Memphis’ distant history is a heady cocktail of warring Spaniards, Frenchmen, and Britons, while its more recent years are most remarkable for its role in the Civil Rights Movement and the blues. Today, the city offers theatres and art galleries, museums and music. If you’re spending a daycation in Memphis, check out our quick guide to see what’s what.
Your Marvelous Memphis Guide
Food – There’s a host of restaurants to enjoy in Memphis, from fine dining at Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar to no-nonsense barbecue at Cozy Corner Restaurant. The city has a particularly large number of barbecue-style restaurants, and there are also venues offering Italian, Thai, seafood, and Mexican cuisine, amongst others.
Music – Blues fans can do no better than to visit Beale Street and take in the ambience of the historic blues clubs. The Blues Hall of Fame is full of exhibits and memorabilia from blues music and musicians. Elvis fans can pay homage to the King at his Graceland Mansion, now a heritage building.
Museums – The National Civil Rights Museum, located on the site where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, is home to a number of exhibits on the racial equality movement. Meanwhile, the Brooks Museum houses a collection of American and European artwork, including sculptures and paintings, from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
Memphis Zoo – Memphis Zoo is a family-friendly way to spend hours enjoying nature. The zoo has a wide range of magnificent creatures, from sea lions to the ultra-cute red pandas, bald eagles to fearsome grizzly bears.
Six Magical Memphis Facts
Memphis was founded by John Overton, James Winchester, and Andrew Jackson (destined to later become president) in 1819.
The city’s name comes from the capital of Ancient Egypt.
Memphis hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, with the May contest attracting over 100,000 visitors to the city.
The city was the home to Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, an investigative journalist and an early leader in the Civil Rights movement.
The Memphis metropolitan area has the greatest proportion (45.7%) of black inhabitants of any large metropolitan area in the USA.
The biggest Pentecostal denomination in the USA, the Church of God in Christ, has its international headquarters in Memphis.