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.
What could be better than nature combined with music and entertainment? Enjoy the outdoors and live music in Overton Park, a small shell theater where Elvis once played that hosts concerts in the summer. Listen to jazz, classical or blues music while you gaze at the stars. Occasionally, old films are shown and live performances are hosted here. This is a great place to take children, since there is lots of room for them to play and use their imaginations.
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.
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 Botanic Garden is a collection of gardens that covers over 96 acres (39 hectares) in East Memphis. The lovely Japanese garden, with its bridges, ponds and goldfish is a favorite with visitors, who come for the candlelight evening tours in the summer. In the spring, the Ketchum Iris Garden glows with a myriad of colors, while the Municipal Rose Garden is at its best in May, June, and September. There is even a Sensory Garden that is designed to appeal to all five senses.
Memphis' main museum is housed in a marble building completed in 1916. The architecturally beautiful rooms house an outstanding collection of medieval art and a small but worthwhile collection of Impressionist works. One room is dedicated to a "touch" exhibit for vision-impaired visitors. Temporary exhibits include a patriotic show held during the Memphis in May Festival. The restaurant, the Brushmark, is a fine place to lunch, especially when the outside patio is open, which looks out on Overton Park.
The Civic Center Plaza is located in downtown Memphis, surrounded by the city’s main government buildings. A walk through this public square is something that all locals enjoy, especially in the summer, because the several water fountains that line the square provide a great opportunity to cool off. The plaza is also the venue for many community events, including the Memphis Roller Derby and much more. So, while you are out discovering the various attractions of downtown Memphis, do stop by here to take a break and enjoy being a spectator to the city’s vibrant community.
The Fire Museum is located in the first firehouse in Memphis. Kids will love the video games and interactive videos that simulate firefighting, while parents will appreciate the exhibit of unusual firefighting equipment from the last two centuries. If you take the restored trolley from Union or Beale, you can disembark at the museum, then walk up the street to the National Civil Rights Museum, in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
This historic house is one of the very few oldest surviving homes in Memphis. Constructed by Eugene Magevne, the house has been at its current location since the early 19th Century. An erstwhile clapboard cottage, today the historic structure has been converted into a museum and it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It displays antiques owned by the Magevney family. The museum is open to the public every first Saturday of the month from 1p to 4p.
St. Peter's Church, was designed by architect Patrick C. Keely. One of his more famous Gothic Revival churches is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in New York. His other churches can be seen in cities such as Philadelphia and Charleston, South Carolina. His designs are inspired by 13th-century Gothic design using such elements as martello towers, crenelations and pinnacles. Be careful if you park on busy Third Street, the traffic moves fast and the drivers are known for not watching for car doors opening. Ring the church office doorbell for admittance.
Considering how small the population of Memphis was in the 1860s, before the Civil War, there are a remarkable number of existing churches that date from the time. Memphis was not ravaged by the war, as were many other southern towns. So the charming St. Mary's, with its Gothic tower, survived to be completed shortly after the war. The interior of the church, built by German immigrants, features statues, stained glass, an elaborately carved altar and a lovely side chapel and garden. Weekday visitors should knock at the church office door for admittance.
Located in the center of Downtown, Memphis Cook Convention Center is a multi-purpose facility that specializes in hosting trade shows, conventions, conferences, performing arts and art exhibits. The 3,00,000 square feet (27870.912 square meters) event space accommodates two exhibit halls, the Grand Ballroom, 31 meeting rooms, a conference center and the 2,100-seater Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. They also offer banquet catering and beverage service depending on your event needs.