38 Best Places and Things To Do in Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee, is a vibrant city known for its rich history, soulful music, and delicious cuisine. From iconic landmarks to cultural hotspots, here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Memphis.

1. National Civil Rights Museum

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Housed in the Lorraine Motel, the National Civil Rights Museum chronicles the history of the civil rights movement in the United States. Exhibits include powerful displays of the struggle for equality, including the balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It’s a significant and educational experience that offers insight into the country’s complex past.

2. Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

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Located on Beale Street, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum tells the story of Memphis’s deep musical roots. Explore the exhibits that highlight the birth of rock and soul music and learn about the musicians who helped shape these genres. The museum provides a comprehensive overview of the city’s rich musical heritage.

3. Memphis Zoo

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The Memphis Zoo is a fantastic destination for families and animal lovers. It houses a wide variety of animals from around the world, including pandas, lions, elephants, and giraffes. The zoo also features exhibits that focus on conservation and education, making it both entertaining and informative.

4. Stax Museum of American Soul Music

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Delve into the history of soul music at the Stax Museum, which is located at the original site of Stax Records. Explore exhibits that showcase the contributions of artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T. & the M.G.’s. The museum offers an immersive experience with its extensive collection of artifacts and interactive displays.

5. Memphis Botanic Garden

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Spread across 96 acres, the garden features beautifully manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and themed gardens. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or participate in one of the many events and workshops held throughout the year.

6. Beale Street Landing

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Enjoy scenic views of the Mississippi River at Beale Street Landing, a riverfront park and landing area. Take a riverboat cruise, rent a kayak or paddleboard, or simply relax on the riverside terraces. The park also hosts live music events and festivals, adding to the lively atmosphere.

7. Dixon Gallery and Gardens

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Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. This beautiful museum showcases an impressive collection of European and American art, including works by Monet, Renoir, and Degas. The surrounding gardens are a serene oasis featuring seasonal blooms and sculptures, perfect for a peaceful walk or picnic.

8. AutoZone Park

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Catch a baseball game at AutoZone Park, home to the Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The stadium provides a fantastic atmosphere to enjoy America’s favorite pastime, with great views, family-friendly activities, and a vibrant downtown backdrop.

9. The Cotton Museum

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Discover the history and significance of the cotton industry in the South at The Cotton Museum. Housed in a former cotton exchange building, the museum showcases exhibits that explore the impact of cotton on the region’s economy, culture, and history. Gain insights into the cotton trade, from its agricultural origins to its role in the global market.

10. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

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Immerse yourself in the world of art at the Memphis Brooks Museum. The museum features an extensive collection of artwork spanning various periods and styles, including works by renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Georgia O’Keeffe. With its diverse exhibits and engaging programs, it’s a haven for art enthusiasts.

11. Metal Museum

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Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Metal Museum celebrates the art of fine metalwork. Explore the museum’s collection of metal sculptures, jewelry, and decorative objects, and watch skilled craftsmen at work in the onsite foundry. The museum also offers workshops and classes for those interested in learning metalworking techniques.

12. Levitt Shell

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Enjoy live music under the stars at the Levitt Shell, an open-air amphitheater in Overton Park. This historic venue has hosted legendary performances, including Elvis Presley’s first paid concert. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and settle in for an evening of free concerts featuring local, national, and international artists across a wide range of genres.

13. Graceland

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Graceland, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is the iconic former home of the legendary musician Elvis Presley. Visiting Graceland is a pilgrimage for Elvis fans and a must-see attraction for music enthusiasts from around the world. The highlight of any visit to Graceland is the tour of Elvis’s mansion. Step inside the opulent home where Elvis lived, and see rooms that have been preserved exactly as he left them. Admire the unique d├ęcor, including the famous Jungle Room, the Music Room, the Trophy Building, and more. An audio guide provides fascinating insights into Elvis’s life, family, and career.

14. Burkle Estate Museum

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The Burkle Estate Museum, also known as the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, is a significant historical site located in Memphis, Tennessee. This museum provides insight into the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved individuals to escape to freedom.

15. Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art

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The Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art is a hidden gem located in Memphis, Tennessee. This unique museum houses an impressive collection of artwork from both Asian and Judaic traditions, offering visitors a diverse cultural experience. The museum boasts a vast collection of over 1,400 pieces of art, including sculptures, paintings, textiles, and artifacts. The Asian art collection features artworks from China, Japan, Tibet, and other Asian countries, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.

16. Edge Motor Museum

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The Edge Motor Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, is a fascinating destination for automobile enthusiasts. This unique museum celebrates the art, design, and history of automobiles, offering visitors a chance to explore a diverse collection of classic and vintage cars. The museum showcases an impressive collection of automobiles from different eras and manufacturers. Explore classic cars, sports cars, muscle cars, and other unique vehicles that represent the evolution of automotive design and engineering. From iconic American models to European imports, the collection offers a wide range of automotive history.

17. Withers Collection Museum & Gallery

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The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee, is a significant cultural institution that celebrates the life and work of Ernest C. Withers, a renowned African American photographer. With a focus on documenting the civil rights movement and African American history, the museum showcases Withers’ iconic photographs as well as other works of art that explore African American culture and heritage.

18. The Children’s Museum of Memphis

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The Children’s Museum of Memphis is a vibrant and interactive destination designed to inspire learning, imagination, and play among children of all ages. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the museum offers a wide range of exhibits and activities that engage young minds and encourage hands-on exploration.

19. Crystal Shrine Grotto

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The Crystal Shrine Grotto is a hidden gem located within the Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. This enchanting and spiritual site is a unique blend of art, religion, and natural beauty. Created by artist Dionicio Rodriguez, the Crystal Shrine Grotto is a subterranean wonderland adorned with intricate sculptures, mosaics, and shimmering crystals.

20. Big River Crossing

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Big River Crossing is a remarkable pedestrian and bicycle bridge that spans the Mississippi River, connecting Memphis, Tennessee, with West Memphis, Arkansas. This iconic bridge offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience, providing stunning views of the river, the city skyline, and the surrounding landscape. Big River Crossing offers an incredible opportunity to walk or bike across the mighty Mississippi River. As you make your way along the bridge, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the river, the Memphis skyline, and the picturesque surroundings.

21. Statue of Elvis

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The Statue of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee, is a prominent tribute to the legendary musician and cultural icon. Erected at the entrance of the entertainment complex, Graceland, the statue commemorates Elvis’ significant contributions to the world of music and his enduring legacy. The statue depicts Elvis Presley in one of his signature poses, capturing his charisma and stage presence. With his legs apart, one arm outstretched, and a microphone in hand, the statue conveys the energy and magnetism that made Elvis a beloved performer.

22. Fire Museum of Memphis

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The Fire Museum of Memphis is a fascinating and educational attraction located in Memphis, Tennessee. Housed in a historic firehouse, the museum pays tribute to the brave firefighters who have served the city over the years. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the history of firefighting, explore firefighting equipment and vehicles, and participate in interactive exhibits. The museum is located in the former Fire Engine House No. 1, a beautiful and well-preserved historic building that dates back to 1910. The firehouse itself is an architectural gem and provides a captivating backdrop for the exhibits.

23. Blues Hall of Fame Museum

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The Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, is a must-visit destination for music enthusiasts and fans of the blues genre. It is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history and cultural significance of blues music, showcasing the influential artists who have shaped this iconic American art form.

24. Mallory-Neely House

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Mud Island River Park is a unique and scenic park located on Mud Island, a small landmass situated between the Mississippi River and the Wolf River Harbor in Memphis, Tennessee. This waterfront park offers a range of recreational activities and attractions that provide visitors with a fascinating exploration of the region’s waterways and history.

25. Tom Lee Park

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Tom Lee Park is a popular recreational area located along the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Named after Tom Lee, a local hero and African American river worker, the park offers a scenic and vibrant environment for outdoor activities, events, and relaxation.

26. Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church

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Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, also known as The BLVD, is a historic and influential church located in Memphis, Tennessee. With a rich history dating back over a century, this vibrant congregation has played a significant role in the spiritual and social fabric of the community. The church offers uplifting and inspiring worship services that blend traditional and contemporary elements. The congregation gathers to worship, sing hymns, listen to sermons, and engage in prayer. The services are known for their passionate and soulful music, led by talented musicians and vocalists.

27. Lichterman Nature Center

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The Lichterman Nature Center is a serene and educational oasis located in Memphis, Tennessee. This 65-acre nature preserve and environmental education facility offers visitors the opportunity to explore diverse ecosystems, learn about local wildlife, and appreciate the beauty of the natural world. The center features several well-maintained nature trails that wind through different habitats, including forests, wetlands, meadows, and lakes.

28. Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center

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The Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center is dedicated to showcasing the history, culture, and conservation efforts surrounding waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. The center features interactive exhibits, displays, and artifacts that highlight the significance of wetlands, the art of waterfowl hunting, and the importance of conservation. Visitors can learn about the biology and migration patterns of waterfowl, explore various hunting techniques, and understand the critical role of wetland preservation.

29. Mississippi Greenbelt Park

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The park offers stunning views of the mighty Mississippi River and its surrounding natural landscapes. You can enjoy the sight of the wide river, the lush greenery, and the wildlife that inhabits the area. The park provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the river and its ecosystem.

30. Confederate Park

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Confederate Park was established in the late 19th century as a tribute to Confederate soldiers who fought during the American Civil War. It served as a gathering place for veterans and their families to commemorate their sacrifices. The park features several monuments and statues that pay homage to Confederate leaders and soldiers.

31. Handy Park

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Handy Park is a public park located in Memphis, Tennessee. Named after the legendary blues musician W.C. Handy, the park holds historical significance and serves as a vibrant gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

32. The C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa

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The C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa is a fascinating archaeological site and museum located in Memphis, Tennessee. It offers visitors a glimpse into the prehistoric Native American history and culture of the region. The museum is situated on the grounds of the Chucalissa Archaeological Complex, which encompasses a significant Native American village and ceremonial site that dates back over 1,000 years. The site provides a unique opportunity to explore the remains of ancient structures, such as mounds, platforms, and a reconstructed palisade fence.

33. Martyrs Park

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Martyrs Park is a scenic riverside park located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. It serves as a peaceful and contemplative space that commemorates the historical significance of the city and honors those who have made sacrifices for various causes. Martyrs Park was established to commemorate the historic events of the Yellow Fever epidemic that devastated Memphis in 1878, claiming thousands of lives. The park’s name pays tribute to the victims who lost their lives during that tragic time.

34. Chickasaw Heritage Park

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Chickasaw Heritage Park is a significant cultural and historical site located in Memphis, Tennessee. The park celebrates and preserves the heritage of the Chickasaw Nation, one of the Native American tribes with a deep connection to the region. Chickasaw Heritage Park showcases the rich history, traditions, and contributions of the Chickasaw people. It serves as a reminder of the tribe’s presence in the area and their enduring cultural legacy.

35. Idlewild Presbyterian Church

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Idlewild Presbyterian Church is a historic and vibrant congregation located in Memphis, Tennessee. It is known for its strong sense of community, commitment to social justice, and diverse worship services. Idlewild Presbyterian Church was established in 1854 and has a rich history that spans over a century and a half. The church building itself is a beautiful example of Gothic Revival architecture, reflecting its historical significance and architectural charm.

36. David Lusk Gallery

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The David Lusk Gallery is a prominent contemporary art gallery located in Memphis, Tennessee. Known for its dedication to showcasing and promoting the work of established and emerging artists, the gallery has become a significant cultural institution in the city. The David Lusk Gallery focuses primarily on contemporary art in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media.

37. Clayborn Temple

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Clayborn Temple is a historic landmark located in Memphis, Tennessee. It holds great significance in the civil rights movement and has become an emblem of social justice and activism. Clayborn Temple played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It served as a gathering place for civil rights leaders and activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who delivered his famous “Mountaintop” speech on April 3, 1968, the day before his assassination. The temple was a hub for organizing protests, meetings, and rallies that sought to bring about racial equality and social change.

38. Robert R. Church Park

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Robert R. Church Park is a historic park located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. It holds significant historical and cultural importance, as it is named after Robert Reed Church Sr., a prominent African American entrepreneur and philanthropist. Robert R. Church Park is named in honor of Robert Reed Church Sr., who was one of the wealthiest African American men in the South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Memphis offers a captivating blend of history, music, culinary delights, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re exploring iconic landmarks, immersing yourself in the city’s musical heritage, or indulging in its renowned barbecue, Memphis is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.