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Historical

Top Rated Attractions in Memphis

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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.

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.

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.

Mason Temple

The Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, has been turned into the Civil Rights Museum. But the Mason Temple, where he gave his famous "I've Been to the Mountain Top" speech, is still a functional church—the headquarters of the Church of God in Christ. The church holds services on Martin Luther King Day in January in honor of his birthday. The church is included in the Heritage Tour of Historic Churches. Call church office for private tours.

Woodruff-Fontaine House

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.

Elmwood Cemetery

This lovely 80-acre (32-hectare) cemetery is a wonderful place to go on a warm afternoon. Huge, shady trees protect the most interesting collection of graves and gravestones in the city. Elaborate Victorian monuments mark the final resting places of city founders such as Robert Church, the first black millionaire in Memphis, as well as Mayor E.H. "Boss" Crump and 19 generals from the Confederate Army.

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