The Beale Street Music Festival will welcome residents of and visitors to downtown Memphis, Tenn., during the first days of May. The fun will continue every week of the month, as crowds celebrate the Memphis in May festival, complete with international music, a performance by the Sunset Symphony and a world championship barbecue cook-off.
But Memphis in May is just the beginning of the fun that can be found in Memphis during the summer. Opportunities to hear world-renowned live music, eat some of the best barbecue on the planet and learn about the history of this southern music city are available for a great getaway to a treasure of the south.
Tupelo Elvis Festival
Held one-and-a-half-hours away from Memphis in Elvis Presley’s hometown of Tupelo, Miss., the festival features impersonators and tributes, dance parties and discussions of the king of rock ‘n’ roll’s life. Though he built his mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, Tupelo pays the ultimate tribute to its favorite son. www.tupeloelvisfestival.com
A jazz star, civil rights activist and diva, Nina Simone was a musical dynamo and eschewed classification, transcending all musical genres. Her music is lauded just as much today as it was during her height of fame. A brand-new revue of her songs and her turbulent life, Simply Simone will be performed at Hattiloo Theatre, one of the few free-standing, independent black theaters in America. www.hattiloo.org
Juneteenth Urban Music Festival
This three-day festival will bring visitors to downtown Memphis for music, food, arts and crafts and cultural awareness. Festival-goers will enjoy custom cars and bikes on display, as well as entertainment from drummers, majorettes, cheerleaders and steppers. National and local rap, R&B, pop, hip-hop and gospel acts will provide music for all. www.juneteenthmemphis.org.
Considered the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, Sun Studio was a destination of many music greats, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. Still a working studio, daily tours of Sun Studio recount its legendary past. www.sunstudio.com
Memphis Rock & Soul Museum
Hear the complete history of rock ‘n’ roll at this Smithsonian-curated exhibition. Located on Beale Street, visitors can tour the museum and experience the music and history of Memphis, as well as instruments, costumes and other music memorabilia. www.memphisrocknsoul.org
Offering themed tours, from the Memphis Mojo Tour to the Memphis Ghost Tour, Backbeat gives bus and walking tours of the most interesting and unique locations and aspects of Memphis. www.backbeattours.com
A getaway to Memphis is incomplete without enjoying the city’s great barbecue and soul food joints. Though this diverse city offers dining experiences from high-end to dive, comfort food rules in Memphis.
Corky’s Ribs & BBQ
A Memphis institution for 30 years, four locations in the city offer world-class barbecue, dry brisket is a specialty. Choose from an array of barbecue sauces. www.corkysmemphis.com
Providing burgers, beer and blues since 1970, Huey’s burgers have been voted best in the city for more than 30 years. www.hueyburger.com
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Hot and spicy, this fried chicken is the reason some travel to Memphis. Order lots of food for not a lot of money, and don’t forget the pie. www.gusfriedchicken.com