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Summer Days for $20 or Less

In search of some inexpensive ways to spend your countless summer days? Look no further! Below is a list of a handful things to do around town that won’t break your bank.

Shelby Farms Park – Bike and Boat Rentals

Shelby Farms Park is a hotspot for summer deals. Visitors can rent bikes, paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes all for under $20/hour. What better way to spend a summer day than getting active around one of the country’s largest urban parks?

  • Hyde Lake Wheel House:
    • Bike rentals starting at $13 an hour
  • Hyde Lake Boat House:
    • Canoe – $20
    • Single Kayak – $15
    • Double Kayak – $20
    • Stand Up Paddleboard – $18
    • Pine Lake Boat House
    • Two-Person Paddle Boat – $15
    • Four-Person Paddle Boat – $20

Be sure to check out their events calendar for other fun and often free activities in the park.

Harbortown Picnic – Cordelia’s Market + The Greenbelt

Harbortown’s Greenbelt is undoubtedly one of Memphis’ best picnic spots. Pick up some snacks at the local grocery gem, Cordelia’s Market, and make your way down by the river for an A+ lunch break.

Rock Climb Around Town

Climbers of all levels can stay active while escaping the heat at either of these gyms:

Climbers at Memphis Rox Climbing Gym
  • Memphis Rox: Soulsville
    • The suggested price for a day pass is $10-$12, but Memphis Rox never turns anyone away for inability to pay. You can earn full access in exchange for volunteering.   
  • High Point Climbing and Fitness: East Memphis
    • Adult day pass – $17.50
    • Childrens/Senior day pass – $15.50
    • *shoe and harness rental not included*

Pink Palace Family of Museums

With a variety of history, science, and art exhibits, the Pink Palace is a great place to spend a summer day. It also has an IMAX theatre and Planetarium on site that are well worth a visit. Admission for the exhibits only is $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Photo: Pink Palace Museums
  • The Autozone Dome at The Sharpe Planetarium:
    • Use this show-schedule to check out the variety of “out-of-this-world” shows and events.
    • Planetarium admission: Adults – $8 and Children – $6
    • Laser show tickets are $9 for adults and $8 for children.
  • Lichterman Nature Center:
    • Acting as a member of the Pink Palace family of museums, the LNC is a great place to explore informative exhibits and appreciate native plants, wildflowers, and animals. Admission is $9 for adults and $8 for children.

Free Live Music

Memphis is, no doubt, a music city and we are lucky to have a handful of opportunities to enjoy some free live tunes around town:

  • Soulin’ on the River
    • Memphis Slim Collaboratory and Memphis River Parks Partnership have joined forces to bring us the Soulin’ on the River series, a free, summer music line-up of five great bands that bringing their soulful sounds to the Mud Island River Park.
  • Summer Orion Free Music Concert Series
    • For the 11th year in a row, the free Summer Orion Music Concert Series at the Levitt Shell is bringing together families, food, and local and traveling musicians, all in the spirit of good vibes and good times.

Catch a flick at the Malco Summer Drive-In

  • Pile in a car and pack some snacks to up your movie game at the Malco Summer Drive-In. Whether you’re catching the latest movies or throwing it back with their Time Warp Drive-In Movie Series, it definitely beats going the traditional theater route.
    • $7-$10/person

Kick it along the Mississippi

  • The Memphis River Parks Partnership has done a whole lot to spice things up along the Mississippi. Get your yoga and tai chi on in the River Garden, enjoy some Island Vibes with live music, partake in some family-friendly fun, and much more all for free.

Spend the day exploring at Crosstown Concourse.

It’s free to wander the galleries at Crosstown Arts and free to splash around in the fountain on the plaza. You can cool off with treats at Mempops, snack on gourmet popcorn or stadium-style nachos from the Pop-A-Roos stand, get a dessert at Lucy J’s Bakery, have a beer at Crosstown Brewing Co., play some cornhole, or hop on one of the pinball machines or other games sprinkled throughout the building.

What other budget-friendly activities can we add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

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