Blues and BBQ. If that's not enough to draw you to this Tennessee town, then how about some of the richest cultural history this side of the Mississippi? The river factors significantly into everything from the town’s livelihood to its nightlife. During the 19th century, from its perch along the bluffs of the mighty, muddy, undulant expanse of water, Memphis was a bustling cotton town.

Today, Bluff City’s original downtown riverside remains a vibrant attraction because it's the birthplace of the blues and is celebrated specifically on Beale Street, Memphis's counterpart to New Orleans' Bourbon Street.

Take in the Blues

Many of the blue’s greatest musicians got their start in Memphis, including Muddy Waters and B.B. King — and of course the "King of Rock and Roll" himself, Mr. Elvis Presley, who landed in Memphis when he was just 13 years old. His legacy to Memphis — Graceland — is its biggest tourist attraction.

The Blues aren't the only music around. Soul also has roots in Memphis, too, and they sink deep into the local cultural fabric at the studio of Stax Records, the original site where Al Green, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers recorded hits in the 1960s and ’70s. The city's impact on the Civil Rights Movement is renowned and nowhere is it more evident than at the National Civil Rights Museum which is housed in the Lorraine Motel, the setting of Dr. Martin Luther King's tragic death in 1968.

Don't leave the city without trying the smoky taste of barbecued ribs at Charles Vergo's Rendezvous or you’ll be singing the blues all the way home.