Elvis lived here. Johnny Cash crooned his first record here. Within the hardscrabble exterior of this town beats the vibrant, soulful heart of an artist.

They say the Blues were born in Memphis, and perhaps there is no better parent than this busy town that sits on the edge of the Mississippi. Like the music genre it created, Memphis has seen some hard times in the past, but these trials and tribulations haven’t broken the city. They’ve made Memphis stronger, more soulful, and definitely worth a visit. Plus, you’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t try the barbecue!

Over the past few decades, Memphis has worked hard to turn itself into a delightfully rambling town filled with art, funky shops, and trendy restaurants. It isn’t unusual to see a gloriously old and ramshackle mansion sitting just down the street from some daring new eatery.

What to do in Memphis is a question of head versus stomach versus soul. If the head wins out, then you can fill your time with museum-hopping—we recommend the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. When your growling stomach forces your brain into retreat, then it’s on to Beale Street. Here you can pig out (pardon the pun) on ribs dripping with tangy BBQ sauce and then get a little more sauced at the area’s many bars. Beale Street is closed off to cars at night, which means you won’t have any trouble walking right up to the “drinks-to-go” windows (yep, that’s a thing) to order your poison. Just be careful that you don’t spill any of your blue suede shoes.

Can you see where we’re going with this? When it comes to things to do in Memphis, at some point you’ll need to travel down to Graceland to pay homage to The King. If you happen to be in town during “death week,” get ready to see what the ultimate Elvis fan really looks like!

Give this town of blues and renaissance, of daringly new and charmingly old, a try with one of our Memphis vacation packages. As Elvis would probably agree, we bet you can’t help falling in love with Memphis.

Frequently Asked Questions about Memphis

What are Memphis-style ribs?

Memphis-style ribs are slow-cooked over a hickory pit, and they're almost always pork, although you can certainly find beef variations. The ribs are prepared in one of two ways: dry or wet. Dry ribs are coated in a paprika-based dry rub, then smoked to perfection over a low hickory fire. Wet ribs are slathered with a savory barbecue sauce, which is replenished over and over during the cooking process.