A short seven hour drive from Boone County will get you to a jewel of the South – Memphis Tennessee. Toasted as the home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll, Memphis hosts one of Fodor’s Travel’s 10 best zoos; two of U.S.A. Today’s Best Iconic American Attractions; The Indie Memphis Film Festival; and the Memphis in May International Festival which includes Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the AutoZone Sunset Symphony. But beyond all of that -It’s where Elvis called home. So, to help you plan a visit and to honor The King’s Birthday here are the top 3 can’t miss stops in Elvis’s Memphis.
- Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum – At the Fedex Forum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum is an exploration of the birth of both Rock and Soul firmly rooted Memphis. The collection began as touring exhibit from the National Museum of American History and is the first time the Smithsonian has worked in conjunction with another museum. It explores the history and evolution of American Music from Beale Street Blues to the groundbreaking records recorded at SUN Studio, STAX Recording and HI Records. The Museum is open daily from 10 am -7 pm, admission is $12 per adult, $9 for children and there are many organizations they offer discounts to, for more details visit their website.
- Sun Studios – The legendary Sun Studios on Union Avenue, is known as the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll. Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison all recorded their first records at Sun Studios, and current artists like U2, Chris Isaacs and John Mellencamp have recorded there since its reopening in 1987. The tour takes about an hour and a half and includes a photo op with the microphone Elvis used to make his first recordings. Sun Studios is open from 10 am- 6 pm everyday with tours starting on the half-hour (adults $12/ kids free) and be sure to try the shakes at the cafe.
- Graceland Mansion and Museum – Elvis’s 13 acre estate is the most-visited private homes in America, a museum and Elvis’s burial site. The mansion tour walks you through it’s late 1960’s-early 1970’s interiors – including the “Jungle Room” personally decorated by Elvis in 1974 and features an indoor waterfall. The “trophy building” or wing that was added in in the mid-sixties houses displays of memorabilia, Elvis’s gold records, his grammys, several of his most iconic performance costumes, his film scripts and Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding apparel. At the end of the mansion tour you can pay your respects to the King himself at his grave in the Meditation garden, where he his buried beside his parents. There are also additional museums and exhibits that are part of the property including a collection of Elvis’s cars and private planes; the Graceland archives; Elvis’s Tupelo- an exhibit about the Mississippi town Elvis was born in; and Elvis’s Hawaii: Concerts, Movies and More! There are several packages that include different parts what Graceland has to offer based how much time you have and details can be found at Graceland.
Want to learn about Elvis Presley and his life? Listen to his music or watch one of his movies? Check something out from our collection of Elvis items.
Katie Widener, a Burlington native, attended U of L and UK before becoming a Reference Librarian at Boone County Public Library in 2011.