The home of Elvis, the Blues and Rock & Roll music, the Grizzlies, the Redbirds…. Where can all this be found? Memphis, Tennessee!! Living just 80 miles from Memphis, I have been fortunate enough to visit this city many times and I still enjoy making that trip across the Mississippi River to see something new in this exciting location.
Just with every city, there are certain spots that are more affluent than others and with this comes a diverse range of inhabitants and social cultures. Approaching Memphis from the West, you head across the river and you immediately have the option to take off the interstate and head downtown to the infamous Beale Street. Packed with countless bars, alcohol available for purchase along the middle of the street and late night clubs, this really is the heart of entertainment for Memphis folks and tourists alike.
In close proximity is the FedEx Forum, home of the NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies. Autozone Park is also within walking distance for anyone interested in taking in a Memphis Redbirds game who are the minor league affiliates of the St.Louis Cardinals.
Parking is difficult throughout downtown Memphis and you can generally be expected to pay anywhere from $15-$20 for a couple of hours. I would advise parking in one of the secure parking garages rather than risking parking elsewhere. Another major landmark in Memphis, primarily because of its icon shape and location situated in the heart of the Memphis skyline is the Pyramid. This pyramid shaped structure is host to concerts and other activities but rumors are that a Bass Pro Shop will soon will be replacing this in the near future.
Probably one of the most famous landmarks in Memphis is Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. This iconic location has become very commercialized and a true tourist spot but for anyone in the Memphis area, this is much more to them given that it was the home of the rock and roll legend – ” The King”. There are various ticket options available including a basic tour around Graceland and others including a visit to museums and on board access to Elvis’ planes.
Graceland is a must see for anyone in Memphis. The history here as you walk around the house listening to the guided commentary is immense and the way that all the rooms have been preserved is eye-catching. There are countless great photo opportunities but probably one of the best aspects of the whole tour is at the end whenever you are returned via the shuttle to the entrance as you are able to write your name and remarks on the wall protecting the grounds of Graceland.
The tricky part is actually finding a part of the wall that is open to write your name and message of remembrance but just reading the thousands of messages from people from all corners of the globe is certainly a memorable, worthwhile experience.
- Graceland provides a great learning experience about how Elvis established Memphis as the home of rock and roll music. You can spend several hours here.
- Beale Street is lively and full of youthful exuberance and although this may not be for everyone, the close proximity to other landmarks means there is plenty for all ages to see.
- Parking is very expensive downtown and even at Graceland.
- Certain parts of Memphis are very culturally diverse which although not a negative on its own, can cause problems for tourists if they are unaware of the cultural differences and they find themselves in the wrong part of the city.