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Is Memphis Fun? Here's What You Need to Know

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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Memphis is often called the birthplace of rock and roll. How can it not be fun? The city has so much to offer in terms of music, food, and culture. Memphis is the place to be if you're looking for a good time.

There's always something going on in Memphis. You can find it here whether you're in the mood for live music or a delicious barbecue. The city is also home to several museums and historical sites. So whether you're a local or a visitor, Memphis offers plenty of good times to be had. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

Top 10 Attractions & Things To Do in Memphis

There's no shortage of things to do in Memphis. Here are our top 10 picks:

1. Visit Graceland

Exterior of Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee

Elvis Presley's former estate, Graceland, is a must-see for any fan of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. In 1957, Elvis purchased the 14-acre property, which now features a tour of his former home, a memorabilia collection, and his tomb in the Meditation Garden. You can also tour the Trophy Building, which displays Priscilla's wedding dress, Elvis's flashy stage suits, jewelry, awards, and Lisa Marie's childhood toys.

In addition, you can visit Vernon's office and the Racquetball Building to see a collection of cars, including Elvis's 1955 pink Cadillac and 1956 purple Cadillac convertible. Finally, you can tour Elvis's two airplanes, which include luxurious features like gold-plated seatbelts and leather-covered tables. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any Elvis fan!

2. Take a Walk through the Memphis Zoo

Tortoise at the Memphis, Tennessee Zoo

The Memphis Zoo is an excellent place for people of all ages to have fun. There are over 3,500 animals at the zoo from 500 different species. Some of the most popular animals include giant pandas, polar bears, sea lions, black bears, bald eagles, and ravens.

There are also a lot of different habitats at the zoo, including Cat Country, which has lions, tigers, cheetahs, and antelopes. There is also an exhibit called Butterflies: In Living Color, open seasonally from Memorial Day through October. If you're looking for something to do with the family, the Memphis Zoo is a great option.

3. Explore the National Civil Rights Museum

Lorraine Motel, today the National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is a fascinating place that tells the story of civil rights in America. This museum is located in the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The museum includes interactive displays and artifacts from events such as the Montgomery bus boycott.

This is a great place to learn about the history of civil rights in America. One of the most exciting aspects of this museum is the room and balcony where King was assassinated. This museum is a must-see for anyone interested in civil rights or American history.

4. Visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis, TN

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a must-see for music lovers. It's one of only a handful of museums in the world that is dedicated to soul music, and it features everything related to the genre, including exhibits on the stars, the music, and its history. You can see artifacts such as instruments and costumes and learn about the origins of soul music in the gospel.

The Soulsville neighborhood where the museum is located is also home to famous stars like Aretha Franklin and Memphis Slim. In addition to the museum, the Soulsville Foundation operates the Stax Music Academy and Soulsville Charter School, which provide opportunities for aspiring singers and musicians.

5. Check out the Sun Studio

Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

The Sun Studio in Memphis is a popular tourist attraction for music lovers. This is the recording studio where some of the most famous musicians in history, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, got their start. Today, the studio is still used by recording artists and is a fascinating glimpse into the recording process. You can join a popular city tour that includes a stop at the Sun Studio as well as other highlights of the city, such as the Peabody Ducks and the Rock 'n' Soul Museum.

6. Visit Shelby Farms Park

Patriot Lake in Shelby Farms Park, Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby Farms Park is a great place to visit for people of all ages. Plenty of activities are available for kids, adults, and even dogs. Kids can enjoy the Woodland Discovery Playground or the Water Play Sprayground, while adults can participate in the Treetop Adventure Course.

Paddleboat and kayak rentals are also available for those who want to explore the park's 20 lakes. And for those with furry friends, the Outback Off-Leash Dog Park is the perfect place to let them run free. After working up an appetite, check out the park's restaurant or one of the food trucks. You can also picnic and play outdoor games like disc golf.

7. Check out the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

The Burkle Estate was an essential stop on the Underground Railroad. This is because Jacob Burkle, the estate's builder, had designed unique cellars and secret passages that slaves could use to escape. Even his neighbors, who owned slaves, were unaware of these features.

The estate was a safe haven for escaped slaves, and today you can explore its history at the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. This is a must-see for anyone interested in learning about the Underground Railroad, slave culture in the Deep South, and the conditions slaves endured while trying to gain their freedom.

8. Stroll around the Memphis Botanic Garden

Foot bridge in the Memphis Botanical Gardens in Tennessee

The Memphis Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to spend a day. There's always something new to see, with more than 20 different gardens to explore and trails connecting them all. The Tennessee Bicentennial Iris Garden is a popular spot for weddings, with blooms from spring to summer. You'll find the Delta and Pollinator Gardens near the visitor center, next to the Delta House and Living Gazebo.

The Japanese Garden of Tranquility is incredibly peaceful, with a Red Drum Bridge and Moongazing Pavilion. You can even purchase food to feed the koi fish in the Asian garden pond. The complex also has an entertainment area with an amphitheater hosted performances by Sheryl Crow and other big names.

9. Take a Tour of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame

Memphis Music Hall of Fame with tour bus and people lining up outside

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame is a must-see for music lovers who want a true sense of the city's music scene. With exhibits that feature everything from photos and interviews to video performances, the Hall of Fame offers a comprehensive view of Memphis music.

From well-known stars like Elvis Presley to more contemporary performers like Justin Timberlake, the Hall of Fame celebrates the achievements of all Memphis-born or Memphis-based musicians. And with its zany sense of humor, it's sure to provide a rollicking good time for all.

10. Visit the Pink Palace Museum

The Pink Palace Mansion, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

The Pink Palace Family of Museums is a great place to visit if you're looking for something fun and educational to do with your family. With four different museums to choose from, there's something for everyone. The Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium is a science and engineering museum that houses a state-of-the-art planetarium.

The Coon Creek Science Center and the Lichterman Nature Center are nature museums filled with fossils, gardens, arboretums, and wildlife exhibits. The Mallory-Neely House and Magevney House are history museums built into old homes in Memphis's "Victorian Village." All museums offer something different, but they're all sure to provide an enjoyable and educational experience.

Top 4 Day Trip Ideas from Memphis

The Memphis area has a lot to offer, and there are plenty of great places to visit nearby. If you're looking for ideas for day trips from Memphis, here are four of the best:

1. Reelfoot Lake

Sunset at Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee

Reelfoot Lake is a beautiful natural lake located in the northwest portion of Tennessee. It's known for its bald cypress trees and nesting pairs of bald eagles. The public use of the lake and grounds has been preserved since it was acquired by the state of Tennessee, and the area is now known as Reelfoot Lake State Park. If you're looking for a smaller, similar lake to visit, head to the Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge area. Reelfoot Lake is a place worth checking out if you're ever in the area!


2. Heber Springs, Arkansas

Waterfall along Collins Creek in Heber Springs, Arkansas

Heber Springs is a nature lover's paradise, with plenty of relaxation and outdoor recreation opportunities. The Little Red River and Greers Ferry Lake offer plenty of water activities like boating and fishing, while hikers will love the trails that crisscross the area.

The town also has a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a toy train museum perfect for kids or train enthusiasts. Whether you're looking to relax or play, Heber Springs has something for everyone. This drive of about two and a half hours is sure to be memorable.

3. Nashville

Nashville Skyline at Twilight

Nashville, Tennessee, is a three-hour drive east of Memphis, but it's well worth the trip for music and culture lovers. The city is famous for being the home of country music, and there are plenty of things to do in Nashville if you're interested in music. You can enjoy a show at the Grand Ole Opry, tour the Ryman Auditorium, and explore the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

If you're not interested in music, there are still plenty of things to do in Nashville. You can tour the 1853 Belle Meade Plantation, the "Queen of Tennessee Plantations." The plantation has a long history, dating back to the Civil War, and you can see bullet holes from the war on the property. We also have a full article dedicated to things to do in Nashville if you'd like to check it out.

4. Oxford, Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi City Hall

The charming town of Oxford, Mississippi, is steeped in history and culture. It's home to the University of Mississippi and is a popular tourist destination for those who appreciate the arts. There are plenty of things to do in Oxford, including touring Rowan Oak, the former residence of author William Faulkner. You can also explore the town square, bike through the Holly Springs National Forest, and visit the Oxford Treehouse Gallery, which features works by local artists. If you're looking for a unique place to visit full of character and charm, be sure to add Oxford to your list!

Top 3 Places To Stay in Memphis

Memphis Waterfront and Downtown Skyline on Stormy Evening

Memphis has a lot to offer and plenty of great places to stay. Here are three of the best places to stay in Memphis:

1. The James Lee House

In the mid-1800s, the James Lee House was an arts college. Today, it is a beautiful bed and breakfast adjacent to the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum. Guests can enjoy the five elegant suites, which feature high ceilings, fireplaces, and sitting areas. Breakfast is included with your stay. Other common areas include a living room with a century-old Steinway piano and a front veranda with rocking chairs. This is a perfect place to relax and enjoy your time in Memphis. You're also just 0.4 miles from Sun Studio, making exploring all the city has to offer easy.

2. Guest House at Graceland

This hotel is inspired by Graceland and is a 4-minute walk away from the mansion. With glam rooms that include flat screens, Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, and themed suites with additional Elvis Presley-inspired decor, this hotel is perfect for any fan of the singer. There are also two casual restaurants, a lobby lounge, and an outdoor pool on the property. If you're looking for event space, this hotel has you covered. Plus, they offer free airport and area shuttles!

3. La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Memphis Wolfchase

The La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Memphis Wolfchase is a great place to stay if you're looking for a hotel near the Wolfchase Galleria. The hotel is modern and brightly decorated, and it's also close to Interstate 40. Plus, kids 18 and under stay free with a parent or grandparent. The hotel also offers complimentary continental breakfast and parking, an indoor saltwater pool, a fitness room, a business center, and one meeting room. And because the hotel was built using environmentally friendly design and construction, you can feel good about staying here.

Final Thoughts

Panoramic view of the Memphis skyline

Memphis is a city with a lot of soul. From the blues clubs on Beale Street to the barbecue joints that line the streets, Memphis has something for everyone looking for a good time. Whether you're into music, food, or just soaking up some southern culture, Memphis is worth a visit. This city has a little bit of everything, and you're sure to find something that interests you.

Regardless of what activities you get up to, we would like to wish you all the best on your trip! Remember to take lots of pictures, have fun and take care!

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