The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley graced the stage with his mesmerizing dance moves, hip hugging jumpsuits and an unforgettable voice. Many of his catchy tunes are still on repeat on radios and in the minds of his loyal fans. Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee offers much more then listening to Elvis’ songs or watching his performances. The former house of the talented artist is now an open history book of Elvis’ life, filled with furnishings, family portraits, home movies, memorable clothing, and even his pink Cadillac. Elvis’ upbringing in the city of Memphis has made a powerful impact on his life. This is the place where rock ‘n’ roll began and where the Blues continues to pour its melodic heart into the streets, clubs, and homes. Memphis is an inspiring city blessing everyone with some good old southern hospitality through music, food, and history.
With the Mississippi River at its feet, Memphis’ location profoundly influenced the city’s adversity as well as its successes. From the hands of its Native American settlers to the British, and eventually the former President Andrew Jackson, many people realized the city had great potential. Its rich soil became a host for cotton, which increased the need for slaves and caused the city to thrive as a major cotton producer; and its streets paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement. Memphis received a complete makeover from African American Robert Church Sr., whose son established Solvent Savings Bank and also started the NAACP on the famous Beale Street. Nevertheless, when William Christopher “W.C” Handy wrote “Memphis Blues” for Memphis’ first black Mayor, E.H. Crump’s campaign, this was when the Blues officially came to town, influencing many legendary performers like B.B King, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name a few.
Surrounded by such a rich heritage, the culture of Memphis is inescapable. Its numerous museums, parks, and riverfront showcase the traditions and beauty that has shaped the city into becoming a fascinating destination. Listen to the melodies and stories that have inspired the establishment of the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Learn about the impact and history of white gold (cotton) as a source of power at The Cotton Museum. Transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum, the Lorraine Hotel (where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated) relives the Civil Rights Movements through exhibitions and presentations.
The nightlife of Memphis is a cultural fest full of good music, food and drinks. Follow the sounds of saxophones, drums, base, and local talents singing from the depths of their souls at the city’s hotspots like B.B King’s Blues Club, Blues City Café, the Buccaneer, and Hard Rock Café. Restaurants overflow with the strong aromas of barbecue specialties from juicy burgers to chicken in addition to other soul foods simmering in flavor. Cooked from the heart, the gastronomy of Memphis will tantalize even the most cautious food connoisseur.
Memphis experiences a humid temperate climate. From May to September (warm season) the weather averages around a daily high in the low 90s and maintains low in the mid-70s. During the months of November to February (cold season), the temperate ranges within the low 50s and decreases to the mid-40s.
There are many ways to see the city’s interesting highlights. Tours are available via bus, trolleys, carriage and trains. Car rentals are also available to navigate throughout the city more flexibly. However, Memphis is best explored by walking along its historic cobblestone streets.