As I mentioned in my previous post, Memphis is renowned for its rich music heritage. The city was home to Elvis Presley, the legendary rock and roll musician from the mid 20th century. It is the home of historic Sun Studio which is where the rock and roll music genre was born. Elvis recorded his first tunes there. Memphis’ iconic Beale Street is officially known as the home of the blues.
Even with these things, there is more to the music in Memphis than meets the eye. In fact, the city is also home to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and the Blues Hall of Fame Museum. So, if you are hungry for more music-related things to do in Memphis, TN, you should definitely pay a visit to them all.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located on East McLemore Avenue about 2.6 miles southeast of downtown Memphis, near Interstate 69. This museum is a replica of Stax Records which once operated there from 1957 until 1976 when it had to shut down because of bankruptcy. When Star Records was in operation, it was notable for its recordings in the soul music genre.
Some of the most well known musicians who recorded there include Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Booker T. & the MGs, and Rufus and Carla Thomas. The museum include a replica of a modest country church that served as the true birthplace of the soul music genre.
Those of you who love to dance will be pleased to know that there is a dance floor called Express Yourself. This is where you can dance to the tune of Stax-recorded tracks. In the Hallowed Ground area of the museum, you can check out recording equipment from the period when Stax Records operated. This area also contains an exact replica of Studio A where the musicians used to cut records.
It is notable for its gently slanted floor which contributed to the special sound of Stax Records. Before it became Studio A, it was once a movie theater. Within the Wall of Sound area, you will notice walls that are filled from floor to ceiling with cases containing all the albums and singles that were released by Stax Records during its operation.
A listening station is also located in this area where you can listen to some of the albums and singles. You will want to make sure to check out the Super Fly area. This is where you can view musician Isaac Hayes’ custom car called Cadillac Eldorado. It was bought in 1972 and is renowned for its special features including a refrigerated mini bar, television, 24-carat gold exterior trim, and white fur floorboard carpeting.
The admission fees for the museum are $13 for adults, $12 for military members, seniors, and students; and $10 for children aged from 9 to 12. Those who are aged under 9 will enter for free.
Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is located on South B.B. King Boulevard just a short walk south of Beale Street in Memphis. This museum is dedicated to telling the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic obstacles in order to create the music that had a major impact on the world. The museum is divided into seven permanent exhibits.
The first exhibit is called Rural Culture. This exhibit focuses on the farm workers of the Mississippi Delta who sang melodies as they labored to create a new music genre. In the Rural Music exhibit, you will learn about how rural communities in the Mississippi Delta came together to start a musical revolution. Coming to Memphis is the third exhibit.
It tells the story of those who moved to Memphis from the rural communities to work in the cotton mills and warehouses. It shares about how they used this opportunity to share their music on Memphis’ Beale Street, leading to a thriving scene.
In the Sun Records & Youth Culture exhibit, you will learn about how poor and aspiring musicians like Elvis Presley and B.B. King couldn’t afford to record their tunes at a fancy studio. And as you will see, they ended up recording at Sun Records where they ultimately went on to become legendary musicians.
The Soul Music exhibit focuses on legendary black musicians who got their start by walking into Stax Records from the streets. Social Changes is the exhibit that takes a deep dive into how the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century influenced the movement for the rock and roll music genre. The seventh and last permanent exhibit is Bravo Gallery.
This exhibit will highlight the individuals who influenced the world with their tunes. The admission prices for the museum are $13 for adults and $10 for youth aged from 5 to 17. The admission is free of charge for those aged under 5. The museum also houses a gift shop.
Blues Hall of Fame Museum
The Blues Hall of Fame Museum is located on South Main Street just south of downtown Memphis. This museum opened in 2015, making this a relatively new attraction. It puts the spotlight on the blues music genre and its musicians. There are currently over four hundred inductees into the blues hall of fame. They are divided into five key areas: Performer, Individual, Album, Single, and Literature.
There are ten galleries in total within this museum and they all include interactive touchscreen displays. You can learn about the history of the blues, hear the stories about the inductees, listen to blues music, and watch videos. The museum is also sprinkled with one-of-a-kind blues memorabilia such as R.L. Burnside’s guitar, Koko Taylor’s dress, and Otis Spann’s piano.
The prices of admission to the museum are $10 for adults and $8 for those aged from 13 to 18. Those who are under the age of 13 can enter free of charge. There is also a gift shop onsite if you are interested in souvenirs.
These are the additional things to do in Memphis, TN. Overall, there is plenty for music fans to love about the city.
If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your Memphis visit, I have got your back. Here is a hotel that I would suggest for you.
The Peabody Memphis
This is Memphis’ most famous hotel. So, it is absolutely worth the stay. This historic hotel was originally built in 1869 at the corner of Main and Monroe Streets in the heart of downtown Memphis. It remained in operation at that location until 1923.
During that time period, it attracted famous guests such as US presidents Andrew Johnson and William McKinley, Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and Confederate president Jefferson Davis. The hotel then moved one block away to its current location on Union Avenue. It opened again in 1925. This hotel is designed in the Italian Renaissance architectural style.
It is famous for its Peabody Ducks who live on the rooftop and make their daily treks to the lavish lobby. The hotel boasts a whopping seven restaurants and bars. They include Peabody Restaurant, The Grand Lobby, Peabody Deli & Desserts, Peabody Afternoon Tea, Capriccio Grill, Chez Philippe, and Peabody Corner Bar.
In addition to these restaurants and bars, a jaw-dropping six shops are located within the hotel. They include Peabody Lego Shop, Gir Collection, Lansky at The Peabody, Lansky Lucky Duck, Lansky 126, and Lansky Accessories Shop. The hotel’s indoor heated swimming pool, hot tub, and fitness center are all housed in The Peabody Athletic Club.
A full-service resort-style spa called Feather Spa at The Peabody is also located onsite. There are also history tours of the hotel available if you are interested. The hotel’s luxurious rooms and suites have recently gone through a multi-million dollar renovation. They feature custom paint colors and commissioned wall art that pays tribute to Memphis, the blues, Mississippi River sunsets, and the Peabody Ducks in subtle ways.
Many of these rooms and suites will offer you gorgeous views of downtown Memphis. Depending on which suite you choose to book at the hotel, you may have access to kitchenettes with microwaves and mini refrigerators, fireplaces, and/or wet bars. WiFi is featured in all the rooms and suites.
The average rate for a standard room range from $168 to $440. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some additional photos.
What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to a musical journey to Memphis? Feel free to leave a comment below.