Located where the mighty Mississippi and Wolf Rivers meet, Memphis is one of the Southern United States’ most prized jewels. Memphis holidays allow visitors to explore a city which is rich in culture and history; it is the place which bred some of the world’s greatest music icons, including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, and cradled the American Civil Rights Movement. With so much to see, explore and learn, Memphis makes for one heck of a holiday location.
Most people today are familiar with Elvis Presley, the legendary ‘King of Rock ‘n Roll’, and most associate Memphis, Tennessee with the iconic singer. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Memphis each year, predominantly on Elvis’ birthday, to make the journey to Graceland, the mansion where Presley famously lived and died.
The Memphis music scene however is more than just Elvis. The city also produced the modern musical forms of blues and soul. Take a walk down the renowned Beale Street in the downtown area to get a sense of history as well as today’s modern sounds.
Aside from the music-related attractions, holidays to Memphis offer a number of other draws to appeal to today’s traveller. From the Mississippi riverboats to the southern cuisine (barbeque!), renowned museums, botanical gardens and local parks, to blues clubs and cafes, you’ll be kept busy for days!
It just wouldn’t be proper to not mention Memphis’ legendary music scene, but where to begin? A good place to start would be Beale Street which has been voted the most iconic street in all of America. It’s easy to see why it is so revered by music fans. The strip is nearly two miles long and home to countless blues clubs. If you’re looking for some great live rock and roll style music, this is the place to be as you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a top quality music venue when you’re on Beale Street!
Among the most famous rhythm and blues musicians to grace the city of Memphis are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers B.B. King and Muddy Waters, the latter of which has no less than four songs on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s iconic “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” list. Joining these famous sons of the blues scene in the Memphis musical alumni are queen of soul Aretha Franklin and the country rockabilly legend that is Johnny Cash.
All of these musical icons, and many more, are covered in great detail at the Memphis Rock n’ Soul Museum where music fans can see for themselves many of the instruments and memorabilia associated with the greatest musicians of the 20th Century. You can go even further by taking the Memphis Mojo Music Bus Tour and get shown the sights and sounds of the city’s music scene by legitimate local musicians – audience participation is actively encouraged!
Of course, no discussion of Memphis’ stellar contributions to the world would be complete without mentioning the city’s most famous resident, the King of Rock and Roll Himself, Mister Elvis Pressley. Every little detail of the great man’s life can be explored in Graceland, the area where the King made a name for himself. You can walk in his footsteps an embark on The Graceland Tour, where you will be able to visit Raceland Mansion, the home of Elvis himself and track The King’s career and rise to superstardom. While you’re at it, you can double up with a guided tour of Sun Studio, where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Louis and many others recorded some of their most famous albums and songs.
If you want to trace Elvis’ life all the way back to day one, you can do so by taking a day trip to Tupelo, Mississippi where you can visit his birthplace and check out the locales he frequented as a child up until the age of thirteen, including the Tupelo hardware store where a young Elvis walked in with the intent of buying a gun,
While it is very tempting to focus your trip to Memphis, Tennessee entirely on its awe-inspiring musical history, it would be a terrible to shame to overlook what must be Memphis’ most important contribution to American history and culture; The Civil Rights Movement.
During the 1960s, Memphis was right at the heart of the movement, with Martin Luther King giving his fabled “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech at Mason Temple. More sadly, Memphis is also the place where Dr King was tragically assassinated, at the Lorraine Motel. You can commemorate Dr King’s memory and sacrifice by visiting the infamous motel, which has since been renovated and made part of the National Civil Rights Museum.