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What are the first things that spring to mind when you think about Memphis?

So there’s the Elvis Presley thing of course and whilst that’s one of the main attractions, there’s so much more to this lovely city with its warm and welcoming Southern charm than just the king of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Memphis is renowned for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement, its pretty parks, its thrilling music scene and its fantastic cuisine, in particular its Cajun and Creole food. When it comes to exciting things to do in Memphis, you won’t be disappointed.

In fact, if you’ve got Memphis on your mind for your travel plans, you will certainly find it a culturally enriching experience.

National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum was built on the site of where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was sadly assassinated in 1968.

Located at the Lorraine Motel, this impressive collection immerses visitors in the struggles involved in achieving civil rights from the days of slavery through the 1960s movement and beyond. 

As one of the most important and unmissable things to do in Memphis, visitors can experience first-hand accounts of events from the citizens involved.

Thought-provoking and humbling, this museum offers amazing insight into the struggle for civil rights.

Showcased via films, over 260 artefacts, interactive media and listening posts that guide visitors through its history from the beginning of the resistance during slavery, the country’s Civil War, the rise of Jim Crow and so much more, noting the events that shaped and inspired the future.

The national civil rights museum in Memphis
The STAX museum of American Soul Music, in Memphis

Stax Museum

Dig your S.O.U.L? If the answer is a resounding yes, then a trip to the Stax Museum should be high on your list of things to do in Memphis.

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music was built on the site of Stax Records and offers a fun and music-filled look at the origins of how soul music got its roots in Memphis.

You can learn more about iconic singing sensations like Otis Redding, Booker T, Isaac Hayes and more. You can also shake what your mama gave you on the Express Yourself dance floor. 

We also love the epic ‘Wall of Sound’ where you will find walls lined with floor-to-ceiling cases containing all of the records ever released by Stax and its subsidiary labels from 1957 – 1975. Car lovers will adore the glittering custom Cadillac Eldorado that previously belonged to Isaac Hayes. 

Victorian Village

One of the most popular things to do in Memphis is to take a look at the Victorian Village in Memphis.

It’s almost as if you’ve stepped back in time – you can pay a visit to the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum and Mallory-Neely House both of which serve as a reminder of an era long gone.

There’s not a lot of places to eat in this neighbourhood, but head over to the Sunrise for brunch where you can try one of their infamous ‘Biscuit Sammies’.

Beautiful Victorian village building in Memphis - amazing things to do in Memphis
Live music fills all corners of Memphis

Enjoy some live music

Of course you have to take in some live music whilst you are in Memphis. The city is bursting with its love for all things music and food. After all, this is the home of the legendary Sun Studio, Presley’s Graceland and amongst others. 

Whether you are into blues, soul, rock, gospel or something else entirely, you will be able to find what you are looking for at one of the many incredible venues in Beale Street and beyond.

If you are hankering after live music as one of your things to do in Memphis, there’s live music around almost every corner of the city. Some of the best places to enjoy music are over at Loflin Yard in Downtown Memphis, the Overton Park Shell, The Orpheum Theatre, Lafayette‘s Music Room and more.

Main Street

Sometimes one of the best things to do in Memphis and indeed any city is to explore the neighbourhoods.

Take a stroll through Main Street, one of the most insta-worthy streets in the whole of the city. You can do so much – from checking out the Blues Hall of Fame to taking a ride on a vintage trolley. A must-do when considering the best things to do in Memphis!

It might only be one square in total, but when it comes to eating, drinking, and entertainment, this bijoux neighbourhood – which is situated a short walk from historic Beale Street is one of the best places in Memphis to find locally owned shops, chef-owned restaurants and organisations that support the arts. 

Vivid and bright neighbourhoods of Memphis
Graceland, home to the man himself, Elvis


50,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong! Can you really say that you have been to Memphis if you haven’t paid a visit to the one and only Graceland?

It was the home of the late Elvis Presley and visiting this world-famous abode is one of the most popular things to do in Memphis.

Not only can you explore the lush interiors of Elvis’ home, but you can also see some very special memorabilia including the suit and dress that Elvis and Priscilla got married in.

It’s one of the best ways to get an intimate look into the life and mind of one of the most famous and extraordinary musicians on the planet.

Memphis Botanic Garden

There are several beautiful parks and gardens in Memphis that should definitely make your ‘things to do in Memphis’ list, but we think that the spectacular Memphis Botanic Garden certainly should top that all-important list.

Spread across 96 acres, there are 28 speciality gardens which include a butterfly garden, a cactus garden, and a botanical herb garden where you can find over 750 species of plants.

Idyllic red bridge amongst pink blossom flowers over the water in Memphis
Tame ducks walk amongst the people in Memphis

Visit the marching ducks at the Peabody Memphis Hotel

The ducks at the Peabody Memphis hotel are simply unmissable on your ‘things to do in Memphis’ travel bucket list.

Every day, the resident ducks of the hotel perform a little march to the fountain across a red carpet and have a little splash in the water until 5pm, when they are returned to their palatial rooftop.

This esteemed tradition started in 1940, when the hotel’s bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March.

If a thriving music scene, exhilarating nightlife and visiting the home of Rock ‘N’ Roll isn’t enough to draw you to the incredible city of Memphis, we don’t know what will.

Before you smash through your red hot things to do in Memphis list, let’s start as you mean to go on with booking your trip to Memphis today.

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