Memphis, Tennessee stands as a monument to modern day rock ‘n’ roll, as music legends like Elvis Presley produced some of his greatest hits there.
In addition to being home to amazing music, you’ll also find a rich history, delicious food, museums, zoos, parks, outdoor activities, and so much more. Memphis is just a super fun place to visit!
Here are 34 things to do in Memphis that you’re going to want to explore.
Graceland is the home of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock n Roll. It’s no surprise that this is one of the biggest attractions not only in the state of Tennessee but also in the country. Make no mistake this property is huge and offers 120 acres all dedicated to the legend himself.
Just surpassing its 45th anniversary there is so much to see and do. Some of the absolute favorites include the private mansion where the king himself grew up as well as the Entertainer Career Museum. Here you can check out an interactive experience that makes you feel like he’s right in the midst of his prime years.
Details: Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116 | Website
THE PEABODY HOTEL
The Peabody Hotel is a historic hotel that features the famous Peabody Ducks. Here you can watch these guys strut down the red carpet and into the famous fountain that sits in the middle of the hotel lobby. It truly is something to quack up about.
Rumor has it that when the Peabody Hotel first opened they tried this with baby alligators and turtles. But it all started after the general manager of the hotel went hunting and had a few drinks. They thought it would be funny to place these ducks in the fountain and since then they’ve remained permanent residents.
This is not only fun for kids but also a great time for adults. The hotel itself also features historic beautiful architecture from the inside.
Accommodation: 149 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
BEALE STREET ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT
Beale Street is the heart and soul of Memphis, Tennessee where you can hear live music at a handful of restaurants. What is really interesting is that there are a few record shops where you can really take part in the culture and learn about the history of jazz.
This is a great spot to hang out at night because you are sure to see the locals dancing outside bars and eateries. Blues Hall is certainly a favorite spot but what makes this place so cool is that it’s connected to Rum Boogie Cafe giving you the two-for-one experience.
Details: Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
THE ARCADE RESTAURANT
The Arcade Restaurant happens to be the oldest cafe in Memphis. The owner immigrated from Greece in 1919 and opened Greek-inspired dishes to local Southerners. The incredible thing about this restaurant is the number of economic changes with both booms and downturns. It still has the same classical design as when it first opened.
While it’s a great place to get a lunch or dinner bite, be sure to take some time for breakfast when coming through here. While the menu doesn’t scream modern, their traditional classics like country fried steak are sure to send you off with a full belly and feeling satisfied.
Details: 540 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
Can you imagine running around an urban park that has 4,500 acres of things to do? Don’t be overwhelmed because Shelby Farms is a fantastic spot to get all your energy out. For starters the park has over 40 miles of trails so you could spend your weekend doing that if you wanted.
But there is plenty more to check out!
You can also explore the area on a bike by checking out their Urban greenline or hitting up the BMX park. Want to go more traditional? Spend your afternoon horseback riding!
There really is an endless list because if you prefer to cool off by engaging in water activities then there are over 20 lakes located in this park for you to choose from! Spending a few days here is certainly worthwhile.
Details: 6903 Great View Dr. N, Memphis, TN 38134 | Website
EARNESTINE AND HAZEL’S
Are you looking for soul food that fills you till it hurts? Well, Earnestine and Hazel’s is one of the best burger joints in Memphis, and they offer you burgers dripping with their unique “Soul Sauce” and patties cooked to perfection. The burgers are simple, yet their flavors will have you asking for more.
Of course, another reason to visit this soulful burger joint is the rumors surrounding it. Some believe that the restaurant is haunted, while others use magic to create their Soul Sauce.
Details: 531 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MEMPHIS
The Memphis Children’s Museum is one of the best attractions in the city for families. With its bright colors and cheerful music, the museum takes various interests that kids might have and offers everything that they would want for it.
Children can have fun on the rock climbing wall, a car garage, and an art studio where children can strut their creative skills. There are also plenty of permanent exhibits about dinosaurs and different professions.
Details: 2525 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 | Website
Sun Studio is easily one of the biggest attractions in the city, as many consider it to be the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. A band recorded the first rock n roll song here in the 1950s, making it an especially fun attraction to visit. Many big names in the rock ‘n’ roll’s musical history started with this studio, with the most popular ones being Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.
You can take a guided tour of the studio to find different 50s memorabilia scattered throughout, with different objects of interest, like the microphone a young Elvis used to record his songs.
Details: 706 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
The Memphis Zoo is a massive compound covering 76 acres, so be sure to pack your walking shoes. With 3,500 animals representing 500 species, there is so much to see and do here.
The zoo is also very historically relevant, as it has been a staple of Overton Park for over a century now. It first opened its doors to the public in 1906, with visitors worldwide coming to see the zoo.
Details: 2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112 | Website
Memphis is all about preservation, as it is home to some of the oldest attractions in the country, all of which still work efficiently. And one of the most popular vintage attractions in the city is the Orpheum Theater. You can catch a variety of Broadway shows here and various live jazz performances. You can check their website to see what will happen when you get there.
Of course, similar to most old architecture in the city, many believe that the theater is haunted. People think that the spirit of a small girl watches over all the performers and audience members. You can test that theory out yourself by taking energy readings of the theater.
Details: 203 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
BLUES HALL OF FAME
Memphis is most famously known for its music and the overall impact it’s had on the entire world. Blues music has been an especially big part of the city’s culture, with the genre finding its most prominent voices here.
The city celebrates its role in blues music and the many pioneers of the genre with the Blues Hall of Fame. You can find plenty of things to gush about when visiting the center; it features pictures of its 400 inductees as well as rooms with different types of memorabilia.
Details: 421 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
A. Schwab is one of the most fun attractions you can find in the city, despite being fairly small. A small brick-and-mortar store offers various small knick knacks and souvenirs that are hard to find anywhere else in the city. One of the store’s highlights is the world’s largest overalls, which you can find hanging from the shop’s ceiling.
There is even a candy counter inside to offer various fun treats, as well as a soda machine that can get you a cold beer or some fun ice cream.
Details: 163 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
SLAVE HAVEN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD MUSEUM
Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum stands as a difficult reminder of the inequality before the Civil War. For many slaves looking to free themselves from captivity, they would escape to the Burkle Estate, which is now the museum.
The estate is filled with trap doors and smaller secret passages that slaves used to escape the south and go to the north. You can even learn about how slaves were treated back then through various artifacts in the museum. Even if it can be a difficult place to visit, it is still important to learn about this history.
Details: 826 N 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38107 | Website
Downtown Memphis features plenty of sights to see and a unique variety of foods to eat. But easily one of the best attractions there is the Autozone Park, which is a small-time stadium. Despite its size, you can usually find the stadium packed to the limit, with enthusiastic crowds cheering for their favorite team.
Be sure to go to their website and check if they have any scheduled matches, where you can take in the atmosphere and start to enjoy yourself.
Details: 200 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
The Mississippi Riverfront is a great place to go out and enjoy a better view of the city. You can take a ferry tour on the Mississippi River to take in the view of the city.
The riverfront is also home to two major parts: the Mississippi River Park and Tom Lee Park. You can even look out at the river from the Beale Street Landing, which makes for a great place to take pictures.
Details: Riverside Dr., Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
While the name of this small peninsula will have you thinking of something like the swamp from Shrek, that is part of its charm.
Mud Island is a beautiful small island that you can either access through a bridge or with a hanging monorail, with the latter even offering a better view of what you are about to see. You can rent a pedal boat or go out rafting near the Mississippi River.
Details: River Park, Mud Island, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
SOUTH MAIN ARTS DISTRICT
The South Main Arts District is the type of location photographers love. The vintage trolley cars and restaurants, matched with colonial townhouses, makes for a great place to take pictures.
Some cinephiles will even recognize the location despite never being here, since it is a common addition to popular movies.
Details: S Main St Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN
If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax and take in nature, the Memphis Botanic Garden is just the place for you.
Walk past intricately paved walkways with nothing but the sound of singing birds, flowing streams, and rustling leaves accompanying you. You can also take your special someone with you to the botanic garden for a fun walk on the grass, with flowers accompanying every step.
Details: 750 Cherry Rd, Memphis, TN 38117 | Website
CRYSTAL SHRINE GROTTO
The Crystal Shrine Grotto is a unique attraction that will leave your jaw dropped looking at the many unique types of concrete slabs. The attraction is the only crystal cavern in the world and is mainly a place of quiet reflection.
The cement cavern also features statues of Jesus and various other important figures in the Bible. But even if you are not a person of faith, going to this cave can be a great experience, as you will see how beautiful it is.
The Crystal Shrine Grotto is located at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Details: 5668 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38120 | Website
STAX MUSEUM OF AMERICAN SOUL MUSIC
Memphis is the city to visit for anyone who is a fan of American Soul Music, with the Stax Museum being an especially fun highlight. The museum sits in the same location as the original Stax Recording Studio, which helped various big names in the soul genre record their music.
The museum is massive, featuring 2,000 artifacts that dive into the lore of soul music history. Visitors can even find the custom Cadillac Eldorado, which the studio offered Isaac Hayes as part of their new deal.
Details: 926 E McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN 38126 | Website
B.B. KING’S BLUES CLUB
Are you looking for the perfect place to indulge in your favorite southern foods as you sway popular blues music? Well, the B.B. King Blues Club is just the place for you.
The brightly decorated listening room features seating arrangements, so you always face the stage. When visiting the bar, you can easily see that the main focus of the blue’s club was the music, but the food is no slouch either.
Details: 143 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM
The National Civil Rights Museum is a place of learning, as you get the chance to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement that changed the American political and social landscape.
The museum is currently in The Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Visitors can find various interactive exhibits and guided tours throughout the 260 artifacts that tell the story of the movement and all of its achievements.
Details: 450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
TOM LEE PARK
Tom Lee Park is the park to visit when you are in Memphis, as it offers beautiful views of both the city and the Mississippi River.
There are plenty of paved routes that lead you to different park parts. There are even dog-walking trails that you can take, wide enough for you and your furry companion. Tom Lee Park is also on an incline, which means that you can see everything from the Memphis Bridge to the Memphis Pyramid in a single sweeping view.
Details: Riverside Dr., Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
C.H. NASH MUSEUM AT CHUCALISSA
Despite the incredible development throughout the city, Memphis has never forgotten its routes. The city was once inhabited by a tribe of Native Americans, who left remnants of their old life behind.
The museum is not a massive compound, but an open field with small mud huts, each telling a story about the tribe that once lived here. These mud houses are exact replicas of the houses that the Chucalissa inhabited.
Details: 1987 Indian Village Dr., Memphis, TN 38109 | Website
MEMPHIS MUSIC HALL OF FAME
If any music fans needed another reason to be excited about going to Memphis, well then why not add the city’s music hall of fame to the list as well! The compound celebrates the legacy of many musicians born in Memphis, or who are currently living in the city. It also has an incredible sense of humor, with the museum calling itself “just as outrageous as its inductees.”
Some of the inductees include Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Justin Timberlake, Otis Redding, Maurice White, and “Cowboy” Jack Clement, just to name a few.
Details: 126 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
THE BASS PRO SHOPS PYRAMID
The Memphis Pyramid is a massive structure that features many shops and fun experiences for people to enjoy.
One of the highlight shops there is the Bass Pro Shop for various fishing gear and bait. Whether you plan to go saltwater fishing or freshwater fishing, they have all the gear you would need to have a good time.
Details: 1 Bass Pro Dr., Memphis, TN 38105 | Website
DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS
The Dixon Gallery is a fun museum featuring a garden nearby, taking up a total space of 17 acres. Inside the museum, you can find various exhibits from different local and international artists.
Various exhibits include minimalist and expressionist art, all of which are certainly worth checking out if you happen to appreciate art in general. There are also different smaller programs for children to learn how to paint or learn more about local artists.
Details: 4339 Park Ave, Memphis, TN 38117 | Website
PINK PALACE MUSEUM
The Pink Palace Museum, now known as The Museum of Science & History (MoSH), is one of those fun locations for everyone. Its unique pink color makes it instantly pop from the rest of the city, and it features plenty of exhibits that are fun for everyone in the family.
Children can visit the planetarium, look at the dinosaur exhibit, and a miniature circus, which are just some of the highlights. Everyone in your family will have fun with the many exhibits in the store.
Details: 3050 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38111 | Website
MEMPHIS ROCK ‘N’ SOUL MUSEUM
While you might be a huge fan of soul music or rock ‘n’ roll, your partner or friend might not know about it as much. So if you’re looking to educate them about the history and cultural significance of the genres to Memphis, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is the perfect place for that.
You can show them all of the legendary musicians from Memphis and different memorabilia from these performers.
Details: 191 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
WOODRUFF-FONTAINE HOUSE MUSEUM
One of the oldest structures in Memphis, the Woodruff-Fontaine house rests on 680 Adams Avenue, which once had the name “Millionaire’s Row.” The Tennessee Committee for Preservation took the house after it stayed abandoned for decades.
Visitors will get a chance to look inside a millionaire’s house from the late 1800s. The house has been restored with serious attention to detail, allowing visitors to feel like they have come back in time.
Details: 680 Adams Ave, Memphis, TN 38105 | Website
Speaking of going back in time, you can even get a better look at what some other Victorian mansions looked like at the time when visiting Victorian Village. These mini museums are great places to visit, as they are seven distinct houses, each with a unique theme.
Some of these houses are said to be haunted, which comes with the package of an old Victorian house. So if you plan on visiting, why not take an energy detector with you, just in case.
BEAUTY SHOP RESTAURANT
Most of the shops in Memphis have a great sense of humor, giving people a unique dining experience with delicious southern food.
One of the highlights in the city is the Beauty Shop Restaurant, which features saloon-style seats with hairdryers on top, as well as glass brick booths. However, instead of offering southern food, it offers New American foods along with a wonderful interior design. It’s a must-eat place to visit in Memphis.
Details: 966 Cooper St #5611, Memphis, TN 38104 | Website
Memphis is one of the few cities in the U.S. to still have a functional trolley, which offers a nice and slow ride across various major parts of the city.
The trolley takes you through Downtown Memphis, stopping by all of the major attractions in the city on its way.
Details: 547 N Main St, Memphis, TN 38105 | Website
Finally, if you’re in the mood for some juicy, slow-cooked southern meats, then the Central BBQ is where you need to be. Their signature sauce instantly makes their foods stand out, which is why many call it the best BBQ in Memphis.
You can even have your BBQ with a cold beer and enjoy the rustic setting they have in their restaurant.
Details: 147 E Butler Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 | Website
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