This was not an easy list to rank as I highly recommend visiting all of these top 9 music museums in Nashville and Memphis. This list of the best music and history museums in Tennessee covers rock and roll, soul, country, blues, and everything in between. I highly recommend adding all nine of these music museums to your top things to do in Nashville or Memphis.
See my related posts: Top things to do in Memphis – three-day itinerary and Top 5 music museums in Nashville – ranked. While many of the museums and Memphis Travel provided tickets, opinions are always my own.
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List of the best music museums in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee
I absolutely loved my visit to Memphis – and plan to return with my husband. And equally loved all three of my visits to Nashville – two girl trips and one visit with my husband. He and I are not huge country fans, but we would visit Tennessee again and again. Both cities offer a lot of music history. Each museum I’ve toured provided its own special something. Again, I highly recommend visiting all of them. But if you are short on time, here is my recommend list in priority order of the top music museums to see in Nashville and Memphis.
Top 9 music museums in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee ranked
My top 9 ranked music museums in Nashville and Memphis include:
- Graceland – Home of Elvis Presley in Memphis
- Sun Studio in Memphis
- Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville
- Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville
- RCA Studio B in Nashville
- Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville
- Stax Museum of American Soul Museum in Memphis
- Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
- Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis
Best music museums in Tennessee: #1 Graceland – Home of Elvis Presley in Memphis
Whether you’re an Elvis fan or not, I’m confident you will love touring the home of the King of Rock and Roll. A very special thank you to Graceland for providing me tickets to tour Graceland – The Home of Elvis Presley. As always, opinions are my own.
Graceland lives up to its ranking as the number one attraction in Memphis, Tenn. It’s certainly my top music museum in Tennessee.
If it’s been a few years since you’ve visited, you may be surprised to learn that tickets provide you access to the 14-acre Graceland estate as well as the 200,000-square-foot Elvis entertainment complex. See my related post: Guide to Graceland: Home of Elvis Presley.
Best music museums in Tennessee: #2 Sun Studio in Memphis
To witness where rock and roll began, then you need to visit Sun Studio – one of the best music history museums in Memphis, Tennessee. The birthplace of rock and roll is not only a museum, but still operates as a recording studio. During your guided tour, you’ll learn more about music legends like Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Ray Orbison, and more. One of the coolest things to do when visiting Sun Studio in Memphis: You can stand in the very same spot where Elvis Presley recorded.
Top 9 music museums in Tennessee: #3 Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville
Johnny Cash will always have a special place in my heart as my father loved his music. As did many others. Touring the Johnny Cash Museum revealed that the Man in Black inspired so many other music legends – and current stars. And I’m not the only fan of this museum. Home to the world’s largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia, this museum is one of 6 Nashville top attractions to receive the AAA Gem Rating. Additionally, the Johnny Cash Museum is ranked as the #1 music museum in the world by Conde’ Nast, Forbes, and National Geographic Traveler.
See my related post: Top 5 music and history museums in Nashville – ranked
Best music museums in Tennessee: #4 Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville
You don’t have to go far for the next best music museum in Nashville. The Patsy Cline Museum is located just upstairs from the Johnny Cash Museum. Note that both museums require separate tickets. A smaller museum, it does pack in a lot of cool exhibits depicting the short life of this amazing country crooner. Patsy Cline tragically died in a plane crash when she was only 30 years old.
See my related post: Top 5 music and history museums in Nashville
Top music history museums in Tennessee: #5 RCA Studio B in Nashville
One of the top things to do in Nashville is to tour the historic RCA Studio B. It is known as the birthplace of what’s known as the Nashville Sound. The city’s oldest surviving record studio produced more than 250 songs by Elvis Presley. You can even sit at his favorite piano at RCA Studio B. Other stars that recorded hits at RCA Studio B include Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Jim Reeves, Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, Roy Orbison, and many more.
Note: RCA Studio B tours are part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. See my related post: Guide to Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum for more details about tickets. Special thanks to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum for providing my husband and me tickets. Opinions are always my own.
Best music history museums in Tennessee: #6 Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville
My husband and I are not country music fans, but we both loved touring the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville. Don’t let the #6 ranking deter you from visiting. It’s difficult to rank when you feel they are all the best music history museums to visit. In fact, my husband ranked the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum #1 (he hasn’t visited the museums in Memphis yet).
See my related post: Guide to Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum for more details about tickets. Greatly appreciate the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum for providing my husband and me tickets. Opinions are always our own.
Top music history museums in Tennessee: #7 Stax Museum of American Soul Music
It pains me to rank the Stax Museum of American Soul Museum at #7 out of the top 10 music museums in Tennessee. That’s because I absolutely loved this museum. You just need to visit all of these museums when you visit Memphis and Nashville. They are all really just that good.
So grateful to Memphis Travel and Stax Museum of American Soul Museum for providing me a complimentary ticket to visit. While I had never heard of this former recording studio before, I was definitely familiar with many of its recording stars like Otis Redding. This is one of the most memorable fun facts I learned at Stax Museum. He showed up at the studio serving as a chauffeur for another recording artist. That session didn’t go well, so Redding stepped in to demonstrate his talent. He eventually became the label’s biggest recording star.
See my related post: Guide to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Best music history museums in Tennessee: #8 Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
If you love rock and soul music, then the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is your kind of place. A Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program developed by the National Museum of American History, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum offers a self-paced audio tour. You can access a library of more than 100 songs and access up to 300 minutes of music history.
While the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Memphis Travel provided me tickets, opinions are always my own. See my related post: Guide to Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum
Top music museums in Tennessee: #9 Blues Hall of Fame Museum
Last, but certainly not least, of the best music museums in Tennessee is the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. This hidden gem features 10 music galleries with interactive touchscreens so you can listen to song samples, watch videos, and read about the 400 Blues Hall of Fame inductees. You can take a guided tour with a volunteer or go on your own.
See my related post: Guide to the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis
So this is my list of the top 9 of the best music museums in Nashville and Memphis. Do you agree with my rankings? Or do you recommend other music museums I should visit in Tennessee the next time I’m in the area?