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Memphis, the birthplace of American blues and rock 'n' roll music and the scene of some poignant events in American history, is thick with culturally significant attractions. At tiny Sun Studio, still a working recording studio and now historic landmark, Elvis recorded his first hits, as did Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and BB King. At Graceland, Elvis Aaron Presley reigned as king and now lies buried next to the swimming pool. Tours of the site are an essential part of a trip to Memphis. In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down at the Lorraine Motel, now home to the National Civil Rights Museum. A monorail crosses the Mississippi ...

Memphis, the birthplace of American blues and rock 'n' roll music and the scene of some poignant events in American history, is thick with culturally significant attractions. At tiny Sun Studio, still a working recording studio and now historic landmark, Elvis recorded his first hits, as did Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and BB King. At Graceland, Elvis Aaron Presley reigned as king and now lies buried next to the swimming pool. Tours of the site are an essential part of a trip to Memphis. In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down at the Lorraine Motel, now home to the National Civil Rights Museum. A monorail crosses the Mississippi River to Mud Island River Park, where exhibits depict the historical and cultural importance of the river. Along Beale Street, blues music pumps into your veins and the sweet scent of BBQ ribs fills the air.

Memphis is an excellent walking city: it's easy to get from downtown hotels to sporting events, many museums and performing arts venues on foot.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Now Happening in Memphis

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Memphis is a city in the western corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Memphis is a fun, vibrant city year round.