Paddle Boarding at Shelby Farms

Levitt Shell. Photo Credit: Craig Thompson

Summer in the City

Fun Things to Do in Memphis This Summer

Summer is an exciting time to visit Memphis. The sun is shining, the gardens and parks are in full bloom and the packed schedule of events means there’s an array of fun things to do from activities for kids to adults-only nightlife and entertainment. Plan your getaway filled with summer fun.

Cool Treats

While other cities might be screaming for ice cream, here in Memphis we’ve got plenty of other icy treats to stay cool during the summer heat. For an iconic, only-in-Memphis experience, Jerry's Sno Cones is first on the list. This brightly colored eatery serves up a dazzling array of shaved ice concoctions from its walk-up window. Choose from flavors like Cotton Candy or Wedding Cake, and make sure to get it Supreme: loaded with a thick swirl of soft-serve ice cream.

At MEMPopS, take your pick from a constantly rotating roster of innovative seasonal ice pops (we’re talking flavors like Avocado Lime, Hibiscus Lemonade and Reverb Coffee Dulce de Leche). This local pop purveyor recently opened a new shop in East Memphis but you also can catch the signature blue-and-white-striped ice pop truck at special events around town.

Meanwhile, Wet Willie’s is the spot for adults looking to cool off with an ice-cold frozen daiquiri. Step up to the counter and select from a colorful rainbow of flavors where you’ll find everything from Chocolate Thunder to White Russian—each spiked with plenty of alcohol to get the fun started.

Levitt Shell at night
Jerry's Sno Cones / Jessica Steddom
AutoZone Park
Canoeing on a river in Memphis
Beat the heat in Memphis this Summer

Movies & Concert Series

Looking for more summer ideas? Spend a warm summer evening under the stars at one of the outdoor concerts in Memphis.

Escape to the green oasis of Overton Park, Midtown’s 342-acre public park boasting old-growth forests, Memphis Brooks Museum of ArtMemphis Zoo and the famous Levitt Shell, a historic performing arts pavilion where Elvis Presley performed his first professional rock ‘n’ roll show. It’s here that you can experience Memphis music at the Orion Free Music Concert Series, featuring—you guessed it—free music all summer long.

Another beautiful setting for summer entertainment, the 96-acre Memphis Botanic Garden presents live music during its 16th annual Live at the Garden concert series. Bring a bottle of wine, recline on the lawn and listen to big name acts as they perform beneath the night sky. Ticket prices vary.

Or, head indoors for a night at the movies with The Orpheum Summer Movies Series, presenting an all-star lineup of cult classics, family favorites and iconic romances, past movies include Mighty Python and the Holy Grail to Gone with the Wind and more. Movies will be shown at The Orpheum Theatre and Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for children under 12.

Head Outdoors 

Spend the day at the nation's largest urban park, Shelby Farms. You can zip line with GoApe, rent a stand up paddle board or cool off with lunch at The Kitchen restaurant. Go on a kayaking adventure and explore the Wolf River or Mississippi River on a tour with Allen’s Kayaking Adventures. Explore the city by bike through Explore Bike Share with access to over 600 bikes at 60 stations around Memphis. Stop by the Shelby Forest General Store for a map and a burger, and then spend the day explore Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and hike through 12,539-acres of hardwood bottomland area bordering the mighty Mississippi River. 

Want to be a part of the action without breaking a sweat? Catch an All-American baseball game at Autozone Park and cheer on the Memphis Redbirds.  Just don't forget to grab some barbecue nachos and a hot dog.