Memphis History & Heritage: Private Half-Day Walking Tour

  • Instant Confirmation
  • Private Tour
  • 3 hr

Delve into Memphis history and heritage, home of the Blues and birthplace of Rock n'Roll, and immerse yourself into the heart of American history with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum.

Itinerary Details

Operated by: Travel Curious

Delve into the history and heritage of Memphis, a city founded in 1819 and known worldwide as the "Home of the Blues & Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll", with an iconic music scene and a rich past shaped by the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement.

On your private half-day walking tour, you will: 

  • See the Elvis Statue, a tribute to the popular rock star and snap a photo under the famous Beale street gate arch;
  • Stroll down Beale Street - an iconic street and one of the historic centres of African-American culture for nearly two centuries;
  • Spot the Main Street Trolley, a heritage streetcar transit system still operating down the streets of Memphis;
  • Learn about the heritage of the historic Orpheum Theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
  • Enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the Mississippi River from the Skyway Roof of the Peabody hotel;
  • Learn about the hidden General Washburn's Escape Alley used in 1864 in an attempt to run away from Nathan Bedford Forrest sympathizers;
  • Discover the WDIA-WHRK Radio Building, home to the first radio station in the US programmed entirely for the black community since 1947;
  • See the Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange in the centre of the historic Cotton Row;
  • Walk past the Memphis Music Hall of Fame;
  • Cath the trolley to reach the National Center for Civil Rights for a self-guided tour.
Like cities, the world over, the history of Memphis is one best understood by knowing the lay of the land, and the geography which shaped it. As you walk through the city, your guide will explain how the city’s features have defined and shaped the institutions and culture of Memphis. 

Visit historic Beale Street - where nightclubs, pawnshops, restaurants, and theatres have been playing the blues for over a century. 

Learn about the street’s history dating back to the mid-19th century, where Black commerce thrived in spite of the odds. Hear tales of Ida B Wells, 'Beale Street Blues', B.B. King, and Dr King. 

Then, enter into the heart of the American story at the National Center for Civil Rights Museum, where your guide will take you on an hour tour. 

Learn about the legacy of Memphis in the struggle for Civil Rights, and see the Lorraine Motel - now part of the museum - where Dr King was assassinated in 1968. Hear how the centre continues to play a central role in moving forward the push for civil rights nationwide. 

Should you wish to stay beyond the hour to experience the rest of the museum, please do at your own leisure. 

Tour duration
3 hours

Type of tour
Walking tour: no transportation is included

Tickets included
- English-speaking tour guide
- National Civil Rights Museum admission tickets

Other inclusions
- Gratuities optional
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off are not included
- Additional food & drinks are not included

Suitable for
Couples, Culture Vulture, Family, History Buffs

Attractions along this route:

Mississippi River
Like many cities in America, Memphis arose due to its location on the river, which continues to play an important role today in city life.

Beale Street
Sitting at the center of Memphis blues music, is Beale Street. However, the street is an important cultural site for the city beyond its musical legacy.

Memphis Blues
Developed in the early 20th century, the Memphis blues syncopated style was often played on homemade instruments and made famous by names like Frank Stokes and Sleepy John Estes.

The Lorraine Motel
Forever remembered by Americans as the place where Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the motel is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

The National Civil Rights Museum
One of the country's best interactive educational museums. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is an important national site and gathering place.

FedEx Forum
Home to the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, the FedEx Forum also serves a multitude of uses when the team is away.

Peabody ducks
For over 90 years, twice a day several ducks march through the Peabody Hotel lobby to visit its' fountain. The Peabody duck march is a Memphis institution.
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