Situated on a high bluff overlooking the muddy Mississippi River, the city of Memphis is well known for its historical and cultural contributions to the American South. The city is the birthplace of blues and played a pivotal role in the history of rock ‘n roll. Prominent locations during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement help make travel to Memphis a sacred pilgrimage for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. admirers. Known as the birthplace of rock ‘n roll and blues, Memphis is home to Graceland, served as a recording location for artists like Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis; plus, its famous Beale Street was the location of the first blues notes. And don’t forget about the food: Southern plates and barbecue are also not to be missed when you visit Memphis.
Things Not to Miss in Memphis
• Memphis’s iconic Beale Street has music venues, famous soul food diners, and important tributes to the music it helped generate, like W.C. Handy’s historic home.
• Memphis features 11 riverfront parks that offer a great way to see the Mississippi River, including the Mud Island River Park, a one-of-a-kind tribute to the river itself.
• Elvis fans or simple rock ‘n roll lovers will equally enjoy a visit to Graceland, The King’s home.
• The National Civil Rights Museum, located at the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, documents the inspirational and powerful moments of the movement.
• Eat a plate of Memphis-style ribs – wet or dry.
When to Go to Memphis
Because the city has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons, Memphis travel guides often suggest the best times to visit are in the spring, specifically April and May. The latter month is a great time to enjoy “Memphis in May,” a lively four-week affair that offers a new festival each week, like the Beale Street Music Festival and World Champion Barbecue Cooking Contest. Travelers who want a quieter visit to the city should take advantage of October and November’s comfortable temperatures for Memphis travel. Summer and winter are not as favorable for Memphis travel. The city tends to be uncomfortable from June until September with high humidity and temperatures creeping over 90°F while winter is too chilly for outdoor activities.