Perched above the Mississippi River, MEMPHIS is perhaps the single most exciting destination in the South – especially for music-lovers. Visitors flock to celebrate the city that gave the world blues, soul and rock’n’roll, and to chow down in the unrivalled BBQ capital of the nation. Memphis is both deeply atmospheric – with its faded downtown streets dotted with retro stores and diners and the sun setting nightly across the broad Mississippi – and invigorating, with a cluster of superb museums and fantastic restaurants. If it’s the Elvis connection that appeals, you won’t leave disappointed – let alone empty-handed – but even the King represents just one small part of the rich musical heritage of the home of Sun and Stax studios.
Laidback and oddball, melancholy and determinedly nostalgic, Memphis has a friendly scale. Downtown still retains a healthy ensemble of buildings from the cotton era – best admired either along the riverfront or from the trolley down Main Street – along with a number of places that look unchanged since Elvis’s day. Four miles southeast of downtown, the Cooper-Young intersection boasts a handful of hip restaurants and vintage stores.