Bragging Rights


Attractions and Tourism

  • Over 10 million tourists annually visit Memphis. Based on 2014 estimates, the collective spending injects 3 billion to the local economy each year. 
  • The Daily Telegraph listed Memphis as one of it’s “20 Destinations for 2015.
  • Memphis is the #5 U.S. city for an affordable getaway, according to Travel + Leisure magazine (2015).
  • Forbes Magazine named Memphis one of the “10 Best Cities for Weekend Vacations” in 2015.
  • The New York Times recommended Memphis and the Big Cypress Lodge in their resort section of the “20 Family-Friendly Travel Ideas to Get You Going" (2015).
  • The Memphis in May Festival was named the #1 "Best Southern Event" by 10Best, a publication of USA Today in 2015.
  • Southern Living hailed Cooper Young as the “Next Great Neighborhood” in their Thanksgiving 2014 edition.
  • The Memphis Zoo was named one of America's 10 Best Zoos by Fodor Travel in 2015. Fodor hailed the new jellyfish exhibit as a "must-see."
  • In the 2014 “America’s Favorite City” poll from Travel + Leisure, Memphis took 2nd in the Barbeque ranking.
  • National Geographic Traveler listed Memphis as one 20 must-see places in their “Best Trips 2013” list.
  • MSN Living listed Memphis as one of the “20 best travel destinations for 2013.”
  • Memphis was an editor’s pick for “Best Road Trip” in Travel + Leisure (2013).
  • U.S. News and World Report named Memphis one of the top destinations for spring travel in their 2012 “Best Spring Vacations” ranking.
  • TripAdvisor, a travel review website, named Memphis a 2012 “Destination on the Rise” based on travelers' opinions.
  • CNN Travel named Memphis one of 11 “Great Riverfront Towns” in 2012.
  • Forbes magazine named Memphis one of the “10 Best Weekend Vacation Cities” in 2011.
  • In May 2015, the Blues Foundation will open the multi-million dollar Blues Hall of Fame which will celebrate blues musicians that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Each year, the Foundation hosts the Blues Music Awards and the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
  • Memphis is home to Beale Street, a historic street that is popular for its live music and night life. In 2013, Beale Street was voted the “Favorite Iconic American Street” in a USA Today poll.  More than 4 million visitors go to Beale Street annually, making it the most visited attraction in Tennessee.
  • Elvis Presley was proud to call Memphis home. Today, his impact in the world of entertainment is still being felt and his iconic status is one of the things that has kept Memphis in the hearts and on the minds of music fans around the world. Elvis is considered the most successful solo artist worldwide, having sold over one billion records, with 150 different albums certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
  • Sun Studio is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is known as the “Birthplace of Rock-n-Roll”.  It is the studio where artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison recorded in the 1950’s.  After re-opening in the 80’s, the studio has recorded artists and groups such as U2, John Mellancamp and Def Leppard.  Today, visitors can tour the studio and its exhibits, while artists continue to record there.
    • Sun Studios was named the #2 “Best Musical Attraction” on 10best.com, second only to Graceland, which took the top honors. Stax Museum took 5th place, giving Memphis three names in the Top 5 in 2015. 
  • Memphis’ 3,520-acre Shelby Farms Park is the 2nd largest urban county park in the United States.  It receives about 500,000 annual visitors, and is in the top 100 most visited city parks according to the Trust for Public Land. It is five times larger than New York City’s Central Park (2013).
  • The Children’s Museum of Memphis was the eighth children’s museums in the nation to be awarded accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum was named the “Best Children’s Museum” by AAA Southern Traveler Magazine in 2011.
  • Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is the first and only exhibition ever developed by the world renowned Smithsonian Institution in partnership with another museum. The museum is located at the legendary intersection of Highway 61, “The Blues Highway” and historic Beale Street at FedExForum
  • Memphis is home to three of the Trust for Public Land’s 113 “Most Visited City Parks” in the United States (2011): Overton Park, T.O. Fuller State Park and Shelby Farms Park.
  • TripAdvisor ranked the Memphis Zoo 6th in the United States in  their 2014 “Traveler’s Choice Awards.” The zoo was also Tennessee’s 4th most visited tourist attraction for 2011.
  • The Pink Palace Museum was Tennessee’s 15th most visited tourist attraction in 2011.  
  • Mud Island River Park, which attracts 160,000 visitors during its 7-month season and is home to a stellar summer concert series that has featured Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Wilco, Bob Dylan, Allison Kraus and Robert Plant, as well as perennials like Wide Spread Panic. Mud Island River Park is also home to the Mississippi River Museum, the nations' preeminent authority on life along the world's 3rd-longest river.
  • The National Championship for Bird Dogs Field Trials are held annually just outside of Memphis.
  • The National Civil Rights Museum, formerly the Lorraine Motel, was one of the few motels in the Memphis area that serviced African-American travelers in the segregated south. The property faced demolition until a group called the Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation purchased the property in 1984. On Sept. 28, 1991, the Civil Rights Museum was officially opened to the public.  The museum was voted the #3 Iconic American Attraction on 10best.com, a publication of USA Today, in 2013.
  • Stax Museum is the world’s only soul music museum. Once the Capital Theater, the building became Stax Records in 1959. Stax Records alumni include music legends such as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Luther Ingram, Albert King, the Bar-Kays, Booker T. & the MG's, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus and Carla Thomas. Other recording artists outside of the Stax label include Al Green, Ike and Tina Turner, and James Brown.