10 Free Things to Do in Memphis: Explore the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll Without Spending a Dime

 In Local Insights, memphis, tn
mississippi river in memphis

If you’re new to living in Memphis, you’ll be glad to know that the city is full of fun activities. But with moving costs and other expenses, experiencing the city can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in Memphis. Getting to know your new city doesn’t have to cost a penny. So whether you just bought a house in Memphis or you’re looking for apartments for rent in the city, here are some free activities you can enjoy.

mississippi river in memphis

1. Walk along the Mississippi River at Tom Lee Park

Tom Lee Park, located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, is a perfect spot to soak in the beauty of Memphis. With more than 30 acres of green space, the park is a great place to unwind while enjoying panoramic views of the city’s skyline and the river. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverfront, have a picnic, or simply relax and watch the barges and boats pass by. The park is also home to several public art installations, making it an ideal destination for art enthusiasts.

2. Visit the National Civil Rights Museum on free admission days

The National Civil Rights Museum, housed in the historic Lorraine Motel, offers free admission on select days. As you explore the exhibits, you’ll learn about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the ongoing struggle for social justice. Be sure to check their website for the schedule of free admission days, and immerse yourself in the powerful and inspiring stories of those who fought for equal rights.

3. Attend a free concert at Levitt Shell

Levitt Shell, an iconic outdoor amphitheater in Overton Park, hosts more than 50 free concerts each year. The venue has a storied history, including being the site of Elvis Presley’s first professional performance. Today, the Levitt Shell continues to showcase a diverse range of artists and genres, from blues and jazz to rock and country. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and head to Overton Park to enjoy a night of incredible live music under the stars. Check their website for the concert schedule and make unforgettable memories with friends and family.

memphis botanic garden

4. Stroll through the Memphis Botanic Garden on Free Tuesdays

The Memphis Botanic Garden is a 96-acre oasis featuring 31 specialty gardens that showcase a diverse array of plants, flowers, and landscapes. On Free Tuesdays, you can explore this enchanting space at no cost. Wander through the tranquil Japanese Garden, marvel at the vibrant roses in the Ketchum Iris Garden, or let the kids play in the interactive My Big Backyard area. The Botanic Garden offers something for everyone and is an ideal destination for nature lovers.

5. Browse the unique art at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens on Free Saturdays

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is an art museum and public garden featuring a renowned collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art, as well as 17 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. On Free Saturdays, you can explore the museum’s rotating exhibitions and permanent collection, which includes works by renowned artists such as Monet, Degas, and Renoir. After admiring the art, step outside and wander through the picturesque gardens, which feature sculptures, fountains, and seasonal blooms.

6. Join the Peabody Hotel’s Duck March

A Memphis tradition since the 1930s, the Peabody Hotel’s Duck March is a delightful spectacle you won’t want to miss. Every day at 11 am and 5 pm, the hotel’s resident ducks, led by their Duckmaster, make their way from the rooftop Royal Duck Palace to the lobby’s ornate fountain. The ducks march along a red carpet while visitors watch in awe. This charming and unique event has been a Memphis institution for decades and provides a fun experience for all ages.

beale st in memphis

7. Discover the city’s musical heritage on the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame

The Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame is a tribute to the musicians, producers, and other influential figures who have contributed to Memphis’s rich musical history. As you stroll along Beale Street, you’ll find more than 150 brass notes embedded in the sidewalks, each honoring a significant individual in the city’s music scene. From B.B. King and Elvis Presley to Justin Timberlake and Al Green, the Walk of Fame provides a fascinating glimpse into the storied past and vibrant present of Memphis’s music scene.

8. Immerse yourself in history at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music on Soulsville USA Community Day

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music celebrates the legacy of Stax Records, one of the most influential record labels in American music history. On Soulsville USA Community Day, held annually in the fall, the museum offers free admission for all visitors. Discover the stories of legendary artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and The Staple Singers, and experience the rich history of soul music through interactive exhibits, rare memorabilia, and vintage recordings.

9. Wander through the South Main Arts District during Trolley Night

On the last Friday of each month, the South Main Arts District comes alive with Trolley Night, a vibrant evening of art, music, and culture. During this event, galleries and shops in the area open their doors to the public, offering a chance to browse unique local art and enjoy live music performances. The historic trolleys that run along the district’s streets also offer free rides, allowing visitors to easily hop between venues. With its lively atmosphere and diverse selection of artistic experiences, Trolley Night is a must-visit event for art lovers and anyone looking to experience the creative side of Memphis.

10. Explore the Crystal Shrine Grotto

Nestled within the Memorial Park Cemetery, the Crystal Shrine Grotto is a man-made cave adorned with quartz crystals, colored lights, and intricate religious sculptures. Created by artist Dionicio Rodriguez in the 1930s, the grotto illustrates biblical scenes and stories, including the birth of Jesus, the Last Supper, and the Resurrection. This hidden gem provides a serene and contemplative space for visitors to appreciate the unique fusion of art and nature.

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