What is there to do in Memphis?

Activities, sights, events, outdoor space and volunteer opportunities make Memphis a year-round playground for young professionals, empty nesters, and families alike. 

Cooper-Young is one of Memphis’s buzzier neighborhoods. Spend a day on Cooper Street, where you’ll find big-name retailers like Urban Outfitters mixing in with only-in-Memphis businesses like The Beauty Shop restaurant, an eatery housed in a 50’s-era salon, and Memphis Drum Shop, a longtime music emporium with a second-floor stage and gong chamber. 

At the National Civil Rights Museum, exhibitions showcase the important moments and luminaries who defined the American Civil Rights Movement. Located at the former Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, the museum chronicles the movement’s history through photographs, interactive displays and more. And each year, the museum holds special events, lectures and programs to address the impact of the era on culture today.

I love listening to music, and there are tons of live shows here. And there’s always activity happening, from barbecue festivals to blues festivals to the big Memphis in May celebrations. There are unique and fun things going on here that other cities of our size just don’t offer.

Line drawing of Alex Switzer

Alex Switzer

Sous Chef Manager

Sherwood Forest

We take pride in hosting some of the most popular festivals in the country. Beale Street Music Festival is our annual outdoor festival featuring a major lineup of popular artists. Past performers include Van Morrison, Jack White, and Cardi B. Soulsville USA Festival is continuing the rich legacy and heritage of Stax Records by highlighting local musicians who are following in the footsteps of Stax Legends, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Carla Thomas. The festival features food trucks and local vendors. 

From May to October, Overton Park Shell hosts free outdoor concerts many evenings, featuring a lineup of touring and local acts. 

Memphis is home to some of the most beautiful conservancies and parks in Tennessee. Threading an emerald path through 100 miles of majestic forests, fields, and communities, Wolf River Conservancy’s purpose is twofold: protecting the drinking water of Memphis while providing recreational opportunities such as canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park borders the mighty Mississippi River and features mature bald cypress and tupelo swamp, as well as large oaks, American beech, hickory, and sweet gum. The renovation of Tom Lee Park, named for the heroic Black Memphian who rescued 32 passengers from a sinking steamship in the Mississippi River, is at the center of the major renovation that is helping to reimagine how Memphis’ greenspaces interact with Downtown’s cultural hub. 

Memphis is known for being one of the most charitable cities in the country. We are a community of givers. With over 300 nonprofits, we have many opportunities for volunteering. Volunteer Memphis connects locals with volunteer opportunities in the Greater Memphis area. Volunteer Odyssey connects volunteers with meaningful experiences that help support communities in Memphis and Shelby County. DeSoto County Museum also has volunteer opportunities available.

Mural that says I Love Memphis

Memphis has an abundance of street art like this mural on Cooper Street.

For more information on things to do in Memphis, consider these sources: 

  • The I Love Memphis blog features events listings and highlights the top things to do each weekend in the city and surrounding suburbs.
  • Edible Memphis spotlights the restaurateurs, purveyors and small business owners who create Memphis’s dining and nightlife scene.
  • Discover Our Neighborhoods is an insider’s look at the unique offerings of the various neighborhoods that comprise Memphis. 

Here in Memphis, there’s a culture of warmth and friendliness. I can walk along the street and feel welcomed. I love music and the free concerts at Overton Park; when I’m there, I feel a sense of belonging—families hanging out together and kids running around.

Line drawing of Chenchen Sun

Chenchen Sun

Project Coordinator