Visitors to Tunica have several options when they want to take a
break from gaming. In addition to live entertainment, golf courses
and outlet shopping, there are fascinating attractions in and
around Tunica and just north of the county in Memphis.
Tourism officials in Tunica and Memphis call a combined visit to
both destinations a winning combination. Those flying into or
driving through Memphis may want to add a few days in the city
either before or after a visit to Tunica. Tunica is also a good
base for day trips to surrounding areas of interest, as well as to
IN AND AROUND TUNICA
Right in Robinsonville, home to Tunica's casino resorts, is the
Hollywood Cafe, housed in a former plantation commissary building.
The cafe is a spiritual heir to the Mississippi Delta juke joints
where the blues greats played. Robin-
sonville itself lays claim to the blues giant Robert Johnson,
who lived here for a while, and artists like Son House, Charlie
Patton and Howlin' Wolf who played in its juke joints.
The Hollywood has live entertainment on Friday and Saturday
nights (singer/songwriter Marc Cohn immortalized the place in his
song "Walking in Memphis"). The cafe also serves distinctive Delta
delicacies like catfish, shrimp, barbecue and, for
the adventurous, fried dill pickles!
The great outdoors awaits fishermen and boaters at two nearby
lakes. The 2,500-acre Tunica Cutoff Lake, seven miles from the town
of Tunica, is well stocked with catfish, bass, bream and crappie
and also offers hunting, boating, jet-skiing and waterskiing.
Fifteen miles south of the town of Tunica, the 1,000-acre Flower
Lake features boat rentals and fishing. There are local guide
services to both lakes for half-day, full-day and multi-day fishing
To the south of Tunica lies Oxford, home of William Faulkner and
the University of Mississippi. Rowan Oak, the author's antebellum
home, is open for tours. At the university, several original
buildings like the Lyceum, the school's central building which
survived the burning of the town in 1864, provide a glimpse of
pre-Civil War society.
Near Oxford, the town of Holly Springs is another repository of
Southern heritage. Its Marshall County Historical Museum contains a
collection of Civil War relics, plantation tools, quilts and old
dolls, as well as Chickasaw Indian memorabilia. Many of the town's
antebellum homes are open for tours during an annual spring
Mississippi's rich musical roots are showcased at the University
of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture. The
center, which serves as a research facility for Southern music,
also houses an extensive collection of blues and country music
memorabilia and sponsors blues and country music festivals
throughout the state.
In Clarksdale, also south of Tunica, the Delta Blues Museum
tells the story of the blues and its major artists through
artifacts, photos and videos. Just outside of Clarksdale is Stovall
Plantation and Muddy Waters' Cabin, where this blues giant was
For most people, Memphis means Graceland. The city's No. 1
attraction is, of course, the former home of Elvis Presley. Born in
Mississippi, the King lived for 20 years in this white-columned
mansion. Today visitors check in at the visitor center (and
shopping area) across the street from the mansion. From there it's
on to Graceland for the trip back in time to the Elvis era.
A variety of Graceland tours include the mansion itself and
Elvis' trophy building, housing his enormous collection of gold
records and awards; Elvis' private jets including the Hound Dog II
and the Lisa Marie; the Auto Museum, featuring 22 cars owned by
Elvis including the 1955 pink Cadillac he bought for Mom, and
Sincerely Elvis, a self-guided tour offering an intimate look at
the King through rare home movies, photos and offstage
Memphis' other famous musical legacy can be experienced on
legendary Beale Street, called the Home of the Blues. This national
historic landmark is the site of lively nightlife with live music
on tap at nightclubs and restaurants, including B.B. King's own
On Beale Street is a statue of W.C. Handy, the Father of the
Blues, and the W.C. Handy Museum, the musician's small wood-frame
home containing artifacts and memorabilia, and Sun Studio Beale
Street, a new museum tracing the collision of blues and country
that led to the birth of rock 'n' roll.
The actual birthplace of
rock 'n' roll is Sun Studio in downtown Memphis. Opened by Sam
Phillips in 1950, the studio recorded Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B.
King, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. It is open for
tours daily and still operates as a recording studio at night.
Not all of Memphis' attractions are about music. The Pink Palace
Museum & Planetarium is a multifaceted facility that includes
natural and cultural history exhibits, a planetarium and an IMAX
Theater. The mansion itself was built in 1923 for Clarence
Saunders, founder of the Piggly Wiggly stores, and the museum
contains an exact replica of the original Piggly Wiggly, the first
self-service grocery store.
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is Tennessee's oldest and
largest museum of fine and decorative arts. It is located in a
landmark 1916 building.
Mud Island, an 18-gallery Mississippi River Museum, focuses on
river life, legends and folklore, while the Pyramid is a 32-story
stainless-steel tribute to the city's namesake, the capital of
ancient Egypt, featuring a 20,000-seat arena, used for basketball,
concerts and other events, on the banks of the Mississippi.
The National Civil Rights Museum is the country's first museum
dedicated to chronicling the history of the American civil rights
movement. Located on the site of the Lorraine Motel, where Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the museum features
interactive exhibits, audiovisual displays and memorabilia. n