City breaks, North America

Memphis is the largest city in the state of Tennessee and sits on the banks of the Mississippi in the South eastern United States. Home to Elvis Presley and an important city for fans of the Blues, Soul and Rock and Roll, Memphis really does have music flowing through its veins. Here’s my guide to visiting in August.

Memphis in August

Situated in America’s South, August in Memphis is a rather hot affair. Temperatures average daytime highs of 33C (F) throughout the month and only drop minimally at nighttime. There is over 12 hours of sunshine throughout the day and conditions are rather humid, with only a minimal breeze to stave off the heat. If you want to escape to sunnier climes, then Memphis is definitely the place to visit.

There are many festivals and events throughout the month to keep everyone entertained. Every year, Memphis hosts the Live at the Garden concerts which run throughout the summer from June until September and are held monthly in the Botanic Garden. For most people however, August in Memphis is all about Elvis Presley.

Elvis museums and events

August sees Elvis fans from across the globe flock to Memphis to commemorate the anniversary of their idol’s passing on August 16th 1977. Elvis Week runs from 10th-17th August this year and features a full programme for fans. This includes an Elvis impersonators competition which runs throughout the week, fan days including trips out to Elvis’ birthplace in Mississippi and city tours around key Memphis sites in Elvis’ history. On the day of his death, there is a vigil and a memorial to remember the star.

Graceland obviously plays a big part in the commemorations. Take a tour here to see Elvis’ epic mansion in all its glory including the infamous Jungle Room. There is also the opportunity to see the jawdropping amount of awards, discs and memorabilia that Elvis’ career has amassed, with the majority of discs coming to him posthumously. With the Platinum tour, you can also see Elvis’ impressive collection of cars and planes, as well as exclusive exhibitions. Finally pay your respects to this iconic star by visiting his final resting place located within the Meditation Garden at Graceland.

Musical Memphis

Aside from its connections to Elvis, Memphis is a town that attracts musicians from all walks of life and features many iconic musical sites. Visit Beale Street which is a must see place for fans of the Blues and visit BB King’s bar which he occasionally plays at himself. The street is lined with Blues clubs and restaurants which makes it an exciting place to visit.

From here move onto Sun Studio, seen as the birthplace of Rock and Roll with Elvis beginning his career here. Many iconic artists have recorded here since the 1950s and there is a museum attached to the studio which highlights its importance. To take a look at Memphis’ soul, visit the Stax Museum which celebrates Soul Music. Situated on the former site of the Stax Records label office, the museum delves into the history of the label and its impact on the genre as well as exhibits on artists such as the Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin and Otis Reading.

Cultural Memphis

The city also played an important part in the struggle for civil rights. It was here that Martin Luther King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel. On this site now stands the National Civil Rights Museum which features exhibits on the great man himself and the ways the movement progressed from its early roots in the 1700s right up to present day.

The Pink Palace in Memphis

Another great cultural site to visit is the Pink Palace which is the major historical and scientific museum in the American Mid-South. Here there are a whole host of museums dedicated to the cultural side of the city, including the fantastic planetarium which is definitely a must for all tourists to Memphis.