A city rich in history and blessed with exciting entertainment, Memphis gets its name from the ancient Egyptian capital on the Nile. It was here that a fresh-faced 22 year old crooner named Elvis Presley got his start, though no one should forget that Memphis was a musical mecca for the blues long before he arrived. Memphis also has some interesting museums related to its pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement.
While the rhinestone suits and combed over black hair might be your first hint, there is no doubt that this is Elvis country, as a profusion of Elvis-related businesses, monuments, streets, and museums attest. Most famous of all is Graceland, Elvis's home-turned-musuem. For blues fans and others, a good place to start is Beale St., where a profusion of stores, clubs, and a general buzz of energy will leave you enthralled. Also not to be missed on nearby Main St. is the famous Orpheum Theatre, recently restored.
The Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, now hosts the National Civil Rights Museum. It is more than a memorial, and is a first-rate museum worth a visit by anyone wishing to better understand the region's social history. The history of the civil rights struggle is preserved for future generations via carefully thought out displays that make use of audio and photographic material.
There is a cluster of inexpensive accommodations in west Memphis near the highway. However, several intriguing possibilities open themselves up if you have a larger budget. Elvis fanatics should try the Heartbreak Hotel, while those who want Memphis's very best won't pass up on a stay at the famous and historic Peabody Hotel.