Memphis has been the home of musical greats like Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley, as well as legendary actors like Morgan Freeman. It consequently has historic attractions and entertainment for varying tastes, from Graceland to Sun Studioswhere rock 'n' roll was born. Take a closer look at how the classics were recorded before sampling some Memphis meats in smokehouses serving up barbequed pork, or burger joints where juicy beef is griddled to perfection. Travel back through time at the National Civil Rights Museum, or take the kids to the Children's Museum of Memphis for exhibits, events and games. Memphis in Tennessee is an eclectic city of literature, arts, food and culture that's ideal for families, backpackers or couples.
For a well-rounded visit to Memphis, it is highly recommended that you plan your visit during May. Beale Street Music Festival, Sunset Symphony, World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and International Week all combine to help make Memphis in May what it is today. Going on for more than 30 years, this celebration exhibits the best of the South. See “Ms. Piggie,” where contestants dress as pigs and put on stage performances of all kinds; the Barbecue Cooking Contest; or head to the popular Best Booth.
Most Memphis hotels will have brochures with dates and sometimes even coupons for the events going on during Memphis in Mayjust ask on arrival.
For those who wish to enjoy a more artistically-focused event, the Cooper-Young Festival is a suggested alternative. Held in Midtown Memphis, local musicians take to the stage while stalls sell arts and crafts, and kids can enjoy a dedicated children’s play zone. Taking place in September as the leaves start to turn from green to gold, the Cooper-Young Festival is an indoor event, keeping any weather complications from getting in the way of a weekend of Memphis heritage.
Jazz shaped quite a bit of America during the 1920's, and Memphis had a large part to play in shaping jazz. Memphis, along with Montreal, New York City, New Orleans and a few other cities, is one of the major jazz cities of the world. If music from big names like Duke, Gillespie and Monk makes you want to shake a leg, then visiting Memphis during the International Jazz Festival is a definite “must” during your visit.
Perhaps the most well-known attraction in Memphis; Graceland, a large mansion owned by Elvis Presley, is the most-visited private home in America and sits on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit this huge estate, and make yourself at one with “The King.” Walk through the hallways and rooms that once rang out to the sound of his music and enjoy a well-maintained part of pop culture's history.
Exhibits, audiovisual displays and dioramas are just the beginning at The Pink Palace Museum. See the unique full-sized exhibit of Clarence Saunders' Piggly Wiggly, the country's first grocery store, and journey through natural history as well as tales of settlers around Memphis and the industries within the region.
Memphis has mild winters, peaking at about 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer months are hot, with temperatures in July averaging approximately 83 degrees. Random storms can cause hail, flooding and strong winds, so bring a weatherproof jacket. In November, December, March, April and May, Memphis experiences the highest amount of rainfall. However, precipitation is fairly evenly spread throughout the year.