Memphis in 2 Days

Memphis, located in the deep south of the United States, shines as a hidden gem of a city. Despite its historical and cultural significance, people often overlook it in favour of the larger Tennessee state capital, Nashville. However, Memphis offers a wealth of rich history and culture, as well as some of the best rock and roll music in the country. In fact, I consider Memphis to be one of my favourite and most underrated cities in the country. So, make sure to consider Memphis for your next weekend getaway.


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Memphis Itinerary


Memphis Day 1

Sun Studio

Memphis earns its reputation as the home of rock and roll. So, dive straight into the music history by visiting Sun Studio. This studio worked with some of the most famous rock and roll artists, including all of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and B.B. King. In fact, Elvis Presley recorded his first hit in this studio. The company offers an incredible tour through the studios, led by some of the most knowledgeable and fun guides in town. The guide who led my tour actually made my visit to Sun Studio my favourite experience in Memphis. 

Make sure to prioritise the 10:30am tour, as tickets cannot be booked online ahead of time. Tickets can be purchased for USD$15*. For additional tour times, refer to the Sun Studio website. 


After having had your introduction to rock and roll, visit the rock and roll king’s home at Graceland. Elvis Presley’s Graceland is definitely Memphis’ most iconic landmark, but it is well worth the trip. Make sure to book tickets online to avoid the queue. They can be purchased through the Graceland website for USD$79.75*. 

I recommend booking the ‘Elvis Experience Tour’ to make the most of your time here. Allow around four hours this afternoon to explore the Graceland Mansion, including the resting site of the Presley family. The audio guide will walk you through each of the eclectic rooms on the property, as you are transported straight back to the 50s. Afterwards, explore the entertainment complex including the Presley Motors. Yes, you will be able to snap some pics with the iconic pink Cadillac here!

Peabody Ducks

One of the more quirky things to do in Memphis is to visit the Peabody Ducks. Head to the grand Peabody Memphis around 4:30pm to get a front row seat before the crowds. Then, wait until 5pm for the Peabody Ducks to march their way up the red carpet from the lobby fountain into the elevators, escorted by the Duckmaster. Trust me, you will not want to miss this parade.

Beale Street

Tonight, head to the iconic Beale Street for dinner and a boogie. Beale Street is one of the most iconic streets in the whole United States, and for good reason. Named ‘Home of the Blues’, the street is both lined with bars and also buzzing with neon signs. One of the most famous places to grab a meal, and my personal favourite, is B.B. King’s Blues Club. They charge a small cover charge at the door to go towards the incredible live music they host every night. Sit back, order a massive American meal, and enjoy the live blues music for the night. 


National Civil Rights Museum

This morning, head to the National Civil Rights Museum to explore another side of Memphis. In fact, the civil rights movement was one of the most important shifts in American history, and this is actually one of the best places to learn about it. The museum covers five centuries of history in its permanent exhibitions, including Slavery in America, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and also the Freedom Rides. All the exhibits are immersive and engaging, so you are guaranteed to learn a lot about the long history of both segregation and also the civil rights movement. I highly recommend this experience to anyone visiting Memphis, no matter their interests.

Right next door lies the Lorraine Motel, the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1968. Despite its pastel colours and funky mid-century architecture, it is a haunting place to be. The National Civil Rights Museum also has informational bollards posted outside where you can learn about the events leading up to the fatal moment. It is a peaceful place to spend some time both reflecting and processing all you have learned during your visit to the museum.

Tickets to the National Civil Rights Museum can be purchased online through the museum website for USD$18*. However, the Lorraine Motel is free to visit.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Continuing with the music theme, head to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music this afternoon. Originally named Satellite Records, this studio actually recorded some of the first soul hits in the country. Specifically, Otis Redding was one of the artists that catapulted both the studio and the genre into the spotlight here. The self-guided tour will walk you through all the interactive exhibits. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online for USD$13* per adult.

Beale Street

Finally, head back down to Beale Street to celebrate the end of your Memphis weekend. Try out one of the many bars and restaurants. Specifically, Blues City Cafe, Absinthe Room and Coyote Ugly Saloon are all favourites for a fun night out. Alternatively, head back to B.B. King’s for some guaranteed blues tunes. 

*Please note that all prices are current as of the publication date of this post.

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