The central location of The Peabody Memphis makes it the perfect gateway for exploring everything from the birthplace of rock ‘n roll and the home of the blues to Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion. On your journey through the history of American music, be sure to sample some famous slow-cooked BBQ and take in historical sites ranging from the National Civil Rights Museum to the beautifully restored historic mansions in Midtown.
To get you started on your Memphis adventure, we’ve listed a few of our favorite attractions below. For more recommendations or tour planning assistance, please contact the Peabody Concierge.
The Belz Museum has a world-class collection of various Asian and rare Judaic arts. The permanent exhibit includes creations for Chinese nobility during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). The Judaic art is a rare collection of contemporary Jewish Art and artifacts: lacquer boxes, metal-works, paintings and photos. Finally, the Holocaust Memorial Gallery tells the histories and accomplishments of survivors from the surrounding areas.
The National Civil Rights Museum traces the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The complex features museums and historic buildings with interactive exhibits, educational films, ongoing learning programs and special events.
Guess what is the second-most visited private home in the U.S. (only surpassed by the White House) and is known for its iconic gate, shaped like a book of sheet music? If you guessed Graceland, you’re right. Elvis’ home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was declared a National Historical Landmark and is open to the public, so lace up your blue suede shoes and take a tour.
The birthplace of rock-n-roll? Maybe…the very first rock single was recorded here. The studio has hosted some of the greatest talent known: Johnny Cash, Elvis, Carl Perkins, B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis have all walked through its doors. Even if you don’t care to hold Elvis’ actual microphone, this this a must-see stop on any serious musical pilgrimage.
Head on over to “America’s Most Iconic Street.” Historic Beale Street surrounds visitors with live music, tasty regional treats and two miles of boutique shopping and fascinating people watching.
Mirimichi, world class golf course founded by Justin Timberlake, is just 15 minutes from the Peabody. From tee to green and every step in between, you will be challenged by its championship design and inspired by the beauty that surrounds you. A beautiful and tranquil place of golf and nature with elevated greens, swathes of native grassland, waterfalls and meandering creeks – it is a sanctuary with no houses, no roads, no noise – just golf and nature.
Memphis loves its sports teams, and there’s no better place to cheer than the FedEx Forum, which is located conveniently near the famed musical mecca of Beale Street. The Memphis Grizzlies are often playing in a heart-stopping NBA game, or you’ll catch the NCAA Division I men’s basketball team from the University of Memphis as they sink baskets. This spacious forum also hosts concerts and family shows.
There’s something nostalgic about minor league baseball games. Kids get up close and personal with the players, adults watch stats to spot the next big star and the players are there for the love of the game. Named the Minor League Ballpark of the Year in 2009, AutoZone Park is home to the Memphis Redbirds, the AAA farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals. Stop by and note the video screen; it’s the largest in minor league baseball!
Go Ape’s first treetop adventure course (zip lines, obstacles and more!) in Tennessee is just minutes from downtown Memphis in Shelby Farms Park. Shelby Farms, in the heart of Shelby County, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, with more green space than New York’s Central Park or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Tree-mendous!
Located on iconic Beale Street, this museum celebrates the legends, myths and icons of the Memphis music scene dating back to the birth of rock and soul music in the 1930’s. Seven separate galleries showcase three audiovisual exhibits, over 30 instruments, 40 costumes and numerous other treasures that tell the fascinating story of American music.
Learn the story of how a small record store in an old movie theater became one of the most powerful music recording studios in the world. Opening in 1954, Stax Records introduced the world to legends-to-be like Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Luther Ingram, Albert King, the Bar-Kays, Booker T. & the MG's, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and more.
Whether you’re a musician or not, you’ll be fascinated as you watch world-famous Gibson guitars taking shape before your very eyes. The tour permits you to walk on the factory floor and witness the craftsmanship up close. Tour guides are known to be very experienced and informative, and visitors marvel at the intricate, high quality components of these instruments.
The first things you’ll notice about this place are the gigantic children’s blocks spelling out “CMOM.” The second thing you’ll notice is that this place is all about the kids…the kids playing, exploring, laughing and learning as they race through interactive exhibits. Parents, sit back and relax; you’ll love watching the imaginations run wild as your children go through the museum.
Founded in 1916, Tennessee’s oldest and largest art museum exhibits works of fine art ranging from the Renaissance and baroque periods to genres that include English portraiture, Hellenistic and classical Roman art, and contemporary art.
The main exhibit of this museum is located on the historic trading floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange, once the hub of the global cotton economy. The museum seeks to tell the story of “King Cotton” and the birth of Memphis, paying homage early residents and to the lasting impact they had on language, art, music and history.
Strolling through any one of 23 specialty gardens at the Memphis Botanic Garden, you can forget you’re actually in an urban spot. 96 manicured acres beckon visitors to literally stop and smell the roses. While all the gardens are spectacular, children can’t get enough of My Big Backyard; it’s a garden designed especially for kids.
Considered one of the best zoos in the United States, this 70-acre facility at Overton Park is home to over 3,500 animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, polar bears, seals, and sea lions. In addition to the Northwest Passage arctic exhibit, a farm discovery center and the nine-acre Cat Country and Primate Canyon, you’ll find several restaurants and shops.