Memphis Destination Guide
It’s time to dust off those blue suede shoes and dance your way into the American music heartland: Memphis. More than a decade before the long-haired foursome from Liverpool kicked off their British Invasion, a musical transformation and social revolution was taking shape in Memphis, Tennessee. With its mix of southern charm, country roots and Mississippi Riverboat hi-jinks, Memphis possessed a century’s old music tradition that went on to influence Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and countless others. While today’s Memphis may be slightly frayed around the edges, its character and vitality is as strong as ever. Like the Mighty Mississippi River it graces, Memphis keeps rolling on.
Fuel your passion for history at…
- The National Civil Rights Museum
- Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
- Memphis’ Rock n Soul Museum
Possibly one of the biggest attractions in the entire U.S. is Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion. Even if you’re not an Elvis fan, this site is sure to impress. The grounds and additional buildings contain fascinating exhibits and offer a memorable look back at moments in music and pop culture history. Take a stroll along the charming Main Street not far from the Memphis Rock n’ Roll Museum, before hopping on one of the historic street cars for a leisurely ride around downtown Memphis, stopping off at famous Beale Street. This historic street is a great mixture of famous music studios, restaurants, clubs and bars, and the vibrant night time atmosphere is a big draw.
If you’re after a bigger crowd and some night time excitement, head to Beale Street where there are many restaurants and bars to choose from. There is usually a festival or live band taking place somewhere on the street and it’s an easy walk if staying within the downtown area. If an upscale and more relaxed environment is preferable, then a visit to the exclusive and historic Peabody Hotel is a must. This Memphis icon is an afternoon favourite for drinks and lunch and is famous for the duck march that takes place in the lobby. The resident ducks march through the hotel lobby and swim in its fountain for hours every day. In the evenings the hotel’s five star French restaurant offers impeccable service and excellent cuisine.
Feel that rocking beat at…
- The historic Handy Park Pavilion bar
- The Blues City Cafe
- Hi-Tone with its underground vibe
Where to Stay
There are several well known hotel brands located downtown but the most famous is The Peabody Hotel. This iconic hotel is of another era, built in the heady days of the 1920’s. The rich and handsome lobby and elegant restaurants and rooms define downtown luxury. There are many quaint inns and B&B’s on Mud Island just a short walk from downtown and close to all the great riverfront viewing areas. Most of the area hotels are located in the eastern suburb of Germantown and surrounding area. Here many hotel chains in every price category can be found.
The downtown shopping scene is fairly sporadic with many shops located along Main Street with souvenir and specialty shops found on Beale Street. Much of the shopping in Memphis is located in the suburban shopping malls to the east of the city. The Avenue Carriage Crossing is a lovely pedestrian mall anchored by two department stores. Oak Court Mall is decorated with beautiful sculptures and Italian marble and is close to other popular shopping areas such as the upscale Laurelwood Plaza.
Memphis Like a Local
Aside the shopping and dining out, Memphis residents like to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings of nearby state parks and Mississippi River trails. Canoe and Kayak enthusiasts can be found on Ghost River while the city’s beloved Shelby Farms Park is popular for picnics, leisurely strolls and jogging. Local bicyclists regularly enjoy the miles and miles of bike trails along the Mississippi River.
Get festive during…
- Beal Street Music Festival in May
- Carnival Memphis in June
- The Cooper-Young Festival in September