You’ll find an astounding amount of history to explore in Memphis, including celebrity homes, legendary recording studios, historic hotels, museums, and more. Whether you’re interested in music history or Tennessee’s cultural roots, you’ll have a blast exploring the sites in Memphis. Stop by these can’t-miss historic locations while visiting the city.
Image via Flickr by theogeo
Curious about the intersection of blues and rock-and-roll? Memphis artists played a critical role in the development of these genres. If you want to dive deeper into this part of Tennessee history, visit Graceland and Sun Studio during your stay. Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley, is full of memorabilia and exhibits celebrating his life. Elvis and many other artists, such as Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, made history in this city and recorded famous tracks at nearby Sun Studio. Tours at both of these locations are essential on any music lover’s Memphis itinerary.
Beale Street, which runs through downtown Memphis, is the home of the blues and is full of living history. Dozens of music venues line these streets. This includes the Orpheum Theatre, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Beale Street is central to other historical sites in the area, including Graceland and Sun Studios, so check out a hotel in this area to enjoy easy access to these and other attractions in Memphis.
Image via Flickr by Noel Pennington
The Peabody Hotel is nearly 150 years old, meaning this site shared the streets of Memphis with genre-defining musicians such as Memphis Minnie and Elvis Presley. If you don’t book a stay here, at least come by to see the building and watch the daily “walk of the ducks,” where a staff member escorts the five ducks to the lobby fountain.
The National Civil Rights Museum
Learn more about the Civil Rights movement with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum. Dozens of exhibitions commemorate and educate guests about major historic moments of this movement, from the rise of Jim Crow to civil rights actions in Mississippi and more. You can also visit an exhibit at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stayed in 1968, and the site where King was assassinated.
The Mississippi River and Mud Island River Park
The Mississippi River runs to the west of Memphis, and it deserves a spot on your schedule during your visit. Get an incredible view of the water from the Big River Crossing — a roughly 1-mile long bridge that you can walk or bike across. Then go to Mud Island River Park to learn more about the river’s history and the state’s geography. The park includes an exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi River, tracing the shores from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico.
Memphis is an iconic American city that has seen some incredible history. Pay a visit to these can’t-miss destinations to learn more about the many events that have taken place here over years.