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Things to do in Memphis

Things to do in  Memphis

Welcome to Memphis

Memphis serves up a feast for all the senses, as it sizzles with hip restaurants, happening bars, and rocking music venues. Visitors flock to this vibrant Tennessee city on the banks of the Mississippi River for its musical history, legendary barbecue, and classic Southern charm. Memphis boasts a proud history of elevating some of the greatest musicians of all time to immortality, and it places this history proudly on display. Book a private or small-group walking or coach tour to discover the B.B. King Blues Club; the Statue of Elvis Presley; the Stax Museum of American Soul Music; and Sun Studio, where Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash launched their rock ’n’ roll careers. Elvis aficionados won’t want to miss a guided tour of Presley’s home, Graceland, to see memorabilia and his 1955 pink Cadillac. Memphis’ heritage goes beyond the blues, though: Take a history-focused walking tour to learn about the city’s role in the Civil Rights movement; and check out the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. For relaxing ride, settle back on a riverboat tour down the Mississippi River to glide past Victorian Village and the Memphis Pyramid. Finally, investigate Beale Street’s jazz clubs in downtown Memphis with a guide; or hunt for ghosts on a group exploration across the city.

Top 10 attractions in Memphis

#1
Beale Street

Beale Street

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From 1920 to 1940, artists descended on Beale Street to collaborate, creating a new music style that blended smooth jazz with hard-charging rock 'n' roll. This mix eventually gave birth to the blues, a new and distinctly American genre of music that gradually made its way into the United States' pop culture mainstream. A visit to today's Beale Street, now a U.S. National Historic Landmark District, allows travelers to check out the blues clubs that served as the launching sites for some of the most famous American blues musicians of all time.More
#2
National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

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Built around the former Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, the National Civil Rights Museum immediately emits its cultural and historical significance to all who visit. Exhibits chronicle some of the most important episodes of the Civil Rights Movement, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Little Rock Nine, Montgomery Bus Boycotts, and the famous sit-ins of the 1960s.More
#3
Graceland

Graceland

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The second most-visited home in the United States (behind only the White House), Graceland was home to Elvis Presley during the height of his career. Although the rock ’n’ roll singer and pop culture icon died in the white-columned mansion in 1977 at the age of 42, touring the wacky rooms of this 17,552-square-foot (1,630-square-meter) estate offers insight into the mind of The King, who is buried in the estate's Meditation Gardens.More
#4
Sun Studio

Sun Studio

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A veritable icon of music and a Memphis landmark, Sun Studio is known as the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In fact, the very first rock single, “Rocket 88,” was recorded here in 1951, when it was called the Memphis Recording Service. The former recording studio’s musical heritage—made famous thanks to the superstardom of artists such as Elvis and Johnny Cash—and collection of one-of-a-kind memorabilia makes for an unforgettable stop in Memphis.More
#5
Peabody Hotel Ducks

Peabody Hotel Ducks

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Peabody Hotel has some unique permanent guests in the famous "Peabody Ducks," who live on the hotel’s rooftop and perform a march toward the Grand Lobby twice daily. The tradition dates to 1933 when the general manager returned from a hunting trip and placed several live duck decoys in the hotel’s fountain. The guests’ positive response prompted their stay.More
#6
Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

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No trip to Memphis, Tennessee—often called the birthplace of rock and roll—would be complete without learning about its music history, and the Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum is just the place. Originally a Smithsonian Institute research project, the collection focuses not only on the music itself, but also the artists and socio-economic and racial struggles that led to its creation.More
#7
A. Schwab

A. Schwab

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A. Schwab is a dry goods store that has become a local landmark and Memphis institution. Since being opened in 1876, the store has transformed from a men’s clothing and goods shop to a collection of seemingly every item imaginable. It is the only remaining original business on Beale Street.With two floors of displays filled with everything from regional arts and crafts to historic books, records, and artifacts, it is only fitting that the Beale Street Museum, located on a small balcony above the first floor, is also housed here. A. Schwab even has quirky memorabilia such as love potions and corn cob pipes. The store’s creaky wooden floors, dim lighting and original architectural details keep the building’s historic feel, making a visit feel like a step back in time. Their motto is “if you can’t find it at Schwab’s, you’re better off without it.”More
#8
Memphis Orpheum Theater

Memphis Orpheum Theater

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Built in 1928, the Memphis Orpheum Theater is a historic theater and one of America’s few remaining “movie palaces” from the 1920s era. Before it was the Orpheum, it was the site of the Grand Opera House and home to vaudeville performances for nearly two decades. Since then it has withstood the threat of bankruptcy, demolition and being burnt to the ground to become known as the “South’s Finest Theater.”Decorated with ornate crystal chandeliers, luxe draperies, carved moldings, and a large pipe organ, the theater was restored in 1996 to its former glory along with an expansion of the stage and backstage areas. Today, the theater hosts top Broadway shows, concerts, comedy shows, and special events year-round. Many famous faces have graced the Orpheum stage, and it continues to be a center for arts and entertainment and culture of Memphis.More
#9
Court Square

Court Square

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The park at Court Square is a beautifully landscaped open space offering a change from the urban structures of the city. With a large fountain, gazebo, and benches, it is a popular spot for locals to enjoy a lunch break or a relaxing afternoon. In the summer months the park is home to outdoor concerts, food truck gatherings, karaoke contests, and other community events.Situated right at the center of downtown Memphis, it is considered by many to be the heart of the city and thus is also a frequent meeting place. The square is surrounded by some of the most architecturally significant buildings in Memphis, and is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a great place to sit and relax in the shade while taking in some of the sights of Memphis, as the antique trolleys roll by.More
#10
Handy Park

Handy Park

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Handy Park is a large public park known for its wide, open fields and stage, making it a great outdoor concert and event space in Memphis. The park was named for W.C. Handy, the “Father of Blues.” A large statue of W.C. Handy stands tall in the park.Events that take place in Handy Park are always free and open to the public, often attracting large crowds. With an outdoor amphitheater that seats 2,000, it is a favorite local spot to enjoy a cold beverage and the great outdoors. There is also a small stage that often is home to impromptu blues performances on afternoons! The park is right off of the famous Beale Street, also home to a vibrant music culture and known as the “home of the Blues.” The local Memphis music scene often comes to life in Handy Park.More

Recent reviews from experiences in Memphis

star-5
Downtown tour with Sam
Holly_H, Feb 2021
Memphis City Tour with Sun Studio Admission
This is the best way to see all of Memphis and learn about the history and some fun facts too.
star-5
Great way to get an overview of Mphis
Kim_C, Sep 2020
Memphis City Tour with Riverboat Cruise & Sun Studio Admission Add-On Options
After the tour we went to several places that we learned about but wanted to see again.
star-5
Top tour of Memphis
John_P, Jul 2020
City of Memphis Guided Bus Tour
We were able to see everything we wanted too and enjoyed every minute.
star-5
Southern tour
Suzanne_M, Jun 2020
Memphis City Tour with Riverboat Cruise & Sun Studio Admission Add-On Options
Spring, TX
star-5
Gathering at the fountain.
Jackie_D, Mar 2020
Memphis Haunted History Bus Tour
Our Haunted Memphis Bus Tour was a Spring Break experience for my teenage granddaughter and 10-year-old grandson.
star-4
Short but sweet
Rbl, Feb 2020
Memphis City Tour with Sun Studio Admission
Sun studio is a good place to visit.
star-5
Enjoyable, fun
chazadg, Feb 2020
Haunted Memphis Walking Ghost Tour
A great way to see downtown Memphis and learn some local history.
star-5
Great experience
Resort630572, Oct 2019
Sun Studio Guided Tour Plus Optional Gift Voucher
You will want to see this historical site.
star-5
Excellent tour of downtown Memphis
Linda D, Oct 2019
Historic Memphis Guided Walking Tour
The only disappointment was the fact that the Peabody Hotel was already packed full of visitors to watch the march of the ducks; we were not able to see them march in, but went and saw them swimming in the fountain afterwards.
star-5
Amazing!
Melissa D, Jul 2018
Memphis Mojo Bus Tour
Best way to see Memphis!
star-5
Memphis walking/history tour
AFD1255, Jul 2018
Historic Memphis Guided Walking Tour
He recommended places to eat and other things to do afterwards too.
star-5
very nice way to see and know about...
stanford m, Nov 2017
City of Memphis Guided Bus Tour
very nice way to see and know about Memphis Hotel door to door pickup and drop off The stop at the Peabody Hotel was a terrific surprise
star-4
This worked very well to see the...
Suzanne M, Jan 2018
Memphis Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
This worked very well to see the sights in Memphis, especially when you haven't a car.
star-5
My best experience in Memphis you...
Gaye M, Mar 2018
Sun Studio Guided Tour Plus Optional Gift Voucher
My best experience in Memphis you can feel the atmosphere in the studio and to see the microphone used by such iconic artists was amazing
star-5
Our driver was awesome! He was very...
Nee-Nee, Oct 2017
Private Arrival Transfer from Memphis Airport MEM
He gave us a brief history lesson on Memphis and recommended some great eating places to visit.
star-5
Was given an amazing tour by guide...
Stephen R, Jan 2018
Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum Admission Ticket
Was given an amazing tour by guide - was there for over an hour and taken to see so much of the house and learn a lot about Memphis area that I knew so little about.
star-5
Super Tour with Sam
whitewestie98, Nov 2019
Memphis City Tour with Riverboat Cruise & Sun Studio Admission Add-On Options
We had time to hop off the bus to see quite a few sites.
star-4
What an incredibly informative tour...
Staylor, Aug 2016
Memphis Mojo Bus Tour
It was a great way to start my stay in Memphis: now I know where I want to visit more in-depth, and the places I won't get back to I at least got a glimpse of on the tour.
star-5
Friendly and informative
Maple5, Oct 2019
Memphis City Tour with Riverboat Cruise & Sun Studio Admission Add-On Options
This trip have us a good idea of city bearings and places to visit.
star-5
Great, informative tour. The bus...
Kylie K, Aug 2015
Memphis Discovery Tour with Rock 'n' Soul Museum Admission
The bus ride was a great way to see the hot spots of Memphis, with stops at The Peabody Hotel to see the duck march, the Civil Rights Museum to remember MLK, Jr, and Central BBQ for a light lunch.

All about Memphis

When to visit

Summer temperatures in Memphis are high, reaching nearly 100°F (37.7°C), and the summer humidity can be rough to deal with, too. If you aren’t interested in the city’s annual Elvis Week activities that run for nine days in August, then it’s best to pick spring or fall for your visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

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