Beale Street neon signs at sunset
Dustin Williams

There's a Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Hello, 2024! The new year brings all kinds of new attractions, restaurants and experiences to the Bluff City. Read on to discover what else is new in Memphis in 2024, from developments at Liberty Park to a new exhibit at Elvis Presley’s Graceland.

1. Experience the Riverfront at the Revitalized Tom Lee Park

Memphis’ riverfront recently underwent a major revitalization at Tom Lee Park to give visitors a brand-new Mississippi River experience. The park features a new entry plaza from Beale Street and Vance Avenue, a state-of-the-art river-themed playground, a fitness zone, the Sunset Canopy for basketball, yoga and more community events, concession stands, meditative walking paths, sound gardens and unrivaled views of the Mighty Mississippi. Read all about the new experience at Tom Lee Park.

2. A New-Look Memphis In May

Memphis’ biggest tradition, Memphis in May, is going to look a little bit different this year. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will be held at Liberty Park instead of on the riverfront, while Beale Street Music Fest will be paused for 2024.

But Tom Lee Park will still hold big events this coming May! Brought to you by the folks behind Mempho Music Fest, a brand-new music festival and barbecue competition will be held at the park in May 2024. The music fest, dubbed RiverBeat, is set for May 3-5, 2024, while the new barbecue competition will run May 16-18, 2024. RiverBeat features headliners The Fugees, Odesza, Jelly Roll, and 50 more bands across five stages.

3. Take a Swing at Topgolf Memphis

Calling all golf lovers – Topgolf recently opened its Memphis location late 2023! Book your bay at the popular driving range attraction today!

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4. Stay in Style

Marriott’s Aloft Hotel is set to open soon 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. The Bluff City is ready to welcome the chic Dream Hotels brand to Main St. at Gayoso Ave. The trendy hotel is set to break ground soon with plans to open in 2025. The property will include a hotel, a swimming pool, apartments and a restaurant. South Main Historic District's Arrive Hotel was just named one of The 60 Most Incredible Hotels in the World by Fodor's Finest 2024. Book your stay for an unrivaled boutique experience. 

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

5. Upcoming Shows and Performing Arts

If you love performing arts, then gear up for a big year in Memphis! The city’s theaters and stages are set to bring you all kinds of plays, musicals and performances in 2024. Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis will run Les Miserables (February), Wicked (April) and Mamma Mia! (July) as part of its 2023-24 Broadway season. Playhouse on the Square and its affiliate theaters The Circuit Playhouse and TheaterWorks @ The Square are in the midst of an exciting season, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (January), The Lehman Trilogy (January & February) and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (March & April). Take in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra or another upcoming concert at the Cannon Center for Performing Arts. Hattiloo Theatre, the city’s only freestanding Black repertory theatre, is in its 17th season. Catch original shows and gripping adaptions, including Confederates (February) by Dominique Morisseau and Succession (February & March) by Charles White.

See how else you can experience the performing arts in Memphis.

6. New In Memphis Sports

2024 is shaping up to be a big one for Memphis sports. Ja Morant and the Grizzlies are pushing to keep their playoff streak alive; The FedEx Cup gets underway with the FedEx St. Jude Championship at Memphis’ TPC Southwind in August; 901 FC and the Memphis Redbirds will be back in action this spring at AutoZone Park; and Penny Hardaway hopes to lead the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team back to its third straight NCAA Tournament berth. Speaking of March Madness, Memphis and FedExForum will host eight teams in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, March 22-24, 2024.

For more Memphis sports action, check out our Memphis sports guide.

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7. Eat Local

There’s a lot to look forward to in Memphis’ culinary scene in 2024. Amelia Gene’s is downtown’s newest fine dining. Here, you can expect fine wines, craft cocktails, a cheese cart and a globally inspired menu. For Irish fare, head to Bog & Barley in East Memphis (think beer-battered fish ’n chips, pints and an extensive whiskey list). Grab a New York-style bagel with all your favorite toppings at Hive Bagel & Deli.

Memphis welcomed a new fine dining restaurant that aims to make elevated eating approachable with JEM Dining in the Edge District and in Midtown things are getting tropical with the owners of Cameo opening Mary’s Bar of Tropical Escapism (B.O.T.E. for short)  on S. Cooper St. Just down the street, you’ll find bbq shrimp, chicken cacciatore, mushroom gnocci and craft cocktails at the new The Public Bistro.

Inside the historic Cossitt Library downtown, you can find your next favorite read while filling up on breakfast, lunch and pastry favorites from Dos Hermanos Kitchen. Another unique downtown spot to try: Momma’s Bar, the nation’s only trucker-themed bar, is cooking up meatloaf, chili cheese fries, sloppy joes and more diner favorites.

Stop by Petals of Peony in Cordova for Sichuan cuisine, from spicy dumplings and Peony fried chicken to twice-cooked pork and Sichuan-style fired rice. What about Memphis barbecue and … vegan? You heard that right! At Arnold’s Smokehouse, you’ll find two menus: a meat eaters’ bounty of pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, BBQ bologna sandwiches and chicken tender baskets, as well as a vegan-friendly supply of portobello and black bean burgers, veggie jambalaya, pasta and veggie kabobs.

Looking for something sweet? Check out South Main's new Gelateria at Zio Matta located at the historic Central Station Hotel or get your cheesecake fix across the street at Crave Cheesecakes-who also offers super tasty cheesecake cookies.

Find more info on new and upcoming restaurants here.

Bonus: You may have heard of our Hops Stops Pass, but we've also 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.  Grab a beer from one (or all!) of Memphis’ newest craft breweries. In the historic Cooper-Young neighborhood, you can sample experimental small-batch ales and lagers at Cooper House Project. Just a few blocks north, Urban Consequence is pouring craft beers like the peanut butter chocolate milk stout, blood orange blonde and Irish red ale with rye. If you prefer soda, try the house lemonade or cream soda. Memphis Made will open a second taproom in 2024. The location will be downtown in the Ravine in The Edge District. Stop by the new digs to try Memphis Made staples, like Cat Nap, Fireside and GonerBrau. Another long-time local-favorite, Ghost River is expanding its original taproom on South Main. Soon, you’ll be able to sip Ghost River brews, like Ghost River Gold, Grindhouse and Zippin Pippin, in the new taproom restaurant, music venue and bar. Try Collierville’s Hook Point Brewing at their new brewpub The Ready Room in East Memphis. Here, you can pair drafts with burgers, sammies and more delicious bar-food bites.

Be sure to join Memphis Hops Stops for a chance to win prizes while you sip our local craft beers.

9. New Exhibits 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 runs through March 2024, 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. 

Then, head over to newly expanded The Lisa Marie: Growing Up Presley exhibit. The exhibit of Elvis' beloved late-daughter features never before seen items from her childhood, outfits, and shares stories and memories through home movies and photos. Dive deeper into this exhibit that celebrates her life as a mother, passionate musician, and guardian of her father's legacy while seeing what it was like growing up at Graceland.

Beginning May 1, a new tour option will be added for Graceland visitors. Inside the Graceland Archives UVIP Tour gives guests a look behind-the-scenes at the work being done to preserve Elvis' precious collection. The Graceland archives is home to more than 1.5 million artifacts. 

10. An Expansion at The National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is expanding! The Legacy Building, which was formerly the boarding house from which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin shot and killed the civil rights leader, is undergoing a complete renovation. The new-look building will feature exhibits based on Dr. King’s book “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community.” The first floor will include displays on the Poor People’s Campaign and Freedom Award. Visitors will explore the Civil Rights Movement after Dr. King’s assassination on the second floor. The third-floor exhibits will take a look at activism today. Founders Park is also getting a remodel. The new area, which will be dubbed BlueCross Healthy Place at Founders Park, will feature event venues and gathering areas. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2025.

11. 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.  

12. 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, a 200-room hotel and 200 apartments. High 5 Entertainment also plans to bring an entertainment complex with axe-throwing, mini golf, escapes rooms and two floors of bowling.

13. 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!

14. 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 recently welcomed new direct flights, including service to Austin via American Airlines, service to Boston via Delta Air Lines and service to Raleigh-Durham via Avelo.

Bonus: 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.
15. Park at the New Downtown Mobility Center

Experiencing Downtown Memphis and the Mississippi River just got even easier. The Downtown Memphis Mobility Center recently opened at Main and Beale, bringing more than 950 parking spaces, electric charging stations, a bike commuter station and covered rideshare drop-off areas to the heart of Downtown Memphis.

16. Withers Collection Museum & Gallery gets U.S. Civil Rights Trail designation

the historic Withers Collection Museum & Gallery, located on Beale Street, was designated as a new site on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. This marks the 15th site in Tennessee and Memphis' eighth location on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery features the work of acclaimed civil rights photographer Ernest C. Withers. His most famous work includes coverage of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike in 1968, the events that culminated in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recently, two images by Withers made the New York Times Style Magazine list of the 25 most significant photographs since 1955.

While most known for documenting the Civil Rights Movement, Withers' 60+ years of work also documented everyday life including sports, music, and politics. It is estimated that the collection entails 1.8 million photographs including notable figures like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Elvis, and B.B. King.

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