Memphis’ Top Tourism “Musts”! Top Things To Do On A Four Day Trip!

My favorite thing to do on a trip to Memphis is sample both the incredible BBQ at places like Rendezvous (my favorite since my first visit to Memphis in 1990) and fine dining at places like Chez Philippe which offers an incredibly luxurious afternoon tea and seven/course price fixe dinner. In between eating, I would say that these are the “go to” activities–you have heard of most but a couple of them are wild cards!

Graceland has been expanded to since I last visited 30 years ago and you can easily spend three hours in it after visiting the legendary house itself. Nearly all of Elvis’ jumpsuits are on display in cubicles lining several walls and the gold record room is equally covered ceiling to floor. There are all sorts of oddball Elvis estate collectibles on display from police badges to telegrams from TV and radio hosts to Colonel Parker. Be sure to check out the Lisa Marie and its baby sister plane (there is no extra cost to see them and they are truly left intact from 1977 when Elvis passed, there is just plastic covering everything to keep things pristine). The first few rooms of the museum features Elvis’ cars including his famous pink Cadillac and the last room features opportunities to have digital photos made of you placed on various Elvis album covers and movie posters (photos are emailed and there are no additional costs for them). In a nutshell, you cannot go to Memphis without visit Graceland and it is about a 20 minute drive from the downtown area where most of the hotels including the legendary Peabody are. The Graceland tour gets a little somber when you venture out to the backyard to see the Presley family’s graves but a lot of the loving tributes including gorgeous flower arrangements will warm your heart.For more information, go to

Sun Studios is known as the studio where Elvis recorded his first record, a birthday song for his mother, done when he was still a truck driver. You can come here and pose with the very same vintage mic that Elvis and other music luminaries used, from Roy Orbison to U2. The best part of visiting Sun Studios is that you can learn all about Elvis’ pre fame career and his rise to the top over a less than two year period. In 1958, studio owner Sam Phillips sold the studio and moved into a fancier one six blocks away–this new studio is the ultimate in late 50s “space age” architecture and is only a six minute walk away, so I highly suggest that you visit (no tours are given, so you just have to have a good look from the front and sides). There is a Sun Studio Cafe in the front of Sun Studios that features some fun posters, signs and other memorabilia, and it is a great place to have a drink before or after your tour. For more info, go to

The Haunted Memphis Walking Ghost Tour is something you will always remember as one of your best moments in Memphis! This spooky two hour crawl will let you experience the darker side of downtown, and hear tales of the city’s haunted heritage as told by a professional storyteller Richard Pound. Explore Earnestine and Hazel’s, a former brothel and dive bar that is said to have been a favorite hangout of Ray Charles and The Rolling Stones (supposedly inspiring the song “Honky Tonk Woman”) as well as the Orpheum Theatre and the John Alexander Austin House (pictured above). You will hear chilling tales of the city’s haunted heritage by a storyteller guide with incredible knowledge of Memphis architecture and history and even see the house of ill repute where Elvis allegedly lost his virginity! Exact spots where ghosts are said to hang out are shown–a lot of them are said to be peering out of windows at night–and the tour guides say that spirits have actually shown up in guests’ photos! Read more about this spooky yet memorable tour here: Haunted Memphis Walking Ghost Tour.

You have to visit Beale Street known as “The Home Of The Blues” when visiting Memphis. Either day or night is about the liveliest place in town and there are indeed family friendly things to do even though the street is lined with clubs including the original BB King’s Blues Club which opened back in Spring 1991. There’s the fun Memphis Rock ‘ N Soul Museum which has fun interactive photo ops for all ages as well as street vendors selling everything from sunglasses to unique ice cream novelties. Just stroll down to Beale Street from your hotel and you will discover something new every time you go. For more information, go to

My favorite place on Beale Street is the A. Schwab department store complete with old soda fountain! Established in 1876 by Abraham Joseph Schwab, a Jewish immigrant from France, it holds the distinction of being the oldest store on Beale Street and one of the oldest businesses in Memphis. The store has become a beloved institution and a symbol of the city’s rich cultural heritage. You can shop for vintage candy, Memphis souvenirs and more but do not leave without treating yourself to a homemade soda (available in numerous traditional and oddball flavors) or milkshake at the fountain area. For more information, go to

The most fun way to get around downtown is via the trolley system which you can catch on numerous spots along Main Street. In this photo you can see it pulling in front of the Central Station Hotel at 545 South Main which is a great place to start any sightseeing tour. I suggest taking it in the direction of Beale Street and along the way you will see The Civil Rights Museum housed in the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King was assassinated and the Blues Foundation Museum, not to mention the gorgeous Orpheum Theater. You can pay $1 per ride or ride all day for only $2. I think that it is the country’s cheapest and most fun public transportation option! For more information, go to Memphis Trolley Info.

The Central Station Hotel which I just mentioned is a distinctive and historic hotel located in the South Main Arts District. It is part of a the Hilton Curio Collection and is housed in the historic Central Station building, which has a rich history dating back to its original construction in 1914 as a major passenger rail station for the Illinois Central Railroad. The building was converted into a hotel and reopened in 2019, blending its historic charm with modern amenities. Rooms have high ceilings and standard rooms with two queen beds is in the $200s per night depending on the season; they are very large at about 400 square feet. This is a great spot to be within 20 minutes walking distance to Beale Street, The Peabody and more. The Amtrak train actually comes to the side of the hotel, too! I cannot think of a more centrally located to stay and you will also love dining at The Bishop French-Southern restaurant on the ground floor as well as the music themed lounges on the first two floors. For more information, go to Central Station Hotel.

Article by anne241

Hardcore NYer who loves to enjoy the good life here in the Big Apple and beyond!