Sleep Inn at Court Square
40 N. Front St.
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 522-9700
Fax: (901) 522-9710
Court Square is a historic park that has existed at least since 1876, when the statue of Hebe was dedicated here. This small oasis in the middle of downtown office buildings also features a delightful gazebo and a bronze fountain. Court Square appeared in the movie The Firm as a backdrop for a meeting between Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman, and in real life serves as a relaxing spot for local office workers and visitors alike, who enjoy watching the restored antique cars of the Main Street Trolley go by.
This new Welcome Center, built on the shores of the Mississippi River in just the last few years, seeks to greet visitors to the city. Large bronze statues of Elvis Presley and B.B. King were moved here from their original locations on Beale Street (the Elvis statue was replaced with a replica) to honor these musical greats and offer photo opportunities for visitors. Brochures about local attractions, coupons for discounts at restaurants and hotels, and advice about local events can all be obtained here.
Located at the riverfront, the Jefferson Davis Park is a city heritage with its rich history and scenic surroundings. Situated right next to the Tennessee Welcome Center, this park is also known for its rich variety of plantation. The informative plates found throughout the park discuss the park's history, its natural elements, its wildlife and the local history. The park's riverbank offers beautiful views of the Mud Island. A bike rack and few picnic tables make this park one of the best options for fun outings.
The Civic Center Plaza is located in downtown Memphis, surrounded by the city’s main government buildings. A walk through this public square is something that all locals enjoy, especially in the summer, because the several water fountains that line the square provide a great opportunity to cool off. The plaza is also the venue for many community events, including the Memphis Roller Derby and much more. So, while you are out discovering the various attractions of downtown Memphis, do stop by here to take a break and enjoy being a spectator to the city’s vibrant community.
In the old South, cotton was king and Memphis was the center of the cotton universe. The Memphis Cotton Exchange formed in 1874 to serve the interests of cotton growers and dealers in the Mid-South area. The Cotton Exchange Building, completed in 1924, is where prices were set, deals were sealed, and fortunes were made and lost. This Gothic-style building with beautiful arches has been featured in several movies made in Memphis. The building now houses offices and is not open for tours, but you can get a taste of the past at the Unknown Cafe in the basement. An office building without public hours.
St. Peter's Church, was designed by architect Patrick C. Keely. One of his more famous Gothic Revival churches is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in New York. His other churches can be seen in cities such as Philadelphia and Charleston, South Carolina. His designs are inspired by 13th-century Gothic design using such elements as martello towers, crenelations and pinnacles. Be careful if you park on busy Third Street, the traffic moves fast and the drivers are known for not watching for car doors opening. Ring the church office doorbell for admittance.
Center for Southern Folklore is worth the visit if you want to sit and hear some blues or have a beer and learn about Southern culture. This private, non-profit organization is dedicated to informing people about Southern history with an emphasis on music and art. The interior, decorated by local artists, is eclectic and includes a gift shop and coffee bar. The gift shop is a great place to get books or albums featuring Memphis and Memphis artists. They also have live music Friday and Saturday evenings.
This Statue of Elvis —nine-and-a-half-feet tall and made of bronze—replicates the original that stood here from 1980 to 1994. That statue was removed and restored because of damage done by souvenir hunters. The original can be found at the Tennessee Welcome Center, which is open 24 hours daily. Have your photo made with Elvis here as many of his fans have done over two decades on historic Beale Street.
Considering how small the population of Memphis was in the 1860s, before the Civil War, there are a remarkable number of existing churches that date from the time. Memphis was not ravaged by the war, as were many other southern towns. So the charming St. Mary's, with its Gothic tower, survived to be completed shortly after the war. The interior of the church, built by German immigrants, features statues, stained glass, an elaborately carved altar and a lovely side chapel and garden. Weekday visitors should knock at the church office door for admittance.
Beale Street is known for being safe. One of the reasons is this active police station/museum. The archives are fascinating. Newspaper clippings and photos relating to such famous criminals as Machine Gun Kelly and events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr are on display. Even the arrest records of "ordinary" criminals in the late 1800s and early 1900s tell a great deal about pre-integration Memphis. There is an extensive exhibit of weapons and other items confiscated from criminals. You can also see a real jail cell and have your picture taken inside it. There is no admission charge.
Handy Park is a local park that is more than just a hang out for locals. It is a popular event venue that hosts summer concert series and concerts of local artists/bands.
This building was the Memphis home of William Christopher Handy, who is often referred to as the "Father of the Blues." He wrote the song "Memphis Blues" in 1912 at the request of E.H. Crump, then running for mayor, and it became something of an anthem for the city. A major award for blues musicians, the W.C. Handy Award, is given every year at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis. The W.C. Handy Home features exhibits on Handy's career that trace the history of the blues in Memphis.