The Great Outdoors

Walking, Running, Camping and Scenic Views in Memphis

Beale Street Landing Aerial with Pyramid

Aerial photo of Downtown Memphis with Beale Street Landing and the Pyramid. Photo by Wendy Whittemore - Aerial Innovation of TN

Shelby Farms Horses: Baxter Buck

Horseback riding at Shelby Farms Park

st jude marathon and 5k

Memphis Marathon and 5k benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Photo by Andrea Zucker.

Memphis Botanic Garden: Memphis Botanic Garden
rowing competition

Paddle boat races on the Mississippi River. Photo by The Commercial Appeal.

We know the pull is strong, but not every trip to Memphis has to lead to Beale Street. Walking in Memphis (the activity, not the song) is a great way to spend a day in our city. Our downtown park system lets you run, bike or walk a weekend away. And for those that have more of a green thumb, our gardens offer a beautiful, serene and educational experience.

Running along the riverfront is a popular pastime for Memphis locals, but more and more visitors are taking a similar approach to sightseeing. Whether by bike or by foot, visitors can easily move up and down the riverfront, from the scenic running trail on Mud Island to the small but active Confederate Park (sometimes it hosts live music) to Tom Lee, ground zero for all Memphis festivals. Not only can visitors gain a unique visual perspective on the city, but they also get in a workout.

The Memphis Botanic Garden, on the other hand, exercises the senses. Its Japanese garden, thousands of daffodils and wind-chime sculpture make it a popular location for weddings, fundraisers and other events. The Botanic also offers a number of programs, including flower arrangement classes, speaking series and guided tours of the grounds. In the summer, the Botanic transforms into one of the better outdoor venues in the city. In recent years, its Live at the Garden concert series has featured the likes of Crosby, Stills & Nash; Earth, Wind & Fire; and the B-52s, to name a few.

But for the true nature lover, the Lichterman Nature Center offers visitors 65 acres of lush gardens, native wildflowers, lake, meadow and forest. People can take walks, participate in wildlife programs, stroll the three-story forest boardwalk and, generally, reconnect with the natural world in the middle of a major metro area.