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.
I actually find parking in downtown Memphis to be the easiest I’ve experienced of any city. Period. Yes, I live here. I work downtown. But I haven’t paid to park in years. There are loads of free spots along the streets in very safe areas. The meters stop charging at 6 p.m. and are free on weekends. I always park in the South Main Historic Arts District, eat and drink at one of the great spots down there (like South of Beale) and then walk to FedExForum. We attend a lot of Grizzlies games. There is definitely a lot to explore in downtown, but also other great neighborhoods around the city.
Lance, I actually put this post together last year and when I revamped my website I decided to repost as it never received much attention previously. Parking in downtown Memphis from our experiences really is hit and miss. Sometimes when we go to Grizzlies games we get lucky and find somewhere to park for free but we tend to just pay the $10 close to the FedEx, probably because of all the rumors of bad spots around the Forum and not knowing exactly where to park to miss those bad spots!
We really should explore downtown more than we do, a couple of weeks ago we ventured down to the Riverfront near Mud Island and just walked along the cobbles – that was a really cool experience!
I would like to visit Memphis to see the city of Elvis and would love also to a see a Grizzlies-game, Marc Gasol is one of my favorite players from the era when he still played here in Barcelona!
Watching the Grizzlies is fun though I am not as interested anymore since they got rid of their coach, Lionel Hollins and don’t seem to be as competitive this year as previous seasons when they were a real playoff team. Gasol is good to watch, even more so than his brother Pau over in LA I think!
I really enjoyed my visit to Graceland and Beale St. There is so much history at both places. People should grab some BBQ when they’re in town too – AMAZING!
It’s so crazy that everyone that experiences Memphis says the same thing about BBQ. I can’t say that I have ever really sampled true BBQ in Memphis which is slightly embarrassing given that everyone says its the best around!!
My mom and I stopped by Graceland last month and loved it! I thought it was a great part of American music history. Sadly, we didn’t make it to Beale ST. Next time!
Karisa, I always say that is the beauty of going somewhere and missing what you intended or wanted to see – you have a perfect excuse to head back there again sometime in the future! The tricky part however can be finding the time to actually go back there and that’s when I find my bucket list slowly growing ever longer all the time 🙂 Such is life!
[…] moving to Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 13 and going on to build his empire known to many as Graceland. As a military man, actor, and of course, the heartthrob that left so many screaming for, […]