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50 Ways to Enjoy Memphis For Free

Photo: Marie Fong
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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.

5 fridays of jazz

  • 5 Fridays of Jazz
    • March 3 – Reach Forever Quintet
    • March 17 – The International Jazz Twins (Carl & Alan Maguire)
    • March 31 – Women of Jazz with Joyce Cobb & the Rhodes College Jazz Orchestra (with an opening performance by Stax Music Academy Jazz Ensemble)
    • April 14 – The “(Re)Birth of Cool” with The University of Memphis Birth of Cool Ensemble
    • April 28 – The Legends of Jazz Ensemble with Dr. Bill Hurd In March, Women’s Appreciation Month, customers can expect the start of standing-room-only performances topped by the Women of Jazz and Joyce Cobb.
    • More great nights of music are planned for Jazz Appreciation Month in April.

Five Fridays of Jazz is a free concert series running March 3rd through April 28th in collaboration with the Levitt Shell, Memphis Public Libraries and the Memphis Library Foundation. Doors open at 6 PM each night. A cash bar and food will be available each night also for the following events.

The MusliMeMfest festival is a celebration of the community and seeks to foster an interest in building bridges and to start conversation among different communities in Memphis. Funded almost entirely by generous sponsors and supported by the City of Memphis, the MusliMeMfest is free to attend but RSVP is encouraged. MusliMeMfest welcomes vendors of all types. To become an official MusliMeMfest vendor go here.

Enjoy unique and local artwork, vendors, food trucks, beer, and live music to benefit the Broad Avenue Arts District.

Celebrate Binghampton’s diverse neighborhood at the first ever Kaleidoscope Food Festival on April 15th. In only 2.5 square miles, residents in Binghampton represent over 17 different nations, making it one of the most multi-cultural neighborhoods in Memphis. Pets (on leash) are welcome and the event’s vendors feature multicultural chefs from the Binghampton neighborhood. You can also enjoy top-quality and uniquely flavorful Wiseacre beers specifically paired with your food choices.

In collaboration with Replenish Kombucha, Broad Avenue Arts Alliance, and Wiseacre Brewery, Memphis Veg Fest will be filled with vegan and vegetarian foods, demonstrations, and speakers.

Each spring, the East Buntyn ArtWalk celebrates local artists and musicians with an open-air bazaar of galleries set up in the front yards and porches of the historic east Memphis neighborhood. This unique arts fair offers visitors the opportunity to visit and engage with local artists while enjoying the hospitality of East Buntyn residents. There will be a silent auction tent featuring special items from the artists, local food trucks, live music, and more. Rain date is April 30th.

It’s back! For the fifth year, A Day of Merrymaking in Overton Park brings food, art, music, and fun for families (and dogs!) to the Greensward. The hot air balloon will be returning, and they’ll be announcing other entertainment and activities in the coming weeks.

Get pumped for a great free music fest with with Privileged Music Fest at Handy Park on June 23. During the fest, you will gain a greater love for the Memphis sound and music history of this city while enjoying local artists.

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. There will be arts and crafts exhibitors, a car show, a kids zone, an entertainment stage, food, and more.

Celebrate with this annual free festival, live entertainment, kids area, food and merchandise vendors at festival site at 4th & Beale St.

The Bona Fide Blues Festival will take place at Overton Square. Stay tuned for the line up details.

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.

Get your holiday shopping done early at this free curated exhibition and sale of handmade arts and crafts from talented local craft vendors. Enjoy handmade arts and crafts, shopping opportunities, as well as a great selection of beers available for purchase.

fireworks at levitt shell bill simmers

Photo: Bill Simmers

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.

The Dixon Memphis

Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Photo: @ce_white

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.

Here are a few more ways to enjoy Memphis for free:

See something missing? Email events to contact@choose901.com for consideration.

Well, ok, not everything, but we try to keep a close pulse on the great things going on in the city, and it is our joy to share those things with you, three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). No spam, cross our hearts.