Things To Do In Memphis, TN – Music Roots

Memphis is located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River in the southeastern corner of the US state of Tennessee. It is renowned for its strong blues connection. In fact, Memphis is the official home of the blues as designated by the US Congress. The city is also famous for being the birthplace of rock and roll. This is also the city where Elvis Presley lived and recorded his tunes. As a result of all this, music fans are sure to find things to do in Memphis, TN.

Graceland

(Photo courtesy of Bjoertvedt via Wikimedia)

Graceland is located around eight miles south of downtown Memphis on Elvis Presley Boulevard near Interstate 55. This is the stately estate where Elvis Presley lived. Elvis was a legendary rock and roll musician during the mid 20th century. He lived at the estate from 1957 until his death in 1977 at the age of 42. The mansion is designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style.

The front and side of the mansion feature tan Tishomingo limestones that are sourced from the US state of Mississippi while the building’s rear feature stucco. There are two pairs of white columns on opposing sides of the mansion’s entranceway. The mansion has two floors and a basement. It contains a total of 23 rooms which include eight bedrooms and bathrooms.

There are a few interesting things to point out within the mansion. The Music Room houses a black baby grand piano and a 1950’s style television. The Jungle Room is notable for its indoor waterfall of cut field stone. What is most interesting is that there is a room in the mansion’s basement with a pool table. It turns out that Elvis was an avid pool player who bought the pool table in 1960 to play on within his mansion.

During your tour of the mansion, you will learn the personal side of Elvis, who was known as the King of Rock and Roll. In addition to the mansion itself, the estate grounds also house Elvis Presley’s Memphis which is a collection of museums and/or exhibits dedicated to Elvis’ overall life. Here are a couple of them to note. The first one is Elvis: The Entertainment Career Museum.

This is where you can check out hundreds of artifacts from Elvis’ legendary rock and roll music career such as a collection of gold and platinum records, jumpsuits, and guitars. Elvis was known for his love of cars. He owned at least twenty of them and you can check them out at the Presley Motors Automobile Museum. A few cars on display include a Pink Cadillac, a 1975 Dino Ferrari, and a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk.

As far as tickets are concerned, you will want the Elvis Experience Tour. This will get you access to the entire Graceland estate including the mansion itself and the museums and exhibits. The prices are from $38 to $73. You can head here to buy your tickets. The estate also house numerous onsite restaurants and gift shops. So, you may want to check them out also.

Sun Studio

(Photo courtesy of Mr. Littlehand via Flickr)

Sun Studio is located on Union Avenue just east of downtown Memphis. This is the iconic recording studio where the rock and roll music genre was born. The recording studio began its operation in January of 1950 with the first rock and roll recording being done by Jackie Brenton and his Delta Cats for the single called “Rocket 88”.

Elvis Presley began his legendary career by recording at this studio fresh out of high school in August of 1953. When he first started recording at the studio, he was not very successful. However, after just under one year later, Elvis began to hit it big with his recording of Arthur Crudup’s single, “That’s All Right”.

In addition to Elvis, other famed musicians of the past who recorded at the studio include B.B. King, Ike Turner, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash. The music greats of today who have recorded at the studio include Maroon 5, U2, Paul Simon, and Beck. Today, there are guided tours available for Sun Studio.

You will be led throughout the two floors of the studio by a guide who will narrate its history and how it launched the careers of some of the most famous musicians. The guide will also play some of the songs that were recorded by the famous musicians when they operated out of the studio.

The tour tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students, military members, and seniors. Those who are aged between 5 and 11 will receive free admission. There is also a gift shop available onsite if you are interested in souvenirs.

Beale Street

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikimedia)

Those who have visited Memphis before, will most likely recognize Beale Street. This is the city’s most iconic street. It is the heartbeat of the blues in Memphis. In 1977, the US Congress designated Beale Street as the official home of the blues. As a result, blues-themed restaurants, bars, and shops dominate the brick-paved, largely pedestrian street in downtown Memphis.

And they often host musical performances at the same time. So, they can be overwhelming, but they are all worth checking out as no two musical performances are alike. Famous musicians have been known to surface on Beale Street.

These include Albert King, Louis Armstrong, Memphis Minnie, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. Beale Street is notable for its cool neon signs that hang from buildings. They all will light up at night. So, it’s well worth visiting the street at night as well.

Music fans won’t want to miss out on these things to do in Memphis, TN. Also, if you are a fan of country music, you will want to consider taking a trip east to Nashville. It is renowned for its association with country music. I encourage you to visit this post to learn more about the world-class country music attractions you can visit in Nashville.

Memphis Hotels

Should you need a place to stay overnight at during your time in Memphis, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street

This hotel is located on Peabody Place which is just off Beale Street to the north. There is free breakfast and coffee available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few dining options just around the corner include Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar, Maciel’s Tortas & Tacos, and Itta Bena. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with coffee makers and mini refrigerators while the suites come with full kitchens and separate living rooms. They all feature WiFi. The average rate for a standard room range from $155 to $306. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Comfort Inn Downtown

This hotel is located on North Front Street in downtown Memphis, about fifteen minutes north of Beale Street. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast and coffee for you to enjoy. If you get hungry, a few restaurants in the immediate area include McEwen’s on Monroe, Blue Plate Cafe Downtown, and Willie Moore’s Restaurant & Lounge. The hotel contains an outdoor, rooftop swimming pool with some nice skyline views.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel. The hotel rooms and suites on the upper floors will offer breathtaking views of downtown and the Mississippi River. They will also offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $119 to $217. You can visit here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to seeing what Memphis has to offer in connection to its music heritage? Feel free to leave a comment here.

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