What To Do In Memphis, TN
We decided to take our first road trip since moving to Nashville to Memphis, TN, about a 3 hour drive from Nashville! Both Schyler and I were really interested in visiting this city because of the music history there. Blues music originated in Memphis so there is a ton of music influence everywhere you go there and of course it was the home of the famous rock star Elvis Presley! We had such a fun time in Memphis and I found tons of cool spots for photos while visiting the city which I’m of course sharing in this blog post with you guys.
The legendary Sun Studio, a recording studio opened by Sam Philips in 1950, is known as the birth place of Rock n’ Roll because of the fact that they launched the famous Elvis Presley’s career. Many other artists like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B King, and Roy Orbison got there start at Sun Studio too! It has now been turned into a museum which we didn’t get the chance to see, but I hope to get the chance the next time we visit. I took some really cute photos in front of the studio which I loved! You can book tickets for the Sun Studio museum here.
Beale Street is a famous street in Memphis and in blue’s music history! It was the commercial district for black Memphis during the time of segregation. It became a place where blues musicians could gather from the 20’s to the 40’s. Legends like Louis Armstrong, Memphis Minnie, B.B. King and many others played on Beale Street and helped create the style of music known as Memphis Blues. Elvis Presley was very inspired by there music and even played on Beale Street as well! The three block street lined with bars, restaurants, and shops is now the most popular tourist destination in Memphis.
NEW DAISY THEATRE
The historic New Daisy Theatre on Beale Street is a music venue where both local and national acts play. I love old theatre and neon signs so of course I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos in front of this retro theatre!
OLD DAISY THEATRE
The Old Daisy Theatre, across the street from the New Daisy Theatre, is a beautiful old theatre from the cinema era. You can tell it’s definitely a bit more regal than the New Daisy Theatre. It’s actually a prime example of surviving nickelodeon architecture (where the tv channel got it’s name from??). I loved the shot I got in front of the theatre!
SOUTH MAIN ARTS DISTRICT
The South Main Arts District is, you guessed it, the art district of Memphis! You can find tons of really cool murals in this area like the ones photographed above. I love beautiful murals like these! They are perfect photo opps and I love the juxtaposition of old buildings and murals. If you look at google maps while in downtown Memphis, you can see a label marking the area known as the South Mains Art District.
WITH LOVE FROM MEMPHIS SIGN
We found this sign while walking to our lunch restaurant and I of course had to stop for some photos! Such a fun sign for a photo opp. It’s located across the street from the Edge Alley restaurant.
I have always been an Elvis fan so we knew we obviously HAD to visit Graceland! We had VIP tickets so we got to see not only the mansion, but Presley’s collection of cars, boats, motorcycles, and planes. We also got see all of his gold plaques and a ton of the costumes that he wore on stage too! It was SO cool. I’m planning on writing a whole blog post about our Graceland experience so I won’t share too much here but I will leave a link once that blog post is ready!
NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM
The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel was at the top of our list of activities in Memphis. The Lorraine Motel is where civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was shot while giving a speech. The museum offers historical information about the start of slavery, the civil rights movement, and much more in a timeline-like setting, going through numerous rooms through out the building. It’s an extremely powerful museum that I highly recommend visiting on a trip to the city. We spent about 3 hours there but could have easily stayed much longer if time had allowed it! Fair warning; I had to bite my tongue several times to keep from crying so bring some tissues if you are an emotional person like I am!
The Arcade Restaurant on South Main Street (in the South Main Art District) is Memphis’ oldest cafe! It’s a 50’s style diner that “The King” himself ate at! The beautiful store front and the cafe itself have stood the test of time. Definitely a cool spot to check out!
MEMPHIS MUSIC HALL OF FAME
We didn’t have enough time to go into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, located just off of Beale Street, but we did stop for some photos in front of it. I love cool signs so it definitely made for a cool photo! I bet the museum is fascinating.
WHERE WE ATE
We loved the Edge Alley restaurant! The area that the restaurant is in is really cute with tons of murals and the space itself has a really cool industrial feel to it. The food was AMAZING! I had a chicken sandwich with a delicious jelly type spread in it that was out of this world and Schyler had a superb burger (and trust me, he’s had tons!). We ended the meal with a sticky bun, basically like a cinnamon roll, with a delicious glaze on the side. The staff was super nice too. I couldn’t recommend them more!
WHERE WE STAYED
GUESTHOUSE AT GRACELAND
We stayed at the truly fabulous Guesthouse at Graceland during our stay in Memphis. The hotel is located right next to Graceland so it’s super convenient and I absolutely loved the Elvis inspiration all over the hotel from the art work to the color scheme to the peanut butter jelly sandwiches served at 10 pm every night! I thought that was a really fun touch. Our room was beautiful and very rock and roll hence the photo of me rockin’ out on the bed ;P! The hotel has several restaurants; Delta’s Kitchen, EP’s Bar & Grill, an espresso bar, Shake Rattle & Go, and the bar in the lobby lounge, all of which are beautifully designed! The tv’s in the room play Elvis music and there are several channels where you can watch some of the King’s live performances. We absolutely loved our stay and the staff was so friendly as well. Book your stay here!
We loved visiting Memphis and I hope this guide is helpful for anyone planning on visiting this historical city!