Even if you’ve already visited Memphis’ iconic sites — from Graceland to the National Civil Rights Museum — there’s a reason to return this spring. Some of the city’s most popular attractions are getting upgrades and more. Here’s what to do in Memphis on your next trip:
The essential museum has been undergoing an expansion and renovation since November 2012, and finally reopens on April 4 — the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. What’s already filled with touching displays and excellent video presentation will have even more of an impact, thanks to the addition of more than 40 new films, oral histories and interactive media throughout. The $27 million renovation takes the exhibits from a commemorative standpoint to a more interactive one, allowing you to do everything from sit in the courtroom and learn about the monumental Brown v. Board decision to sing along with freedom singers in a jail cell. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to view the infamous Room 306, where King spent his last hours.
On a lighter note, Memphis’ most famous tourist attraction, Graceland, is taking advantage of the 60th birthday of the first commercial single ever recorded by Elvis Presley. “That’s All Right” was cut right here at Sun Studio on July 5, 1954, and the studio also offers an excellent tour. There will be a celebration of the anniversary, so stay tuned for details. Graceland is planning related festivities all year long, but its centerpiece is a new exhibit, “60 Years of Rock ’n’ Roll,” which will be unveiled on March 1. The exhibit will focus on the birth of rock ’n’ roll and how the King influenced the world of music in both during his life and after.
On March 31, perhaps the only French restaurant in the world to omit duck from the menu will celebrate a Parisian icon: the Eiffel Tower. In honor of the architectural wonder’s 125th anniversary, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Chez Philippe is offering a four-course meal that will send you straight to the 1889 World’s Fair. The event is part of the Peabody Historic Dinner Series, which has featured meals honoring everything from The Great Gatsby to the repeal of Prohibition. Though the menu isn’t available yet, chef Andreas Kisler is sure to create a stellar evening of divine dishes — sans duck, of course. Venture to the lobby of Four-Star The Peabody Memphis, where the restaurant is located, at 5 p.m. sharp (you’ll have plenty of time before the 7 p.m. dinner) to watch the famous duck march to the fountain and you’ll understand why the bird isn’t offered at Chez Philippe.
Photos Courtesy of iStock-David Liu and Peabody Hotel Group