This isn't necessarily an attraction, but it could be a vital part to any trip to Memphis. The city is big, so there's a lot of ground to cover. While MATA may not be able to get you to every nook and cranny in the city, it can get you to most places, whether you're taking a trolley around downtown or looking to get to areas such as midtown or Germantown. The transit system has three centers where visitors can buy MATA passes, and adult fare is $1.75 per ride. It can be daunting to get the hang of the system, but once you do, it makes travelling around Memphis so much easier. Just make sure you plan ahead.
Besides the city's storied blues history and sites such as the Lorraine Motel, the Peabody Hotel is probably one of the most well-known attractions in Memphis, especially for its ducks (yes, they're real). The original Peabody opened on the corner of Main Street and Monroe Avenue in 1869. Belz Enterprises built a grander version of the hotel at its current location in 1925, and in 1933, the hotel put the ducks in the fountain, and each day, you can watch the March of the Peabody Ducks. The hotel has shops and restaurants, and even a couple of museums.
A block west from the Peabody is the Center for Southern Folklore in the Pembroke Square Building. The center is a nonprofit that dedicates itself to documenting and celebrating the people, music and traditions of the South. It has a store called The Folklore Store, where people can find gifts and works of art, and it also has a cafe. Walk through the media galleries, and you can see photos and art that tell the story of the South and the blues. The gallery even has a stage in the back where bands can play.
The Belz Museum is downstairs from the Center for Southern Folklore. The museum is composed of pieces of art that Jack and Marilyn Belz, who own Belz Enterprises, have collected over the years. It started out as just three rooms, but over the years, it has expanded even more. The museum tells the story of Asian art such as the meaning of dragons in Chinese culture and the importance of stones such as jade. The museum also has a large exhibition room full of Judaic art, including paintings, menorah and sculptures. A Holocaust memorial gallery is in a room off to the side of the Judaic art.
Memphis isn't short in things to do, so you may have to consider lodging for at least one night. While the city has a lot of hotels, Hostel Memphis, is located at First Congregational Church of Memphis, is one of the cheapest places you can say. The word "hostel" is probably off-putting to some, but don't worry. It's not scary. You can stay in co-ed or male or female dorms, or if you're going with three people, you can also get a private room. The hostel has showers for guests, a full kitchen and more.
One of the most monumental and tragic moments of the Civil Rights Movement happened at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis: the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. The museum that tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement, from the beginning of slavery in the U.S. to the movement's legacy in the present day. The last exhibit in the main museum is the room King was staying in on the night he died.