kids playing in fountain in memphis

12 Budget-Friendly Things To Do In Memphis

Shelby Farms Splash Pad. Photo Credit: Allen Gillespie

Experience the energy and excitement of Memphis without breaking the bank. Tour museums, enjoy live music and celebrate the city's soulful history with these free (or almost free) things to do at some of our most popular attractions.

Live Music at Levitt Shell Memphis

Enjoy A Concert At The Shell

Grab your picnic basket, lawn chair and blanket. Then, enjoy a free concert under the stars. The Levitt Shell is best known as the site of Elvis Presley's first professional rock 'n' roll concert. Today, the Shell offers over 50 free concerts annually with musical acts that cover all genres. The park is pet and kid friendly. 

Optional: Short on time? Food trucks and beer are available at every concert for your convenience.
Levitt Shell. Photo Credit: Craig Thompson

Elvis grave in graceland

Experience Love, Peace & Elvis

A visit to Graceland's Meditation Garden is a perfect way to start your day. Walk up to the beautiful garden where Elvis and his family members are buried between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. each day. Just enter the gates by 8:30 a.m. and exit the mansion grounds before Graceland tours begin at 9 a.m. 

Highly recommended: Take a tour of the Graceland Mansion and visit the brand new Elvis Presley's Memphis, an entertainment complex located directly across the street from Graceland.
Graceland. Photo Credit: David Meany

Shelby Farms Sunset

Get Active At Shelby Farms

Memphis is home to the one of the largest urban parks in the United States, Shelby Farms, which is more than five times the size of NYC's Central Park. Shelby Farms features a children's park, water play area, dog park, scenic trails to view animals in their habitats  and a 6.5 mile walking/biking trail that ventures throughout Memphis. 

Bonus: In addition to all of the no-cost fun, there are tons of affordable excursions available. Try horseback riding, rent bikes or boats, or go ziplining on the Go Ape! Treetop Adventure.
Shelby Farms. Photo Credit: Allen Gillespie

Memphis Music and Heritage Festival at Center for Southern Folklore

Discover Southern Culture

Celebrate the arts, music and heritage at this informal center dedicated to showcasing Southern culture. The Center For Southern Folklore houses a cyber café, exhibits and performance space for frequent public shows. Each Labor Day weekend, the Center hosts the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival which features over 100 performers, Southern art and culture.
Center For Southern Folklore. Photo Credit: Craig Thompson

Mud Island Riverwalk in Memphis

Travel The Mighty Mississippi

Take a 1,000-mile journey down the Mighty Mississippi on this perfectly scaled replica of the lower-half of the river. Twenty cities line the replica with markers that describe significant events in the River’s history. Tours are always free for all ages. 

Bonus: Get a bird’s eye view of the Mississippi River by taking the 1/3-mile monorail with your family for $4 per person.
Mud Island River Park. Photo Credit: Jack Kenner

bridge over pond inside bass pro shops at the pyramid

Explore A Pyramid

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid is the largest outdoors store in the world. The immersive retail experience offers something for outdoors fans of all ages. See a cypress swamp with an alligator habitat, the Ducks Unlimited Warterfowling Heritage Center and more. 

Bonus: Shop, dine, bowl or ride the nation's tallest freestanding glass elevator to The Lookout – an observation deck that offers an unforgettable view of Memphis for just $10 per person.
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Photo Credit: Allen Gillespie

danny thomas pavilion

Discover Groundbreaking Medicine

Learn about the life-saving medical research that is taking place in Downtown Memphis. Visitors to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital receive a guided tour of the St. Jude campus and learn the history and impact of this internationally-respected hospital. Tour guests must be over 16 years old. The St. Jude ALSAC Pavilion and memorial garden are open to all ages. Click here to schedule a free tour. 
St. Jude/ALSAC Pavillion. Photo Credit: Baxter Buck

Dixon Gallery & Gardens. Photo Credit: Baxter Buck

Explore Natural Beauty

Enjoy seventeen acres of pristine gardens, rotating exhibits and a museum with over 2,000 artifacts at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. On Tuesdays, guests are encouraged to Pay What You Can throughout the day. Receive free admission (donations accepted and appreciated) to the gallery and gardens on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens. Photo Credit: Baxter Buck

Big River Crossing

Bike Across The Mississippi

Ride through dedicated bike lanes all over the city, including the Shelby Farms Greenline, a 7-mile paved trail that runs through the heart of Memphis to Shelby Farms. And now you can even cross the Mississippi River on the country’s longest active rail/bicycle/pedestrian bridge. The Big River Crossing serves as the connection point between Memphis, TN and West Memphis, AR. 

See our big map of Memphis bike routes and bike rentals here
Biker on Big River Crossing. Phone Credit: Big River Crossing

Hippos at the Memphis Zoo

Free Museum Days

Many museums and attractions offer pay-what-you can admissions.
Special admission is always subject to change, so check with each attraction prior to visiting:
National Civil Rights Museum 
Memphis Pink Palace Museum
Lichterman Nature Center 
Memphis Zoo
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
Dixon Gallery & Garden
Zambezi Hippo Camp at the Memphis Zoo. Phone Credit: Andrea Zucker

Duckmaster - Anthony Petrina: Peabody Memphis

Experience the Ducks March

Every day at 11 a.m., the Peabody Ducks are led by the Duckmaster down the elevator to the Italian travertine marble fountain in the hotel's Grand Lobby. The ceremony is reversed at 5 p.m., when the ducks retire for the evening to their palace on the roof of the hotel.

The Peabody Marching Ducks are completely free and open to everyone. A spot along the red carpet or close to the railing in the balcony provides the best photo opportunity.
Peabody Duck March. Phone Credit: Justin Fox Burkes

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