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Memphis Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Memphis

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If you visit Graceland, it's obvious that you are a fan of the legendary singer, Elvis Presley. This is one of America's second most highly visited private homes, second only after the White House that attracts over 60,000 visitors each year.

This white-pillared mansion called Graceland is built in Georgian Colonial style on a 13-acre property and is situated in Memphis, Tennessee. Each year, hundreds of people from different corners of the world come here to see their hero's private sanctuary.

How did the name come about? During the American Civil War, the publisher of a newspaper in Memphis was S.E. Toof who owned a 500-acre farm called Graceland after his daughter, Grace. Though she inherited it, she didn't build the mansion because some of it was sold to developers... read more arrow
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In 1841, an American entrepreneur and developer Robertson Topp in Memphis, Tennessee, named Beale Street after a military hero. However, its original name wasn't Beale Street but Beale Avenue. At the time, its western end shops of merchants who traded along the Mississippi River, and on its eastern end lived the rich and famous. As time passed, several black musicians performed on this street, of whom the first was the Young Men's Brass Band.

Yellow fever struck here in the 1870s, forcing the city to let go of its charter in 1879. At the time, Robert Church bought land surrounding Beale Street after which he became the first black millionaire from the south of America. Finally in 1890, it was renovated with the construction of the Grand Opera House or Orpheum.

In 1899, Church paid the corporation to have Church Park built at the intersection of 4th and Beale... read more arrow
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In downtown Memphis, at 450, Mulberry Street is situated the National Civil Rights Museum around which history abounds. In fact, no American can shrug it off because of the deep sentiments attached to it. For it was on the balcony of Lorraine Motel where the American civil rights activist and leader Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Today, this is the site of this museum which is constructed in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, around the former Lorraine Motel.

Lorraine Motel saved: Following King's assassination in 1968, this motel continued to stay open but was finally foreclosed in 1982. It was bought by the The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation. The museum was constructed in 1987, and it was finally open to the public in 1991.

What to see in National Civil Rights Museum: This museum was built with the intention of making visitors understand the sequence of events concerning the American Civil Rights Movement... read more arrow
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On the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, you're sure to come across the Pyramid Arena—a 20,142-seat arena. Built in 1991 in the shape of a stainless steel pyramid, the original owners were the city of Memphis and Shelby County. Its unique structure is a throwback to the original in Egypt with which it shares its name.

Specifications: It is 98 meters tall and its base sides measure 591 feet. It has 32 stories and is the world's sixth largest pyramid, after the one at Giza, Egypt. In height, it is 16 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Its official name is "The Great American Pyramid." This structure is a replica to the tune of 60 percent of the Great Pyramid of Egypt and is one of the world's largest pyramids. The pyramid's interiors are more than half a million square feet and its exterior is entirely in stainless steel... read more arrow
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When looking for something interesting to do in Memphis, Tennessee, go to the Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium – it's a fascinating science and history museum. Originally built in 1923, it was the home of Clarence Saunders, who founded the Piggly Wiggly grocery stores. The house was later donated to Memphis in March 1930 and was called the Memphis Museum of Natural History and Industrial arts.

When visitors spend the day at this Museum and Planetarium, there are several sites to visit as well as activities to do, such as:

1. The Pink Palace Mansion has some of the original exhibits from the 1930s that include dolls, historical uniforms, Civil War memorabilia, birds, and stuffed animals.

2. The Sharpe Planetarium contains 165 seats and is built in a round auditorium offering spectacular laser lights and star fields on the huge domed ceiling... read more arrow
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The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art was founded in 1916 and is clearly the oldest art museum in Tennessee, and the original building is a national landmark in America. This is a great place to spend a day and visit the galleries, and participate in the various activities that are available each month. Both traveling exhibits and permanent collections are found in this exceptional museum.

There are several activities that visitors to the Museum of Art can see and participate in, such as:

1. Visit the permanent collection housed in the museum that includes Italian Renaissance, Baroque, French Impressionist, British artists and a variety of 20th century artists, including the Kress Collection.

2. Stroll through the 19th and 20th century collections of sculpture and arts that include furniture, textiles, and other artifacts from these eras... read more arrow
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Need something to do during of May? Try the Memphis in May Festival. This is a month long celebration highlighting the music of the area, featuring fabulous food that everyone will enjoy, and providing special events that are sure to excite all visitors to the area. Its illustrious history dates back to the 1800s when African American musicians would gather around Beale Street to perform.

With so much to choose from, this festival has numerous activities to offer, such as:

1. The Beale Street Music Festival kicks off the event with three days of music in the Tom Lee Park. This event finds musicians of every venue playing their favorite music for the crowds.

2. International Week is a favorite among many of the attendees... read more arrow
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Sam Phillips started Elvis, B.B. King, and many other greats at the most famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It was originally named the Memphis Recording Studio, sharing the same building with Sun Records – quite convenient for everyone. The birthplace of rock and roll began in 1951 with Jackie Brenston and The Delta Cats. Many a songwriter and musician entered these doors and passed into fame.

A visit to the famous Sun Studios is a walk though time and a visit into history. The interesting things to see and do here include:

1. Take a tour of the most famous recording studio in the world. Stand on the exact spot where some of rock and roll's greatest legends recorded, such as Johnny Cash, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Rosco Gordon, Jerry Lee Lewis, and more than can be named here... read more arrow
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A really fun place to spend the day is Mud Island – and no, it's not a great place to take a mud bath – in fact it's not even an island, it's a peninsula jutting into the Mississippi River. Opened in 1982, soon became home to restaurants, an amphitheater, a museum, a monorail, and several other attractions that entice guests to linger and enjoy the place.

There are a variety of activities to do in and around Mud Island, with such things as:

1. Harbor Town which is on the northern side and includes the Mississippi River Trail with beautifully manicured jogging trails and sitting areas overlooking the might Mississippi.

2. The Mississippi River Park is a great place to spend the day with available activities such as bicycle trails, paddle boats, rafts, or even just sit on the beach and relax. A scale model of the Mississippi River from Illinois to New Orleans is on display with markers providing historical facts about the towns along the river... read more arrow
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The Memphis Zoo is a delightful zoo that is home to more than 3500 animals from around the world. It was built in 1906 as part of Overton Park, and sets on 76 acres. It began with 23 simple cages and a row of concrete dens for the bears, expanding over the years by adding an elephant house, a primate habitat, aquarium, and much more.

There are four zones in the Memphis Zoo that visitors can spend a day or two roaming through, such as:

1. The African Veldt is a large, grassy area featuring the large animals from Africa, such as giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and even ostriches and antelopes.

2. The Butterfly garden contains a wide variety of plants that the butterflies love to land on, and some of the most beautiful butterflies in the world... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Memphis sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Memphis by visiting the individual Memphis attraction pages.