There are plenty of ways to enjoy the city of Memphis, and many of of those things are actually free! From parks to movies, parties and museums, we've compiled a pretty extensive list of free things to do in our great city.
Did you know you can enter the Brooks Museum for free on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m?
There’s plenty to experience with a number of exhibits to check out!
Plus, every Wednesday is Wacky Wednesday. The museum invites parents and their children to their drop-in studio to enjoy a variety of free art projects and short films in the auditorium.
Shelby Farms Park
Shelby Farms offers the chance to connect to nature without traveling too far from the burbs. There’s an array of winding paved and beaten paths that span a total of 40 miles, 20 lakes and ponds, huge grassy spaces, and an award-winning play ground.
Toward the back of the park you’ll find a massive off-leash dog park where your furry friend can swim, sniff new tails, and run free.
Nested in the heart of the park is The Woodland Discovery Play Ground. It features six play nests, each focused on a different type of play.
A few things that aren’t free, but are totally worth forking over a few dollars for include: kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, zip-lining, horse-back riding, and the water play sprayground.
Memphis Riverside Parks
The Mighty Mississippi and Memphis’ picturesque skyline can be enjoyed from any of the Riverside Parks. Each park gives city-folk an opportunity to enjoy downtown and the great outdoors without having to trek out the Meeman-Shelby or Shelby Farms.
This is where residents and visitors can get a little closer to the Mighty Miss. It’s also a great place to pick up pieces of driftwood for your next DIY craft. Make a day out of it and head down to the Mississippi River banks!
Mud Island Park
Harbored just off the main land is Mud Island park. You can splash in or walk beside a scale replica of the lower Mississippi River in the park, get the best views of the city or check out the park’s two free concert series.
Once a month attend “A Vibe on the Island” and the summer “Soulin’ on the River” which showcases upcoming local soul artists twice a month. Of course we can’t forget about the Riverwalk you can walk through.
Here you’ll find Memphis Park and the River Garden.
Every Tuesday at 6:00 pm enjoy free yoga in River Garden. You don’t have to be a yoga expert to take these classes, all levels are welcome. So, grab your yoga mat get your stretch on!
You can also strengthen your mind and body with free Tai Chi classes.
This chain of parks stretches from the bottom of Beale Street to the top of Riverside Drive, and includes 2 more parks on Riverside Blvd. We suggest stopping at the platform on Ashburn-Coppock Park to get a beautiful picture of the city.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Riverside Park is a little trek away from the connected parks just north of it, but it’s a great place to bbq with family and fish with friends.
National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum, housed in the the Lorraine Hotel, exhibits the Civil Rights Movement from the 17th century to the present.
Every Monday from 3 p.m. until closing, all Tennessee residents can witness the emotion and wonder of this carefully curated space for free.
This is definitely an experience that cannot be missed.
Memphis' Cycling Trails
Not only is Memphis known for its classic barbecue, but it also provides miles and miles of beautiful cycling trails perfect to get up and get moving. From the Shelby Farms Greenline to the Greater Memphis Greenline, there’s no shortage cycling adventures.
Bike Ped Memphis provides a map to help you navigate your way around the city’s best biking trails!
Wolf River Greenway
The Wolf River Greenway is a corridor of protected green space along the Wolf River that includes a paved pathway for non-motorized transportation.
The nearly 36-mile path provides many trail sections running along the Wolf River, perfect for walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters and skateboarders!
The adventurous path also connects you to largest urban park in the United States, Shelby Farms Park!
Ditch Netflix and take movie night to Overton Square. The square offers free movies every Thursday night as part of their Spring Movie Series.
Movies are projected, in surround sound, on a screen placed on an elevated stage in the Chimes Square courtyard so that every fold out seat feels like a front row seat.
The last night was June 13th. If you missed this Spring into Summer freebie, don’t worry! It will be back again next year.
(One inexpensive option worth mentioning is the Kids Summer Film Fest. It’s goes from June 4-July 31 and is totally worth checking out if you missed Overton Square’s movie nights.)
Many locals remember childhood visits to the Pink Palace Museum. Whether it was exploring space and time in the planetarium or exploring the gift shop, it was a time to remember. You can experience this local past-time with a free 90-day summer membership!
You’ll get the chance to check out the 3D movie theater and open your mind to a whole new world with the museum’s ever changing exhibits.
Be sure to visit the Pink Palace website to check out current exhibits!
Downtown Memphis Commission Sidewalk Stories
Do you know about the oldest commercial building in Memphis? Well, thanks to the Downtown Memphis Commission, you can learn about it.
The commission has provided a collection of historical sidewalk stories the explore hidden stories of the city. Spend the day discovering them and open your eyes to a whole new side of Memphis.
Click here to see the sidewalk stories map.
Did you know there are nearly 50 different murals in downtown alone?
Many local artists have collaborated to bring a pop of color to the Bluff City in a major way. Make a day out of it with a scavenger hunt to find each one or simply find the right pose for that perfect Instagram post.
Look out for the artist name and give them a follow!
Memphis Historic Markers
From Sun Studios to the Pyramid, take a journey through historical Memphis.
You may live here, but the 75 historical markers in the city will reveal so much more you wish you knew before.
Impress your friends with unique Memphis trivia or grab you’re camera and document each find with a scrapbook.
Big River Crossing
Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, the Big River Crossing is the longest pedestrian bridge that crosses the Mississippi River starting downtown and going into West Memphis, AR.
But that’s not the best part. When the sun goes down, its time for the lights! The pedestrian bridge is equipped with over 100,000 LED lights. Watch them light up the river with hourly light shows from sundown until 10 p.m.
The Peabody Rooftop
The Peabody is famous for many things. By far, the most spectacular of those things is the daily march of the Peabody ducks! For nearly 90 years, the Peabody hotel has carried on the tradition of marching ducks down the red carpet and into the lobby. You can witness it yourself, any day of the week, at 11 am and 5 pm.
Another amazing feature is the rooftop. There are breathtaking views of Memphis that are unlike any other downtown, especially during the “golden hour.”
Speaking of the Peabody Rooftop, the summer brings in the locally famed Peabody Rooftop Parties! Ladies and hotel guests get in for free until 7 p.m. every Thursday!
Calling all music lovers! Don’t miss out on over 50 free concerts at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park.
Grab a group of friends, a few blankets and a picnic basket for the musical experience of the summer! Lose yourself to the music and jam the night away!
Visit Levitt Shell website to check out the current concert lineup!
Wolf River Kayaking
If you’ve got a canoe or a kayak, you’re in luck. Paddling the Wolf River is your new favorite tradition. The adventure is up to you with your choice of eight Wolf River sections to paddle from Mississippi to Downtown Memphis. It’s miles of fun you won’t want to forget.
If you don’t know, now you know. The Memphis Zoo is free every Tuesday!
Get a glimpse of over 3,500 animals in the zoo that’s been bringing the exotic world to Overton Park for over 100 years.
From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., entry to the Memphis Zoo is free to all Tennessee residents. Just have your I.D. handy and you’re one step closer to lions and tigers and bears, oh yes!
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