Beale Street neon signs at sunset
Dustin Williams

There's a Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

In 2023, Memphis was named one of Conde Nast Traveler's 23 Best Places to Go and No. 1 for Best U.S. Destination on a Budget by USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice. Read on to discover what else is new in Memphis in 2023, from the grand re-opening of Tom Lee Park to new restaurants, hotels, experiences and more.

1. Stay in Style

Just steps from the riverfront, Hyatt recently debuted its newest global lifestyle-hotel brand in Memphis. Book now at Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis for a boutique feel, on-site bar/market/coffee shop featuring local food artisans, mobile check-in and proximity to Beale Street, the South Main Historic Arts District and the river. Marriott’s Aloft Hotel is set to open in 2023 in Downtown Memphis. This ultra-modern property uses tech-savvy amenities, including robotic bellhops and mobile room keys, to provide guests with a seamless stay. On South Main, The Rambler’s loft-style units blend hotel and apartment living to create modern, homey accommodations. Plus, The Rambler offers units featuring up to six bedrooms if you’re traveling with friends and family.  If you’re staying in East Memphis, try the recently renovated Four Points by Sheraton Memphis East.

Of course, we're still excited about the boutique hotels debuted in recent memory, including Hyatt Centric Beale StreetCentral Station MemphisThe Memphian, Canopy by HiltonArrive HotelMoxy and Hotel Indigo. Find deals on Memphis hotels here.

2. Experience the Riverfront at the New-Look Tom Lee Park

Memphis was built on the Mighty Mississippi. Now, Memphis’ riverfront is undergoing a major revitalization at Tom Lee Park to give visitors a brand-new Mississippi River experience. The park will be divided into four zones: The Civic Plaza, featuring a new entry plaza from Beale Street and Vance Avenue; The Active Core, featuring a play area, covered recreational space and cafe pavilions; The Community Batture, a forested area featuring meditative paths and a peace walk; and Habitat Terraces, featuring a canopy walk, sound gardens and an outdoor classroom. While the park won’t officially open until Labor Day, you can get your first look at the renovated park when Tom Lee hosts Memphis in May’s Beale Street Music Festival May 5 -7, 2023.

3. Celebrate Stax Museum’s 20th Anniversary

Stax Museum of American Soul Music turns 20 this year! Celebrate the museum and the legendary music and artists of Stax Records with can’t-miss events, including the Night Train Gala in April, the official Stax birthday party in May, the Live in Studio A concert series in July and free monthly events throughout 2023.

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4. Check out the Brooks Museum’s New Digs

The Brooks Museum of Art is moving to Downtown Memphis. The new facility will sit on a bluff overlooking the riverfront with architecture incorporating features, such as The River Window and Riverview Terrace, that connect visitors to the river. In the meantime, visit the museum’s current location in midtown to see the region’s largest collection of world art.  

5. Park at the New Downtown Mobility Center

Experiencing Downtown Memphis and the Mississippi River is about to get even easier. The Downtown Memphis Mobility Center is planned to open in 2023. Located at Main and Beale, the center is bringing more than 950 parking spaces, electric charging stations, a bike commuter station, covered rideshare drop-off areas and retail space to the heart of Downtown Memphis.

6. See What's New at the Memphis Zoo

When you step foot into the Memphis Zoo, you'll be transported around the world at various exhibits and attractions, including Ancient Grounds, the zoo's Moroccan treehouse-themed coffee shop. The zoo also recently debuted the Monogram Foods Loves Kids Foundation Splash Park. Open May – September, the park features dump buckets, spray cannons and water slides and other aquatic features to help beat the Memphis heat. Learn more about the new exhibits and attractions at Memphis Zoo here.

7. Eat Local

There’s a lot to look forward to in Memphis’ culinary scene in 2023. Local NBA legend and University of Memphis men’s basketball coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway recently opened a new upscale restaurant, Penny’s Nitty Gritty, across from FedExForum inside The Westin. Stop in for Southern-inspired plates before the big game. Go for cocktails at Ibis, the newest bar and lounge on South Main or visit South Main's newest upscale restaurant, The Lobbyist.  Favorite local food truck New Wing Order recently opened its first brick-and-mortar location inside Ghost River Brewing Co. on Beale. Pair tasty wing creations, like the hot wing nachos, with local brews. For cookies, freshly baked bread and other baked goods, stop by Memphis’ newest bakery, The Ginger’s Bread & Co. Looking for breakfast bites? Try Sunrise Memphis’ new East Memphis location for biscuit sammies, avocado toast, breakfast tacos, omelets and more. Award-winning chef Kelly English’s fine dining favorite, Restaurant Iris, recently opened in its new location in Laurelwood Shopping Center. No one is cooking up Southern delights quite like Felicia Willett-Schuchardt at Felicia Suzanne’s. Sample favorite dishes like the BLFGT salad at her new location just down the street on South Main. Find more info on new and upcoming restaurants here.

Bonus: You may have heard of our Hops Stops Pass, but just in time for summer 2023, we've launched a BBQ Trail to help you taste your way through Memphis' legendary 'cue scene. Get the pass. 
8. Experience Memphis' Craft Brew Scene

Consider yourself a craft beer connoisseur? Check out Memphis' growing craft beer scene.  The beers at Soul & Spirits Brewery are inspired by Memphis’ and the surrounding region’s rich musical heritage. Stop into the Main St. taproom to sample Green Onions Vol. 2 IPA, Son of A Preacher ale, Mane in Black porter and more creative craft brews at this award-winning brewery. A couple of Memphis’ favorite breweries recently opened their second taprooms in Memphis: Ghost River Brewery opened its second taproom, located on iconic Beale Street, while Memphis Made is set to open a new location in The Ravin in the Edge District. Be sure to join Memphis Hops Stops for a chance to win prizes while you sip our local craft beers.

9. Gear Up For Liberty Park

The Memphis Fairgrounds – home to the Children’s Museum of Memphis, Kroc Center Memphis, Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium and Tiger Lane – is getting a major makeover. Development of the iconic property, dubbed Liberty Park, will include the addition of a new sports complex, the Memphis Sports + Events Center (which opened in December 2022), as well as a new mixed-use development that will include retail, dining and two hotels.

10. Plan a Family Vacay to Memphis

Purchase the Memphis Kids Pass to gain entry to five of Memphis' biggest family attractions for just one price. See 3,500 animals at the Memphis Zoo. Explore the 96-acre Memphis Botanic Garden. Go for interactive experiences at the Fire Museum of Memphis or Children’s Museum of Memphis. Plus, you’ll get discounts on other family-friendly attractions around town, too!

11. Get Ready For Topgolf Memphis

Calling all golf lovers – Topgolf is coming to Memphis in 2023! Construction on the popular driving range attraction’s Memphis location is underway and expected to open late this year.

12. Fly into Memphis International Airport & "Test-Drive" a New Route to Nashville

Travelers can expect a shiny new concourse modernization at Memphis International Airport (MEM). The redesigned 23-gate B concourse underwent a $245M modernization to upgrade the traveler experience with amenities such as a children’s play area, more seating and charging areas and new vendors and restaurants. With the concourse modernization completed, MEM has begun planning its terminal modernization, which includes expansions of the ticketing and baggage areas. Along with these upgrades, MEM is welcoming new direct flights, including service to Austin via American Airlines beginning in January 2023, service to Boston via Delta Air Lines in May 2023 and service to Raleigh-Durham via Avelo in June 2023.

Bonus: Beginning May 2023, luxury motorcoach service Vonlane is offering one-way and round-trip rides between Memphis and Nashville. Anticipate leather seats, complimentary WiFi and other sweet onboard amenities.
13. Visit the "Making of ELVIS" Exhibit at Elvis Presley's Graceland

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Baz Luhrmann's ELVIS at the all-new "Making of Elvis" exhibit at Elvis Presley's Graceland. The exhibit, which opened on Elvis' birthday on Jan. 8, 2023, features props, set pieces, scripts and videos of the creative process of how Luhrmann and Warner Bros. brought the legacy of the King of Rock and Roll to the big screen. Book the ELVIS Movie Ultimate VIP tour for a special tour of Elvis Presley's Memphis, Graceland and more on the filming of ELVIS. 

14. Canoe Down the Mighty Mississippi 

Experience the river with Memphis' newest canoeing experience, Mississippi River Expeditions. Take a guided 17-mile river trip from Shelby Forest State Park to Downtown Memphis. The company also offers multi-day and overnight trips. For more river adventures, click here

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