It’s one of the most storied cities in recorded music–the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll, longtime home to the genre’s King, Elvis Presley, and the place where the Beale Street Blues Boy’s fame began to take off, leading him to shorten his nickname to “B.B.” King.
It’s also a world capital of barbecue. Maybe the capital, depending who you ask/argue with.
But there’s more to the largest city on the Mississippi River than music and grilling.
“It is truly original. Real history happened here that changed the world. Memphis is true Americana,” says John Oros, executive vice president/COO of the Memphis CVB.
New meeting and event venues are popping up, too. The Pyramid Arena—centerpiece of the Memphis skyline—is being transformed into a massive retail center, which the city hopes will begin to revitalize the Pinch District. While much of the project is still in the planning phases, ideas have included cabin-style hotel space that would allow visitors easy access to the newly renovated Beale Street Landing, the Mississippi River waterfront, and additional retail and restaurants.
The 125,000-square-foot Memphis Cook Convention Center can serve as a wide-open main exposition venue or be split into three separate smaller venues. The facility offers panoramic views of the Mississippi River from its outdoor terrace.
Memphis also boasts one of baseball’s highest-rated minor league fields, Autozone Park, home to the Memphis Redbirds, the minor league farm squad for the St. Louis Cardinals.
“There’s not a bad seat in the house,” Oros says, “with lots of event space and numerous suites for entertaining. First-class, all the way.”
Groups live the iconic Memphis experience via Beale Street. Dozens of restaurants and bars line the nearly two-mile-long neon-clad drag, and many nights it seems every venue has live music seeping from the doors and windows, allowing groups to simultaneously soak in Memphis’ two biggest claims to fame: food and music.
“At five o’ clock when the meeting ends, our sidewalks don’t roll up, they roll out,” Oros quips.