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Top Things To Do in Memphis

By: Cityseeker
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Majorly known as Elvis Presley's hometown, Memphis has a lot more to offer in the form of music, memories, and the stunning Mississippi River. The river brought cultural influences from both north and south to this very distinctive city on the bluffs.


Sun Studio

Standing on Union Avenue since 1950, this iconic studio has played host to everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis and to B.B King and Johnny Cash, who've all recorded multiple legendary albums here. In 1953, a certain 18-year-old named Elvis Presley walked into the studio and paid to record two songs; the rest is history. Trending even today, the Sun welcomes modern musicians to make records here, many of whom have gone on to join the studio's golden roster of world-famous musical talents. The studio has gradually transformed itself into a historic attraction where numerous artifacts and exhibits relating to its illustrious guests are delicately preserved and displayed for generations to cherish.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Children's Museum of Memphis

Not so much a museum as an educational indoor playground, this place is full of interactive activities for kids. Youngsters can climb a skyscraper, explore a fire engine or "ride" a police motorcycle. Children especially love the miniature grocery store, where they can push their own carts and "shop" for staples, and the playing bank, where they can write checks. Special exhibits and activities are also offered every month, including puppet shows and live music.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Graceland

Once home to music legend Elvis Presley, Graceland epitomizes the flamboyant style that the unforgettable seventies packed in. Life came a full circle for the King of Rock 'n' Roll when he purchased this Colonial Revival house in Memphis from Stephen Toof, a way of honoring the city that fed his musical ambitions and set him on his way to becoming a rising star. Rumoured to be the second most-visited house in the United States, Graceland is preserved exactly as it was when Elvis lived here. Elvis Presley bought this 13.8 acre (5.6 hectares) estate in 1957 and spent a large part of his life expanding and improving the opulent property. On the boulevard named after the legend himself, a sleek entertainment complex and adjoining visitors centre feed Elvis' fans still-extant frenzy through a wealth of displays and exhibits that revolve around the musician's life. The Elvis Entertainer Career Museum highlights the main aspects of his singing career, and display his most iconic sartorial collections, while the Automobile Museum showcases the stunning fleet of cars that Elvis rode in, from the Cadillac Eldorado to the Stutz Blackhawk. On August 16, the anniversary of Elvis' death, a candlelight vigil draws worldwide fans to this exceptional monument.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Dixon Gallery & Gardens

The Dixons were a childless couple who collected art, both fine and decorative and left it all to the city when they died. The travelling exhibits, are often spectacular and have included Faberge eggs, glassworks by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly, and an explosion of color from Raoul Dufy. The 17-acre (7-hectare) garden is usually open for strolling, except during outdoor concerts, picnics, or theater productions. The museum shop often has items from Memphis' Great Wonders exhibits! The museum is free for everyone on every Saturday between 10 am to noon.

Memphis, TN, United States
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National Civil Rights Museum

While speaking on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. You can relive history here by visiting the balcony and Dr. King's room, restored as it was when he was here to support the sanitation workers' strike. Through interactive multimedia exhibits you participate in the civil rights movement and learn its history from the 1600s through Rosa Parks and the freedom riders until today.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Memphis Zoo

The 2800 animals from over 400 species here have cared for in environments as close to their native habitats as possible. From African veldt to Asian temple ruins, Peruvian rain forests or Jamaican caverns, the animals roam free. Young children will enjoy the "Once Upon a Farm" exhibit and the amusement rides. The whole family will love watching the apes and monkeys in Primate Canyon. Do not miss the lions and tigers in Cat Country. Trams make getting around the park easy; wheelchairs and strollers can be rented.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Slavehaven Underground Railroad Museum

This tiny house stands as a reminder of both a dark period in American history and the efforts of many to remedy the wrongs of slavery. A merchant named Jacob Burkle, who ran a stockyard before the American Civil War, provided a haven for many runaway slaves on their journey through the Underground Railroad. Here you can see where they waited for the instructions that helped them find their way across the Mississippi River to freedom.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

Highlights of the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum's permanent collection include several Elvis costumes, B.B. King's guitar (affectionately called "Lucille" by the legendary musician), and Dick Clark's American Bandstand podium. The museum also offers special temporary exhibits. The museum is available for private parties and events.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located on the site of Stax Records which is known to have much significance in the music industry. The company is known to have launched the careers of many successful musicians. There are around 2000 exhibits that include videos, artifacts, films, photographs, and more. Apart from the exhibits, the museum regularly plays host to events like live concerts, educational programs, and fundraisers.

Memphis, TN, United States
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Beale Street

Right in the heart of Downtown Memphis lies the legendary Beale Street. Ever since its inception in 1841, Beale Street has always been a major locus of commerce in the city. As the years progressed and the street and the area around it built up, the street snowballed into a thriving commonplace for travelling African-American musicians to perform. With the advent of the Orpheum Theater and the Church Park, nightclubs, restaurants and shops began to brim the area. Through the early 20th Century, legendary musicians like Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and BB King performed on Beale Street and developed the Memphis Blues sound. Today, Beale Street is a major attraction in the city of Memphis, with legendary blues clubs, restaurants and shops that have been around almost as long as the street itself. Come evening, the street and its many lanes are illuminated by myriad neon-signboards of bars and restaurants which merrily beckon tourists and locals alike. The street is also known for hosting the grand Memphis in May International Festival and the Beale Street Music Festival every year.

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