Shelby County

So much more than Graceland, Beale Street and Barbeque

Home Memphis, the birthplace of Rock N’ Roll and the #1 place for Barbeque in the US, Shelby County has much more to offer. With a vibrant and rich culture and history that expands past Memphis city limits, you are bound find something for the entire family to enjoy. Whether it’s shopping Parade Magazine’s Best Main Street in Collierville, exploring the oldest home in the county at Davies Manor Plantation, or eating the best fried chicken at Gus’s you are going to love Shelby County. So come take a Day Trip in Shelby County.

POPULATION: 11,517 (2010) Step off the beaten path and visit Arlington, Tennessee and its Historic Depot Square. Just minutes from Memphis off of Highway 385 near Interstate 40, this charming town and its Historic Depot Square District features Music on the Square through the summer months and the annual Arlington in April Craft Festival, which is held the last Saturday in April from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The Square is filled with great restaurants and unique shopping.

Depot Square

Shelby County’s best-kept secret, Arlington has remained a small quiet rural town for over 2 centuries.  Originally named Haysville, this town was founded in the 1830’s and changed names in 1883 to Arlington by Captain Henry Pitman, who was inspired by Arlington Cemetery in Washington, DC.  After the Civil War, Arlington began to grow and develop into a vibrant railroad town.  Formerly home to Memphis destination of the Ohio-Memphis Railroad, many of the businesses, homes and restaurants still remain.

Come visit this best-kept secrets small town charm.  Head over to Depot Square, the heart of Arlington, where there is an array of shops to explore and historic buildings to see!

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POPULATION: 54,613 (2010) The City of Bartlett, located in the geographic center of Shelby County, started as a lone stagecoach stop on the Memphis to Nashville route in the 1830s. Since its early days of rural development, Bartlett has grown to become the second largest city in Shelby County and the ninth largest city in the state of Tennessee. However, it definitely retains its s

Davies Manor Plantation

This 1807 plantation home is perhaps the oldest building in all of West Tennessee. It sits on a designated Century Farm, and is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat. The property includes a Native American mound dating back 2,000 years. Closed Sun. & Mon.

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POPULATION: 46,462 (2010) Just east of Memphis, the Historic District of Downtown Collierville offers unique dining and shopping. The downtown was designated as aTennessee Main Street community in 1991 and the city remains dedicated to the preservation of the Historic District, the heart of downtown Collierville. The city is also home to Carriage Crossing – an open-air regional lifestyle shopping center – as well as fabulous parks, the natural beauty of its Greenbelt & Wolf River corridor, recreation facilities and rich War history related to the Battle of Collierville . The Town includes numerous points of interest included on both the Tennessee Civil War Trail and the Walking Tall Trail.

Collierville Historic Square

Stop and enjoy this charming square, lined with independently owned local businesses like coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores. Visit the log cabin here: it’s an 1851 stage coach rest stop. Walking Tour maps are available from the Main Street Collierville office in the historic Train Depot.

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The Collierville Greenbelt System & Johnson Park

With more than 60 miles of trails and sidewalks, this system connects Collierville’s parks, schools, neighborhoods, and commercial districts offering recreation in a natural setting. Start exploring at W.C. Johnson Park where you’ll find natural areas, wetlands, three lakes, elevated boardwalk (.70 miles), a 9-field baseball/softball complex, and multipurpose fields.

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Collierville Historic Train Depot

This is believed to be the third depot located in Collierville since the Memphis-Charleston Railroad was originally chartered in 1852. Today, the depot is the office for Main Street Collierville, a non-profit group that preserves the area. Pick up a Collierville Historic District Walking Tour brochure here.

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Magnolia Cemetery

Nestled among the large magnolia trees from which it received its name, this is the final resting place for Civil War soldiers, unknown soldiers and victims of the yellow fever epidemic of the 1870s.

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“Mississippi” Fred McDowell Historical Marker

On your way to Rossville, you’ll pass this marker for one of America’s eminent blues artists, born in Rossville in 1904. His style was rooted in the Delta blues tradition with a signature bottleneck guitar technique. “I make the guitar say what I say,” said McDowell. “If I play ‘Amazing Grace,’ it’ll sing that too.” His influence spread beyond blues to gospel and popular artists.

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The Avenue Carriage Crossing

The Avenue offers a dynamic mix of premier national retailers, select local merchants and specialty restaurants in an open-air, pedestrian-friendly setting.

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POPULATION: 39,161 (2010) The City of Germantown is rich in culture and history and is home to some of the region’s best-loved annual events including the Germantown Charity Horse Show and the Germantown Festival

Germantown Commissary

For over 25 years, locals have known that this is the place for hickory-smoked, slow-cooked, Memphis-style BBQ and ribs. Voted one of the Top 10 U.S. BBQ Restaurants by Playboy magazine.cals know this is the place for hickory-smoked, slow-cooked, Memphis-style BBQ and ribs. Voted one of the “Top 10 US BBQ Restaurants” by Playboy Magazine.

2290 Germantown Road
Germantown, TN 38138

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Fort Germantown

This was the site of a Civil War fort built by the Union Army to guard the Memphis-Charleston Railroad, a vital Confederate supply route. The site is marked by Howitzer cannon replicas. Listed in The National Register of Historic Places, Fort Germantown is now a quiet neighborhood park.

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Germantown Depot

Find this 1868 Memphis-Charleston Railroad depot in Old Germantown, situated on high ground where the area’s first settlers made their homes. Today, it’s home to the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, and houses a great collection of railroad memorabilia. Notice the markers identifying the original buildings and sites.

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Priddy Farms

Pumpkins – October; Christmas Trees and greenery, hayrides and train rides – Thankgiving-Christams Eve.

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POPULATION: 646,889 (2010) The City of Memphis is filled with unique places to experience world-class BBQ, the history of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll music, Civil Rights and African American heritage sites and tremendous scenic beauty along the Mississippi River. With sites all across the city listed on both the Great River Road Trail and the Walking Tall Trail, you can’t go wrong! Below are a few of our favorite spots for a Memphis day trip.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

This is the only soul music museum in the world.  It sits on the site of the original Stax Records, the studio where music icons like Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers, Otis Reding and other recorded career-launching hits.

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Downtown at the south end of the trolley line, the Arcade has the ambiance of an old-fashioned soda fountain cafe. The Arcade sets right in the middle of Memphis’South Main Historic District, a thriving area with the Farmer’s Market, the Friday Night Art Trolley Tours, world class art galleries, the Civil Rights Museum and more. A trip back in time, the district attracts photographers, artists, writers, and movie makers from around the world. Scenes from “Mystery Train,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “The Client,” “The Firm,” “Elizabethtown,” “Walk the Line,” and “My Blueberry Nights,” just to name a few, have all been filmed in the Arcade Restaurant. Featured in national magazines and on the Food Network and the Travel Channel, the Arcade has become a tourist destination. Great care has been taken to preserve the old-time charm. While glowing neon signs and 1920s architecture may transport you to the past, the pesto, feta, and walnut pizza will bring your taste buds to the present. This vintage restaurant–since 1919–serves excellent country ham and biscuits for breakfast, as well as a Fried Elvis Sandwich, peanut butter and bananas. Sweet Potato Pancakes are delectable–as are the milkshakes & malts. The lunchtime meat-and-three menu is a southland classic. Choose your entrée from such stalwarts as meat loaf, salmon croquettes, and lemon-peppered chicken, and accompany it with two vegetables from a list that includes black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes with gravy, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, buttered rice, and fresh tomatoes. The vegetables are so good that many people simply make a meal of plate of four of them, forgetting about meat altogether. Lunch comes with freshly-made cornbread and can be topped off with peach cobbler or a fudge sundae. Daily, 7 am-3 pm.
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Beale Street

The blues are alive and well today on historic Beale Street. Dance to the music of live bands in open-air W. C. Handy Park, or spend a night sliding in and out of its famous spots. From 2nd to 3rd Streets, Beale Street is closed to vehicles. Park and walk to see the attractions, restaurants, shops, clubs and museums.

Here are a few highlights:

B.B. King’s Blues Club: This Beale Street original features live music nightly. It’s open for lunch, dinner and late-night entertainment.

Blues City General Store: Find the perfect Memphis souvenir here.

King’s Palace: Stop at this cozy little joint for jazz and Southern delicacies.

A. Schwab Dry Goods Store: This Memphis landmark features merchandise from old time candies to undergarments, hoodoo potions to rain gear. “If you can’t find it at Schwab’s, you’re probably better off without it.”

Silky O’Sullivan’s: It’s always St. Patrick’s Day in this 100-year-old saloon. Grab a Hurricane and visit the “Irish Diving Goats.”

Alfred’s: Great food, live music and the best dance floor on Beale.

Withers Collection Museum & Gallery: Freelance African American photographer and Memphis native Dr. Ernest C. Withers is famous for his black and white images of the segregated South, the Civil Rights Movement, Memphis music and Negro League baseball.

W.C. Handy House Museum: Moved here from its original South Memphis location, this museum houses the desk where the Father of the Blues wrote his greatest hits.

Ground Zero Blues Club: Get a taste of the Delta blues and BBQ at this restaurant, co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

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Beale Street Landing

Beale Street Landing is a modern docking facility to safely embark on a riverboat journey, a restaurant for casual dining and an open civic space that closely connects people to the Mississippi River. Managed by the Riverfront Development Corporation.

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Chucalissa Museum & Archaeological Site

Visit the remains of a prehistoric village found during a 1940 swimming pool excavation inside T.O. Fuller State Park.  Tour the museum and preserved archaeological dig to learn more about the Chucalissa people – the original Memphi residents – through their pottery, dwellings, weapons, jewelry, and tools.  This National Historic Landmark gives you a glimpse into the Mississippian villages Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto and his party encountered when they arrived near Memphis in mid-1500s.

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Cotton Museum/Memphis Cotton Exchange

Visit this museum in the historic Memphis Cotton Exchange, once the very center of the global cotton trade.  Learn about how this simple crop shaped America’s economy, culture, and history, and take the self-guided tour of Cotton Row, the historic block surrounding the museum

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Fire Museum of Memphis

Visit the legendary Fire Engine House No.1 and learn about all things flame. From exploring turn-of-the-century, horse-drawn fire wagons to fighting the simulated flames from a burning skyscraper, you’ll find interactive exhibits and much more at this hot attraction.

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Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll while enjoying video, photos, personal mementos, movie memorabilia, stage costumes and more. Tour Elvis’ home, Graceland Mansion, on an audio-guided tour featuring commentary and stories by Elvis and his daughter, Lisa Marie. Explore the Elvis Car Museum, Elvis’ custom jets and Elvis’ Hawaii, a new exhibit for 2013. Don’t miss the on-site restaurants and Elvis gift shops.

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Memphis Riverboats

Take a 90-minute sightseeing cruise on the Mississippi led by a “Riverlorian,” providing live historical commentary.  As entertaining as it is educational, you’ll see the river through the eyes of Native Americans, settlers, soldiers, and boatmen.  Dinner & music cruises are also available.

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Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

This exhibition about the birth of rock and soul music was created by the Smithsonian Institution and tells the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create the music that shook the entire world. 

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Memphis Trolley

Climb aboard a restored vintage trolley car for an unforgettable trip along the mighty Mississippi River and downtown Memphis. The Main Street Line follows the original mule-drawn trolley; the Riverfront Loop travels a breathtaking stretch of the river.

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Memphis Zoo

This 100-year-old zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Visit giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le, the Once Upon a Farm exhibit, and the Teton Trek featuring grizzly bears, elk and timber wolves. Covering 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park, this wild experience is just minutes from downtown Memphis.

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Mississippi River Parks


This small, shaded park is connected to the South Bluff with a pedestrian bridge.  Check out the stone lookout point.

CHICKASAW HERITAGE PARK (Riverside Boulevard & Metal Museum Drive)

Enjoy this city park located on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff, the former site of the Civil War’s Confederate Fort Pickering as well as home to earthen mounds created by pre-historic people.

CONFEDERATE PARK (Jefferson Avenue & Court Avenue, Front Street & Riverside Drive)

This park features shade trees and a great overlook, as well as many memorials, plaques, and historical markers, including a statue and memorial to Civil War Confederate President Jefferson Davis.


Get a great view of the I-55 bridge from the gravel road through this small, shaded city park.


Bring your camera for great views of the Mississippi River and Mud Island, and take the learning path to explore the riverbank’s plants and wildlife as well as Civil War and Memphis History.

MARTYRS PARK (Channel 3 Drive)

This city park and memorial within are dedicated to Memphians who risked their lives to stay in the city, tending the sick and burying the dead during the yellow fever epidemic of 1878. From here, catch great views of the Mississippi River.


This low-lying park is long and spacious, with open lawns as well as tall shade trees, perfect for jogging or biking alongside the Mississippi River.

TOM LEE PARK (Riverside Dr.)

Spanning a mile and a half, this park has great views of the river and is the site of Memphis in May, the city’s famous BBQ contest, and other festivals throughout the year.  It’s name for Tom Lee, a man who saved 32 people from a sinking steamboat in the 1920s, despite his inability to swim.

VANCE PARK & BUTLER PARK (Vance Avenue & Butler Avenue)

Take in the incredible views atop the Mississippi River bluffs at this pair of beautifully landscaped parks.


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National Ornamental Metal Museum

This museum gives you a rare opportunity to not only view works of art in metal, but allows you to see them being made as well. Learn more about the art of metalwork, sculpture to jewelry, contemporary to antique, at the only U.S. institution of its kind.

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National Civil Rights Museum

Housed in The Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this award-winning museum brings the American Civil Rights Movement to life. Exhibits focus on landmark events like the Montgomery bus boycott and the Memphis sanitation strike, as well as more recent struggles and achievements following King’s death. Audio tours available. Guided tours with advance request.

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Pink Palace Museum

Trace Memphis’ development from the time of Spanish explorers through the Civil War and the deadly yellow fever epidemics. The museum also hosts a number of touring exhibits throughout the year.

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Riverside Drive Welcome Center

Pose for great photo memories here with bronze statues of Elvis Presley and B.B. King on the shores of the mighty Mississippi, as you prepare to head out on the Great River Road. Pick up info about area attractions, discount coupons for restaurants and hotels, and get the inside scoop on local events.

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Slave Haven Museum

This 1849 clapboard house served as a way station on the Underground Railroad, a secret series of hiding places for runaway slaves seeking freedom in the North and Canada. Take the tour and visit the hidden tunnels, trap doors, and cellars where slaves waited for their chance to escape to the Mississippi River on their way to the next secret stop. The house is furnished with period pieces and slavery artifacts. Hours vary; call ahead for information.

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South Main Historic Arts District

A lively, artsy neighborhood in the heart of downtown Memphis, the South Main Historic Arts District is home to some of the most important cultural attractions in Memphis. The National Civil Rights Museum, the Orpheum Theater, and historic Central Station are all in the area. Hip restaurants and boutiques as well as cutting-edge art galleries complete the scene, making South Main an attractive place to locals and visitors alike.

Here are a few highlights:

The Arcade Restaurant: An historic diner serving downtown since 1919, The Arcade is Memphis’ oldest restaurant.

Ernestine & Hazel’s: Enjoy a “Soul Burger” and some live Memphis music at one of the city’s favorite dives.

WEVL 89.9 FM: Drop by the studio of the Mid-South’s only listener-supported, independent, volunteer radio station. Tune in at 89.9 FM or stream live from

Trolley Nights: Take the trolley for a free ride to the shops, restaurants and galleries in the area – 6 pm to 9 pm the last Friday of every month all year, come rain or shine. Otherwise, the fare is $1 or $3.50 for a daily pass

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Sun Studio

Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio is ground zero for rock ‘n’ roll’s explosion onto the world statge.  Literally packed with memorabilia, the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” lets you hear historical outtakes and even touch Elvis’ first microphone.  Experience the stories that put legends like Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and others on the map. 

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T. O. Fuller State Park

This 1,100-acre state park, located within the Memphis city limits, offers camping, hiking and picnicking.  Birdwatchers and wildlife lovers will be right at home here.  This was the first state park east of the Mississippi to be open to African-Americans, and only the second in the U.S.; it is named for Thomas O. Fuller, who made educating African-Americans his life’s work.

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POPULATION 10,176 (2010) No need to go to California to enjoy a good glass of wine, instead just take a road trip 14 miles north of Memphis to taste some award-winning wines. Enjoy your favorite glass of red, white, port, or fruit wine in the peaceful country. April through October they have live outdoor concerts most Sunday Afternoons.

Jones Orchard Market & Kitchen

This is the spot where the Jones Orchard jams, jellies, and relishes are made in small batches from fruit grown on the nearby farm. Stop in for a home-cooked meal and a jar of jelly to take home.

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Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park

Over 13,000 acres atop the third Chickasaw Bluff are yours to explore in this scenic state park in the bottomland hardwood forest. Take a break among the oak, cypress, and tupelo trees to fish, hike, picnic, or enjoy the wildlife for a day or overnight  camping and vacation cabins are available. Don’t miss the nature center on Piersol Lake, the oldest man-made lake in the state; you’ll find hands-on exhibits and come face to face with some of the park’s wildlife.

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Old Millington Vineyard & Winery

Just 14 miles north of Memphis, this country winery produces award-winning wines. Stop in to taste reds, whites, ports and fruit wines, and spend time in the peaceful countryside. From April through October, catch live outdoor concerts most Sunday afternoons.

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Shelby Forest General Store

Stop by this charming market for fresh-made biscuits and world-famous cheeseburgers, live music on weekends and an authentic general store experience. This is the kind of place where locals gather for coffee on the front porch, and its also a favorite hangout of Millington’s famous son, musician/actor Justin Timberlake.

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