Overlooking the Mississippi River, Memphis is home of the blues, rock n' roll and, of course, Elvis. Not only has this city made significant contributions to music history, but it is also instrumental in the civil rights movement. Barbecue is beloved here, and the city's food culture and craft brewing scene are among its many attractions.
DAY 1: HISTORY COMES ALIVE
The Lorraine Motel,
the site of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is now an impressive museum that honors the legacy of its namesake as well as the civil rights struggle more broadly. This walk through history includes the struggles of slavery and the civil rights movement from the 17th century to the present.2:00 PM Stax Museum of American Soul Music
(pictured) houses more than 2,000 artifacts, with interactive exhibits, films and Isaac Hayes' gold-plated, peacock blue 1972 Superfly Cadillac El Dorado. From 1959 through 1974, this movie-theater-turned-recording-studio in South Memphis produced a string of hits that still stirs souls today.6:00 PM
Guided tours through the historic Sun Studio,
opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips, won't disappoint. Take groups behind the scenes of this meeting place of the "Million Dollar Quartet": Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Don't miss the chance to pose with Elvis' first microphone here.
DAY 2: MARCH THROUGH THE CITY
Known as the "South's Grand Hotel," the Peabody Memphis is home to the world-famous Peabody Marching Ducks.
Every day at 11 a.m., a red carpet is unfurled, and the ducks march to the fountain in the Grand Lobby, where they remain until 5 p.m.2:00 PM Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid
offers two floors of outdoor gear and retail, more than half a million gallons of water features, 100-foot-tall cypress trees, live alligators and fish, a museum, a bowling alley, two restaurants and plenty more. The Big Cypress Lodge, a wilderness-themed 103-room luxury hotel and event center, is also housed here.6:00 PM
Visit Catherine and Mary's,
a restaurant set in a building that was originally the Chisca Hotel, from where WHBQ radio broadcasts emanated. It was here that Dewey Phillips broadcast Elvis' first record in 1954, and where The King's first radio interview was conducted. DAY 3: A HIP-SHAKING DAY
No visit to Memphis is complete without seeing Graceland.
The complex offers you a glimpse into the life of Elvis Presley, from his humble beginnings through his rise to superstardom. Also located beside Graceland is the new luxury hotel, The Guest House at Graceland.6:00 PM
Up a fire escape above BB King's Blues Club is a hidden gem, Itta Bena,
a restaurant that features southern cuisine with a Delta twist and a speakeasy feel.8:00 PM
Frequently referred to as America's most iconic street, Beale Street
is the epicenter of Memphis music. The harmonies of bands and singers stream from the open doors that line the street, reminders of the city's rich musical heritage.This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.