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Things to do in

Memphis, Tennessee

Our most recommended things to do in Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis: City Tour with Optional Sun Studios & Riverboat

1. Memphis: City Tour with Optional Sun Studios & Riverboat

Visit the landmarks of Memphis and be fascinated as the city comes to life through stories and explanations. Your guide will help you discover the top spots including Peabody Hotel, the Memphis Pyramid, and Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was murdered. Begin your day with a hotel pickup from downtown Memphis. Be seated in a mini coach-bus to meet your guide. Begin the tour passing by the statues of B.B. King and Elvis Presley and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Stop at A. Schwab for your local buys, an institution that sells all things Memphis—from regional arts and crafts to dry goods, magic potions, candies, books, magazines, and more. Pass by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Continue to the Memphis Pyramid, which is now a Bass Pro Shops “megastore” that resembles an Egyptian pyramid and is filled with shopping, a hotel, restaurants, a bowling alley, and an archery range. From there, stop at the Peabody Memphis, a landmark 13-story downtown hotel, famous for having Ducks march every day on a red carpet throughout the reception. Finally, visit Beale Street, voted as the most iconic street in America by USA Today. See the nearly 2 miles of blues clubs and restaurants that make it one of the top tourist attractions in Memphis. Then, take a drive through Victorian Village, a historic neighborhood with homes that were built in the 1800s and alongside cotton row. Discover why this fiber is so important in Memphis' history. If you wish, upgrade your tour to include a cruise along the Mississippi River aboard a paddlewheel boat. Listen to interesting anecdotes from your captain about Memphis and its history. You may also add a tour to Sun Studios, the birthplace of Rock N' Roll, where Elvis recorded his first song.

Memphis: Big Mojo Sun Studio + Music History 3-Hour Bus Tour

2. Memphis: Big Mojo Sun Studio + Music History 3-Hour Bus Tour

Go behind the scenes at Sun Studio and let the Home of the Blues come alive on a city tour aboard the nation's only music bus. All of the guides on this tour are professional Beale Street musicians who will play and sing selections from the city's rich musical heritage, while entertaining you with comedy, history, and stories about your favorite Memphis personalities. Along the way, you will see Sun Studio, Beale Street, Stax Studio, the Lorraine Motel, Cotton Row, Peabody Hotel, Overton Park, Historic Central Gardens, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and the early homes of Elvis, B.B. King, and Johnny Cash. Enjoy an exciting introduction to Memphis on an action-packed drive through the city. It's great fun for all ages; let loose and sing along as much or as little as you like.

From Memphis: Elvis Presley's Upbringing Tour

3. From Memphis: Elvis Presley's Upbringing Tour

Although Elvis Presley became the biggest name in music history and achieved worldwide fame and fortune, his roots were humble. To discover more about his upbringing, you will meet your experienced tour guide in Memphis, in front of The Guest House at Graceland. From there, hop on a luxury coach bus to begin a 1:45 hour drive towards the King's birthplace. Along the ride, enjoy Elvis Presley movies and concerts played on the TV to get you in the mood for the day ahead. When arriving at the city of Tupelo, you will visit the house Elvis Presley was born in and is now considered a historic landmark by the State of Mississippi. You will learn more about the history of the house and his childhood before heading to Elvis Presley Museum, his childhood church, the "Walk of Life" trail tracing Elvis' career and personal life, and see the "Elvis at 13" statue, the Story Wall & Fountain of Life, representing the 13 years that Elvis lived in Tupelo before moving to Memphis with his family. From there, visit the Tupelo Hardware Company to discover where the King's mother, Gladys, purchased his first guitar and put music in the hands of the boy who grew to become a musical legend. The experience in Tupelo will wrap up with a drive past some significant landmarks of the city including the Tupelo Fairgrounds, the Elvis Homecoming Statue, and schools that Elvis attended. After a fun day discovering all there is to Elvis Presley's upbringing, relax on the trip back to Memphis, where you will be dropped off at The Guest House at Graceland.

Memphis: Stax Museum of American Soul Music

4. Memphis: Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Start your museum tour in the true birthplace of soul music – a modest country church. Just as Stax’s music found its roots in the sounds of Southern gospel music, the museum opens in a real, circa-1906 Mississippi Delta church that has been carefully reassembled inside the building. It's hard not to dance when you listen to Stax tracks. While most museums don’t encourage dancing in the aisles, you can shake what your mama gave you on the Express Yourself dance floor. Don’t worry if you don’t have the moves – you can pick up inspiration from the dancers on vintage episodes of Soul Train playing next to the dance floor. Check out the period recording equipment in the control room, then stand in Studio A, an exact replica of the legendary converted movie theater where Stax artists cut records, down to the gently slanted floor that contributed to Stax’s special sound. See Stax’s impact in the hall of records, where the walls are lined with floor-to-ceiling cases containing all of the albums and singles released by Stax and its subsidiary labels from 1957 – 1975. See the album art and hear the classics (or find new favorites) at the listening station. Behold Isaac Hayes’ glittering custom Cadillac Eldorado, which was purchased as part of his renegotiated deal with Stax in 1972. The car, which was purchased for $26,000 (or, $143,000 in 2013 dollars), is fully equipped with unique amenities like a refrigerated mini-bar, television, 24-carat gold exterior trim and white fur carpeting on the floorboards.

Memphis: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

5. Memphis: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Discover the best of Memphis on this hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour with 9 stops and unlimited rides during the duration of your tour pass. Explore the city's monuments, historical attractions, and popular spots in the most flexible and enjoyable way. Visit highlights of the city such as the Blues Hall of Fame, Graceland, the Stax Museum, Sun Studio, the Memphis Pyramid, and more. Find everything from kid-friendly attractions such as the Peabody Hotel to more historical spots such as the National Civil Rights Museum. Adapt your day along the route and based on your interests. Enjoy the convenience of buses passing through the stops every 90 minutes. If you prefer, remain on the bus tour for the entire loop, listening to the informative audio commentary on board. Stops along the hop-on hop-off bus route include: • Ticket Booth/Hard Rock Cafe• National Civil Rights Museum/Blues Hall of Fame• Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum/B.B. King's Blues Club• Stax Museum of American Soul Music• Graceland• Sun Studio• Auto Zone Park/Peabody Hotel• Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid• Tennessee Welcome Center

Memphis Rock 'n' Soul & Music Hall of Fame Combo

6. Memphis Rock 'n' Soul & Music Hall of Fame Combo

Keep your costs down with this combo ticket to the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. Enjoy a comprehensive Memphis music experience introducing you to both the history of rock and soul, as well as some of the greatest musicians of all time. At the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, experience an exhibition about the birth of rock and soul music. Learn about the rural field hollers and sharecroppers of the 1930s, through the explosion of Sun, Stax and Hi Records and Memphis’ musical heyday in the 1970s, to the city's global musical influence. The museum’s digital audio tour guide is packed with over 300 minutes of information, including over 100 songs. With your included audio guide, move at your own pace through 7 galleries featuring 3 audiovisual programs, more than 30 instruments, 40 costumes, and other musical treasures. The museum is unmissable for fans of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Al Green, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, The BarKays, and more. Informational booklets are available in French, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese. At the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, discover a place that began as a tribute to Memphis' legendary musicians who shaped modern music and changed the world forever right here in Memphis. Lose yourself in what is now a museum as outrageous as its inductees. Delight in a fun, fascinating, and educational exhibition featuring never-before-seen memorabilia, rare video performances and interviews, interactive exhibits, and much more!

Memphis: 2-Hour Haunted Walking Tour

7. Memphis: 2-Hour Haunted Walking Tour

Beyond the rhythms of Beale Street's blues lies a darker history of vice, voodoo, phantoms, ghosts, and lost souls. Hear the eerie legends while seeing some of Memphis' oldest sites. On this two-hour walking tour, first you'll see the Orpheum Theater, home of "Mary," who has haunted performances since 1921.  Hear about the Victorian-era mansion haunted by star-crossed lovers: the John Alexander Austin House. Discover the most haunted building in Memphis, the notorious Ernestine and Hazel's. Go inside this creepy establishment, a former brothel, and learn about the several ghosts who live there, as well as the haunted jukebox.

Memphis: City Discovery Bus Tour

8. Memphis: City Discovery Bus Tour

Get the complete Memphis experience on this bus tour with an introduction to everything that makes Memphis unique. Discover the renowned Beale Street, the Peabody Hotel, sample food at Central BBQ, and visit Rock 'n' Soul Museum or Edge Motor Museum (if option selected). Among other highlights, you’ll visit the Lorraine Motel to see the balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his last moments. If you choose, explore either the exhibitions at the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum or Edge Motor Museum, and Beale Street to discover how it became the "home of the Blues". Pass by some favorite Memphis sights, including the Victorian Village, Orpheum Theater, historic Cotton Row, and Hotel Chisca, where DJ Dewey Philips played Elvis for the first time.   At lunchtime, stop into Central BBQ to sample some of the best barbeque food in Memphis.

Memphis: Mojo Music History 90-Minute Bus Tour

9. Memphis: Mojo Music History 90-Minute Bus Tour

Experience how Memphis, The Home of the Blues, comes alive on a city tour aboard the nation's only music bus. Travel with a professional Beale Street musician as your guide who will play and sing selections from the city's rich musical heritage as you cruise through the city. Be entertained with comedy, history, and behind-the-scenes stories of your favorite Memphis personalities along the way. Pass by famous landmarks in music history such as Sun Studio, Beale Street, Stax Studio, The Lorraine Motel, Cotton Row, Peabody Hotel, Overton Park, Historic Central Gardens, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and the Early homes of Elvis, B. B. King, and Johnny Cash. Receive an exciting introduction to Memphis on this action-packed drive through the city which is great fun for all ages.

Memphis: 2-Hour Guided Historic Walking Tour

10. Memphis: 2-Hour Guided Historic Walking Tour

This 2-hour walking tour of Memphis sheds light on the city's fascinating history. Memphis has always had something of a dual character or split personality: at once a gracious old-Southern city of riverboats and cotton money, as well as a rowdy river town of roughnecks, gangsters, and gamblers. Your guide will highlight both sides of the city’s history and some of the characters who have made Memphis one of the most unique and colorful places in the world. Along the way you’ll see the Historic Court Square, Fourth Bluff Park overlooking the Mississippi River, and a couple locations significant to the Civil War, including the sites of the Battle of Memphis and Forrest's Raid. Walk through Cotton Row and a gain a new perspective from a rooftop over the city. Pass through Deadman's Alley, Main Street, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last march. The tour also includes watching the famous March of the Ducks at the Peabody Hotel, a Memphis tradition since 1933.

Other Sightseeing Options in Memphis, Tennessee

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What people are saying about Memphis, Tennessee

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 132 reviews

It was nice to see legends come up learning about the history of music in Memphis. Although some were before I was even thought of it was still interesting. I came right before the cut off for closing it would take you about 45 minutes to walk around and read which turned out to be perfect for me. My short visit to Memphis I still got a history portion in my trip without going to Stax or Rock n' Soul museums.

Very informative..our driver knew do much about Memphis. We didnt realize that the bus takes you to sights and then you can get out and visit while the bus waits. Usually you need to wait for the next bus. We got to see the Peabody Ducks, the new Bass Pro shop, Beale street...stop in at BB Kings for good food and great music, and then on to Graceland. Great way to safely see Memphis.

Excellent tour by a very knowledgeable local guide (Sam). His passion for Memphis shone through and we really enjoyed his stories. The Sun Studios tour was excellent. A great way to see the sights of the city.

The information and all the things we were shown about the history of the area and Sun Studios was amazing. So glad we done the tour. The riverboat cruise was good also.

The tour started on time and was very fun. We saw & learned a lot about Memphis. We feel it was a good value.