Bustling Beale Street at night
A glam night out at the Orpheum Theatre
An array of Elvis costumes at Graceland
Outside historic Sun Studio
The American Queen steamboat pulls into Beale Street Landing
Kayakers about to pass under Memphis Bridge
Wandering through the exhibits at Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Engaging with history at the National Civil Rights Museum
Rendezvous’ pork barbecue sandwich
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Find your “soul mate” in Memphis
Find your groove
Tracing Beale Street is a musical pilgrimage, and a top-to-bottom sensation: neon lights, brass notes, jams streaming from every open door, screaming “Come on in!”
Between sets, it hits you: This is the street that gave B.B. King his name. That fascinated Elvis and Steve Cropper as teens. You’re standing at the source. Chase the legends at Sun Studio, Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Drive by studios Ardent and Royal, illustriously active to this day. Tour Graceland – 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right” – and the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.
Find your flavor Used to be, you came to Memphis craving barbecue and soul food. Our staples aren’t going anywhere, but we’ve heaped on some accompaniments: Tapped craft beer. Brought in the food trucks. Attracted the culinary avant garde.
You’ve probably heard of Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Hog & Hominy and Kelly English of Restaurant Iris. They’ve all been named “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine and “Best Chef in the Southeast” semifinalists by the James Beard Foundation.
But before the current crop of celebrated chefs, there were the pioneers: Karen Carrier constantly reinventing menus at Bar DKDC) and Chuck Skypeck still brewing at his (and Tennessee’s) first brew pub, Boscos. Seek Chuck’s other Memphis-made brew, Ghost River, plus an influx of others (High Cotton!) around town, with tasting rooms to come.
So come to Memphis hungry for global flavors grounded by local, seasonal ingredients – but rest assured, we’ll keep the barbecue and beans coming. (Our 100-plus barbecue joints guarantee it.)
Find your past
One look at the Mississippi and you know it’s mighty. But dive into its backstory – woven of cotton, strands of song and the cords of Civil Rights – to catch its ultimate drift.
Enjoy the vista (and a riverboat cruise) from Beale Street Landing. Cross the street to Cotton Row and the Cotton Museum, where you can pace the floor of the original Memphis Cotton Exchange and listen to oral histories.
From here, stroll hand-in-hand with Ol’ Man River (Riverside Drive is your route for bluffs, lofty residences and vintage buildings) to the South Main Historic District, where the National Civil Rights Museum awaits at the Lorraine Motel.
Make your way back to Beale. Historic markers and landmarks (Ida B. Wells, W.C. Handy) give way to the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery, Ernest Withers’ gripping photo journal of Civil Rights and celebrity in Memphis.
Find yourself in Memphis.