Local Landmarks

From music and nature to culture and kidstuff, the Bluff City has something for everyone.



FAMILY FUN

Children's Museum of Memphis

Set up like a miniature city, with a bank, fire station, grocery store, and skyscraper. Newer exhibits include Going Places, which showcases an airplane cockpit and flight simulator, and Art Smart Gallery with its visual and performing arts. 2525 Central, 320-3170

The Fire Museum of Memphis

Features simulated fires, a teaching room of interactive exhibits, and a play area with full-sized trucks and a sliding pole. 118 Adams, 320-5650

Memphis Motorsports Park

Hosts 215 events a year, including the national NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; boasts a dirt track and road course. 5500 Taylor Forge, 358-7223

Memphis Zoo

Celebrating its 100th birthday and the opening of Northwest Passage -- home to polar bears, bald eagles and more -- the Zoo also includes Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Dragon's Lair, Animals of the Night, and CHINA, home to two giant pandas. 2000 Prentiss Place (Overton Park), 276-9453

Peabody Place Entertainment and Retail Center

Anchored by the historic Peabody Hotel, this is a one-stop shop for movies, music, shopping, and dining, including Isaac Hayes Restaurant and Nightclub, Texas de Brazil, Jillian's, and Dan McGuinness Irish Pub. 150 Peabody Place, 261-PLAY

Ride the Ducks International

Amphibious vehicles cruise downtown, while boat captains provide lively commentary about Mud Island, Beale Street, and other local sites. Now departing from Third and Beale, 521-DUCK

 

MEMPHIS MUSIC

Beale Street

World-renowned thoroughfare, home to Pat O'Brien's, Hard Rock Cafe, B.B. King's Blues Club, and other bars offering live music nightly. Also features A. Schwab's, a century-old dry-goods store; W.C. Handy's home; and gift and novelty shops.

Graceland Mansion

Elvis Presley's home from 1957 until his death. Tours cover the house, racquetball building, Elvis' vintage car collection, huge assortment of trophies and gold records, the Lisa Marie jet, and much more. 3734 Elvis Presley, 332-3322

Memphis Rock 'N' Soul Museum

Presents a history of Memphis music using rare film footage, old photos, vintage jukeboxes, stage costumes, and a customized tour of various musical eras. 191 Beale, Plaza at FedEx Forum, 205-2533

Soulsville USA and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music

A 17,000-square-foot soul-music museum on the site of the former Stax Records, where stars such as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett got their start. Showcases some 2,000 artifacts, including Hayes' 1972 Cadillac El Dorado. 926 E. McLemore, 942-SOUL

Sun Studio

Elvis rocked the world in 1954 at the studio founded by Sam Phillips. Displayed at Sun are memorabilia of Presley and other music legends, such as Carl Perkins, B.B. King, and Jerry Lee Lewis. 706 Union, 521-0664

 

MUSEUMS OF CULTURE AND HISTORY

Memphis Pink Palace Museum

Built as home to Piggly Wiggly founder Clarence Saunders, the pink stone mansion is now a regional museum of local history, culture, medicine, music, and natural science; also houses a state-of-the-art planetarium and an IMAX theater. 3050 Central, 320-6320

National Civil Rights Museum

Illustrates key moments in civil rights history, such as the March on Washington and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Also includes the boarding house from which James Earl Ray allegedly shot King in 1968 and features an exhibit of previously classified documents and evidence. 450 Mulberry, 521-9699

 

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Lichterman Nature Center

Visitors can take a boardwalk tour around the lake and explore nature trails lined with native plants and trees. Among the center's highlights are the backyard wildlife center, a native plant greenhouse, and an amphitheater. 5992 Quince, 767-7322

Memphis Botanic Garden

Water lilies bloom in the Sensory Garden, one of many attractions at this suburban oasis. At the center is the Japanese Garden of Tranquility with its lake and arching red bridge. The Botanic Garden hosts summer concerts featuring such entertainers as Sugarland, Toni Braxton, and Bonnie Raitt. 750 Cherry, 685-1566

The Mississippi River

Major events are held on the river each year, including the Memphis in May Sunset Symphony. Winding above the Father of Waters is the Bluffwalk, a pedestrian walkway with panoramic views. Regular riverboat cruises are offered by the Memphis Queen Line.

Shelby Farms

Visitors can rent pavilions and paddleboats; fish in lakes stocked with catfish, crappie, bream, and bass; or simply enjoy walking, jogging, or biking. Also within the 4,500-acre park is Ducks Unlimited's international headquarters, which boasts a scenic waterfowl propagation lake. 7161 Mullins Station, 382-2249

 

GAMING

Southland Greyhound Park

The world's largest greyhound racing facility, with "instant racing" machines and simulcast competition of greyhounds and thoroughbreds. 1550 Ingram, West Memphis, AR, 735-3670

Tunica Casinos

The gambling center of the Mid-South, located just 30 miles from Memphis down Highway 61, Tunica County is home to several glitzy casinos, which boast hotels, restaurants, gift shops, dance pavilions, and big-name entertainment.

 

ONLY IN MEMPHIS

The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange

Relates the story of the cotton industry and its influence on a city that remains the epicenter of worldwide cotton trading. Tour begins on the "members only" trading floor and shows cotton's impact on everything from music to high society. 65 Union, 531-7826

The Elvis Suite at Lauderdale Courts

Home to Elvis Presley and his parents from 1949 to early 1953, now part of a new housing development known as Uptown Memphis. Decorated with period furniture and family photos. Available for overnight rental. Uptown, 521-8219

Mud Island River Park

Special features are the River Walk, a five-block-long scale model of the Mississippi from Cairo, Illinois, to the Gulf of Mexico, and the 18-gallery River Museum, which showcases artifacts of life on the Mississippi. 125 N. Front, 576-7241

Woodruff-Fontaine House

Built in the 1870s with stunning architectural details, this French Victorian mansion displays period textiles, furnishings, and Victorian clothing. 680 Adams, 526-1469 

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