Memphis Skyline from Tom Lee Park
Julian Harper

Experience the Mississippi Riverfront at Tom Lee Park

Memphis' history and heritage are tied to the Mississippi River. From riverboat cruises to canoe adventures to the Big River Crossing, there are so many ways to connect to the river here, including exploring the newly reimagined riverfront at Tom Lee Park. Now open, the park recently underwent a $61 million facelift to better connect visitors like you to our mighty river. Now it’s your turn to explore Tom Lee Park.

Get Out and Play!  

One of the park’s biggest additions is the Sunset Canopy, a 20,000-square-foot shaded area for sports and events. The kids will adore the new river-themed playground. Designed by world-renowned playground designer, Monstrum, the playground features climbable river creatures and plants you might find on the Mississippi, like sturgeon, otters, a salamander and cypress trees.

Looking to get your heart rate up? Try the fitness zone near the playground and Sunset Canopy. Plus, there are a variety of green spaces, including the 100,000-square-foot TVA Central Lawn.

If you need a snack or bathroom break, head over to the Point Bar Pavilions. Here, guests will find elevated park fare with vegetarian options from Paper Plate Pavilion. The shaded River Groves are the perfect spots to cool down after working up a sweat.

Be sure to stick around ‘til sunset to see the river aglow with color at the First Horizon River Lounge on the water’s edge.


Enjoy the Tranquil Riverfront

Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown in the forested Community Batture dedicated to the park’s namesake. This area features forest and meditative walking paths and hilltop views of the river.  

Make your way to Heroes Plaza to see David Allan Clark’s Tom Lee monument, paying homage to the Memphis hero who rescued 32 people from a capsized steamboat in 1925, despite not being able to swim.

Then, observe the permanent art installation “A Monument to Listening” by Theaster Gates, which was inspired by Lee’s story.

Hang around for a relaxing spell immersed in riverfront scenery at the Hammock Grove. And whether you’re coming or going, be sure to stop and sit awhile on the Prospect overlook for striking river vistas.

Group walking the pathways at Tom Lee Park
Julian Harper
Someone playing on the rope bridge at Tom Lee's playground.
Julian Harper
Music festival crowd sitting on stone steps at Tom Lee Park at night
Craig Thompson
Toddler in orange onesie playing on giant otter slides at Tom Lee Park
Alex Shansky

Get Back to Nature

Stop by the Habitat Terraces nestled along the edge of the Mississippi for unique close-up river experiences. Visit the Buckman Outdoor Classroom for open-air educational activities. Climb up to the Rhodes Pollinator Lab to see a native pollinator meadow right on the river’s banks. Trek across the Log Scramble to the Sound Gardens — hillside listening areas mitigating noise pollution. The Meadow hosts a variety of plant life, greenery and pollinators, too.

Your Guide To
Downtown Memphis' Biggest Attractions

HOW TO GET To Tom Lee Park

Tom Lee Park is on the Mississippi River in Downtown Memphis, steps away from Beale Street. There is step-free access to the park from Vance Avenue to the Carlisle Cutbank Bluff. Visitors can also access the park via stairs from Huling Avenue or Butler Avenue. For parking, limited spaces are available on Riverside Drive. The Downtown Mobility Center also offers nearly 1,000 parking spaces, including 48 electric vehicle spaces, just a couple blocks from the park.

Connect to the Mighty Mississippi

The revitalized Tom Lee Park is the perfect place to connect to the Mighty Mississippi, but the river fun doesn’t stop there!

Walk, bike or run alongside the river, past some of Memphis’ biggest landmarks, like the Hernando de Soto Bridge and Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, on the River Walk. Book a riverboat cruise for the ultimate sightseeing excursion. Get out on the water with Mississippi River Expeditions for a canoe trip. Trek across the river to Arkansas on the Big River Crossing. Head over to Mud Island River Park to snap a selfie with the Memphis sign. Then, take in the city’s nightly light show, Mighty Lights, when Big River Crossing and the Hernando de Soto Bridge light up the river.

About the Author

Born and raised in Memphis, J.T. Mullen has written about the city and its surrounding area for more than seven years. You'll probably catch him in the stands of a Memphis Tigers basketball or football game with barbecue nachos in hand.