The 10 Best Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is a pilgrimage for those wanting to visit the birthplace of the blues, of soul and of rock 'n' roll. On Beale Street, W.C. Handy put down on paper the first written blues music. Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all recorded at the historic Sun Records, which is now a museum. Graceland, the second most-visited home in America, welcomes visitors from around the world who yearn for a peek into the life of "the King." Beyond the music, Tennessee's largest city also offers much more. It has more sunny days each year than Miami, and combines southern tradition and hospitality with modern amenities. You'll enjoy great dining (be sure to sample the barbecued ribs), art galleries and exciting nightlife.

1. Sun Studio

706 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103-3218 Sights & Landmarks, Historic Sites
Excellent
78%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 10172 reviews

Sun Studio

Sun Studio - The place where an 18 year old Elvis Presley recorded his first song. It’s well-known in the music industry as "The Birthplace of Rock 'N' Roll" and the most famous recording studio in the world. Opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips in 1950, this national Historic Landmark is where superstar musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and countless others started their recording careers. Today, Sun Studio still serves as a recording studio in the evenings while hosting public tours during the daytime hours.

Reviewed By AnnieMG - Antrim, United KingdomAntrim, United Kingdom

Well worth a visit

We visited Sun Studios as part of a Memphis tour. There is a great atmosphere inside and lots of memorabilia including photos of Elvis and others decorating the walls. You can get tea/coffee and drinks while you soak up the nostalgia.

2. Graceland

3734 Elvis Presley Blvd., S, Memphis, TN 38116-4106 Sights & Landmarks, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Excellent
63%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 17892 reviews

Graceland

Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, is the home of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Elvis Presley's Graceland is open daily with tours of Graceland Mansion, Elvis’ custom jets and our new entertainment and exhibit complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. The new complex includes a new automobile museum, Presley Motors, and Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, the world’s largest and most comprehensive Elvis museum in the world, as well as many more exhibits, restaurants and shops. The tour of Graceland Mansion features an interactive, iPad tour with additional enhancements including photos, video and more.

Reviewed By PATRICKDON - Leeds, United KingdomLeeds, United Kingdom

Surprising

Although not a particularly huge Elvis fan, you have to visit his home and resting place when touring Memphis. What is surprising is just how small his house is compared to what you had imagined and expected.. Although the grounds and outbuildings are lar

3. National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103-4214 Sights & Landmarks, Museums, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites, Specialty Museums, History Museums More
Excellent
81%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 8057 reviews

National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

At the place of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'S death in 1968 in Memphis, TN, the National Civil Rights Museum is a renowned educational and cultural institution. The Museum chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement with compelling presentations of iconic exhibits, oral histories of lesser-known civil rights foot soldiers, and visceral, in-the-moment experiences. Visitors will learn through emotionally charged, multi-user, multi-touch interactives, and a visually engaging, contemporary exhibit design that guides you through five centuries of history. Bring the whole family.

Reviewed By AnnieMG - Antrim, United KingdomAntrim, United Kingdom

Excellent visit

We got the trolley bus from our hotel to the Lorraine Motel.A truly memorable visit, especially for non-Americans like us. We didn't study American history so there was much to learn from this visit. Very thought-provoking and incredibly sad.

4. Memphis Zoo

2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112-5033 Outdoor Activities, Nature & Parks, Zoos & Aquariums
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3352 reviews

Memphis Zoo

YaYa, a female Giant Panda that calls the Memphis Zoo home, enjoys a sunny day.

Reviewed By Jennifer G - Luray, VirginiaLuray, Virginia

Fun!

We were impressed by the Memphis Zoo - the habitats were large and provided exercise/activity room for the animals - and were clean. The only negative feedback I would have is that as a first-time visitor we did not see enough signage leading the way to a

5. Stax Museum of American Soul Music

926 E McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN 38106-3338 Museums, Sights & Landmarks, Educational sites, Specialty Museums More
Excellent
67%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1878 reviews

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, is a 17,000 square-foot museum offering interactive exhibits, videos, vintage musical instruments used to create the Stax sound, stage costumes, photographs, records, and approximately 3,000 other items of memorabilia that tell the unique story, from beginning to present, of American soul music, particularly that of Stax Records and the Memphis Sound.Artists highlighted include Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, the Bar-Kays, Booker T. & the MGs, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and hundreds of others.

Reviewed By lovetowander_co_uk - United KingdomUnited Kingdom

An interesting place to visit, but not the best of the Memphis Tours

If you are pushed for time in Memphis (which is likely - there is so much to do here!), I would have this museum at the bottom of your list.

6. Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

191 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103-3715 Museums, History Museums, Specialty Museums
Excellent
58%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2149 reviews

Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

Chronicling the artists and the music that shaped the legacy of "Memphis Sound," this museum features the Smithsonian's "Rock 'n' Roll: Social Crossroads" exhibition.

Reviewed By etbtravelphotography - Denver, ColoradoDenver, Colorado

Conveniently Located

After reading the reviews on Stax, Blues Hall of Fame, and the Memphis Blues Museum, the rock n' soul got a slightly higher score. It is also conveniently located near Beale St. As I such I picked it, and was not disappointed. It included music history, o

7. Beale Street

Memphis, TN 38103 Sights & Landmarks, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Walking Areas
Excellent
44%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
5%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 7826 reviews

Beale Street

Renovation and renewal have come to this historic street known as the "Home of the Blues." Flashy music clubs and restaurants abound.

Reviewed By hot79ta - Port Huron, MichiganPort Huron, Michigan

It was interesting

Bars aren't really our scene anymore, but Beale St has a lot of them. There are also some really cool shops and restaurants there. I wasn't real impressed with all the intoxicated people stumbling around at 10p, but like I said that's not our thing anymor

8. The Peabody Ducks

149 Union Ave, The Peabody Memphis, Memphis, TN 38103-2638 Sights & Landmarks, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Excellent
54%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5728 reviews

The Peabody Ducks

How did the tradition of the ducks in The Peabody fountain begin? Back in the 1930s Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip to Arkansas. The men had a little too much Tennessee sippin' whiskey, and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain. Three small English call ducks were selected as "guinea pigs," and the reaction was nothing short of enthusiastic. Thus began a Peabody tradition which was to become internationally famous.® In 1940, Bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Mr. Pembroke became The Peabody Duckmaster, serving in that capacity for 50 years until his retirement in 1991. Nearly 90 years after the inaugural march, ducks still visit the lobby fountain at 11 a.m

Reviewed By Seaside620112

Ducks

The Peabody Hotel is just magnificent.I wish we would have had the time to go back and visit the hotel. On tour we took they only gave us 1/2 hr. to just see ducks which was nice to see, but the hotel was better.

9. Shelby Farms Park

500 N Pine Lake Dr, Memphis, TN 38134-7970 Nature & Parks
Excellent
74%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 492 reviews

Shelby Farms Park

Reviewed By JohnSB3 - Wellington, New ZealandWellington, New Zealand

A lovely recreation area: very tranquil

This is 4 500 acres of parks, lakes, biking, walking and running tracks with water activities like, canoeing, paddleboating and the like, and even a buffalo farm. Moms who exercise come here to push their strollers along at pace, while others gather to do

10. Slave Haven / Burkle Estate Museum

826 N 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38107-2302 Sights & Landmarks, Museums, History Museums, Historic Sites More
Excellent
70%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 621 reviews

Slave Haven / Burkle Estate Museum

Visitors can tour the tunnels used by runaway slaves who stopped at this plantation, one of the stations of the Underground Railroad.

Reviewed By CMN14 - Boise, IdahoBoise, Idaho

Surprisingly well done

Not knowing what to expect, particularly when we saw the exterior of the museum, which looks a bit well worn. It turns out that is more by design and that the museum staff is working to maintain the building in the condition it was in during the time it w

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