If you’ve been to Memphis or plan on visiting soon, you’ve probably seen or intend to see most of the city’s major attractions. But these lesser-known gems are definitely worth checking out too.
Back in the 1960s, a Baptist minister named Wash “Doc” Harris developed a compound on his property that was meant to be a center for spiritual healing. He used strange, Masonic-influenced art pieces as lawn ornaments, which gave his compound a bad reputation. Many Memphis locals now refer to the property as “Voodoo Village,” some resorting to vandalism and harassment. The site is not open to the public, but you can drive past to see the cultish lawn decor for yourself.
Book a night at The Peabody Hotel, and you’re guaranteed to see the Peabody Duck March. In fact, you can watch it even if you aren’t a guest at the hotel. It started back in the 1930s when the Peabody Hotel’s general manager and a friend returned from a hunting trip intoxicated. They thought it would be funny to put some of their live duck hunting decoys in the fountain, and this started the tradition of the Peabody ducks. Then, in 1940, bellman Edward Pembroke offered to help deliver the hotel’s ducks to the fountain each day. During his 50-year tenure as the Peabody Duckmaster, he taught the ducks the famous march, which takes place at the hotel’s lobby fountain each day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Peabody Hotel, 149 Union Ave, Memphis, TN, USA +1 901 529 4000
Also known as the Memphis Pyramid, the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid was originally built in 1991 as a 20,142-seat arena. In 2015, it opened as a Bass Pro Shop megastore, and has an archery range, a laser arcade, restaurants and a bowling alley. It also has the tallest freestanding elevator in America, which, for $10, takes visitors up to the top of the pyramid. At the apex is an observation deck, a restaurant, bar and aquarium. At the base of the pyramid is a 100-room hotel. The pyramid stands at 321 feet (98m) tall.
Located in south Memphis, the home where Aretha Franklin spent her childhood isn’t a fancy museum. In fact, the shotgun house hasn’t seen any TLC in years. The windows are boarded and the vacant structure is at risk of complety falling apart. There is talk of a possible renovation and relocation of the home through the DIY Network, but as of now, the home sits empty. A simple drive to the location will at least show visitors where the Queen of Soul was born.