As a mecca of music, Memphis is rivaled only by its neighbor, Nashville. It holds its trump card in the glories of Graceland, where thousands of pilgrims descend each year to pay tribute to Elvis Presley, the King of Rock n’ Roll. A visit to Memphis means marinating in the mellow sounds of blues, country, and rock n’ roll, before retiring to bed with a belly full of the world’s best BBQ pork.
Flights to Memphis
The best way to get to Memphis is to fly into Memphis International Airport (MEM). It’s the busiest cargo airport in the USA (home to the FedEx Global Hub. Almost 2.5 million passengers pass through its gates each year. It’s a hub for Seaport Airways and also Southern Airways Express. Delta also offers many flights to Memphis.
The airport is made up of three terminals, A, B, and C. A is devoted to Southwest Airlines, while B is used by all international arrivals. For getting into the city, you’ll want to catch a taxi (which will cost about $30), grab one of the hotel shuttles, or rent a car. There is an MATA bus stop in front of terminal C, so if you’re on a budget you might want to check out the routes and schedule.
What to Do in Memphis
Downtown Memphis has gone through a major refurbishment in recent years. Stroll along the Main Street Promenade to soak in the local color, or wander down to the riverside to marvel at the mighty Mississippi. Beale Street, “Home of The Blues,” is the best place to take in the city’s raucous nightlife with dozens of clubs and bars -- most boasting live music.
Pay a visit to Sun Studios, where both Elvis and Johnny Cash made their first recordings. Of course, Graceland beckons, and while it’s exactly the over-the-top tourist trap you might imagine, it’s still completely worth the visit. All the memorabilia you could shake a stick at, and some surprisingly moving moments, too.
Advice to Tourists Visiting Memphis
High summer in Memphis is hot. The temperatures and humidity can lay you low if you’re not used to it. June through September are the high season here, but they are sweat-soaked, gritty months. If you can handle the heat and the crowds, this is when Memphis buzzes with festivals: Elvis Week is in August. For cooler temperatures and a taste of that partying spirit, try the spring. May has average temps of 70 - 80 degrees and the Beale Street Music Festival.
You can find good deals on hotels in the fall, but whenever you book, you’ll save money by using Skyscanner’s free hotel price comparison tool. You can also head out into the wonders of the Tennessee countryside for less by using our free rental car comparison service.