Planning Tip: Consider staying in a hotel just steps from Beale Street, a luxury hotel on the grounds of Elvis Presley's Graceland, or this new boutique hotel where weekend evenings are set to live DJ music in the lobby.
If you're staying in Downtown Memphis, you won't need a car to visit all of these Memphis music attractions. Just tighten those laces, grab a trolley pass, or hail a horse-drawn carriage.
No place dramatizes and organizes the cultural and social ramifications of Memphis’ musical connection to the world better than this Smithsonian Institute seven-gallery chronicle. With over 100 songs, the audio tour is a museum in and of itself.
The Memphis Music Hall of Fame (MMHoF) celebrates visionaries who’ve made music in this city that resonates around the world. Some are household names, some aren’t. But spend an hour or so in their Hall of Fame, and you’ll see how they’re all connected to the soundtrack of your life.
The Blues Hall of Fame has been around since 1980, when The Blues Foundation began inducting individuals, recordings and writings at an annual ceremony acknowledging the achievements that changed the way the world listens to music. Now at the Blues Hall of Fame museum, you can view the original art, artifacts and engage with interactive exhibits.
When the blues migrated north from the Delta it found a permanent home in Memphis, and that home is alive and well today on Beale Street. Dance to the many bands and artists that perform in open-air Handy Park or spend a night sliding in and out of 15-20 nightclubs, like B.B. King’s Blues Club, Rum Boogie Café or King’s Palace. If good food in authentic settings appeals to you, be sure and visit Itta Bena, a warm, friendly place to eat, drink and have fun in an historic Beale Street environment.
You won't want to miss these one-of-a-kind Memphis music attractions. Where rock 'n' roll was born and went on to change the world, and where soul music filled the air and helped ignite a movement.
No trip to Memphis is complete without a trip to Elvis Presley's Graceland. The 14-acre home of the King of Rock and Roll is a must for any visitor. Across the street, fans can follow Elvis' career and immerse themselves with the things that he loved, including his wardrobe, car collection and plane, all at the Elvis Presley's Memphis Entertainment Complex. Can't get enough of the King? Stay onsite at The Guest House at Graceland.
This 17,000-square-foot museum—on the original site of Stax Records— is home to more than 2,000 cultural artifacts, celebrating the music made famous by Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, the Bar-Kays, Al Green and more. Discover how the Memphis sound influenced music around the world.
Sam Phillips’ famous recording studio is ground zero for rock and roll’s explosion onto the world stage. Literally packed with memories and memorabilia, the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll” gives visitors a chance to hear historical outtakes and even touch Elvis’ first microphone. Experience the stories that put legends like Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and more on the map, and see why artists like U2 and Maroon Five continue to flock here today.
Specialty Music Tours
Need a guide? These tours provide experts ready to lead you through Memphis' rich
Sightseeing tours led by Memphis musicians performing live aboard a 1950’s era bus! A unique and entertaining insider’s view of the city’s rich musical heritage. Laugh, sing—even play along—on this “backstage pass” to the best of Memphis music history. Get ready to “shake, rattle, ‘n’ roll.”
Customized cultural expeditions exploring the heartbeat of Memphis from the backseat of a 1955 Cadillac or walking tour of Downtown with your guide Tad Pierson. Choose from 8 different tours and hop in the back of the caddy for a truly unique tour experience.
On Classic Memphis Tours' "Intro to Memphis," Beale Street musician Brandon Cunning will guide you around the city to iconic music attractions, like the home of "Father of the Blues" W.C. Handy and the site of Johnny Cash's first live gig. The tour company also offers a "Red, Hot & Blue Elvis Tour," where you'll get a first-hand glimpse at the King of Rock and Roll's favorite stomping grounds.
Need a ride?
hop on and off shuttles
Beale Street, Stax, Graceland, Sun Studio — these are just a few of the popular music stops along the Memphis Hop Bus loop. Hop on, choose your stop and explore these must-see attractions at your own pace.
Want to explore Memphis' rich music history, but don't have a car? Try Blues City Tours. From the "Graceland Experience Tour" to the "Memphis Music Tour," Blues City will lead you to music history museums, famed recording studios and historic sites related to Memphis music legends.