Memphis Motocycle Tours and Tips

Let's ride, captain! Tennessee and Mississippi offer multiple motorcycle rides that work well for beginners as well as experienced riders. Go hit the road and spend some time exploring Memphis and riding on great roads in the Mid-South.

Grab a Handful of Memphis
Memphis, is home of the King (no, not a Harley-Davidson). The rumble of your bike will surely sync with this authentic Southern city, located in Western Tennessee. Music is tops in Memphis, but so is the food, history and culture.

Beale Street is a perfect bikers hangout, especially on Wednesdays April - October. Throughout the warmer months, this acclaimed avenue is a landing pad for cruisers, choppers, sport bikes and even scooters. Bikes get parked on both sides of Beale, and riders often sit or stand by their bikes to watch the action. Whatever you're rocking, the neon and libations brewing on Beale are the perfect mix for gear and people-watching.

You've undoubtedly seen it on TV and read it in the news, so you're probably well aware that Memphis has some of the best barbecue in all of the mighty U.S. and A. After a long, hot day of riding, nothing goes down better than a rack of ribs and a cold Ghost River Beer. Get down to Rendezvous in Downtown Memphis or venture out to other hot spots like Central BBQ, A&R Bar-B-Que, Cozy Corner, Corky's, etc, etc, etc. Everyone has their speciality in Memphis and you really can't go wrong. Check out our big list of Memphis restaurants for additional barbecue and Southern food options. 

Culture and history are an integral part of the Memphis experience, so take some time to roll the throttle to one of then many other attractions. Sun Studio is where Rock 'n' Roll was born and launched the careers of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis. Stax Museum of American Soul Music is famous for that raw Memphis sound that put artists like Booker T. and the MGs, Otis Redding, Steve Cropper, and Isaac Hayes on the map. Today, the museum is home to 2,000 exhibits, memorabilia, galleries and a superfly Cadillac El Dorado. 

Other can't miss attractions are the National Civil Rights Museum, Gibson Guitar Factory, Mississippi River Museum, a ball game at AutoZone Park or the Center for Southern Folklore. See the big map below for Memphis attractions and suggestions as they relate to your motorcycle ride.

Looking for motorcycle rallies, biker parties, poker events, and rides in Memphis? Go here

Elvis
Elvis Presley was born in nearby Tupelo, MS in 1935, but grew up in Memphis. His influence in Memphis still remains larger than life. Elvis was frequently seen around town riding his 1966 Harley-Davidson. He loved motorcycles and that bike, along with his collection of over 30 cars/motorized toys, are currently on display at the Elvis Presley Car Museum. If you've never been, you've got to put Graceland at the top of your Memphis bucket list.

While you're in that neck of the woods, stop at Graceland Harley-Davidson. The shop is perfect for apparel, souvenirs, parts and service needs. Other local shops include Bumpus Harley-Davidson in Bartlett, TN and Southern Thunder in Southaven, MS.

Home Base
While a prime destination, Memphis is also centrally located and a great home base for larger motorcyle trips.

  • Vicksburg, MS (250 miles/403 kilometers) - Full of Civil War history, Vicksburg was a crucial target for General Grant. The city, set along the picturesque Mississippi River, retains the charm and elegance of the Old South. 
  • Nashville, TN  (220 miles/350 kilometers) - Home of Country, Bluegrass and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville is the capitol of Tennessee and full of music-related activities and attractions.
  • Birmingham, AL  (245 miles/394 kilometers) - Born out of iron and steel, Birmingham is rich in Civil Rights history. Don't miss the area's great antique shops. 
  • Knoxville, TN (391 miles/630 kilometers) - On the edge of the Smokies, Knoxville is 5.5 hours by the big slab of I-40, or you can take the older and more interesting two-lane Highway 70 that parallels the interstate. If you need a little diversion, stop at Jack Daniel Distillery Tour, South of Nashville in Lynchburg, TN. 
Keep the Shiny Side Up 
To make sure you have a smooth motorcycle tour of Memphis and the surrounding areas, keep these tips top of mind.
  • The best time of year to ride through is Spring through Fall. Weather is often cooperative during that time and the Mid-South is full of sunshine - perfect riding temperatures. 
  • Pack lightweight clothing. Synthetic fibers are often easier to wash on the road and dry much faster than cotton. 
  • Don't forget your GPS and atlas. They often come in handy when you want to venture off the beaten path. Forgot yours at home? Try out the Memphis Travel app with location-based features and more. 
  • Zipper lock bags are your friends. 
  • For hotels, motels and camp grounds in Memphis, see this big list of places to stay in the area.
Ride safe.