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Die Beale Street in Memphis, Bild: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Memphis, Tennessee – vibrant metropolis and cradle of the blues

Located on the Mississippi River in Tennessee , Memphis is a special attraction for musicians, music lovers and history buffs. The southern city inspires with its very special atmosphere, because the port city combines the proverbial hospitality of the south with historical features. Not only the music was shaped by Memphis, but also the story of the civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King is closely interwoven with the city. Those who decide to travel to Memphis have the opportunity to explore a unique city that manages to captivate every visitor.

In the footsteps of the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”

Elvis Presley Statue in Memphis
Elvis Presley statue in Memphis, Image: f11photo / shutterstock

The southern city of Memphis became famous worldwide, not least because of the career of Elvis Presley . The rock ‘n’ roll legend lived in Memphis from 1948. Here he benefited from the diverse musical influences and got to know numerous musical greats from the field of blues and soul. The first recordings were made in the Sun Records recording studio. Today, music fans can tour the studio. Not far from the studio there is also an Elvis statue, which is one of the most popular photo motifs in the city. But the absolute highlight is a visit to Graceland, the residence of the artist, who died in 1977 at the age of only 42.

At the age of only 22, the exceptional artist bought the property for himself and his parents and had a true palace built according to his taste. A tour of Graceland gives insights into the artist’s life and takes visitors back to a time long gone. Today, there is also a restaurant on the estate. Among other things, the famous pink Cadillac can be visited and a separate exhibition has also been dedicated to the star’s aircraft. A special recommendation is a visit to the Arcade Restaurant, a true institution in the city, because Elvis Presley ate here regularly and prefers a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Today’s music scene in Memphis

Since 1977, Memphis has officially been able to call itself the “home of the blues” and then as now, the city magically attracted the best blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll musicians. Therefore, it is a good idea to follow the sounds of the music and spend one or the other evening in the clubs, cafés and restaurants. Because especially in Beale Street there are locations where fantastic artists are on stage every evening. In addition to good music, you can also enjoy Southern cuisine with all its special features.

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But even during the day, Beale Street is one of the places to go. Different shops and music studios are lined up here. If you’ve always wanted to be in the recording studio yourself, you can easily fulfill this dream in Memphis. Music fans can easily expand their collection of sound recordings in the numerous record stores. The artists themselves also like to sell their latest records and CDs.

The Memphis Pyramid – the city’s extraordinary landmark

Memphis Pyramid
Memphis Pyramid, Image: Caron Badkin / shutterstock

Memphis is simply a very special city and so it is hardly surprising that the city claims a very special landmark for itself with its pyramid. The complex, which opened in 1991, was once a sports and concert arena – today the pyramid inspires visitors from all over the world with its viewing platform. This guarantees a magnificent view of the Mississippi River. In addition, the interior of the pyramid was extensively rebuilt and an interesting shopping paradise for outdoor fans was created. In addition, ten aquariums with over 1,800 fish can be admired. A highlight is also the hotel located in the pyramid and of course there is also a restaurant in the upper part of the building, as well as the highest glass free-standing elevator in the USA brings the guests.

The museums of the historic city

The southern city presents itself with a high density of sights, so that even a longer stay in the music metropolis will not be boring. There is a lot to discover, because even away from Graceland, Memphis inspires with a unique atmosphere.

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music

On 1,600 square meters, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music offers fascinating insights into the music world of the USA. Over 3,000 exhibits, most of which are interactive, make a visit to the museum a unique experience. The exhibits include original instruments by well-known artists, original video recordings, almost historical stage costumes, unique memorabilia and, of course, lots of records by great soul artists.

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The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

As the only offshoot of the famous Smithsonian Institute, the museum is one of the city’s attractions. The museum tells the story of Rock ́n ́ Soul in detail. Located in the centre of Beale Street, music fans will also find fantastic suggestions on which clubs steeped in history they should not miss.

The National Civil Rights Museum

History was not only made in Memphis on a musical level, but also politically. The National Civil Rights Museum is dedicated to this fact. Housed in the historic rooms of the former Lorraine Motel, the museum is located south of the city center. In the former motel, the civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered. Today, the building presents itself in a lovingly restored condition, because the civil rights movement created a place of remembrance here that resembles a monument and is still dedicated to relevant topics today.

General information about Memphis

Climate

Memphis experiences a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures in summer can often rise above 32°C, while winters are rarely very cold, but occasionally snow falls.

Sights

  • Graceland: The former home of Elvis Presley and now a museum that is one of the most visited private residences in America.
  • Beale Street: Famous for its vibrant music scene and historical significance in the blues, it offers numerous clubs and restaurants.
  • National Civil Rights Museum: Housed in the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. It is a central museum dedicated to the history of the American civil rights movement.
  • Sun Studio: A recording studio where legendary musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and B.B. King began their careers.
  • Memphis Zoo: One of the oldest zoos in the USA, known for its numerous animals and exhibits.

Activities

  • Music events: Attend live music events in the many bars and clubs along Beale Street.
  • Cultural Festivals: Memphis hosts the annual Memphis in May Festival, which includes music, culture, and barbecue competitions.
  • River Activities: Enjoy boat rides on the Mississippi River or relax in the parks along the river.

Culture

The culture in Memphis is heavily influenced by music, especially blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll. The city plays a central role in the history of music and has produced many of the greatest musicians in American history.

Gastronomy

Memphis is famous for its barbecue, especially the slow, smoky ribs and pulled pork. Local specialties also include hot chicken, soul food, and various fusion cuisines.

Journey

Memphis is accessible via Memphis International Airport, which offers many direct flights from major American cities. The city is also easily accessible by car via several major highways.