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A place of pilgrimage, Memphis is the birthplace of both the blues and rock ’n’ roll, and a deeply-rooted epicenter of the American Civil Rights Movement. Today, its long list of iconic American music attractions – including Beale Street, its vibrant 24-hour party thoroughfare – draws legions from far and wide.
In 1950, a poor boy from Tupelo, Mississippi walked into Sun Studio and changed music forever; today, the 40-minute tour is a real tearjerker for Elvis Presley fans. The King lived in infamously grandiose fashion at Graceland, another Memphis must-see, along with the Memphis Rock 'n' Roll Museum, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Gibson Beale Street Showcase. Afterwards, indulge in some serious BBQ – this is one of the world’s best places to tackle chopped pork and dry-rubbed ribs.
But Memphis isn't all grits and guitars – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated here in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel. It’s now the National Civil Rights Museum, where you can pay your respects to the man and his dream.