You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy Memphis with your friends and family. Check out these free ways to get plugged into the 901 without having to empty your wallet.
Every summer The Riverfront Development Corporation and MLGW host a series of free movie nights on the grass rooftop of Beale Street Landing, with a fabulous view of the Mississippi River.
- The 15 Film Series – Clayborn Temple
The Clayborn Reborn project at Clayborn Temple is partnering with On Location: Memphis this summer to host The 15 Film Series every Thursday from now through September. The film series features three themes: Memphis history, art, and social justice. Screenings will take place each Thursday beginning June 15 at 8:30pm and will kick off with an outdoor block party at 6pm featuring local vendors, food trucks and a DJ. Memphis musicians will be featured on a night of music video screenings. Each block party and screening will be free, open to the public and include discussions led by an expert curator.
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.
See live music in a family-friendly atmosphere, all for free.
Play basketball, giant chess and jenga, go skating, and more at the Riverplay Park in Downtown Memphis.
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 2pm 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 even more ways to enjoy Memphis for free:
- Explore Memphis for free with your library card
- Go on a mural hunt
- Check out an art gallery
- Play bingo and trivia
- Learn something new at Crosstown Arts
- Walk across Big River Crossing
- Get Riverfit
- Take free fitness classes at Shelby Farms Park
- Ride the Shelby Farms Park Greenline
- Take a walking tour with Jimmy Ogle
- Join a running group with Breakaway Running
- Take a free salsa class
- Check out South Main Trolley Night every last Friday of every month
- Network at Undercurrent’s monthly event
- Connect with other creatives in Memphis at Creative Works’ monthly meetup
- Start your Memphis photo bucket list
- Catch Pokemon with friends