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Museum Guide for Memphis

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A city of unique museum offerings, Memphis will make any museum addict swoon — and it will even impress those who don't normally go down the museum route! From artwork to Elvis to the Civil Rights, here are some of the city's best museums.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

10 Places

3 City Tips

Print
Map

10 Places

Graceland

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Sun Studio

Historic Sites

National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel

Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, History Museums, Speciality Museums

Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum

History Museums, Speciality Museums

Pink Palace Museum

History Museums, Natural History Museums

Children's Museum of Memphis

Children's Museums

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Art Museums

Fire Museum of Memphis

Speciality Museums

Metal Museum

Speciality Museums

The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange

Historic Sites, History Museums

Angela A's City Tips

  • Memphis is Tennessee's largest city, so expect a bit of traffic during peak hours.
  • Memphis is known for BBQ and Blues, so try to indulge in both!
  • The best way to get around in Memphis is by car, but MATA offers excellent public transportation options, with its extensive network of streetcars and buses.
  • Save
    Graceland
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    The famed home of rock 'n' roll King Elvis Presley, Graceland is every bit as flashy — and as fabulously kitschy — as you might have imagined it to be. The colonial-style mansion, situated just outside of downtown, is famous for its over-the-top decor, including a jungle room, a faux-waterfall, and a guitar-shaped pool.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • In addition to the tours of the mansion, Graceland also offers a number of special museums and exhibits, including a car museum, the King's planes, and clothing museums.
    • True Elvis fans might consider staying the night at the Guest House at Graceland or the Heartbreak Hotel.
    • Tickets are available for the mansion only, or you can opt for a variety of packages that incorporate the other exhibits and museums.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Memphis 19/01/2018
    • It's Now or Never 18/01/2018
    • Graceland
    Address:
    3734 Elvis Presley Blvd.
    Memphis, TN 38116-4106
    Phone:
    +1 901-332-3322
    Hours:
    Sun
    09:00 - 16:00
    Mon - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Sun Studio
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    Musical legends such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis all recorded at Sun Studio. Today, guests can visit the 'birthplace of rock 'n' roll' on a guided tour.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Children under 5 are not permitted.
    • Tours run every hour (on the half hour) from 10:30am to 5:30pm.
    • Free parking is available behind the studio.
    • Check out the gift shop for unique souvenirs, including Sun memorabilia, recordings, and concert posters.
    • There is a free shuttle available to and from Graceland and the Rock 'N’ Soul Museum.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Must see 18/01/2018
    • Music History 17/01/2018
    • Sun Studio
    Address:
    706 Union Ave
    Memphis, TN 38103
    Phone:
    +1 901-521-0664
    Price range:
    USD 14 - USD 14
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 18:15
    Other:
  • Save
    National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel
    Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, History Museums, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    From the outside, the Lorraine Motel appears relatively untouched since the infamous day that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated here in 1968. Inside, though, it's a different story, having been transformed into one of the most memorable and moving museums that you're likely to experience in the U.S. As much as possible, the interactive exhibits here bring to life the major events of the Civil Rights movement: Visitors can sit at a Woolworth's lunch counter, join the 1963 March on Washington, and sit on a replica of the bus where Rosa Parks made her stand.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
    • Go all the way through the museum — the end is truly powerful.
    • Check out the traveling exhibits.
    • Be sure to watch the short movies.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • It's as an important National Museum as any of the others across the country 18/01/2018
    • Powerful informative museum well worth your time 18/01/2018
    • National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel
    Address:
    450 Mulberry St
    Memphis, TN 38103-4214
    Phone:
    +1 901-521-9699
    Hours:
    Wed - Mon
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum
    History Museums, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    It's well known that Memphis is a music mecca, and the Rock 'n' Soul Museum is dedicated to documenting the city's musical history. Its exhibits, created by the Smithsonian Institution, feature facts and memorabilia that trace music in Memphis from 1930s sharecroppers to its global musical presence today. As you peruse costumes, beloved musical instruments, and more, you'll get a wealth of information, and of course some fantastic tunes to go along with it, courtesy of a fabulous audio tour.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A free shuttle runs between Graceland and Sun Studio.
    • Check out the gift shop!
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Loved it! 19/01/2018
    • Great Exhibits! 18/01/2018
    • Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum
    Address:
    191 Beale St
    Memphis, TN 38103-3715
    Phone:
    +1 901-205-2533
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Pink Palace Museum
    History Museums, Natural History Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    Situated in the pink marble mansion of Clarence Saunders, who founded the modern supermarket, the Pink Palace is a wacky collection of dioramas, dinosaurs, and much more. The museum traces the cultural history of the South, with interactive exhibits including a replica of Clarence Saunders' first Piggly Wiggly.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Tickets are available for all attractions, or guests may buy single museum tickets.
    • Admission is free on Tuesday afternoons (after 1pm).
    • Be sure to see "Adaptation," a large collection of animal bones.
    • The Pink Palace is part of a group of museums that includes the CTI 3D Giant Theater, the Sharpe Planetarium, the Lichterman Nature Center, and the Mallory-Neely and Magevney Houses.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • I'm glad they are remodeling... some exhibits haven't been updated in probably 40 years. 15/01/2018
    • it was ok 10/01/2018
    • Pink Palace Museum
    Address:
    3050 Central Ave
    Memphis, TN 38111-3316
    Phone:
    +1 901-636-2362
    Other:
  • Save
    Children's Museum of Memphis
    Children's Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    The Children's Museum of Memphis offers educational and interactive exhibits. Be sure to visit the Outdoor PlaySpace, complete with T-Rex bones!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Don't miss the seasonal splash park if you are visiting during the summer!
    • If hunger calls, visit the Kid's Cafe.
    • Visitors may purchase tickets for the museum only, or a combo ticket including the Outdoor PlaySpace and Splash Park.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun for a Few Times 10/01/2018
    • Very fun playplaces! 09/01/2018
    • Children's Museum of Memphis
    Address:
    2525 Central Ave
    Memphis, TN 38104-5926
    Phone:
    +1 901-320-3170
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is the oldest and largest art museum in the entire state of Tennessee, boasting an impressive permanent collection of nearly 9,000 pieces of art.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to check out special events, including the yoga classes.
    • On Wednesdays, admission is waived in lieu of donations.
    • Visit the website to print off a coupon to save on admission.
    • Photography is allowed with no flash.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #46 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    • Visit This Treasure! 01/01/2018
    • Nice Small Art Museum 29/12/2017
    • Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
    Address:
    1934 Poplar Ave
    Memphis, TN 38104-2765
    Phone:
    +1 901-544-6200
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 17:00
    Wed
    10:00 - 16:00
    Thu
    10:00 - 20:00
    Fri
    10:00 - 16:00
    Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Fire Museum of Memphis
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    The Fire Museum of Memphis promotes fire safety awareness through interactive exhibits, replicas, and artifacts. The outer wall of the museum is also dedicated to Memphis firefighters who have lost their lives.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Kids love the interactive safety programs.
    • Don't miss the Hale Water Tower!
    • The museum is open daily, but hours change by season. Check the website in advance of your visit.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun stop for a firefighter family 03/01/2018
    • Must see for firefighters! 30/12/2017
    • Fire Museum of Memphis
    Address:
    118 Adams Ave
    Memphis, TN 38103-2012
    Phone:
    +1 901-636-5650
    Price range:
    USD 8 - USD 8
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    09:00 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Metal Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    The only U.S. art institution exclusively devoted to preserving metalwork, the National Ornamental Metal Museum showcases both historic and contemporary metal works. Visitors may even see artists working as they create unique pieces here!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the gift shop to see one-of-a-kind items!
    • The museum is closed on Mondays and opens later on Sundays. Check the website for full details.
    • Casting and forging demonstrations take place on the weekends.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Memphis best kept secrets 03/01/2018
    • Loved it! 02/01/2018
    • Metal Museum
    Address:
    374 Metal Museum Dr
    Memphis, TN 38106-1514
    Phone:
    +1 901-774-6380
    Price range:
    USD 5 - USD 5
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 17:00
    Tue - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange
    Historic Sites, History Museums
    See more photos
    Angela A Says:

    Founded in 1874, the Memphis Cotton Exchange Building was once the center of the economic world of Memphis — the place where cotton trading occurred, and where elite members set the rules and standards for cotton trading in Memphis and the Mid-South. Today, this historic building houses the Cotton Museum, where visitors can learn more about one of America's most important crops.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to see the exhibits on the Blues.
    • An audio tour of Cotton Row is included.
    • It usually takes about an hour to tour the museum.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #41 of 161 things to do in Memphis
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Learned a lot at the Cotton Museum 14/01/2018
    • Cotton Was King; Very Interesting Museum 07/01/2018
    • The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange
    Address:
    65 Union Ave
    Memphis, TN 38103
    Phone:
    +1 901-531-7826
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 17:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
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