Memphis EventsIn addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this destination hosts a number of outstanding festivals and events that may coincide with your visit.
Memphis kicks off the year by honoring the birth of its favorite sons. Fans from around the world flock to the Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration . The festival, which spans several days surrounding January 8, includes a concert of the King's tunes performed by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and an Elvis Presley Day Ceremony, complete with birthday cake.
In mid-January, the city honors another King. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King Day Celebration features speakers, forums and concerts to honor the late civil rights leader on his birthday.
It wouldn't be Memphis without the sultry sounds emanating from Beale Street, and the Beale Street Music Festival in May highlights blues, rock, gospel, R&B, alternative and soul artists from around the country. The 3-day, Mardi Gras-like celebration brings throngs of partiers to the street, and more than 60 musical acts take to stages set up in Tom Lee Park, where Beale meets the Mississippi River.
The music festival is part of the city's most well-known event, the Memphis in May International Festival . This monthlong event focuses on a different country and its culture every year. A highlight is the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest , known as the Super Bowl of Swine, where grill masters gather under a cloud of hickory smoke and compete to prepare the tastiest pork barbecue.
Summer is ushered in with the FedEx St. Jude Classic , a key PGA Tour event in June. The city rallies in mid-August to pay tribute to Memphis' hip-shaking, lip-curling king during Elvis Week . The weeklong, all-Elvis festival includes more than 30 events: bus and house tours, tribute concerts, dance parties, karaoke nights, trivia competitions and a candlelight vigil are some of the highlights. This event attracts loyal fans from all over the world.
Music is again the focus of celebration during the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival , held over Labor Day weekend; local and noted personalities perform blues, jazz, country, pop and bluegrass music on various downtown stages. Dance, poetry and spoken word performances also are featured.
With more than 300 booths featuring art, crafts and gourmet food, the Pink Palace Crafts Fair , set in Audubon Park in October, also is a big draw. The family-friendly fair also offers children's crafts, educational exhibits, entertainment and rides.
When the holidays approach, Graceland celebrates in style with the Christmas at Graceland event, held from mid-November to early January. The mansion's exterior and interior are made festive with decorations that Elvis himself used when he resided here.
The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is held in late December at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. And there's no better spot to ring in the New Year than where the blues began. Attend the New Year's Eve Countdown on Beale Street for a Guitar Drop and a merry good time.
See all the AAA recommended events for this destination.
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State sales tax is 7 percent; occupancy tax is 6 percent; and Memphis sales tax is 2.25 percent, for a combined lodging tax of 15.25 percent.
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Baptist Memorial Hospital, (901) 226-5000; Delta Medical Center, (877) 627-4395; Methodist North Hospital, (901) 516-5200; Methodist South Hospital, (901) 516-3700; Regional Medical Center at Memphis, (901) 545-7100; Saint Francis Hospital, (901) 765-1000.
3205 Elvis Presley Blvd. Memphis, TN 38116. Phone:(901)543-5300 or (888)633-9099
Domestic and foreign airlines serve
Discounts are offered to AAA members by Hertz, (901) 345-5680 or (800) 654-3131.
Amtrak offers passenger service from Central Station, 545 S. Main St.; phone (901) 526-0052 or (800) 872-7245.
The Greyhound bus station is at 3033 Airways Blvd.; phone (800) 231-2222.
The major company is Yellow Cab, (901) 577-7777. Fares are metered, with the basic rate $3.80 for the first mile, then $1.80 for each additional mile. One dollar is added for each additional passenger. A $3 surcharge is added to fares originating from the airport.
Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) buses operate Mon.-Fri. 4:30 a.m.-11:15 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. and holidays 8-5. Base fare is $1.75, with increases for zones outside city limits; a day pass can be purchased for $3.50, and covers unlimited bus rides. Ages 65+, students and the physically impaired pay reduced rates with a special MATA ID card. Park 'n' Ride service is available at multiple locations within the city. Not all routes operate nights and Sundays.