As famous for its music scene as it is for its barbecue cuisine, Memphis is a quintessentially Southern city. Explore what the city’s all about on a Memphis holiday: lose yourself in live Blues music, see the mighty Mississippi River and tuck into some truly incredible food.
The Mississippi River hugs the city along its western border and is a force that can’t be ignored on a Memphis holiday. Cross the Skybridge to Mud Island River Park and see the park’s crowning glory: the Riverwalk. This scale replica shows the journey of the Lower Mississippi River from Illinois to Louisiana; take in the views of Memphis as you walk along it, following the twists and turns to the big pool the miniature river feeds into. The city also has important tales to tell of the Civil Rights movement; visit the National Civil Right Museum, built around the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and follow the rich history of the movement.
Memphis: A City of Music
By day, discover Memphis’ musical heritage: see Sun Studios, the recording studio where many a musical legend was discovered, tour Elvis Presley’s home of Graceland, and visit Stax Museum of American Soul Music. By night, head to Beale Street, where the sounds of blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll can be heard emanating from lively clubs and restaurants. On this iconic street, you’ll also find the wooden shack that W.C. Handy, known as the Father of the Blues, called home, a preserved piece of musical history.
A Memphis holiday is the perfect place to start discovering all that the Deep South has to offer. Soak up some Blues in Memphis, explore the country music capital of Nashville, then head to New Orleans and enjoy the state’s Jazz scene on a multi centre holiday.
Great sample itineraries
There’s so many ways to enjoy a Memphis holiday, so take a look at our sample itineraries below and give us a call so we can start planning your perfect trip.
Deep South Usa Road Trip
New Orleans To Memphis Road Trip
Prepare to be blown away by the musical maestro that is Memphis. This US city in Tennessee is the homeland to some of history’s biggest musical icons. Swing by Elvis Presley’s very own Graceland, then visit Sun Studio where he – and the likes of Johnny Cash and B.B. King – laid down their tracks. Then, follow the strains of the blues along Beale Street and get a history lesson like no other at the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum.
You can’t visit the home of The King without stopping by his actual home. Step inside the Graceland mansion for a glimpse of everything Elvis, from his former front room, to his massive trophy collection. You’ll soon see why this has become a pilgrimage for music lovers.
You won’t know what’s hit you when you step foot on Beale Street. Follow this neon-lit strip, which stretches for around two miles, and the strains of a new song will fill your ears with every stride. Watch out for the gravity-defying Beale Street Flippers, who’ve been wowing the crowds for 30 years.
Best time to visit Memphis
A classic Southern city, Memphis gets quite hot in summer, with average temperatures between 27°C and 29°C. Throughout the autumn months, temperatures steadily fall to an average of 12°C in November, then fall again as winter arrives, with the city’s lowest average temperature of 6°C in January. From there, it gets warmer again throughout Spring, ranging from 13°C to 22°C. You can expect a little rainfall throughout the year, but nothing too drastic, with the lowest level of rainfall in the summer and highest in the winter.
Average Weather in January
Average Weather in February
Average Weather in March
Average Weather in April
Average Weather in May
Average Weather in June
Average Weather in July
Average Weather in August
Average Weather in September
Average Weather in October
Average Weather in November
Average Weather in December
"Upgrade to the VIP Tour at Graceland, it’s worth every penny. You get front of the line access to the Graceland Mansion exclusive VIP’s only exhibit area, and a cool keepsake backstage pass, along with all the standard tour inclusions."
"Don’t miss the Peabody duck march. Visit the Peabody Hotel lobby at either 11 am or 5 pm to see the ducks make their way between their rooftop Royal Duck Palace and the lobby fountain."
Elvis' Birthday Celebration
Each January, Memphis celebrates Elvis Presley’s birthday in style. Over three days, birthday celebration events are held at the singer’s home of Graceland; you can expect a big birthday bash, singalong and a birthday proclamation ceremony.
Beale Street Music Festival
Tom Lee Park in Downtown Memphis plays host to the Beale Street Music Festival every May. Unfolding over three days, the festival celebrates Blues, the music Memphis is famous for, with performances across four stages. Alongside the music, you can also enjoy the party on Beale Street: eat, drink and enjoy local musicians that put on a show in the street’s clubs, bars and restaurants.
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
A part of the Memphis in May festival, Tom Lee Park hosts a four-day barbecue cooking contest. The event sees hundreds of teams from all across the world come together to compete for the title of World Champion in a range of meat categories. There’s also an ameatur contest, allowing those who love barbecuing the chance to battle it out too.
Just like Texas, Memphis is famous for its signature style of barbecue, mainly focused on pork ribs and pork shoulder. The meat is slow-cooked in dry rubs or lots of sauce, so that the flavours permeate the dish and the meat falls off the bone. There’s countless places across the city serving up delicious Memphis Barbecue and you can’t leave without trying at least a few of them.
Memphis is home to restaurants, and even some grocery stores, serving up some of the best fried chicken in the country. Often coated in a seasoned batter, the chicken is moist and delicious and usually served with a range of sides, like cornbread, waffles and mac ‘n’ cheese.
You might also like these
We think you might also like to take a look at these destinations. If you'd like some advice, our Destination Specialists will be able to find something that is right for you.
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
Sign up to our newsletter
Receive the latest travel inspiration and destination news.
How we tailor make your holiday
The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.