Whether you’re a little bit country, in the mood for soul or a little bit rock ’n’ roll, Tennessee's two most musical cities are the places to visit on this AAA Sojourns EXCLUSIVE vacation. In Memphis, celebrate the King on a tour of Graceland and learn about soul music at Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Then head to Nashville where you’ll tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and experience the Grand Ole Opry, an American music institution since 1925.
• Spend a day in Elvis’ "blue suede shoes" visiting Graceland and a friend of the King’s at Super Cycle.
• Explore the National Civil Rights Museum at the historic Lorraine Motel.
• Enjoy the best in country and bluegrass music at the Grand Ole Opry.
Tennessee is home to two music capitals – Memphis and Nashville – and you will experience the best of both. Begin in Memphis, home of Sun Studios where Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash got their first breaks. Presley’s last home and final resting place, Graceland, is just eight miles away and you'll explore Graceland Mansion on a self-guided tour. Memphis also supported the likes of B.B. King, who helped build the Memphis blues sound, and was the home of Stax Records, second only to Motown as the most successful soul music label ever. Learn about the label's storied history on a visit to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, featuring memorabilia and insights into performers like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, and Booker T. & the MGs.
Memphis also holds a special place in the Civil Rights movement. See the Clayborn Temple where 1968 protest marches on behalf of the city’s striking sanitation workers began. Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Memphis in the spring of 1968 in order to support the workers and it was here that he was killed while staying at the Lorraine Motel. The hotel now houses the National Civil Rights Museum and you’ll learn about this turbulent time in our nation’s history on a memorable tour. You'll also have to chance to see the charming daily "March of Ducks" at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.
While Johnny Cash sang country in Memphis, other singers of the country music genre flocked to Nashville, transforming it into "Music City." Today it boasts the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame – the world’s largest music museum. Tour the museum's huge collection of exhibits that trace the history and musical antecedents of country music. Enjoy a special backstage tour of the historic Ryman Auditorium where you can stand in the wings where performers like Elvis Presley and James Brown once stood, waiting for their time in the spotlights. Seek some spotlight of your own at a group line dance lesson before attending a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, an American music institution since 1925 and the world's longest-running radio show.
• 6 nights accommodations: 3 nights in Memphis and 3 nights in Nashville
• Meals - Daily breakfast, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
• All on-tour transportation and airport/hotel transfers
• Sights - Tour of Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion and other "Elvis" sights in Memphis
• An evening performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
• Visits to: The National Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium and the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson
Note: Pre-tour and post-tour hotel nights may be available. Inquire at time of booking.
Day 1 – Arrive in Memphis
Arrive in Memphis and join your group transfer to the hotel. This evening is free to explore the famous Beale Street which is a short walk and trolley ride away from your hotel.
Accommodation: SpringHill Suites – 3 nights
Day 2 – Celebrate Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll
Today, after breakfast at the hotel you will be off to the Graceland Mansion. Explore the attractions and exhibits of Elvis’ former home on this self-guided tour and learn how Elvis’ legacy has influenced pop culture as we know it today. After the tour, enjoy lunch at the family-owned Coletta’s Restaurant. This restaurant was one of Elvis’ favorites for Italian cuisine and Elvis memorabilia adorns the wall of the "Elvis dining room."
Continue the Elvis theme with the "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" tour which includes a special stop to visit a friend of Elvis at Super Cycle. See the first place he lived when he came to Memphis and stop at Overton Park Band Shell where Elvis first performed in 1956. Dinner is on your own with many great places within walking distance of the hotel.
Day 3 – Civil Rights & Soul Music
After breakfast, board the motor coach for the National Civil Rights Museum. En route, see the Clayborn Temple where the 1968 marches on behalf of the city’s striking sanitation workers began. Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Memphis to support the strike and was killed while staying at the Lorraine Motel. The hotel now houses the National Civil Rights Museum and you’ll learn about this turbulent time in our nation’s history on a memorable tour.
After a Memphis BBQ lunch at Central BBQ, enjoy an in-depth experience of the music history of Memphis at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. The legacy of Stax Records spans more than half a century and is critical in American music history. Stax was one of the most popular soul music record labels of all time, second only to Motown in sales and influence. In 15 years, Stax placed more than 167 hit songs in the Top 100 on the pop charts, and a staggering 243 hits in the Top 100 R&B charts. It launched the careers of such legendary artists as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Rufus & Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the MGs, and numerous others. Later, the remainder of your day is free to explore the attractions of Beale Street at your own pace.
Day 4 – Memphis to Nashville
After breakfast, take a stroll to the historic Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The hotel is well known for the famous "Peabody Ducks" that live on the hotel rooftop, but which make daily treks to the hotel's lobby in a daily "March of Ducks" celebration.
After watching the March of the Peabody Ducks, board the motor coach for your journey to Nashville. Along the way, stop at the Old Country Store in Casey Jones Village for lunch. After exploring the area, continue on to Nashville and check in to your hotel. Dinner and the remainder of the evening are on your own.
Accommodation: Gaylord Opryland Hotel – 3 nights
Day 5 – Country Music Hall of Fame
Today after breakfast, we head to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a self-guided tour. Explore the exhibits and learn about the origins of country music. After lunch on your own, enjoy a guided backstage tour of the historic Ryman Auditorium. You will be able to stand in the wings where performers such as Elvis Presley and James Brown once stood, waiting for their time in the spotlights. Dinner this evening is at the Wildhorse Saloon and includes a group line dance lesson.
Day 6 – The Hermitage and Grand Ole Opry
After breakfast, depart the hotel for your morning tour of the Hermitage, former home of President Andrew Jackson. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Your hotel features a nine-acre indoor park complete with lush indoor gardens, winding rivers and pathways, and a 44-foot sparkling waterfall where you can unwind, explore, shop and dine.
Enjoy an early dinner before you attend the Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest-running radio show. The Opry showcases the best in country music, bluegrass and more and has been a national institution since 1925.
Day 7 – Depart Nashville
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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