Your Personal Guide to Touring Memphis!
Only in Memphis can you find the eclectic mix of blues, gospel, and jazz that created the unique sound of Rock ‘N’ Roll. The following attractions which acknowledge and celebrate Memphis’ musical heritage should be on your “must see, must experience” list!
Beale Street Entertainment District is 3 blocks long with night clubs, restaurants and retail shops. Hear R&B, Blues, Jazz and Rock ‘N’ Roll. The WC Handy House Museum, Handy Park, the Police Museum and A. Schwab’s 19th century dry goods store and some really funky retail are available during the daytime hours. At night, clubs are open as late as 5 a.m. The Street is closed to automobile traffic during major special events and on summer weekends. Resources: Wikipedia Page
When you think Memphis – you think Graceland and Elvis! Right??? Graceland, the Home of Elvis Presley, is located in Whitehaven. From the original colonial home with its sweeping front lawn, the complex has expanded to include the Automobile Museum, Memorabilia Museum, two of Elvis’ planes, Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, restaurants and shops. Allow 1 and 1/2 hours for the Mansion tour and up to 3 hours for touring all attractions. Graceland is open 7 days a week for most of the year. Reservations are suggested on weekends and holidays. Be sure to bring a Sharpie and leave your mark on the front wall of Graceland!
Sun Studio is THE birthplace of Rock ‘N’ Roll. It was here that Elvis Presley recorded “That’s Allright Mama” on July 5, 1954, and the music world exploded. Sun Studio is, today, active recording studio. Tours are 30-minutes long and are offered every half hour. Feel the vibe, get the goose bumps – hang out in the café next door with musicians between recording takes! No other place like this on earth! Resource: Official Website
Soulsville: Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located on the site of the legendary Stax Recording Studios. The Museum is a celebration of Soul Music, with tributes its greatest artists: Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Isaac hayes, the Bar-Kays, AlGreen, Aretha Franklins, Earth, Wind & Fire and others. The story of StaxRecords is one of a cultural phenomenon that changed the culture of music forever – locally, nationally, and intenationally. There are more than 2,000 items in the museum– from Issac Hayes’ restored, peacock-blue 1972 Superfly Cadillac El Dorado complete with television, refrigerator, and gold trim to Tina Turner’s gold 28 sequined stage dress!
The Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum located in the FedEx Forum gives the comprehensive story of Memphis and its music, from Blues to Soul to Rock ‘N’ Roll. From individual kiosks throughout the exhibits, visitor scan tune into a lengthy variety of music. When they started research on the great American Music Project, the Smithsonian Institution discovered “all roads lead to Memphis” and thus the creation of this music treasure. Resource: Official Website
Speaking of music treasures – see where they are made at the Gibson Guitar Factory! Take a complete tour of the Gibson Beale Street Retail Center in Memphis. This memorable tour of Gibson’s Memphis guitar factory consists of an intimate viewing of the facility as Gibson’s skilled luthiers craft some of the finest guitars in the world. An opportunity to witness the intricate process of binding, neck-fitting, painting, buffing, and tuning that creates these incredible musical instruments. See and hear how Gibson has helped shape the world of music for over 100 years and continues to set the pace for the musical innovations of tomorrow. Tour lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Fire Museum of Memphis is America’s premier interactive fire museum located in the legendary Fire Engine House No. 1 in downtown Memphis. Step back in time to a turn-of-the-century firehouse. Fight the flames of a burning scraper from a snorkel basket. Take a look at the horse-drawn era of firefighting from the horse’s perspective! Test your ability to find an escape route to survive a fire. Feel the heat of the Fire Room. Learn about the most devastating fires in the history of Memphis. Learn the proud history of Memphis’ first African-American firefighters.
Destination: Memphis! Map
Now we wouldn’t be much help to simply get you excited about all these great places and then not tell you how to get there! You may find this map helpful below. Enjoy!
View Destination: MEMPHIS! in a larger map