4-Day Memphis Introduction
Day 1 You'll See:
- Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
- Sun Studio Museum
- Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Day 2 You'll See:
- National Civil Rights Museum
- Beale Street
- City Tour
- Slave Haven
- Wolfchase Mall
Day 3 You'll See:
- Brooks Museum
- Memphis Zoo
- Ghost Tour
Day 4 You'll See:
- St. Jude Pavilion and Hospital Tour
- Mud Island and River Park Museum
- Cotton Museum
Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum - Welcome to the Rock and Soul Museum, a unique history lesson on the birth of rock and soul music. This museum explores the lives of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socioeconomic barriers to create world shaking music and was created by the Smithsonian. With a convenient location on Beale Street, this museum features a comprehensive Memphis music experience from the rural field hollers and sharecroppers of the 1930s to the Sun, Star, and Hi Record company's heyday in the 1970s.
Sun Studio Museum - Take a step back into 1954, when a shy teenager with big hair and an even bigger voice laid his first track at Sun Studio, a funky new song called "That’s All Right." As they say, the rest is history, as Elvis Presley helped launched Sun Studio’s fame, and/or vice versa. Rock pioneer Sam Phillips began this historic birthplace of rock and roll in 1950 with the technical first rock and roll single in history, "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston. BB King followed soon, then came the million dollar quartet of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lewis, and Carl Perkins.
Graceland tour - Get ready to get "all shook up" over your next stop at the legendary home of the King himself, Elvis Presley, in Graceland. Graceland is undoubtedly the most famous rock and roll residence in the world, giving hundreds of thousands of annual visitors an intimate glimpse of the personal life of Presley. This 13.8 acre Colonial Revival Style mansion features majestic white columns, as well as 20 years of memories of Elvis and his closest friends and family. Each member of your group will receive an iPad, loaded with an interactive tour narrated by John Stamos.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music -Your last stop of the day will take you to the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of American Soul Music, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. This museum is located at the original site of the historic Stax Records Studio and serves to pay tribute to the recording artists from Stax history, as well as American soul legends. Through their amazing collection of over 2,000 artifacts, interactive exhibits, films, and galleries the Stax Museum will astound your group and teach them all they need to know about the groovy beginnings of American Soul. On a tour of the structure, you will see the actual birthplace of soul music, a modest country Mississippi Delta Church from 1906 that has been very carefully fit inside the museum.
National Civil Rights Museum - One of the nation’s premier heritage and cultural museums, established in 1991, is the National Civil Rights Museum. This museum aims to explore how the era of civil rights still shapes equality and freedom worldwide today, and of course to share the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement. The building itself is located in the former Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s untimely assassination in 1968. Featured on the History Channel, CNN, USA Today, and the award-winning documentary The Witness, the National Civil Rights Museum is among the top 5% of accredited institutions in America. Inside your group can learn more about the difficult and rewarding period of change through interactive exhibits, historic collections, dynamic speakers, and special events.
Beale Street - The next stop will give you the most wonderful case of the Beale Street Blues, as you explore the 1.8 miles of America’s most iconic street, Beale Street! Stretching from the Mississippi River to East Street, Beale Street is a top Tennessee attraction that is best known as the home of the blues that was officially established as a merchant paradise in 1841. Beale Street saw its heyday in the roaring '20s when this carnival-like atmosphere featured the best and the worst of Memphis. On an average day on Beale Street, you could see booming nightclubs, theaters, restaurants, stores, pawnshops, and hot music, as well as gambling, drinking, prostitution, murder, and voodoo. Today a stroll down the street will show you the best blues clubs and restaurants, as well as many frequent festivals and outdoor concerts.
City Tour - Your next Memphis stop will give you a plethora of options for tours that will be sure to have something for everybody in your group. Backbeat Tours in downtown Memphis is located on Beale Street, conveniently, and was created in order to give a unique, fresh, and interactive twist on local history and pop culture in Memphis. These tours are hosted by actual seasoned Memphis artists, so sit back and let Papa Don McMinn take you around Memphis as he tells you about the music industry from the 1940s to today, as well as important city knowledge he has gained by living here.
Slave Haven - Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, often times referred to as the Burkle Estate Museum, is a highly enlightening museum stop on 2nd Street in Memphis. Nestled among classic Tennessee woodland and the scenic Mississippi River Bank, this unsuspecting and modest white clapboard home was built in 1849 by German immigrant and prominent town member Jacob Burkle. During this time cotton was king, and Memphis was the largest slave trade city in Tennessee, making this the perfect setting for underground rebellion.
Wolfchase Mall - End your day at Memphis’ shopping oasis, the Wolfchase Mall and Galleria. This premier indoor shopping mall has two floors of over 120 of the most exciting stores in the Mid-South. Your group will spend the evening exploring stores from Abercrombie and Fitch to Zales, and everything in between such as mall favorites Dillard's, Macy’s, Sears, Fossil, Teavana, and Sephora. There are plenty of great shops, great food choices, and great kid-friendly activities, so are sure to check out all of the mall attractions while you are here!
Brooks Museum - Begin your day with a trip to one of the largest art museums in the American South, the Brooks Museum of Art. Dedicated to enriching the lives of visitors through an expanding collection of exhibits and dynamic programs, this museum holds an outstanding collection of art from antiquity to present. Located in the heart of Memphis in Overton Park, Brooks Museum opened in 1916 and soon became a center of cultural activity. At first, Brooks housed a then-impressive 19 paintings within an 8,000 square foot complex, but after three imperative remodels the museum has grown into a 9000 plus work establishment within 86,000 feet. Inside Brooks, your group will learn more about the visual arts through diverse traveling and in-house exhibitions.
Memphis Zoo - What all started with a black bear named Natch in 1906, a retired baseball mascot, has now turned into the top zoo in the nation, the Memphis Zoo. Named America’s number one zoo, this park features 70 acres, over 3500 animals, from over 500 different species. Located in Overton Park, Memphis Zoo features many one-of-a-kind exhibits, such as the Americana themed Once Upon a Farm or the exotic and very popular CHINA exhibit. CHINA one of among only four exhibits in the nation that feature giant pandas, this specific 3-acre habitat being the home of Ya Ya and Le Le.
Ghost Tour - Backbeat tours will entertain you on your trip once again, with its most popular after dark entertainment, the Haunted Heritage Memphis Ghost Tour. This tour shows guests the darker side of historical Memphis. Professional storytellers will lead you from Beale Street to the most haunted sites throughout Memphis, giving you the history of the famed vice, voodoo, phantoms, ghosts, and lost souls. The tour lasts two hours and is mostly outdoors, so be sure to wear your walking shoes and maybe bring a jacket (though you will undoubtedly still get the chills). During your tour explore the several eerie legends around downtown, such as the Orpheum Theatre’s haunted presence, Mary, claimed to be seen roaming the halls and stages since 1921.
St. Jude Pavilion and Hospital Tour - Leading in the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer stands the medical giant, St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Here in Memphis, you will have the unique opportunity to tour the famous St. Jude Pavilion and Hospital. Danny Thomas, the late entertainer and founder of St. Jude, has a pavilion on this location dedicated to him, his work, and his legacy in the hospital.
Mud Island and River Park Museum - Get ready for an exciting and informative trip to the premier family fun destination on the Mississippi River, Mud Island River Park! This 40,000 square foot recreational and educational facility showcases the Mighty Mississippi through its scenic views, epic riverwalk model, and on-site museum. The five-block riverwalk model features an exact replica of the lower Mississippi from its confluence at the Ohio River in Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, including all cities, bridges, and drain basins along the way. You will see historic info markers along the way as you sneak in chances to dip your feet in (wear sandals!) or just head over to the 18 gallery museum to learn more!
Cotton Museum - Rediscover the American South and the other "King" of Memphis in this downtown historic museum, the cotton museum. This museum tells the dynamic story of the plant that built the bluff city, the "fabric of our lives that influenced the cultural fabric of the Mid South." Created in 2006, this museum aims to preserve the history of that worldwide marketplace and to tell the epic story of the famed southern cash crop and profound influence it had on Memphis, America, and culture in general.