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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 acknowledge and celebrate Memphis’ musical heritage and should be on your “must see, must experience” lists!
Three 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 5AM. The Street is closed to automobile traffic during major special events and on summer weekends. More info.
When you think of Memphis, you think of Elvis – Right? Graceland, the Home of Elvis Presley, is located in Whitehaven, Tennessee. 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 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 to leave your mark on the front wall of Graceland! More info.
Sun Studio is the birthplace of Rock ‘N’ Roll. It was here that Elvis Presley recorded “That’s Allright Mama” on July 5, 1954, causing an explosion within the music world. Sun Studio is still an active recording studio and 30-minute tours are offered every half-hour. Feel the vibe, get the goose bumps and hang out in the café next door with musicians between recording takes. No other place like this on earth! More info.
Located on the site of the legendary Stax Recording Studios, the Soulsville museum is a celebration of Soul Music with tributes to its greatest artists, like Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MG’s, Isaac hayes, the Bar-Kays, Al Green, Aretha Franklin and more. Stax Records is a phenomenon that changed the culture of music forever – nationally and internationally. There are more than 2,000 items in the museum, from Issac Hayes’ restored peacock-blue 1972 Superfly Cadillac El Dorado (complete with a television, refrigerator and gold trim) to Tina Turner’s gold 28 sequined stage dress! More info.
Located in the FedEx Forum, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Soul Museum tells the comprehensive story of Memphis and its music, from Blues, to Soul, to Rock ‘N’ Roll. From individual kiosks throughout the exhibits, visitors scan tune into a wide variety of music. When they started research on the great American Music Project, the Smithsonian Institution discovered that “all roads lead to Memphis” and thus the creation of this musical treasure. More info.
Speaking of musical treasures, see where they are made at the Gibson Guitar Factory! Take a complete tour of the Gibson Beale Street Retail Center in Memphis, TN. 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. It’s 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 music innovations of tomorrow. Tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. More info.
The Fire Museum of Memphis is America’s premier interactive fire museum, located in the legendary Fire Engine House No. 1 in downtown Memphis, TN. Take a step back in time and witness a turn-of-the-century firehouse, while fighting 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 and also test your ability to find an escape route to survive a fire. Feel the heat of the Fire Room and learn about the most devastating fires in the history of Memphis. Also learn the proud history of Memphis’ first African-American firefighters! More info.