Memphis is a city of firsts. We are home to the first African-American congregation in the United States and the first African-American millionaire. We are also the birthplace of rock and roll. Here are just a few of the things Memphis is most known for:
- Home of the Blues
Beale Street is considered one of the most iconic streets in America and it’s the official Home of the Blues. Spanning three blocks in Downtown Memphis, this historic strip featuring restaurants, nightclubs, and shops is where blues and jazz legends like Muddy Waters, B. B. King, and Louis Armstrong played and helped develop the style known as Memphis Blues.
- Birthplace of Rock and Roll
Sun Studios in Memphis became the official birthplace of rock and roll after it discovered musical legends B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Today the studio operates as a kind of museum with the aim of sharing the story of Memphis’ history and culture through the music that put Memphis on the map. The studio is open seven days a week for 45-minute guided tours, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- National Civil Rights Museum (at the Lorraine Motel)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was tragically assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in April of 1968. Today, the Lorraine Motel is the site of one of the nation's premier heritage and cultural museums, the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum honors and preserves the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement and tells the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights.
The home of Elvis Presley, Graceland is one of Memphis’ most visited sites, and the second most visited famous home in the country. Elvis lived here until his death in 1977. Today, you can tour the mansion, situated on 120 acres, and see the gold records, the jeweled jumpsuits, the classic cars, and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Elvis’ life in music.