It’s the home of Elvis, Memphis-style barbecue and the Blues. This city, which sits by the mighty Mississippi River, is Tennessee’s second most populous city right after Nashville. Memphis is the state’s cultural and economic capital and it has, for generations, been associated with America’s music scene. Visiting Memphis is practically impossible without strolling through Beale Street or stepping into a club to hear live blues, jazz or soul; but the city beloved by “The King” has plenty more to offer. Here’s a fabulous Memphis weekend guide if you plan to visit this amazing city this summer.
A Memphis Weekend: What to Do and See
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Akin to the recording studio at Abbey Road in London, Stax Records studio hosted numerous household names in the genre of soul music. Musicians such as Otis Redding and Booker T. & the MGs were just a couple of studio’s most famous artists. The label itself is no longer in existence but the original structure now houses the Stax Museum of American Soul Music where you can peruse through thousands of artifacts, mementos, and interactive exhibits related to the artists whose voices once dominated within.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission costs $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $10 for children ages 9 to 12. Kids 8 years old and younger get in for free.
National Civil Rights Museum
50 years ago, prominent civil rights leader and activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. His death triggered an outpouring of grief in the United States and around the world. The National Civil Rights Museum sits in the exact motel where Dr. King was shot and is a must visit during your Memphis weekend stay. The museum is a touching tribute to the men and women who participated in the American civil rights movement that began all the way back to the 17th century. Visitors to the museum will also get an opportunity to step into the exact room where Dr. King spent his last hours. Plan to spend at least two hours to get through the exhibits.
The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day). Admission prices begin at $12 for kids and $15 for adults. Active military members can visit for free anytime. Tennessee residents can also get in free but only on Mondays from 3 pm onward.
Elvis Presley is the city’s most famous resident. Therefore, it’s almost impossible not to include a stop in Graceland during your Memphis weekend. Take your rental car to the estate Elvis purchased at a young age of 22 became his home and where he welcomed family and friends. To his devoted fans around the world, visiting Graceland is a pilgrimage in itself. The estate offers a guided tour for adults and a separate one for kids.