Memphis For Photographers: 12 Most Iconic Places To Visit

There are many reasons to visit Memphis, Tennessee. For some, barbecue may be the reason alone to visit the Bluff City, but Memphis has so much more to offer. Shaped by its deep history, lively arts scene, and vibrant music culture, Memphis is a cultural destination – perfect for photographers and travelers alike. In this post, we put together a list of the most photogenic spots in Memphis.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Memphis city view

1| Beale Street

Beale Street – the Home of the Blues, the heart of Memphis’ music scene, and America’s most iconic street. This was where famous musicians – like Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Elvis Presley and Johny Cash – used to perform. It is a magical place where you can hear live music all day long!

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Beale Street by day

Strolling along the music-filled Beale Street in downtown Memphis, you’ll find restaurants and bars lining the century-old cobblestone street, along with historic buildings and iconic landmarks, such as W.C. Handy Home and Museum.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Beale Street by day

 

During the day, street performers pull off their best tricks and live blues bands show off their skills.

At night, the street buzzes with neon lights and is packed with local bands playing everything from classic blues to wacky rock ‘n’ roll to the city’s great soul music. Definitely a must visit in Memphis.

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2| Elvis Presley Plaza

As you may have known, Elvis Presley has a special relationship with Memphis, Tennessee. The city is where he and his family called home since 1948 and where he started his singing career.

If you are an Elvis Presley fan, then go to the Elvis Presley Plaza at the corner of Beale Street and South Main Street. The statue of Elvis Presley makes a good photo op for selfies!

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Elvis Presley Statue

3| Sun Studio

Speaking of Elvis, you need to pay a visit to Sun Studio. The huge painted Sun logo on the wall and an oversize guitar at the front of the brick building make it hard to miss.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Sun Studio

This tiny recording studio in Memphis was the first company to record Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. In 2003, it was recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

Today, not only is it a working recording studio, but also a tourist attraction. A nominal fee will give you behind-the-scenes access to the very room where Elvis’s first album was recorded and pose with the microphone Elvis used!

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Elvis’s first microphone

4| Graceland

If you’re willing to travel outside downtown Memphis, head over to Graceland – a must-see for Elvis fans.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Graceland mansion

Graceland is Elvis Presley’s home for more than 20 years. Now it serves as a museum and memorial where you can tour the Graceland Mansion, Elvis’ custom jets, and even take a look at his automobiles and wardrobe!

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll bought this 13.8-acre estate in 1957 and had built many lavishly decorated themed room in his mansion. Don’t miss the opportunities to snap photos of the quirky Jungle Room, the colorful Pool Room, and the fun and bright TV Room!

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

pool room

Pro tip: This National Historic Landmark is the second most-visited private house in America, just behind the White House. So expect a crowd. To make your life easier, plan ahead and book your ticket in advance. There are 4 different tours so prices vary.

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5| Memphis Murals (Around Downtown)

Finding street art is a fun and creative way to explore Downtown Memphis! These colorful urban art are also hotspots for photographers and instagrammers.

Why not strike a pose in front of a bold, vibrant mural to make your friends jealous that their lives aren’t as cool as yours?

You can easily find one while taking a stroll on Main Street. One of my favourites is The Sound of Memphis Mural, located at 100 S Main St. It pays tribute to the city’s rich history and important cultural icons.  I was blown away by its vivid colors.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

The Sound of Memphis

 

The most iconic one is the I Am A Man Mural near 398 S Main St. Created by Marcellous Lovelace with BLK75, this graffiti-style artwork is inspired by the ‘I Am A Man’ march in the civil rights movement.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

I Am A Man

Some others are more hidden away. Take this It’s Beautiful Where You Are Mural, for example. I wouldn’t have discovered it if I didn’t wander around Barbaro Alley  – aka “The Artery.” This stunning piece features a Mockingbird and irises, Tennessee’s state bird and flower.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

It’s Beautiful Where You Are

Pro tip: For the exact locations of the murals in downtown Memphis, check out this post.

6| Vintage Trolley Ride

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

vintage trolley

After a four-year absence, the trolleys have finally returned! These colorful vintage trolleys are the hottest and newest attraction in Memphis. How can you not take photos of it as it rolls by?

While we were there, we saw a green one, a gold one, a red/green one and a blue/white one.

To get the full experience, hop aboard and take a leisurely ride across downtown Memphis. The beautiful wood-paneled interior will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Trolleys operate every 20-30 minutes and make stops at popular attractions along Main Street. Rides are $1. Click here to see the map, stops, and schedules.

7| Lorraine Motel + National Civil Rights Museum

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a great civil rights leader and is best known for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. But, on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of Lorraine Motel, he was fatally shot.

Today, the Lorraine motel still stands but has now become part of the National Civil Rights Museum. The venue takes visitors through five centuries of history, telling not only King’s story but the story of America’s ongoing struggle for equality.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

National Civil Rights Museum

Besides the Lorraine Motel sign, the museum has many highlights worth capturing, including the Lunch Counter Sit-Ins exhibit and the Montgomery Bus Boycott exhibit featuring a figure of Rosa Parks sitting at the front of the city bus.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Montgomery Bus Boycott exhibit

8| I Am A Man Plaza

Just officially unveiled a few months ago, I Am A Man Plaza is a new public space in downtown Memphis, featuring a permanent art installation.

Next to the Clayborn Temple, a 3.6-m-sculpture of the I AM A MAN slogan stands tall in the middle of the plaza to honor the sanitation worker who went on strike in 1968. The strike was the reason Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had come to Memphis in 1968 – to support the sanitation workers.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Under the sun, the bronze and stainless steel sculpture shines brightly. You can see your own reflection on the surface that is overlaid with King’s words from the “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

At night, the sculpture illuminates and the engravings glow in the dark, creating a completely different mood.

9| Beale Street Landing

Located by the Mississippi River, Beale Street Landing is a public park in downtown Memphis with plenty of green spaces and open areas for leisure activities. In addition, it includes a riverboat docking center, a perfect spot to photograph the beautiful Mississippi River!

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Beale Street Landing

On the patio, you can watch riverboats cruising up and down the river. With an unobstructed river view, it will make you want to stay for sunset.

10| Bass Pro Shops Pyramid Lookout

Do you know you can see one of the largest pyramids in the world in Memphis?

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Memphis Bass Pro Pyramid

That’s right. Memphis has a 98-m-tall pyramid right in downtown! This giant Bass Pro Shops outlet boasts a 13-lane, ocean-themed bowling alley, a man-made swamp, alligator ponds, an aquarium, restaurants… and a hotel!

If that doesn’t impress you, take the world’s tallest freestanding elevator to the top ($12). The outdoor observation deck promises expansive views of the city skyline!

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

Memphis city view

11| The Peabody Hotel Rooftop

On the topic of city views, one of our favourites was from the Peabody rooftop!

The Peabody is a city landmark and one of the best places to stay in Memphis, TN. Its rooftop is massive with sky-high views of Memphis. Go there in the afternoon so that you can catch the magical moment of the sun setting over the Mississippi River.

While you’re there, pay a visit to the $200,000 Royal Duck Palace – that’s where the ducks live when they’re off-duty.

Places to Visit in Memphis Photographers

sunset view from Peabody Hotel Memphis

Insider’s tip: The Peabody Memphis hosts a rooftop party every Thursday night throughout summertime. Admission is $10-15. Ladies get in free before 7 pm.

12| Old Dominick Distillery Rooftop

Last but not least, the Old Dominick Distillery. This 100-year-old warehouse has been recently renovated into a distillery and tasting room.

Their rooftop, though, is one of the best places to chill in Memphis, especially for photographers. Not only does it have a gigantic neon rooster sign that lights up at night, it offers picturesque views of the Memphis skyline!

Old Dominick Distillery Downtown Memphis Tennessee


Hope you enjoy this roundup of top places to visit in Memphis for photographers! Below, we have included a map to guide you through.

Memphis, Tennessee is a cultural destination - perfect for photographers! This guide includes the most photogenic spots in downtown Memphis, including murals, rooftop views and hidden gems. Click through to find out all the best views and instagrammrable photo spots in the city. #memphis #tennessee #USA #travelguide #bucketlist #tripplanning #instagramspots #bestviews #summertravels #traveltips #thingstodo #roadtrip

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15 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I didn’t realize that there were this many great spots in Memphis to take photos! I love a rooftop view! And the trolley ride sounds amazing.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I’ve always wanted to go to visit Memphis, the home of rock and roll! and it looks amazing!!

  3. Memphis is so beautiful; the bright colors of this city makes it lively. I like the street murals – creative! A vintage trolley ride will be a treat. That sunset view is gorgeous: sunset plus beautiful places equals amazing view. I don’t know much about Elvis Presely but I love how Memphis celebrates him. Having these pictures on my timeline could make anyone green – I’m green from reading this.

  4. When I think of Memphis, I think all Elvis all the time. I kind of like the Paul Simon song – Walking in Memphis, which is kind of about Elvis too. I guess you just can’t go to Memphis and not pay homage to The King. Love the sunset off the Peabody.

  5. Awesome post! Often when I think of heading to the US, Memphis is never on my list. But having read through your post, it has so much that I would actually be interested in seeing, Graceland would have been an amazing experience. And the statue of Rosa Parks…. chalk one up for the women of the world!

  6. Memphis looks like a photographers dream! I would love to explore the colourful murals, I could just spend hours taking photos. Sun studio would be so fascinating to visit especially being the studio where Elvis recorded! 

  7. City’s murals are becoming the trend nowadays and it is a lovely photography subject. If I will visit US, I will include Memphis to the list, thanks for your recommendation. Are there museums as well around?

  8. I love quirky street art of any place. Memphis has great places with lovely art all over. I loved the guitar placed on Sun Studio. There are so many unique creative ideas here. I would love to visit this place as it is very photogenic.

  9. Man, I wish I’d tried to get to Memphis! Your photos are great and there are several that I wish I could take myself. I always love to compare people’s pictures of a sight because they all vary in some way. If I do make it there, your photos are already leading me to the things I want to see.

  10. Thanks for this list! I knew about Sun and Graceland but the other places are new to me. We are hoping to a music trip next year to visit Memphis, New Orleans and Nashville. 🙂

  11. Memphis is definitely a delightful playground for photographers! You have picked out a lot of great spots and I am sure there are many more! Also visiting these spots at different times of the day probably give you lots of different types of pictures. I also love downtown areas for its hustle and bustle mixed in with vintage/retro buildings.

  12. Love the jumble of old and new in Memphis. I’d so love to step inside Sun Studios and the Civil Rights Museum. Great pictures, Cat.

  13. Memphis is fantastic! I’m lucky to live just a few hours away in Nashville. I need to get back over there though and visit some spots I’ve never been. So much culture and history to see here!

  14. Since I’m from Birmingham, AL, you’d think that I’d have visited Memphis a million times. I think I may have been twice (which did include Graceland). But it’s a place I want to explore more of for its history, culture and food. Lately, I’ve totally gotten into street art/murals so I loved seeing all of the murals you capture and that you link to their locations-that’s helpful! I Am A Man Plaza looks really cool!

  15. I’m a huge fan of Art and especially street art. There is something so special about street art, I think about how many people have passed by, what the buildings have seen, what the artist was thinking of when he/she crafted/painted it. Not just any art though, the really colorful ones are my favorite, so a special thanks for sharing many of those 😉 Looks like I need to go back to Memphis, soooo many places to go and so little time!

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