A picnic in River Garden, a Memphis park on the Mississippi River

11 Ways to Experience Memphis During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed travel, but in Memphis, it’s inspired us to create new ways to enjoy the city—and put innovative spins on some of our favorite activities. Here are 11 ideas to plan for when you're ready to visit. While the information in this piece is current as of Aug. 19, 2021, it is always a good idea to confirm hours of operation and safety protocols with any activity or attraction before you enjoy. 

1. Get a Sneak Peek at The Grove at GPAC 

Grab a lawn chair and head to The Grove at Germantown Performing Arts Center, an all-new outdoor facility, for events like concert series and movie nights. The Grove features a full bar and snacks from local food trucks will be available for purchase. Seating will be limited to observe COVID-19 safety precautions. 

2. Post Up at New Patios

Memphians love their patios, and now we have two new places to post up. Mississippi Terrace at Bass Pro Shops and the patio at Eight & Sand are two of the newest (and most talked about) spots in town. At Mississippi Terrace, sip on your favorite cocktail and dig into tasty small-plate appetizers like bacon guacamole and fried gator and creole catfish fingers. Then, grab a seat around one of the fire pits, listen to live music and enjoy scenic views of downtown Memphis. You and your furry friend can enjoy the Memphis weather at Eight & Sand’s newly opened patio. This new outdoor space at The Central Station music room offers craft cocktails in a socially distanced setting.

3. Take a Memphis Tour

There are a handful of Memphis tours that are open and taking extra measures to keep you and your crew safe. 

A Tour of Possibilities is offering a new Memphis Caravan Tour. Guests can follow the ATOP van around Memphis and learn the city’s history from an African American perspective. As a guest, you will receive a link on your cell phone to hear the guide through your own vehicle’s speakers. 

You can also explore Memphis with Backbeat Tours. This tour company is offering three tours that all feature a different look at our city while maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols. Ghost tours feature some of Memphis’ legendary haunted locations and ghost stories. Historic Memphis walking tours give guests a look at Memphis’ storied past and the iconic figures who still influence the city today. Backbeat's Memphis Bike Tours partner with Explore Bike Share to show guests different attractions and city highlights in downtown Memphis. Masks are required and social distancing measures will be in effect. 

Take a private tour of Memphis in a classic convertible Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner with Rock ‘n’ Ride Tours. Musician Brad Birkedahl will guide you around Memphis, showing off famous landmarks and hidden gems (and sharing the stories behind them). Customers must wear masks and tours are limited to two guests. 

Souvenir potential: Putting a twist on her signature culinary walking tours, Cristina McCarter of City Tasting Tours is offering a City Tasting Box. Packed with locally made goodies from Chef Tam's seasoning to Makeda's butter cookies, the boxes ship directly to your home so you can get a taste of Memphis without leaving your own kitchen.

4.    Enjoy New Dining Experiences

Responding to the new normal, restaurants around Memphis are focused on bringing you safe, even innovative, dining experiences. Make a reservation at Cooper-Young staple Tsunami. Their new patio features limited seating and a menu that changes daily (check their website for updates). Bar DKDC and its sister restaurant The Beauty Shop are serving guests on a brand new "Back Dō Oasis Patio" behind The Beauty Shop. Imagine enjoying dinner (Monday – Saturday) or brunch (Saturdays and Sundays) in your own private bubble-like “igloo.” Reservations are required.  Find more patio dining options here.

5.    Go for a Movie at the Drive-In 

Head to Malco’s Summer Quartet Drive In for a double feature. Memphis' only drive-in theater features the latest movies and classic films. Plus, don't miss Time Warp nights, when the theater plays favorites from a variety of genres. Check the theater's website for a list of movie showings. 

6.  Cheer On Memphis 901 FC 

Catch a match featuring Memphis 901 FC, the local professional soccer club, at AutoZone Park. With only a handful of games left, get your tickets today! Be sure to check the club website for safety protocols. 

7.  Rock Out to a Concert 

Live music is back in Memphis. You can catch live music across town, including shows at our favorite outdoor venues like the Levitt Shell at Overton Park.  Many local musicians continue to deliver virtual concerts as well, from local venues or their homes to yours. Check out our virtual events calendar for more information.

8.  Visit a Garden or Flower Field 

Memphis features beautiful flower fields and gardens that provide a perfect excuse to get out and enjoy the outdoors. The sunflower fields at Agricenter International are a popular photo op for locals. Access to the fields is free, but the Agricenter asks that you don’t pick any blooms so the rest of the community can enjoy them as well. To reach the sunflower fields, enter from Walnut Bend Road and park in the lot.

Explore the public garden and certified arboretum at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. The 17-acre site includes beautiful formal gardens and a tranquil, two-acre woodland garden.

At Memphis Botanic Gardens, you’ll find 31 specialty gardens spread across 96 acres. Each garden has a different theme (think: Japanese Garden, Delta Heritage Garden, Azalea Trail and more).

9.  Ride a Bike 

Whether you bring your own or rent with Explore Bike Share, Memphis is even more fun when you explore by bike. The Shelby Farms Greenline is a popular path, a 10.65-mile urban trail connecting midtown to Shelby Farms Park and beyond. Memphis River Parks and Beale Street Landing are also popular biking areas (and with Riverside Drive closed to vehicle traffic on the weekends, you can expect a chill ride as you soak up views of the mighty Mississippi). While you're downtown, bike across the Mississippi River to Arkansas on Big River Crossing, the longest pedestrian bridge over the river. 

10.  Picnic in a Park 

Support local restaurants by grabbing takeout, then head to one of Memphis’ spectacular city parks. From Memphis River Parks on the banks of the Mississippi to midtown's Overton Park and East Memphis' Shelby Farms Park (one of the largest urban parks in the country), you'll find a beautiful setting for your meal. Need help deciding which delicious local cuisine you'll enjoy on your picnic? Check out our blog post on some of the best takeout options in town

11.  Shop Local Goods at The Museum of Science and 
      History - Pink Palace.

Looking to shop local? Try the Memphis Modern Market at MOSH. From home décor and artwork to jewelry and other handcrafted goods, you can shop from some of the best local artisans all in one place. The pop up shop will run select weekends through October 10. Shop more local artisans and makers at the 49th annual Pink Palace Crafts Fair, September 24 - 26 at Audubon Park.