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Memphis Tourism: Best of Memphis
A city jam-packed with music, past and present
Memphis is a pilgrimage for those wanting to visit the birthplace of the blues, of soul and of rock 'n' roll. On Beale Street, W.C. Handy put down on paper the first written blues music. Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all recorded at the historic Sun Records, which is now a museum. Graceland, the second most-visited home in America, welcomes visitors from around the world who yearn for a peek into the life of "the King." But Tennessee's largest city also offers much more than music. It has stellar weather (with more sunny days each year than Miami), great dining (be sure to sample barbecued ribs), art galleries, and electric nightlife.
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The Soul of Memphis: Bars, Blues and Barbecue
Recognized as Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll, Memphis attracts music-lovers from all across the globe. Then there's also the barbecue—soul food that simply can't be missed. Here are some of my picks for a true blues and bbq experience.
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- Charles Vergos' Rendezvous5,096Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous is a top contender for "Best BBQ in Memphis", and you’ll find out why after taking a bite out of their famous charbroiled ribs prepared with a signature dry rub recipe that’s over 70 years old.
- Beale Street8,618Beale Street is the epicentre of all the magic, and one of the most iconic streets in America. For the best experience, come in the evening where the streets are bumpin' with music. See if you can also spot brass notes with names of famous musicians like Elvis Presley, W.C. Handy and B.B. King embedded into the sidewalks.
- Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum2,311Stroll through different exhibits that reveal the influences behind rock and soul music and find out how they took over the Billboard charts—and then conquered the world.
- Lafayette's Music Room310Music museums aside, another way of getting the Memphis sound experience is to hit up one of the many Blues bars. At Lafayette's, you can bask in the soulful crooning of live music and enjoy delicious Southern fare like po-boys and shrimp and grits while you're at it!
- Sun Studio11,515Swing by the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll for a guided tour around the most famous recording studio ever. It’s where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis all did their first recordings—talk about walking on hallowed ground!
- Payne's Bar-B-Que145Want to try something other than ribs? Have the chopped or sliced pork sandwich at Payne’s Bar-B-Que. Crispy, tender and oh-so-delicious, especially with a side of beans and some mustard slaw.
- B.B. King's Blues Club470Jam to the Blues, soul and other styles of music at one of the most famous bars in Memphis. It’ll be an unforgettable night filled with great music and amazing food. PS: The catfish and fried pickle chips are top recommendations.
- Stax Museum of American Soul Music2,069My favorite part about the Stax Museum is the Express Yourself dance floor, where you can groove to the music. There are also other innovative exhibits, galleries and collections dedicated to preserving the legacy of American soul music and its artists.
- Central BBQ4,149Had your fill of music? Time to fill your tummy with Memphis soul food, which is none other than Memphis-style barbecue! Central BBQ is a top choice among locals and tourists alike, with their dry rub ribs and pulled pork hailed as crowd faves.
- Blues Hall of Fame Museum212This is a must-visit on your Memphis music pilgrimage. Learn all about the history and culture of the Blues through various galleries and get to see awards, album covers and even iconic memorabilia like R.L. Burnside’s guitar and Otis Spann’s piano.