The 10 Best Things to Do in Memphis, United States

December 18, 2017 Esmeralda Fenner

Memphis is a pilgrimage for those wanting to visit the birthplace of the blues, of soul and of rock 'n' roll. On Beale Street, W.C. Handy put down on paper the first written blues music. Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all recorded at the historic Sun Records, which is now a museum. Graceland, the second most-visited home in America, welcomes visitors from around the world who yearn for a peek into the life of "the King." Beyond the music, Tennessee's largest city also offers much more. It has more sunny days each year than Miami, and combines southern tradition and hospitality with modern amenities. You'll enjoy great dining (be sure to sample the barbecued ribs), art galleries and exciting nightlife.
Restaurants in Memphis

1. Graceland

3734 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, TN 38116-4106 +1 901-332-3322
Excellent
62%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Graceland

Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, is the home of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Elvis Presley's Graceland is open daily with tours of Graceland Mansion, Elvis’ custom jets and our new entertainment and exhibit complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. The new complex includes a new automobile museum, Presley Motors, and Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, the world’s largest and most comprehensive Elvis museum in the world, as well as many more exhibits, restaurants and shops. The tour of Graceland Mansion features an interactive, iPad tour with additional enhancements including photos, video and more.

Reviewed By ampanmangal - Georgia

Lots of money combined with a bad decorating era, bad decorating taste, and opulent excess = so bad it's good! A great pilgrimage to a one of a kind place. The house was originally built in 1939, and was a mansion of the time, but the original square footage is pretty average sized in today's opulent housing 'needs'. There have been plenty of additions, and outbuildings since the original was built. The tour only allows you to see the downstairs and basement of the house, which was disappointing.
There are a few choices for tours. We chose the Elvis VIP tour plus the airplanes, and that was perfect for us. We saw the house, plus the Disneyesque street, housing Elvis' outfits, cars, gold records, airplanes, and lots of places to shop. The diner offers fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches which were really good.

2. National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103-4214 +1 901-521-9699
Excellent
80%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 6 reviews

National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

At the place of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'S death in 1968 in Memphis, TN, the National Civil Rights Museum is a renowned educational and cultural institution. The Museum chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement with compelling presentations of iconic exhibits, oral histories of lesser-known civil rights foot soldiers, and visceral, in-the-moment experiences. Visitors will learn through emotionally charged, multi-user, multi-touch interactives, and a visually engaging, contemporary exhibit design that guides you through five centuries of history. Bring the whole family.

Reviewed By Tiffany L - Portland, Oregon, United States

Every year my kids learn about and celebrate MLK, but really only touch the surface of what he and so many others did for more equality in this country. This is a fabulous museum with a monumental amount of information available at your own pace and depth. There is so much to read and learn, but at the same time so much to see and listen to that younger ones can absorb the movement without the details on the placards. I would recommend this museum for ages 10 and up. Lots to talk about and discuss afterwards.

Go early as it was a bit crowded at midday on a Wednesday, but it was spring break and only a week before the 50th anniversary of his death so crowds may have been heavier than usual.

3. Sun Studio

706 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103-3218 +1 901-521-0664
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 8 reviews

Sun Studio

Sun Studio - The place where an 18 year old Elvis Presley recorded his first song. It’s well-known in the music industry as "The Birthplace of Rock 'N' Roll" and the most famous recording studio in the world. Opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips in 1950, this national Historic Landmark is where superstar musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and countless others started their recording careers. Today, Sun Studio still serves as a recording studio in the evenings while hosting public tours during the daytime hours.

Reviewed By Gma4198 - Fishers, Indiana

The Sun Studio was on our list of must see in Memphis. We had an exceptional tour guide, Graham, who was personable, knowledgeable, and also talented! Learned more history of Sun other than what I knew of Elvis and Johnny Cash recording there. Would definitely recommend for any music lover.

4. Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art

119 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103-3647 +1 901-523-2787
Excellent
85%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 224 reviews

Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art

Admission prices: $6 adult, $5 senior, $4 student. Free if 5 years old or under.

Reviewed By Paulette V

One of the highlights of my week in Memphis. Great small Museum, almost hidden away on Main St with an extensive private collection of Chinese/Japanese art, mostly Jade. Learned a lot about the different types/colors of Jade that I never knew existed. Also a moving exhibit of Judaic Art and Holocaust stories by local residents.

5. Memphis Zoo

2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112-5033 901-276-WILD
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Memphis Zoo

YaYa, a female Giant Panda that calls the Memphis Zoo home, enjoys a sunny day.

Reviewed By David S

I'll admit when I read the reviews of this place I was skeptical. But it did not disappoint. The buildings are old and need updating but they overcome that with the quality and quantity of animals. The layout is great. It was packed parking (good Friday) but once we got in it did not feel crowded. We like to visit zoos when we travel and this is one of the better ones we have visited. We will go back.

333 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103-3135 +1 901-523-2344
Excellent
80%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 105 reviews

Withers Collection Museum & Gallery

The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery houses and displays the collection of photographs taken by Ernest C. Withers, a prolific photojournalist who captured Memphis history for over 60 years.

Reviewed By evasmia - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Walking around on Beale Street, we wandered into the Withers Collection Museum.

Dr. Ernest Withers as the photojournalist who visually launched the civil rights movement with his coverage of a 1955 trial having his photos published nation and world wide.

He helped bring public awareness of Dr. Martin Luther King during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

The museum contains an historic photo tour of the civil rights movement with depictions of MLK, Medgar Evers, Muhammad Ali. Very moving.

Also included are photos of an early Elvis Presley and the King of the Blues, B.B. King.

In the back hallway is a picture of Dr. King composed of hundreds of King photos.

Withers chronicled 60+ years of history of music stars, early Beale Street days, sports heroes and was the personal photographer of Dr. King.

Adult admission is $10, seniors are $7 as are students / children under age 18.

This was a pretty long review but this was an amazing stop and I really wanted to share.

7. Shelby Farms Park

500 N Pine Lake Dr, Memphis, TN 38134-7970 +1 901-222-7275
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 427 reviews

Shelby Farms Park

Reviewed By Laurie T - Lino Lakes, Minnesota

The dog park is huge and well used. The recent wet weather meant that there was lots of muddy walkways and some treacherous paths. We saw dozens of dogs and owners here and only saw ONE OTHER DOG OWNER with a dog poop bag in their possession. Apparently it's the norm here to just let the poop be. Therefore there was poop everywhere. Never been to a dog park where this was okay behavior. As in many other dog parks, too many people ignore their nasty, aggressive dogs, letting them run off while they don't pay attention.

8. Stax Museum of American Soul Music

926 E McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN 38106-3338 +1 901-261-6338
Excellent
67%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, is a 17,000 square-foot museum offering interactive exhibits, videos, vintage musical instruments used to create the Stax sound, stage costumes, photographs, records, and approximately 3,000 other items of memorabilia that tell the unique story, from beginning to present, of American soul music, particularly that of Stax Records and the Memphis Sound.Artists highlighted include Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, the Bar-Kays, Booker T. & the MGs, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and hundreds of others.

Reviewed By Diane B - Arlington Heights, Illinois

Went with my young adult children and we all enjoyed everything about it! Easy parking, inexpensive (even without the student discounts) and very cool! Around every corner was an exciting new exhibit. I got really excited about seeing the Soul Train exhibit since I spent my Saturday mornings watching it and practicing my dance moves! My son who has always had a passion for music could not get enough, and I believe we spent about 2 1/2 hours there, but you could probably do it in under 2.

Also want to give a shout out to those who were working! I'm sorry I didn't catch any of your names, but thank you for giving us great food suggestions for us to find afterwards, we ended up at Central BBQ (Although I wanted Gus's and my daughter wanted Soul Fish!) Always ask a local where they would go eat, can't go wrong!

9. Levitt Shell

Overton Park, Memphis, Memphis, TN 38112 +1 901-272-2722
Excellent
71%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 204 reviews

Levitt Shell

Reviewed By ks-bike-rider - ks

The free concert series here during the summer is amazing. I hope the people of Memphis can appreciate how fortunate they are to have the support of weekly, or more often, concerts from top-rate artists. If you live in Memphis and haven't been, GET OUT THERE! We used to have a much more vibrant music scene in Kansas City, but local apathy has killed anything like this. GO! Drag your sorry butts in from the burbs. It's not that scary.

10. AutoZone Park

Union Ave and Third Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 +1 901-721-6000
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 610 reviews

AutoZone Park

Reviewed By David J - Marietta, Georgia

My family and I attended a game here

Parking around ball park was in parking deck and walk a short distance. We had excellent seats and the overall look of the ball park was great. The food at the ball park was very good and we all had a great time. The ball park is also located close to hotels and restaurants. Within a few blocks of Beale St.

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