Take a Memphis Music Tour

American Dream Safari | Andrea Zucker

Note: While many Memphis area attractions, restaurants and businesses have reopened, some have adjusted their hours of operation or remain closed due to COVID-19. Please call or check social media before visiting these establishments.  

Peter Short and JT Mullen | August, 2020

In Memphis, much of our culture and history is built around music. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Al Green, Otis Redding, Booker T and the MGs, and the late great Isaac Hayes – this is just a snapshot of the music legends that called Memphis home. Heck, even Aretha Franklin was born here. So, it’s not unfair to say that Memphis and the Mississippi Delta are the heartbeat of American musical creativity. Memphis tour companies understand this. They work hard to share and often recreate this history. No easy task, for sure, but all of them, at their core, are creative, authentic and fun.  

If you’re a music lover looking to discover Memphis’ storied musical history, then check out these Memphis tour companies: 

Backbeat Tours 

More of a rolling concert/party bus than your traditional guided tour, Backbeat Tours has fast become one of the most popular tourist experiences in Memphis. Formed in 2006 by author and historian Bill Patton, Backbeat was designed to challenge people’s expectations for sightseeing tours. Stories, historical dates and narration are all essential ingredients of a good tour. But it all felt a little flat for a city like Memphis, so Backbeat went about creating a truly unique and interactive experience.

Patton bought a vintage bus, hired knowledgeable music historians who could also play music, and created one of the best music tours in the city. Backbeat’s options range from the Historic Memphis Walking Tour and Beale Street Walking Tour to the Graceland Tour and their signature musical Memphis Mojo Tour. 

Tickets, tour times and more information are available online. Many tours sell out in advance, so it’s best to plan ahead. All tours depart from the ticket window at Alfred’s (197 Beale St. Memphis, TN 38103), on the corner of 2nd Street and Beale. 

Backbeat Tours Kristin Luna
Backbeat Tours is more of a rolling concert than your traditional tour. Explore Memphis' rich musical heritage on these interactive experiences.

Rock ‘n’ Rides

Looking for your own private tour of Memphis? Look no further than Rock ‘n’ Rides tours. Think of this as your backstage pass to Memphis. Tour the city in style, as musician Brad Birkedahl guides you and your tour buddy around town in the back of his classic 1959 convertible Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner. 

On this two-hour tour, Birkedahl will share his insider knowledge about Memphis and its entertainment industry while cruising you past the city’s legendary landmarks and hidden gems. Tickets are $250 per carload (up to two passengers). Tickets, tour times and more information are available online. Rock ‘n’ Rides picks up guests from most downtown and midtown Memphis hotels, Airbnb properties or the downtown Tennessee State Welcome Center at 119 Riverside Dr., Memphis, TN 38103.

Memphis Hop

Tour Memphis’ biggest attractions, including Graceland, Beale Street, Stax and Sun Studio, at your own pace with Memphis Hop. This hop-on, hop-off tour allows you to spend as much (or as little) time as you want at each attraction. 

Interested in learning all things Elvis? Take a Memphis Hop bus to Graceland and explore everything Graceland and Elvis Presley’s Memphis has to offer. Then, board the next bus to your next attraction. That go-at-your-own-pace style goes for any of the stops along the Memphis Hop tour route. You can pick and choose exactly which spots you’d like to spend more time at. 

Tickets and tour information can be found online. You can also purchase tickets at the ticket booth next to Hard Rock Café (2nd & Beale Street). Adult tickets are $30 and childrens tickets are $20. Attraction admission fees are not included in the tour price.

Stax Museum / Raphael Tenschert
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is one of many stops on Memphis Hop's hop-on, hop-off tour route.

Blues City Tours

Take a sightseeing tour with Blues City Tours. With over ten different tour options, Blues City Tours guides guests to some of Memphis’ brightest attractions. 

The Graceland Experience Tour is a must for Elvis fans. The Memphis Music Tour takes visitors to Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Sun Studio, three of Memphis’ biggest music attractions. Explore the birthplace of the blues on the Beale Street Twilight Shuttle. Discover Memphis, from the Mighty Mississippi to Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid to the National Civil Rights Museum, on the City of Memphis Tour. 

Find more information and purchase tickets online. Prices and tour durations vary. 

American Dream Safari

Tad Pierson's American Dream Safari tours transport you to the landmarks of Memphis rock and soul . . . in Tad's 1955 Cadillac. But it's Tad's knowledge of city lore and Memphis' hidden gems that are the real classic here. Beyond Sun Studio and Graceland, Tad wants you to see the path less traveled, from Johnny Cash's old hangouts to the studio where Willie Mitchell recorded Al Green, and where you can find Memphis' remaining juke joints.

American Dream Safari offers several unique tours to choose from. Ticket pricing and tour information can be found here

American Dream Safari Tours

Graceland Day Trip Tours

Elvis Presley’s Graceland invites you to trace the King’s roots and musical influences on the Birthplace of Elvis Presley Tour and the Mississippi Delta Blues Tour. 

On the Birthplace of Elvis Presley Tour, you’ll journey to Tupelo, Mississippi, and discover Elvis’ humble beginnings. From his childhood home to the church he attended, tour landmarks across this Northeast Mississippi city to explore Elvis’ roots. 

Tours depart The Guest House at Graceland at 8:30 a.m. every Friday and include lunch and a snack. Tour lasts approximately seven hours. Tickets cost $99 for adults and $79 for children. 

Discover how blues inspired the creation of rock ‘n’ roll on the Mississippi Delta Blues Tour. This blues excursion will take you to iconic blues museums and even the birthplace of the blues at Mississippi's Dockery Farms. 

Tours last approximately nine hours and depart from The Guest House at Graceland. Tickets cost $119 for adults and $89 for children. 

Find more information online.