The Insider Guide

Memphis, Tennessee, is a city steeped in southern comforts; namely soul food and soul music. The biggest city on the banks of the Mississippi, it’s also a site of historical importance to the American civil rights movement. Here’s our guide to Memphis.

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The Main Attractions

Memphis has been the setting for significant moments in the civil rights movement; most notably the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr at the Lorraine Motel in 1968. The one-time motel is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum, where you can explore exhibits on subjects such as slavery, the Jim Crow Era and seminal 20th-century moments in the movement for equality. Dive further into the past with a trip to Beale Street in the historic district, which has been a hub for African-American culture from its earliest days. It’s also as iconic a location for blues music as you’ll get in America or beyond. The road – and the blues, jazz, and rock and roll clubs that line it – have played host to the likes of Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong and BB King in the 1920s to 1940s. For more musical moments, head to The Blues Hall of Fame and Stax Museum of American Soul. And, of course, you can’t talk about Memphis and music without mentioning the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate is one of the most popular attractions in Memphis, as is the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and the legendary Sun Studio, where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, and so many more recorded over the years. In the evenings, head back to Beale Street; the comfort food and live music on offer, inspired by all of that history, defines modern Memphis.

Neighborhoods in Memphis