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' 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.
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.
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.
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.
This 1870s house is part of Victorian Village, where Memphis homes dating from the 1800s have been preserved and restored. In addition to the furniture and decorative arts displayed inside, the house also has an exhibit of clothing from the Victorian era. Look at the cinched waists and layers of velvet and wonder how the Victorian ladies survived the hot Memphis summers. Tours are held every half hour.
At Mud Island, see the twists and turns of the Mississippi River following the River Walk. Learn about the shipping of cotton on the river and the musical history made in cities along the river, from New Orleans jazz to Memphis blues. See the Memphis Belle, a historic WWII airplane. The Mud Island Amphitheatre on the island hosts concerts in the summer. To get there, ride the monorail.
Blues City Tours offers several options from which to choose, depending on your interests. You can take a three-hour bus tour to see all the local landmarks, including Beale Street, the Victorian Village and Sun Studio, or see "Memphis After Dark" with a tour of the clubs on Beale. There is also a four-hour tour to the casinos along the river in Mississippi, which includes transportation to the casinos plus an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Center for Southern Folklore is worth the visit if you want to sit and hear some blues or have a beer and learn about Southern culture. This private, non-profit organization is dedicated to informing people about Southern history with an emphasis on music and art. The interior, decorated by local artists, is eclectic and includes a gift shop and coffee bar. The gift shop is a great place to get books or albums featuring Memphis and Memphis artists. They also have live music Friday and Saturday evenings.
Backbeat Tours is a tour agency which offers tourists an exclusive and unique experience of the city's culture. Explore the city of Memphis city on a backbeat bus that takes you to all the places of historic importance. Riding in a vintage style, this bus tour offers live music inside the bus that vary from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash to gospel of the churches. So, when you visit this attractive city, don't forget to hop in the bus and take ride around.
Stroll down the shady streets and imagine that you are a wealthy nineteenth century Memphian. Seventeen marvelous Victorian homes in this charming neighborhood were restored and preserved in the 1970s. Some of the most significant buildings in this area are the Mallory-Neely House, the Lowenstein-Long House, and the Woodruff-Fontaine House. Victorian-themed events and concerts are held here throughout the year as well as a Christmas exhibit. There is metered parking on the street, an easy walk to the homes.