Updated: Sep 24
Memphis, Tennessee, is a vibrant city known for its rich history, iconic attractions, diverse cuisine, and warm hospitality. Here is a glimpse into the history, attractions, accommodations, and the best food options that you can explore during your visit to Memphis, plus some quirky places you might want to check out.
Memphis Tennesse has a storied past, playing significant roles in the Civil Rights Movement and the birth of blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll music. Many of the places listed in the attractions area show the history of Memphis better than I could ever explain.
The history did begin many thousands of years ago by the indigenous Mississippian cultures, later the Chickasaw Indian Tribe came into the area in the 1600's. Hernando de Soto, an early European explorer, visited and saw some of what was left of the Mississippian Culture that had survived. Later other explorers encountered the Chickasaw tribe. In 1819 the official "Memphis" began as a city, and it was named after Memphis, the ancient city in Egypt, which sat on the Nile River. From there the city grew, agriculture (especially cotton), shipping and fishing grew due to the location on the river.
The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The National Civil Rights Museum offers a powerful journey through the Civil Rights Movement. It features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that explore the struggle for equality and justice. This is the best place to learn about the battle for Civil Rights in the United States.
Sun Studio, often referred to as the "Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll," is another must-visit destination. You can learn about the early recordings of legendary musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The most famous attraction in Memphis is Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. Tour the mansion, see his collection of cars and planes, and immerse yourself in the life and legacy of the King. Last time I checked it was $10 for parking and $58 for access to the Mansion, it is totally worth it. Of course, this is the best way to learn about the King of Rock "n" Roll.
Just a couple pics from Graceland below.
Beale Street: Known as the "Home of the Blues," Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee is a historic and lively entertainment district. Take a stroll down this iconic street to enjoy live music, vibrant nightlife, delicious food, and a unique atmosphere. Look for the statue of Elvis. Also, if hungry, check out Dyer's Burgers, they claim to cook the burger in 100-year-old grease, and they say these are the best burgers around. lol
Memphis Zoo: Spend a day exploring the Memphis Zoo, home to a wide variety of animals from around the world. From elephants and lions to pandas and penguins, the zoo offers educational exhibits, interactive experiences, and beautiful habitats to discover.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music: Located at the original site of Stax Records, this museum pays tribute to the soul music genre and its influential artists. Explore exhibits featuring memorabilia, instruments, and recordings that highlight the impact of Stax Records on American music.
Visit the Peabody ducks. They march them out from the elevator from the Penthouse at the Peabody Hotel on a red carpet every day at 11AM, then the reverse happens at 5 pm with them going back in the hotel and up the elevator. Really cute to see.
The Bass Pro Shop Pyramid: Interesting place to check out. Take the elevator to the top for a great view of the city. Visit for free, but it's $10 to ride the elevator to the top.
Mississippi Riverfront: Take a leisurely stroll along the Mississippi Riverfront to enjoy scenic views, riverboat cruises, and recreational activities. You can also visit attractions like Mud Island River Park and the Memphis Riverboats for an immersive experience on the mighty Mississippi.
Other places to check out.
-Statue of Liberation through Christ-Winchester Road, Cool statue
-Lopsided Dog- statue- 75 Jefferson Ave
-Elvis Apartment-252 North Lauderdale St
-Birthplace of Aretha Franklin (abandoned house but still standing)
-Tom Lee Monument/ Park- saw the riverboat capsize, and right beside it is the monument for the riverboat. 375 Riverside Drive. Best view of the bridge from here.
-Yellow Fever of 1878- mass grave historical marker.
-Cotton Museum- 65 Union Ave.
-Dixon Gallery and Gardens-4339 Park Ave.
-Pink Palace Planetarium and Museum, even if you just want to drive by and look at the house, it is neat to see. 3050 Central Ave.
-Fire Museum-118 Adams Ave.
-Slave/ Underground Railroad Museum-826 N. 2nd Street
-Crystal Shrine Grotto (Located in a Cemetery)-5668 Poplar Ave
-Memphis National Cemetery-3568 Townes Ave.
As you can tell there are tons of places in Memphis, some are major tourist attractions, some tell history, and some are just cute and quirky. And this list is just breaking the surface of places to see in Memphis Tennessee.
Memphis Tennessee offers a range of accommodations to best suit different preferences and budgets. Downtown Memphis has several hotels within walking distance of major attractions, including Beale Street and the Mississippi River. Midtown also offers a variety of boutique hotels and guesthouses.
The best places on or near Beale St. I would feel fine staying there but it is in the main busy area with late nights. (prices vary)
The Westin $206 a night
Caption by Hyatt $132
Hyatt Centric $177
I recommend Beale Street for the adventure of the city, but if you would like to stay away from the party spot I suggest staying in the suburbs. The Whitmore and Massey Hill area is where I am focusing. Plus, hotels are budget friendly (prices vary)
Sonesta has a great deal right now. $62 a night.
Hyatt Place $116
And of course, check out staying at Graceland, The Peabody Hotel, or the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid for special stays in Memphis Tennesse.
When it comes to dining in Memphis, Tennessee, you'll find a vibrant food scene that celebrates the city's rich culinary heritage. Here are some must-visit places to eat in Memphis:
Gus's World-Famous Fried Chicken: This local institution is known for serving up some of the best fried chicken in town. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, Gus's chicken is a must-try. Don't forget to order their delicious sides like mac and cheese or fried okra. This is a chain because there are several scattered across the United States.
Central BBQ: Memphis is renowned for its barbecue, and Central BBQ is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Enjoy mouthwatering ribs, pulled pork, and brisket, all cooked low & slow with a variety of yummy sauces to choose from.
The Arcade Restaurant: Established in 1919, The Arcade Restaurant is a historic landmark and one of the oldest cafes in Memphis. Dive into classic Southern comfort food such as biscuits and gravy, country-fried steak, and their famous sweet potato pancakes.
Beauty Shop: Housed in a former beauty salon, Beauty Shop offers a unique dining experience with its retro-chic decor and creative menu. Indulge in modern American cuisine with dishes like the "She's a Betty" burger or the famous "Noodlemania."
The Majestic Grille: Located in a beautifully restored theater, The Majestic Grille combines fine dining with a touch of old-world charm. Their menu features a range of dishes, including steaks, seafood, gourmet burgers, and tasty vegetarian options.
Blue Plate Cafe: This cozy diner-style restaurant is known for its hearty breakfast and brunch offerings. From fluffy pancakes and omelets to biscuits and gravy, Blue Plate Cafe is the perfect spot to start your day in Memphis. There are several locations in the area.
Rendezvous: If you're looking for a unique barbecue experience, head to Rendezvous. Located in a basement alley, this iconic eatery specializes in dry-rubbed ribs cooked to perfection. Pair your meal with their famous barbecue spaghetti for an unforgettable meal.
There are so many more restaurants that deserve to be on this list, but unfortunately this post is getting long.
When visiting Memphis, Tennessee, you'll find a range of captivating attractions that showcase the city's cultural heritage, music history, and vibrant energy. Plus, the fantastic dining options Memphis has to offer. From soul food to barbecue and beyond, there's something to satisfy every craving in this culinary hotspot. Enjoy exploring the best flavors and attractions of Memphis!