You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy Memphis with your friends and family. Check out these free events to get plugged into the 901 without having to empty your wallet.
- Friday, October 14 – Fourth Bluff Friday Pop Up Beer Garden – 4:30pm-9pm – Family Friendly
Feel free to bring your own lawn chairs and blankets to sit and enjoy the night’s activities. Devil Train will play a free show beginning at 5:30 p.m., and the TapBox will feature a wide selection of great craft beers. There will be numerous games for children and families and abundant seating to enjoy the music, watch the sunset, and enjoy the party. They’ll also have several food trucks. Pets are welcome.
- Saturday, October 15 – Soulsville USA Festival – 11am-6pm – Family Friendly
This event takes place in the historic Soulsville USA district on College & McLemore. Enjoy live music, dance demos, kids activities, food and craft vendors, a rock climbing wall, face painting, and more.
- Wednesday, October 19 – Freewheel Slow Ride – 6pm
Grab your bike (or one of theirs) for an exploration of the Medical District. The slow bike ride will depart from 600 Monroe Avenue (adjacent to High Cotton Brewing Co.) at 6 p.m. Feel free to arrive early to get your reserved bike or grab a discounted beer next door.
- Friday, October 21 – RiverArtsFest – 6:15pm – 10pm – Family-friendly
Located in the heart of the Historic South Main Arts District in Downtown Memphis, Tenn,, RiverArtsFest has successfully presented rich, cultural artistic diversity and talent from around the Mid-South and all 50 states, in what has become the longest-running fine arts festival in this region. The festival attracts an average of 30,000 visitors over the three days, and garners high praise with comments of “excellent examples of artistic creativity” and “great diversity in a high caliber of artists.” The festival includes an artist market featuring 190+ artists, live music across three stages, food court areas, local beer, and more. Friday night events are free to the public.
- Saturday, October 22 – Big River Crossing Grand Opening – 1pm – Family-friendly
Big River Crossing opens to the public at 1pm with music, food, and entertainment from 4-7pm, and fireworks at 7pm.
- May through October – Acoustic Courtyard – 6:30pm
Join Overton Square the last Thursday of every month through October for an evening of live music in The Tower Courtyard. Bring your lawn chairs and listen to the acoustic melodies of Memphis musicians in the heart of Midtown, Memphis. Free admission.
- September through October – Levitt Shell Free Music Series & Films
Enjoy free music and film nights at the Levitt Shell. You can bring picnic baskets and blankets or chairs, and food trucks will be on site.
- Last Saturday of every month – Black Light Special at Canvas of Memphis – 21+
Several of Memphis’ award winning museums and attractions offer free and discounted admission on designated days.
- Memphis Pink Palace Museum – 3050 Central Ave.
Pink Palace Museum is one of the largest museums in the Mid-South. Learn about the history of Memphis, walk through a replica of the first Piggly Wiggly grocery store, see Tyra the T. rex and even a shrunken head! Museum exhibits are free on Tuesdays from 1pm-5pm (excludes IMAX).
- Memphis Zoo – 2000 Galloway
Rated as one of the best zoos in America, the Memphis Zoo is one of only four zoos in the country to house the endangered panda. Residents of Tennessee can take advantage of free admission on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to close and visit the zoo’s 3,500 animals.
- Graceland – 3734 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Stop by the Graceland Gates, snap a photo, and sign the wall. Graceland offers free-admission walk-up visits to the Meditation Garden, 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. daily.
- Lichterman Nature Center – 5992 Quince Rd.
A unique green space in the middle of metropolitan Memphis, the Lichterman Center’s exhibits, incredible gardens and a surprising 65 acres of lake, meadow and forest, give visitors and locals easy access to nature. Admission is free on Tuesdays from 1 p.m until close.
- Stax Museum of American Soul Music – 926 E. McLemore Ave.
Maybe it’s Isaac Hayes’ gold-plated Cadillac, the Express Yourself dance floor or the hall of records. For locals, it’s the opportunity to walk through the sweet sounds of one of the most creative periods in Memphis history. Admission is free to Shelby County residents from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays.
- Memphis Brooks Museum of Art – 1934 Poplar Ave.
The permanent collection at the Memphis Brooks Museum encompasses more than 9,000 works in all media made around the world, including works from Cecilia Beaux, Edward Redfield and William Merritt Chase. Admission is pay-what-you can every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Dixon Gallery – 4339 Park Avenue 38117
Tuesdays: Pay What You Can, 10am-5pm
Saturdays: Free from 10am-noon
- Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum – 191 Beale St.
The Rock ’n’ Soul Museum tells a musical story, from rural field hollers and sharecropper songs through the explosion of Sun, Stax and Hi Records. Created by the Smithsonian Institute, the museum offers music lovers a comprehensive digital audio tour with over 300 minutes of information, 100 songs and three audio-visual programs. The museum is free for Shelby County residents on Tuesday afternoons from 2 to 7 p.m.
- National Civil Rights Museum – 450 Mulberry St.
Housed in the historic Lorraine Motel, the National Civil Rights Museum is an intense, immersive tour through the civil rights struggle, from the early days of slavery to the museum’s moving conclusion. Tennessee residents can visit the museum for free on Mondays from 3 p.m. until 6pm.
- Mud Island Riverwalk – 125 North Front St.
To get an understanding of the Mississippi River’s role and influence over Memphis, visitors should take advantage of the free Mud Island Riverwalk experience. An epic scale model, the Riverwalk spans five city blocks, is dotted with the cities, bridges and drainage basins, and displays historic markers that give visitors more information about the history of the river and its people. The riverwalk is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m Tuesday – Sunday, April – October.
- Elmwood Cemetery – 824 S. Dudley
Founded in 1852, Elmwood is the final resting place for some of the city’s most celebrated residents, including Robert Church, Mayor “Boss” Crump and victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic. Elmwood Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an official Bird Sanctuary and Arboretum. Grounds of the cemetery are open daily 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The cottage is open Monday – Friday. 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. – noon.
- Memorial Park Crystal Shrine Grotto – 5668 Poplar Ave.
Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez built the man-made cavern filled with crystals, rock formations, and religious dioramas in the 1930s. Located in Memorial Park Cemetery, the grotto is a hidden gem and open dawn to dusk each day.
- Peabody Ducks – 149 Union Ave.
Every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., pomp and circumstance takes on new meaning in the grand lobby of the Peabody Hotel. This is when the great Peabody Ducks, five North American Mallards, arrive and leave the hotel fountain, a grand procession complete with red carpet, official introduction and visiting paparazzi. The Peabody Duck March is completely free and open to all.
- Overton Park Old Forest Trail Hikes – Lick Creek Bridge on Old Forest Lane in Overton Park
Take a guided hike of the Old Forest State Natural Area on the second Saturday and last Sunday of each month at 10 a.m. Inside you’ll find hundred-year-old trees, plants, and wildlife you can venture through on five miles of paved and unpaved trails. Overton Park is also home to playgrounds and a dog park – all free to enjoy every day of the year.
- Metal Museum – 374 Metal Museum Drive
Watch a neon-pink sun set over the Mississippi River from the grounds of the Metal Museum. Access to the grounds of the Metal Museum is always free and features a sculpture garden, full-functioning blacksmith and foundry shop. See their upcoming events here.
- Beale Street Landing offers an amazing view of the sun setting over the river. There’s nothing as relaxing as watching a sunset on the Mighty Mississippi as the riverboats go by. Enjoy the free splash pad from Labor Day through September from 8am-8pm.
- Riverfit provides six fitness and exercise stations, stretching supports, two sand volleyball courts, and a soccer field at Tom Lee Park along the banks of the Mississippi River. Although it was originally intended to be a temporary installation, Riverfit was so beloved that it became permanent. Open to people of all ages and skill sets, and best of all it’s completely free to use.
Here are a few more ways to enjoy Memphis for free:
- Go on a mural hunt
- Ride the Shelby Farms Park Greenline
- Take a walking tour with Jimmy Ogle
- Join a running group with Breakaway Running
- Check out South Main Trolley Night every last Friday of every month
- Network at Undercurrent’s monthly event
- Go to a movie marathon night
- Start your Memphis photo bucket list
- Check out the Memphis Library and their free programs
- Catch Pokemon with friends