Memphis is a great American road trip destination that reflects the culture of the South and the Midwest and offers a surprising array of activities for travelers. Whether you’re interested in music, history, family attractions, or barbecue, this city has something to make you happy.
For Music Lovers
Elvis fans flock to the King’s eccentric home as a pilgrimage of sorts, and Graceland does not disappoint them. Come early to beat the crowds and see the mansion in all its 70s glory, including the famous Jungle Room and pink Cadillac. Sun Studio is another important Memphis stop for music lovers. The narrow brick building where Sam Phillips recorded future stars like Elvis, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash is still a working studio, but guided tours are available and a free shuttle will bring you here from Graceland.
The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum explores the city’s important role in American music history. But to find out what the local music scene is like today, head to Beale Street at night for tasty adult beverages and live music behind every door.
For History Buffs
Memphis was an important city in the history of the Civil Rights movement, dating back to the Civil War. The Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum is a good place to begin learning about the heroes of history in Memphis. The Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated is now the National Civil Rights Museum and its top-notch exhibits are a perfect place to continue learning about the struggle for equality. The Cooper-Young Historic District is a walkable neighborhood with historic homes, galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
Kid-friendly attractions abound in this town. The Memphis Zoo, Memphis Children’s Museum, and Mud Island River Park are favorites, but the one place you can’t miss is the Pink Palace Family of Museums. Here you’ll find whimsical kid-friendly exhibits, a science center, a planetarium, a giant 3D theater, and more — all in one huge complex.
Beer, Bourbon, and Wine Lovers
If you love spirits and want to learn more about them, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities in Tennessee. Memphis is the homeland for America’s bourbon distilleries, and the Bourbon Trail will take you to some of the most famous among them. Craft beer breweries are popping up all over the city, and several wineries exist in this region as well.
During your stay in Memphis, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the Southern-influenced foods of the region. Gus’s Fried Chicken downtown is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall, but the food is famous. Look just about anywhere for great Memphis-style barbecue, which is all about slow-roasted meats and delectable sauces. Check out the wide variety of hotels in Memphis to find one with the amenities and location that are perfect for you.
Plan your Memphis trip around the interests and favorite activities of your group. With such an amazing variety of attractions and themes, your trip to Memphis is sure to be a big hit.
Image via Flickr by Kees Wielemaker (pedaal)