Why Go To Memphis
Memphis is constantly grooving, either to the songs of Elvis echoing throughout the city or to the tunes of up-and-coming musicians along Beale Street. Graceland is the major draw for many; however, audiophiles who come only for Elvis will be pleased to find out that Memphis has much more to offer. Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes and B.B. King also nurtured their unique sounds in Memphis bars and recording studios. Along with the significant role Memphis played in music history, this city also serves as a poignant reminder of the civil rights movement. It was here that Martin Luther King Jr. petitioned for the equal rights of black sanitation workers in 1968. After leading a peaceful protest in March, King returned to the city on April 3 only to be assassinated a day later at the Lorraine Motel, now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.
There's a third, sometimes overlooked reason to plan a Memphis visit. The "Cradle of American Music" delivers good eats, as well as good tunes and good history lessons. Consider a spring or fall trip (the summer heat here is staggering) to try out a few culinary – and distinctly Southern – favorites. The region's finger-lickin' barbecue and buttery grits should be at the top of any aspiring foodie's list.
The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.
Memphis is ranked as:
#12 in Best Cheap Vacations in the USA
Best Things To Do In Memphis
First up, the King: Whether you're a fan or just curious, you should definitely join the masses to tour Graceland and Elvis' recording room at Sun Studio. Next, an important dose of history: Swing by the National Civil Rights Museum and Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum for a better understanding of how this city's past is reflected in its present and future. Families can head to the panda exhibit at the Memphis Zoo or watch the famous march of the Peabody Ducks that parade through the lobby of The Peabody Memphis.
Memphis Travel Tips
You'll experience traffic The city's highways can morph into parking lots within minutes. Stay off the roads between 7 and 9 a.m., and again between 4 and 6:30 p.m.
You'll experience Elvis mania - The King has been gone for several decades now, but the citizens of Memphis have had a difficult time letting him go (especially since his legacy is integral to their tourism industry).
You'll experience heat exhaustion - This condition is a frequent one for tourists in the summer. While seeing the sights, drink lots of water and take breaks indoors.
Avoid a summer visit - The air is muggy with high temps and humidity, and hotel rates are high. Save some money and enjoy more pleasant weather by visiting in the fall or spring.
Opt for the Backstage Pass - If you plan to visit the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, Sun Studio, Graceland and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, consider purchasing the Backstage Pass. It grants you access to all four attractions for $84.
Enjoy the freebies - Several attractions are extremely cost effective (in other words: free). The duck march at The Peabody Memphis and the art museum at the University of Memphis are just a couple of the no-cost-to-you activities.