and 18th century German porcelain.
For more antiques and architecture, check out the Victorian Village where you will see the 18 landmark buildings, preserved or restored, which range in styles from Greek Revival to Neo-classical. Three of the homes, the Mageveny House, the Mallory-Neely House and the Woodruff-Fontaine House, are open to the public.
For fast paced action, then race on over to Memphis Motorsports Park where its four tracks offer drag racing, a circle track, tractor pulls, motor cycle, go kart, and four-wheelers. And, if that isnt enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then hurry to Race-On Driving Experience where you can get behind the wheel of a NASCAR vehicle and take a few laps around the ¾ paved oval track.
Are you ready to call it a day, but looking forward to a night on the town? Well, Memphis had numerous places from which to choose! You can enjoy a theatre production at Playhouse on the Square or at the Circuit Playhouse, tantalize your taste buds at restaurants like Café 61, India Palace or Chez Philippe, or dancing the night away on Beal Street. No matter what your choice, you will be glad to be in Memphis!
Downtown Memphis, Banner picture, and fountain by C Banck
Beale Street Photo by PK Nitty
Pink Palace Fossil by Bryan Kemp
Beale Street Restaurant Performer by Papa Rutzi