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Memphis (Tennessee)

Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll - Home of the Blues.

Memphis (Tennessee)

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Photograph of Memphis (Tennessee)

Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll - Home of the Blues.

Few people alive today have not heard of Elvis Presley, legendary 'King of Rock 'n Roll', and most associate Memphis, largest city in Tennessee, with the iconic deceased singer. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the city each year, particularly on Elvis' birthday, to make a pilgrimage to Graceland, the mansion where Presley lived and died.
Citing its famous singing sensation as the only draw card in Memphis, however, is failing to do this go-getter city in southwest Tennessee justice. But music makes Memphis special, for sure: not only rock 'n roll but also the fact that the city spawned the modern musical forms of blues and soul as well. Music fans from all over the world stroll down legendary Beale Street in the downtown area, happy to be walking in the footsteps of their heroes.
Aside from touring Graceland there are several other music-related attractions to grab the attention, and a whole lot of other things to see and do in Memphis. The nightlife is world-renowned; the cuisine, particularly barbecue, irresistible; and there are fascinating museums, great gardens, Mississippi river boats, amusement parks, and some quirky cultural and natural sights to explore. 

  • Take in the atmosphere of this buzzing city with a night of "Southern Barbecued Ribs", the beverage of your choice and fantastic live blues music at one of the many bars on famous downtown Beale Street.
  • Take a tour of Sun Studio's where Elvis, B.B. King, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash, among others recorded. In more recent years it has been used by artists like U2.
  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music is well worth a visit and celebrates the music of Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding among others.
  • Graceland the former home of Elvis Presley is a must. See the Jungle Room, Pink Cadillac, and other memorabilia. Elvis' grave is also located on the Graceland grounds.
  • The National Civil Rights Museum in the city incorporates the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated in April 1968 and is well worth a visit.

We have featured the largest selection of USA city break destinations available on any Irish website and there is somewhere there for everyone.

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There are currently direct flights from Ireland to the USA with Aer Lingus, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways. There are also many connections via the UK with British Airways, Virgin and other airlines.

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There are no direct flights to Memphis from Ireland but numerous connections via the UK or USA.

Average flight time from Ireland to Memphis is 10-11 hours.

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As a licensed and bonded Travel Agent we have access to negotiated contract and wholesale fares with airlines worldwide. Our Travel Concierge team members will help you with the best connections and airlines to suit your own personal requirements.

For many destinations a number of flights may be required and sometimes it will include arriving into one airport and leaving from another. We will ensure you have the best combination of flights to do this and make sure you cover the necessary MCT (minimum connecting time) so that you have the best opportunity of a smooth and easy journey.

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Memphis International Airport

Memphis International Airport is a regional air traffic hub serving the greater Memphis area. Conveniently located just three miles (5km) from central Memphis, the airport is the busiest in Tennessee, processing more than 10 million passengers each year.
Despite its traffic, Memphis International Airport is a fairly small facility; however, its efficient design makes it a practical gateway to popular Memphis attractions like Graceland. There are only a few souvenir shops and restaurants, but many of both specialize in the best local food: southern-style barbecue.
International flights to Memphis International Airport are mostly limited to a few routes to Cancun and Amsterdam, but there are a wide variety of domestic routes to cities across the US, including New York, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Phoenix and Dallas.
Location The airport is situated three miles (8km) south of Memphis city centre.
Getting to the city Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) public buses leave regularly for the city centre from a bus station near Terminal C, and there are also services to many out-of-town destinations. Taxis are available outside the terminal building. Car rental companies are represented at the airport; free telephones are available in the baggage claim areas to phone for a complimentary shuttle service to take passengers to the desired rental car company.
Time GMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).
Contacts Tel: +1 901 922 8000.
Car rental Car rental companies represented at the airport are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Enterprise and Thrifty. A shuttle bus takes passengers to the car rental pick-up area from outside the baggage reclaim area; free telephones are available in the baggage claim areas to phone for a complimentary shuttle service to take passengers to the desired rental car company.
Airport Taxis Taxis are available outside terminal B baggage claim area at the ground level. A taxi from the airport to the city centre will cost about US$23 and take approximately 20 minutes, depending on traffic. Passengers may negotiate the fare for destinations outside of the city limits.
Facilities There are numerous restaurants, bars and cafes and a variety of shops, including an Elvis gift shop. The International Travel Insurance and Business Service Center, located by Ticket Lobby B, provides a variety of services to business travellers including foreign currency and travellers cheque exchange, travel insurance and fax and photocopy services. 24-hour ATMs are located in Ticket Lobby B next to the Aviation Historical Room and American Express has an Express Cash Machine for travellers cheques located in Concourse B. Disabled facilities at the airport are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
Parking There is a three-level parking garage across the terminal driveway that offers two areas of parking: Short-term is for stays of a few minutes to a few hours and long-term is for overnight or extended stays. Short-term parking at Memphis International Airport is charged at $2 for an hour and $1 per hour thereafter up to $21 per day. Long-term parking is $2 for the first hour, then $1 every 30 minutes up to $11 per day. Economy parking has a flat rate of $8 per day. All parking lots allow 30 minutes free parking. A free shuttle service is available between the long-term lots and the Terminal Building.
Departure Tax None.
Website www.mscaa.com
Airlines Flights to Memphis International Airport are available via Delta, AirTran, American Airlines, Continental Express, United and US Airlines.
Internet Wifi is available through Boingo for $6.95 per day.
Business Lounges Basic business services are available in the International Business Service Center in Ticket Lobby B. Conference facilities are available in the work centre between Terminals A and B.

Getting Around Memphis


As most residents own a car, public transport is not very reliable and the most efficient way to cover the sprawling city is by car, although traffic congestion can make it slow, even more so during rush hours. The city is simple to navigate and parking is generally easy to find. To hire a car drivers must be 21 years old, but most agencies have higher rates for under-25s; some require an International Driving Permit as well as a valid driver's license. Public transport is available, but consists of slow and infrequent buses, as well as the more useful Main Street Trolley that covers downtown in a circular route. Taxis are also available and must be booked by phone.

What to See and Do in Memphis


Memphis' biggest attraction is the second-most visited house in the United States after the White House. The Graceland Mansion and its attendant buildings and attractions were home to the 'King of Rock 'n Roll', Elvis Presley, who died in 1977. Thousands of fans of all ages still make pilgrimages here to tour the house, grounds and visit his grave. The house has been kept as close to how it was when Elvis lived there. Mansion tours are offered with audio players describing the rooms and memorabilia, including Elvis' trophy building, separate from the mansion, that houses all of his awards, tropies and platinum records. Also open for viewing is the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum housing the star's renowned 1955 pink Cadillac, 32 other cars that were owned by Elvis lined up along a recreation of a tree-lined street complete with a 1950's drive-in theatre, a collection of Elvis' personal belongings, and a re-creation of an airport terminal where the singer's two private jets are on display. Graceland Plaza offers several dining options for visitors, most with a focus on 1950's and 1960's diner-style food, including some of Elvis' favourites like the infamous deep-fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich. As of March 2006, Graceland joins the White House, Mount Vernon and Monticello as a National Historic Landmark, the USA's highest designation for historic properties, usually accorded to the homes of American presidents. Long live the King.

Sun Studios

Visitors who come to Memphis to pay homage to Elvis Presley inevitably are also keen to visit the legendary recording studio in Union Avenue where the King of rock 'n roll's career, and that of numerous other stars, began. The story is that Elvis first walked into the Sun Studio in the early 1950s to record a song as a birthday present for his mother. The owner of the studio was self-taught, and made several so-called mistakes that resulted in the sound we now know as the first version of rock 'n roll. The rest is musical history, now enshrined in the studio that also launched the likes of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis on the road to stardom. Visitors to the studio can hear outtakes from recording sessions, touch Elvis' first microphone, view a great deal of memorabilia and listen to anecdotes. Alongside the studio is the Sun Studio Café, a diner that retains its 1950s style and is still a favourite musician's hangout. The studio still hosts live sessions and recordings with current artists. Free shuttles are on hand to transport visitors to and from either Graceland or the Rock 'n Soul Museum.

Dining in Memphis

Memphis is home to many excellent restaurants that capture the essence of Mississippi River cuisine. Fusion restaurants are the norm here and French, Spanish, African and Cajun flavors are often mixed together to create something truly unique. The famous Beale Street is Memphis’ center for live music and vibrant nightlife, but also features some of the city’s best restaurants. Peabody Place is another Memphis location with several renowned restaurants. Bluefin, also in Peabody Place is a hip sushi fusion restaurant. Memphis’ unique blend of flavors and ingredients make it one of the best cities to try something new.

Memphis Nightlife

It’s hard to turn a corner in Memphis without running into a few bars. Memphis has everything: dive bars, live music clubs, sports bars, gay bars, college bars, dance clubs and friendly neighborhood bars. The world famous Beale Street is the undisputed epicenter of River City nightlife so, it's no wonder, many of Memphis’ most popular bars call Beale St. home. There are so many on Beale that a pub-crawl including all of them would result in certain death. Beer lovers on Beale celebrate the Beale Street Tap Room for its nearly 30 beers on tap and prime location. The famous Coyote Ugly Saloon recently opened a location on Beale, and visitors always enjoy the shows put on by those lovely bartenders. Not all of Memphis’ nightlife is confined to Beale, though. Sleep Out Louie’s is off the main drag but is far enough away to avoid the huge crowds. The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium is located in Peabody Place, and sports over 75 draught beers. The best thing to do while in Memphis is to wander into a bar you’ve never seen before and soak up the friendly atmosphere and free flowing drinks.

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