Home of cool Graceland: Home of Elvis Presley, "Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll" at Sun Studio, Sound of Music on Beale Street and lots of things to do on Memorial day in Memphis. We've compiled some of the best things to do in Memphis on this Memorial Day holiday.
Graceland is the former estate of music legend Elvis Presley and is the ultimate pilgrimage for fans of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Elvis purchased the 14-acre property in 1957. Tourists on Memorial Day come to tour his former home, view memorabilia, and visit his tomb in the Meditation Garden.
Tours of the mansion include most of the house, from the elegant foyer and living room where Elvis entertained celebrities to the Jungle Room, with shag carpets and Polynesian décor. The Trophy Building, designed to tell the story of Elvis's personal life, displays Priscilla's wedding dress, flashy suits worn by the singer on stage, jewelry, awards, and Lisa Marie's childhood toys.
Tour the office of Elvis's father Vernon, where the star's personal business was conducted, as well as the restored Racquetball Building. A separate structure features a collection of cars, including his 1955 pink Cadillac, a 1956 purple Cadillac convertible, and the red MG he drove in Blue Hawaii.
Visit Elvis's two airplanes, where you can step aboard his lavish 1958 Convair 880 to admire gold-plated seatbelts and leather-covered tables. Admission options are available, including a deluxe package with accommodation at the Heartbreak Hotel across the road.
A visit during Memorial Day to Sun Studio in Memphis is a nostalgic experience. This is the recording facility where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, and Roy Orbison began their careers. The studio itself is still used by recording artists, with more recent recordings made by artists such as John Mellencamp. It's a fascinating look into the recording process. A free shuttle service is available from Graceland and the Rock 'n' Soul Museum.
Maximize your enjoyment of this attraction by joining a popular Memphis City Tour with Sun Studio Admission. Enjoy a bus tour of the city highlights, including a stop to see the Peabody Ducks, and a tour of Sun Studio.
A short distance south of Beale Street is the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The building is now occupied by the National Civil Rights Museum, which traces the history of civil rights in the US. Its centerpiece is the hotel room and balcony on which King was killed, marked by a white wreath.
This thought-provoking museum includes excellent interactive displays, as well as artifacts from events such as the Montgomery bus boycott. More than 250 artifacts and 40 films help to tell the story of five centuries of history. Learn about the early days of slavery, the Civil War, and its aftermath, and restrictions on African Americans during the days of Jim Crow.
A stroll down Beale Street, nicknamed the "Home of the Blues," is one of the first places to visit in Memphis on Memorial Day. You'll find iconic attractions such as the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum. WC Handy's House is now a museum honoring the "Father of the Blues," who composed Memphis Blues and St. Louis Blues. It's also home to the A. Schwab dry goods store, founded in 1876.
This corridor is where Riley King earned the title Beale Street Blues Boy, aka B.B. King. You'll find many fun things to do such as visiting the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. See its exhibits of local music legends, instruments, memorabilia, and rare recordings.
Be sure to check the historic Orpheum Theatre for performances and shows during your Memphis visit. Built in 1928, the theater features a well-preserved interior and original Wurlitzer organ.
Memphis is all about entertainment, from the home of the blues on Beale Street to the Soundstage at Graceland. In a category of its own, however, is the famous Peabody Duck March at The Peabody Memphis.
The red carpet rolls out from the elevator to the fountain that graces the lobby. A crowd gathers to watch the ceremony but first, the official in the red jacket festooned with gold braid and epaulets anoints the scene with a speech. A crescendo of majestic music signals the start of a spectacle dating back 90 years in a hotel that opened in 1869.
The performers live on the roof of the hotel in a $200,000 enclosure made of marble and glass. They have their own private fountain, and sleep in a miniature replica of the hotel. Twice a day (at 11am and 5pm), they make the trek from their penthouse digs to the lobby and back again.
Established in 1906, the Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals representing 500 species. It is one of only four zoos in the country to house giant pandas. Other popular inhabitants include polar bears, sea lions, black bears, bald eagles, and ravens in a naturalistic environment called the Northwest Passage. Cat Country includes predators and prey, such as lions, tigers, cheetahs, and antelopes.
Other habitats feature family favorites such as elephants, giraffes, penguins, primates including the adorable bonobo, and a farm animal exhibit. A must-see is Butterflies: In Living Color, open seasonally from Memorial Day through October. Enjoy food concessions, rides, gift shops, and a discovery center. Guided tours and behind-the-scenes encounters are also available.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music–one of only a handful of museums worldwide dedicated to soul music–is an exact replica of the original Stax Records studio. The museum features "everything soul," including detailed exhibits relating to the stars, the music, and its history. You can see 2,500 artifacts, such as instruments and costumes.
Other highlights are a century-old Mississippi Delta church used to display soul's roots in gospel music, and the Soul Train TV show dance floor.
Soulsville is the neighborhood where the museum is located. Among its most celebrated stars are Aretha Franklin and Memphis Slim. In addition to the Stax Museum, the Soulsville Foundation operates the Stax Music Academy and Soulsville Charter School for aspiring singers and musicians.