Memphis CVB
Beale Street by Day, Tourists of all ages discover the distinctive flavor of "Beale-by-day," enjoying the W. C. Handy House Museum, Handy Park, the Police Museum, and A. Schwab's 19th century dry goods store.
updated 10/9/2006 3:13:15 PM ET 2006-10-09T19:13:15

Rockin' the Night on Beale Street. This is where the blues took shape and gained its first national following. Beale Street is, as it used to be, home to numerous nightclubs where music fans can hear everything from blues to zydeco. Sure it's touristy, but there's an amazing amount of music being played along these 2 blocks.

Lounging in the Lobby of The Peabody. The Peabody Memphis, 149 Union Ave. (tel. 800/PEABODY or 901/529-4000), is one of the most elegant hotels in the South, and anyone can indulge in that elegance for the price of a drink in the lobby bar. Of course, you'll also be sharing the lobby with the famous Peabody ducks.

Standing at the Sun Studio Microphone That Elvis Used for His First Recordings. It's worth the tour admission price just to handle the microphone in this famed recording studio at 706 Union Ave. (tel. 901/521-0664). It launched the career of Elvis Presley and created a sound that would come to be called rock 'n' roll.

Scouring the Record Bins at Shangri-La. Your local Tower Records may have a small rockabilly section, but here at Shangri-La Records, 1916 Madison Ave. (tel. 901/274-1916), in the town that invented the sound, you can get your hands on a copy of Warren Smith's original version of "Ubangi Stomp" or any number of rare discs and hard-to-find reissues. Be it Bessie Smith, William Burroughs, or The Band, it can be found among the bins, 78s, LPs and CDs.

Rollin' on the Mississippi River. For many people, paddle-wheelers are the most immediately recognizable symbol of the Mississippi, and no visit to Memphis, or any other city on Ole Man River, is complete without a cruise on the Big Muddy.

Attending an Outdoor Concert on Mud Island. Summer sunsets over the Mississippi are best appreciated when watching a famous performer put on a show at the Mud Island Amphitheater, 125 N. Front St. (tel. 800/507-6507 or 901/576-7241). Rock, pop, and country music are the mainstays here.

Browsing at A. Schwab Dry Goods Store. Even if you hate shopping, you may enjoy the A. Schwab Dry Goods Store, 163 Beale St. (tel. 901/523-9782), which opened in 1876 and has changed little since then. Battered wooden floors and tables covered with an unimaginable array of stuff make this more of a museum than a store. However, everything is for sale, and you'll find some of the offerings absolutely fascinating.

Cheering the Redbirds at AutoZone Park. An AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Redbirds (tel. 901/721-6000) are the pride of Memphis, playing in an old-fashioned but brand-new ballpark that has been hailed as one of the best in the nation. At the entry gates, look for the giant statue of the ballplayer known as Nostalgia Man.

Chomping on Dry Ribs at The Rendezvous. It's dark, it's noisy, and the waiters are intentionally surly, but oh, those barbecued ribs! Those served at Rendezvous, 52 S. Second St. (tel. 901/523-2746), are what Memphis calls dry ribs, which means they're rubbed with dry spices prior to cooking; you can add "wet" sauce after they come to the table.

Remembering Rev. Martin Luther King from the Balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Mournful gospel hymns play softly in the background as visitors approach the place where the civil rights leader was assassinated in 1968. This is the conclusion of a visit to the inspiring National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry St. (tel. 901/521-9699), built on the site of this once-segregated motel.

Shopping for the Tackiest Elvis Souvenir in the World. The hip-swinging Elvis clock has become all too familiar, so why not try some stick-on Elvis sideburns, an Elvis temporary tattoo, an Elvis Christmas ornament, Elvis playing cards, an Elvis nightlight, or a little plastic tray displaying a photo of Elvis with President Richard Nixon.

For a complete listing of what to see and do in Memphis, visit the online attractions index at

Frommer’s is America’s bestselling travel guide series. Visit to find great deals, get information on over 3,500 destinations, and book your trip. © 2006 Wiley Publishing, Inc. Republication or redistribution of Frommer's content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Wiley.

Photos: Terrific Tennessee

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  1. Showtime

    The largest showboat in the world, the historic 300-foot-long General Jackson cruises along the Cumberland River. (Heavenly Perspectives via Nashville CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Honky-tonk high

    Concert-goers enjoy an act at the 2006 CMA Music Festival June 8, in Nashville, Tenn. (Rusty Russell / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Fan favorites

    During the annual 'Fan Fair' in Nashville, Jim Hager of the TV show 'Hee-Haw' gives a fan a kiss. Thousands are drawn to the annual face-to-face meeting of musicians and their admirers. (Karen Kasmauski / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Original tunes

    Buffer Mitch Trentel finishes a guitar at the Gibson custom shop in Nashville. Gibson guitars are touted as the best in the world. (Bob Sacha / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Play it again

    Musician Tim Hadler stands holding his guitar outside Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, a country music bar in Nashville, Tenn. (Catherine Karnow / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A state of awe

    State Capitol & War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. At the memorial, a statue of a lone warrior stands high above the plaza steps. Close by, is a black marble memorial wall with the names of Vietnam veterans from Tennessee. (Walter Bibikow / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Country history

    The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum illustrates country music's story through a treasure trove of historic video clips, recorded music, exhibits, live performances, public programs, live satellite radio broadcasts, on-site dining and more. (Timothy Hursley / Nashville CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Opryland wonderland

    Gaylord Opryland Resort Atrium is noted as America's largest non-casino resort. Spread across nine acres, this wonderland includes a natural indoor atrium with rivers, walking paths, lush landscaping, and waterfalls year-round. (Barry M. Winiker / Nashville CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Beale Street

    One of America's most famous musical streets, Beale Street is located in the heart of downtown Memphis and is 3 blocks of more than 30 nightclubs, restaurants and retail shops. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

    Set in the city's historic Overton Park, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is the region's oldest and largest museum. Its collection of paintings, prints and sculptures spans the 13th through 20th centuries and represents cultures from virtually every continent. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. National Civil Rights Museum

    Located at the Lorraine Motel, site of the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the National Civil Rights Museum presents interactive audiovisual displays, life-sized replicas and actual artifacts to present an emotionally charged history of the American civil rights movement. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Legends in tune

    Taken at Sun Studio, this famous photo features some of the greatest performers in Rock'n'Roll history: Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Wall of famous faces

    More famous musicians' photos at Sun Studio. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Memphis Motorsports Park

    The Memphis Motorsports Park Hosts the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Truck Series and the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Trolley to the mall

    Restored antique trolley cars ramble along the Main Street Mall and scenic Riverside Drive, connecting downtown area attractions, hotels, restaurants, and shops. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Pyramid Arena

    The Pyramid Arena, situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, is one of the most uniquely designed structures on earth and hosts assorted entertainment and sporting events. A tribute to the city's Egyptian namesake in Egypt, this 32-story, 22,500-seat, is the third largest pyramid in the world. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Mississippi River Park & Museum

    This full-scale replica of the Mississippi River is just one of the many, popular points of interest found at the Mississippi River Park and Museum. The "island" also features an 18-gallery, interactive history museum, amphitheater, gift shops and restaurants. (Memphis CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
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