In the old South, cotton was king and Memphis was the center of the cotton universe. The Memphis Cotton Exchange formed in 1874 to serve the interests of cotton growers and dealers in the Mid-South area. The Cotton Exchange Building, completed in 1924, is where prices were set, deals were sealed, and fortunes were made and lost. This Gothic-style building with beautiful arches has been featured in several movies made in Memphis. The building now houses offices and is not open for tours, but you can get a taste of the past at the Unknown Cafe in the basement. An office building without public hours.
155 Market Street Memphis, TN 38103 +1 901 522 9420
Considering how small the population of Memphis was in the 1860s, before the Civil War, there are a remarkable number of existing churches that date from the time. Memphis was not ravaged by the war, as were many other southern towns. So the charming St. Mary's, with its Gothic tower, survived to be completed shortly after the war. The interior of the church, built by German immigrants, features statues, stained glass, an elaborately carved altar and a lovely side chapel and garden. Weekday visitors should knock at the church office door for admittance.
119 North Riverside Drive At Jefferson Avenue Memphis, TN 38103 +1 901 543 5333
This new Welcome Center, built on the shores of the Mississippi River in just the last few years, seeks to greet visitors to the city. Large bronze statues of Elvis Presley and B.B. King were moved here from their original locations on Beale Street (the Elvis statue was replaced with a replica) to honor these musical greats and offer photo opportunities for visitors. Brochures about local attractions, coupons for discounts at restaurants and hotels, and advice about local events can all be obtained here.
150 Peabody Place Memphis, TN 38103 +1 901 248 0101
Much has been done to revitalize downtown Memphis. Belz Enterprises, owner and restorers of the Peabody Hotel, have been responsible for much of the development and improvement. Belz' newest endeavor, Peabody Place is intended to be a mixed-use area, with entertainment, housing and office spaces. Stay in the Gayoso Hotel, a museum housing the Belz' collection of oriental jade, Jillian's, and several restaurants. You can even see a movie at the Muvico Theater complex with 21 screens and an IMAX theater.
Tom Lee was an African-American living in Memphis who became a hero when he saved 32 people from a sinking steamboat in 1925. Even though he could not swim, he rowed a small boat into the strong currents of the Mississippi River to rescue the victims. Tommy Lee Park, stretches for a mile and half along the banks of the river, is dedicated to this hero and contains a monument to him. This is the site of several events throughout the year, including the Barbecue Contest, the Sunset Symphony concert at the end of May, and a Jazz Festival.
45 North 2nd Street Memphis, TN 38103 +1 901 543 5333
Court Square is a historic park that has existed at least since 1876, when the statue of Hebe was dedicated here. This small oasis in the middle of downtown office buildings also features a delightful gazebo and a bronze fountain. Court Square appeared in the movie The Firm as a backdrop for a meeting between Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman, and in real life serves as a relaxing spot for local office workers and visitors alike, who enjoy watching the restored antique cars of the Main Street Trolley go by.
Beale Street and Main Street At Main Street Memphis, TN 38103 +1 901 543 5333
This Statue of Elvis -nine-and-a-half-feet tall and made of bronze-replicates the original that stood here from 1980 to 1994. That statue was removed and restored because of damage done by souvenir hunters. The original can be found at the Tennessee Welcome Center, which is open 24 hours daily. Have your photo made with Elvis here as many of his fans have done over two decades on historic Beale Street.
156 Beale Street Memphis, TN 38103 +1 901 526 3162
This gallery features the work of African-American artists both from the local region and from across the United States. You can view and purchase various forms of art, including photographs, prints and more, but the paintings are particularly good. Smaller gift items are also for sale. Gestine's is free to the public, and it stays open late (depending on the traffic) on Friday and Saturday nights to accommodate the crowds strolling down Beale Street.
6745 Wolf River Parkway Memphis, TN 38120 +1 901 257 3100
Under the leadership of musical director Michael Ching, Opera Memphis has developed a reputation for its excellent productions of the classics while also promoting new and innovative American operas. Performances, staged in the restored Orpheum Theater at the end of Beale Street, have featured guest artists such as Kallen Esperian as well as stars from the Met. Musicians from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra accompany the opera. The Orpheum Theatre, located 203 South Main Street, is the site of excellent performances by notable theatre personalities.
Rod & Hank's , the vintage guitar shop is located in the same building as the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and is practically a museum itself. Check out the vintage guitars, speakers, and other equipment in the windows. You can also watch craftsmen repair beautiful old instruments. If you are in the market for a used Fender, Gibson, or Gretsch guitar, this is the place, but it's also worth a look for the non-musician, as well. Many national recording artists visit this shop when playing or recording in Memphis.
The Main Street Trolley consists of restored vintage trolley cars
that offer views of downtown Memphis and the riverfront. One route runs up and down Main Street from the Pyramid to Central Station offering comfortable transportation to sights such ...
Situated at the north end of the trolley line, this
hotel is an easy ride to Beale Street, the Civil Rights Museum and other downtown attractions. It is close to the Pinch District, with its funky, friendly bars and ...
Memphis' main museum is housed in a marble building completed
in 1916. The architecturally beautiful rooms house an outstanding collection of medieval art and a small but worthwhile collection of Impressionist works. One room is dedicated to a "touch" ...