The zoo. Museums. Historic sites. The studios where some of the most memorable songs of all time were recorded. Bike paths. The botanical garden. The mighty Mississippi River. One thing’s for sure: There’s a lot to see and do in Bluff City.
Memphis truly offers something for everyone, which means you’re going to want to maximize every minute of your visit—whether you’re looking to take a walk (or ride) on the wild side or simply enjoy the sights.
Here’s a look at some of our more popular attractions:
Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals, and it’s one of four zoos in the US to house giant pandas. With exhibit names like “Cat Country” and “Dragon’s Lair,” it’s sure to be one of the best places to spend a day while you’re in town.
In the winter, you can take a break from admiring the animals to admire the beauty of Zoo Lights. Aside from the twinkling holiday lights, you can skate on Memphis’ only outdoor, tented skating rink.
If year-round fun, visiting with giraffes, hippos and grizzlies (the animals, not the NBA team) sound like something you’d enjoy, make sure to visit the Memphis Zoo.
Get active in the green spaces
There are more than 165 green spaces and parks in Memphis. Yes, you read that correctly: 165. In fact, Memphis is home to Shelby Farms Park, one of the country’s largest urban parks, the historic Overton Park, and so much more.
Some are tree-lined, others are surrounded by water. Some offer organized opportunities to get active, others offer opportunities for autonomous enjoyment of the fresh southern air.
Whether you’re looking to practice yoga in the park, play some Frisbee with friends or meditate alone, you’re never far from a fabulous park in Memphis.
Make your way to the Mississippi
Interested in checking out the longest river in the country? How about making your way down to Beale Street Landing, where you’ll find a 400-foot-long floating riverboat dock? Of course, you can always make like Mark Twain and hop on a riverboat – day or night – for breathtaking views of the muddy river and stories about how it shaped the Bluff City.
While Memphis is always changing and expanding, one thing remains the same: the mighty Mississippi.
If you’re in Memphis, you’d be remiss not to spend a little time by the river.
So much history (music and otherwise)
Few cities can claim to have helped shape the country’s social and cultural consciousness as much as Memphis.
After all, we’re the birthplace of the blues, the home of rock ‘n’ roll and the epicenter of the civil rights movement. We’re proud of our history—and you’ll see that pride at local museums that honor our past, celebrate hard-fought victories and memorialize those who truly changed the world for the better.
Check out Graceland, Sun Studio, the Stax Museum of Soul Music, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, the Memphis Blues Hall of Fame and the National Civil Rights Museum, to name but a few.
All of our attractions offer exceptional opportunities to honor and remember so much of what makes up the soul of Memphis.
Who doesn’t love a little shopping while on vacation? Lucky for you, Memphis offers an array of opportunities to find whatever it is you’re looking for.
Memphis is experiencing a Maker Movement and was even named a “Maker City” by Etsy. This make it easier than ever to find local crafts and goods, all coming from the vibrant arts community in Memphis. Be sure to drop by the neighborhood boutiques that offer a variety of unique arts, furniture, clothing and more.
While you’re out shopping, it’s hard to miss the Bass Pro Shop and Big Cypress Lodge at the Pyramid, featuring a giant aquarium filled with 600,000 gallons of water and more than 1,800 fish, a cypress swamps that’s home to alligators and an observation deck that sits 32 stories in the air.
In need of some help when you’re out and about? Why not take advantage of a city tour that can highlight all the great locations and events. There’s really a city tour available for everyone.
If you just want to receive an overview of the city and important stops along the way, consider the Memphis City Tour. There is the option to spring for Graceland Admission as well (which is always a great stop, even if you’ve already been there).
The Historic Memphis Walking Tour is fantastic when you don’t want to sit around a tour bus and would rather walk and take in the city. From important Civil War stops to important points of musical history, the walking tour is great for really getting you up close to the city.
Some of the other tours you should consider while in town (or when you call Memphis home) includes the Memphis Heritage Pass, the African American History Tour of Memphis, and the Ghost Hunt: CSI tour, which is a newer offering, but a fan favorite.
Let’s face it: Beal Street in itself is an activity. There is no limit to what you can see and do here. From museums and music shows to some of the best food in the United States, you could spend your entire vacation on Beale Street and be completely happy with your time in Memphis. Plus, most of the tours and other city attractions will eventually lead you to Beale Street.
The Peabody Ducks
This is an underrated and even little-known activity you absolutely must take in when traveling with small children. Because after all, what small children don’t like ducks? Especially ducks in a high-end hotel.
The history behind the Peabody Ducks is rather entertaining, as it dates back to the 1930s, when Frank Schutt, General Manager of the Peabody returned from a hunting trip, he and his friends thought it would be funny to leave ducks in the hotel fountain. Well, flash forward 90 years later and it has become a tradition. At 11 a.m. every day, ducks are brought to the hotel and placed into the fountain. So don’t worry, it’s a fun activity to take in with your children and it won’t take up the entire day, so you’ll be able to go on your way and take in other activities.
There’s no shortage to live music opportunities here in Memphis. While you can usually see a show at a local bar, there are more established options around. There’s the Levitt Shell, which is a great destination for free concerts during the summer (think of it as a smaller and free version
But wait, there’s (much) more!
By now, you can see why it’s such a shame that there aren’t more hours in the day—especially when you’re in Memphis.
But this list is only the beginning.