Finger-lickin' barbecue, live music that makes your hips move and world-famous attractions like Beale Street and Graceland - Memphis has all of this plus so much more. Think funky shops, neighbourhoods with personality and history you won’t find anywhere else. It's all waiting for you in Memphis...
So, if you’re still thinking holidays, you should put Memphis on the top of your list. Memphis CVB have put together seven must-see Memphis attractions to show you the best of the Bluff City and to get your planning juices flowing….
Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock 'n' Roll at Elvis' home, Graceland. Graceland was purchased by Elvis Presley for $102,000 in 1957 when Elvis was just 22 years old. The Graceland experience takes you from Elvis' humble beginnings through his rise to international superstardom. See how the rock 'n' roll legend lived and relaxed with his family and friends. The full Graceland experience includes the Graceland mansion, trophy room, gravesite, automobile museum, custom jets and special exhibits. Graceland offers a self-guided tour that allows visitors to walk around at their own pace. Depending on seasonality and your interest in Elvis, you would usually spend 2 - 5 hours immersed in Elvis facts and memorabilia. Visit elvis.com to buy your tickets to Graceland.
The Memphis Zoo has been named as one of the best zoos in the country according to TripAdvisor and for good reason. It’s one of only four zoos in the country to house giant pandas and is a fantastic experience for kids of all ages. Explore over 76 acres of wildlife while viewing 3500 animals, representing 500 different species. Grab a schedule so you can catch all the zookeeper chats. Visit memphiszoo.org and you can find out how to catch a playful sea lion performance at Northwest Passage where you can also get nose-to-nose with polar bears, bald eagles and black bears….the list goes on.
You are probably well aware that Memphis has some of the best barbecue in all of the mighty U.S.of A. After a long, hot day of touring and exploring, nothing goes down better than a rack of ribs and a cold beer. Visit Rendezvous in Downtown Memphis (booking are recommended) or venture out to other hot spots like Central BBQ, A&R Bar-B-Que, Bar-B-Q Shop, Cozy Corner or Corky's. Everyone has their speciality in Memphis and you really can't go wrong. Need more options? Check out this big list of Memphis restaurants for additional barbecue and Southern food restaurants.
Housed in the Lorraine Motel, site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the National Civil Rights Museum presents a timeline of Civil Rights struggles relating to African-Americans, concentrating on the events of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Recently renovated, the museum now boasts more modernised displays – think "smart" tables with touch panels that reveal multiple levels of information, audio-visual programs instead of text panels and ample audio snippets. Goosebump inducing iconic exhibits and ﬁxtures like the Montgomery bus, the sit-in counter and freedom rides bus remain, but have been enhanced with touch-screens that offer a richer educational experience than ever before. The self-guided tour of the National Civil Rights Museum lasts approximately 2 hours. Read more about the updates to the museum here.
When you’re ready to leave land for water, a Memphis riverboat tour is just the ticket. See the legendary Mississippi River from Mark Twain’s view aboard these charming vessels. Cruise the night away with a romantic dinner or take a traditional sightseeing cruise to learn about the importance, beauty and history of the Mississippi River. Mississippi River sightseeing cruises are 90 minutes long and include a rich commentary by staff of Riverlorian. Refreshments are available onboard.
The Peabody Hotel’s famed ambassadors are housed in the "Duck Palace" on the hotel roof. Every day for the past 80 years at 11 a.m., they have been led by the Duckmaster down the lift to the marble fountain in the Grand Lobby. There’s a red carpet unrolled and the ducks march through crowds of admiring spectators to the tune of John Philip Sousa's King Cotton March. The ceremony is then reversed at 5 p.m., when the ducks retire for the evening to their palace on the roof of the hotel. The Peabody's famed ambassadors are five Mallard ducks – one drake with his white collar and green head, and four hens. They have appeared on Sesame Street, The Oprah Winfrey Show and in People magazine. The Peabody Duck March is free for everyone.
Gibson Guitars date back to the early 1900s and while the factories in Bozeman, Montana and Nashville, Tennessee build all of the electric models, purists come to Memphis for the hollowbody and semi-hollow body, semi-acoustic guitars.On your tour you can watch skilled luthiers as they handcraft some of the finest guitars in the world. See each step of the process from binding to neck-fitting, painting, buffing and tuning. The Gibson Guitar Factory retail centre is open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Factory tours are given every hour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tours cost $10 per person and advanced reservations are advised.