"Hey guys, want to hit up Graceland this weekend?" said no Memphian ever.
In fact, it's amazing how many Bluff City natives have never set foot inside The King's fabled mansion. Let's face it: Those of us born and bred in the 901 don't seem to share in the world's appreciation for Elvis. We've grown up hearing about him all of our lives so most of us are kind of over it. Unfortunatley, that same atititude often extends to Memphis' other noteworthy attractions -- but it shouldn't. Memphis is home to some terrific attractions. Here are five that are absolutely merit a visit:
1.) Sun Studio
First thing's first: It's Sun STUDIO, singular. Make the mistake of calling it Sun Studios, and the staff will politely correct you, explaining that the famed recording spot houses only ONE studio. (I got the feeling it was a bit of a pet peeve. And, yes, I learned this one the hard way, LOL!) There's a reason Sun Studio is tops on this list: If you've never been, it's an absolute must-see. Not only is the tour fun and entertaining, but there's something truly awe-inspiring about standing in the room where some of the world's most groundbreaking music was recorded. As cheesy as it sounds, you really do feel a since of magic when you walk through those doors. The museum used to be free to Shelby County residents, but it appears they've stopped offering that. Never-the-less, definitely check it out. You can get more information here.
2.) Memphis Rock n Soul Museum
Another must-see. The Rock n Soul Museum offers an in-depth look at the rich history of Memphis music. There's a lot to see, so you'll want to make sure to give yourself plenty of time to soak it all in. You can find out more details here. Worth noting: Shelby County residents get in free on Tuesdays between 2 - 7.
Sorry, folks, but I had to do it. Every Memphian needs to visit Graceland at least once, if for no other reason than to marvel in how freakin' small the interior of the house is. The tours are pricey and the lines can be pretty long, so I'd recommend waiting until you can score a Groupon or similar discount. The mansion does offer special discounts periodically, so it's worth keeping your eyes peeled for those. And it goes without saying that you should steer clear of weekends, holidays, or any Elvis-centric dates.
4.) The Memphis Zoo
Okay, okay, so you've likely been here before. But our Zoo really is world class, and the exhibits are constantly being updated and expanded. Fun fact: Yours truly worked there as a tram driver/tour guide my freshman year of college. Good times!
5.) The National Civil Rights Museum
Last, but most certainly not least, The National Civil Rights Museum is one of Memphis' greatest attractions, and if you haven't visited it yet, then you need to make this a top priority. Likewise, if you've not yet seen the new renovations (which took two years, and $27.5 million dollars to complete) then get your butt Downtown immediately. The museum has changed considerably since re-opening in 2014, and I couldn't recommend it more highly.