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“Bluff City’s” Southern Charm & History

Memphis, located in the southwestern corner of Tennessee, sits atop a bluff just a few miles away from the Mississippi state line. Like almost everywhere in the Mississippi Delta, it's got a unique racial and economic history that is still palpable in its culture today, and of course it's brimming with traditional Southern charm and hospitality. Walk into any Memphis museum or antique shop (there are many!), and you’ll be greeted as though you were family.

Memphis is where blues music was born, where rock ‘n roll grew up, and where important strides were made in the struggle for civil rights. This living history is revealed effortlessly during a quick stroll through Graceland, Elvis Presley’s final home, or on a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot. The yesteryear attractions and landmarks that give character and identity to “Bluff City” now mingle with new residential and commercial developments, and restored historic buildings.

 

Urban Wildlife

Modern Memphis has plenty of attrractions to offer, especially for animal lovers. The Peabody, a famous five-star hotel in Memphis, is home to a regal brigade of live ducks who spend their days basking near the ritzy hotel lobby fountain. Crowds gather daily at 11am and 5pm to watch the critters on their ceremonious march from their penthouse home to the fountain (and vice-versa in the early evenings). Silky O’Sullivan’s Pub, centrally located on Beale Street, serves great barbecue but the main attraction is the beer loving goats. Sit outside and watch the goats climb the goat tower and guzzle beer. And the impressive Shelby Farms Park Conservatory is an 1,820-hectare converted prison farm that was designed by the team behind New York City’s Highline.

 

Local Music

And then there’s the neon-lit Beale Street, where greats like Louis Armstrong and B.B. King got their start. In 1977, the U.S. Congress officially recognized Beale Street as “Home of the Blues.” For a quintessential dose of Beale Street, head to Silky O’Sullivan’s, or B.B. King’s; to experience Memphis like a local, end your evening at The Blue Worm. Here, true veterans of the city’s juke joint scene play Fridays and Saturdays late into the night. Like most attractions that draw folks to Memphis, the blues reflect the soulfulness and grit that's so deeply rooted in the city’s history. Music buffs will also want to visit the Memphis Rock n’ Soul Museum (curated by The Smithsonian Institution) and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which sits on the site of the original Stax recording studio where greats like Otis Redding recorded their music.

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