Levitt Shell at night

Free Things to Do in Memphis

Seeing some of Memphis’ biggest attractions can mean spending a good chunk of your trip’s budget on tickets. But there’s a lifetime of fun to be had in Memphis without ever reaching into your wallet.

Seeing some of Memphis’ biggest attractions can mean saving part of your vacation budget for tickets. But there’s a lifetime of fun to be had in Memphis without ever reaching into your wallet.
  
Memphis offers many free things to do. You can find free or pay-what-you-can hours at attractions, stroll Beale Street, attend complimentary concerts, keep your kids busy or watch the sun set over the Mississippi ... the list goes on and on. We’ve highlighted some of the best free attractions, shows and things to do in Memphis – for no money down. 

Some of the suggestions below require a bit of planning around specific days and requirements. And, keep in mind that prices, times and other details are always subject to change. Please check ahead to confirm details before you go. 

Read below for a full list of ideas, or skip right to the section you're most interested in:

Free Days at Museums and Attractions
Free Things to Do With Kids
Free Tours and Transportation
Free Live Music and Entertainment
Free Parks and Entertainment Districts

 

National Civil Rights museum sign at Lorraine Motel

Free Days at Memphis Museums and Attractions 

You'll find that many of Memphis' best attractions offer free day admissions.

Graceland, home of Elvis Presley
3734 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Going down to the Graceland Gates, snapping a photo and imagining the King rolling down his driveway in a vintage pink Cadillac is always free. Graceland also offers free-admission walk-up visits to the Meditation Garden, 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. daily.

Memphis Zoo
2000 Prentiss Pl. 
Rated as one of the best zoos in America, the Memphis Zoo houses 4,500 animals including giant pandas. In fact, it’s one of only four zoos nationwide to house this endangered species. Residents of Tennessee can take advantage of free admission on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to close.

Mud Island Riverwalk
125 North Front St.
To get an understanding of the Mississippi River's role and influence over Memphis, visitors shouldn’t miss the free Mud Island Riverwalk experience. An epic scale model, the Riverwalk, spans five city blocks and is marked with cities, bridges and historic markers to give visitors perspective on the river and its people. The riverwalk is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m Tuesday through Sunday, April through October. 

National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry St.
Housed in the historic Lorraine Motel, the National Civil Rights Museum is an intense, immersive tour through our country’s civil rights struggle, from the early days of slavery to the museum’s moving conclusion. (The tour ends at the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.) Tennessee residents may visit the museum for free on Mondays from 3 p.m. until closing. 

Stax Museum of American Soul Music
926 E. McLemore Ave.
Maybe it’s Isaac Hayes’ gold-plated Cadillac, the Express Yourself dance floor or the hall of hit records. For locals and visitors alike, it’s the opportunity to soak up the sweet sounds of one of the most creative periods in Memphis music history. Admission is free to Shelby County residents from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Tuesday.

Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum
191 Beale St.
The Rock ’n’ Soul Museum tells Memphis’ musical story, from rural field hollers and sharecropper songs through the explosion of Sun, Stax and Hi Records. Created by the Smithsonian Institute, the museum offers music-lovers a comprehensive digital audio tour with more than 300 minutes of information, 100 songs and three audio-visual programs. The museum is free for Shelby County residents on Tuesdays.

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art 
1934 Poplar Ave.
The permanent collection at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art encompasses thousands of works across media (and a treasure of local and international artists, from a Civil Rights-era Memphis photographer to a modern-day African muralist). Admission is pay-what-you can every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Dixon Gallery & Gardens
4339 Park Ave.
With one of the region’s largest collections of Impressionist paintings and decorative arts, the Dixon in East Memphis is an incredible value for art-lovers. Visitors can take in the collection, new exhibits and the well-manicured gardens free of charge on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. On Tuesdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., admission is pay-what-you-wish. 

Center for Southern Folklore
123 S. Main St.
The Center for Southern Folklore is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “celebrating the arts, music, and heritage of the South from the cultural crossroads of Memphis.” Full of great music, and arts and crafts by local makers, the center often hosts live music events, storytelling sessions and an affordable menu of soul food. The center is always open for free.

Elmwood Cemetery
824 S. Dudley
Founded in 1852, Elmwood is the final resting place for so many Memphians, from music legends to victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic. Elmwood Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an official Bird Sanctuary and Arboretum. Grounds of the cemetery are open daily 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 

Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
332 N. Lauderdale
​The life of Danny Thomas and the history of ALSAC and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are commemorated in the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion. Located on the campus of St. Jude, admission is free every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Lichterman Nature Center
5992 Quince Rd.
Gardens, exhibits and a surprising 65 acres of lake, meadow and forest habitats give visitors easy access to nature in the midst of metropolitan Memphis. Admission is free on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. until close. 

Art Museum of the University of Memphis 
3750 Norriswood
The art museum at the University of Memphis features permanent collections of Egyptian and West African art, and changing exhibits of contemporary art. Free admission Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call the museum for dates, as it closes on university holidays and between exhibits. 

Museum of Biblical History 
140 E. Mulberry St. on historic Collierville Town Square
A nonprofit, non-denominational center featuring replicas and artifacts from the times of Hebrew and Christian scriptures. The Museum of Biblical History includes an exhibit gallery, Bible Lab, reference library and museum store. Although the museum is free, there is a suggested donation of $3. 

Memorial Park Crystal Shrine Grotto
5668 Poplar Ave.
Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez built this man-made cavern filled with crystals, rock formations and religious dioramas in the 1930s. Located in Memorial Park Cemetery, the grotto is a hidden gem and open dawn to dusk each day. 

Mud Island Riverwalk

Free Things To Do With Kids

From marching ducks to bike rides and park romps, we've gathered some of the best kid-friendly things to do in Memphis for free.  

Peabody Ducks
149 Union Ave.
Every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., “pomp and circumstance” takes on new meaning in the grand lobby of the Peabody Hotel. This is when the Peabody Ducks, five North American mallards, arrive and leave the hotel fountain in a grand procession complete with a red carpet, official introduction and visiting paparazzi. The Peabody Duck March is completely free and open to all.

Shelby Farms Park
6903 Great View Dr. N. 
Shelby Farms Park is a 4,500-acre park in the heart of East Memphis. Full of walking, biking and running trails, an awesome playground, splash area, fishing, a herd of buffalo and plenty of space to fly kites, this is the perfect place to let your little one run about and blow off steam. For a fee, you can also go horseback riding, rent bikes or check out a canoe, kayak or paddleboard to explore the park’s Hyde Lake. The park is open sunrise to sunset each day. 

Mud Island Riverwalk
125 North Front St.
To get an understanding of the Mississippi River's role and influence over Memphis, visitors shouldn’t miss the free Mud Island Riverwalk experience. An epic scale model, the Riverwalk spans five city blocks and is marked with cities, bridges and historic markers to give visitors perspective on the Mississippi and its people. The riverwalk is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m Tuesday through Sunday, April through October. 

Levitt Shell Concerts
1930 Poplar Ave. in Overton Park
​Built in the 1930s and recognized as the site of Elvis' first professional rock 'n' roll show, the Levitt Shell is an outdoor performing arts pavilion located in beautiful Overton Park. Every summer and fall, the Levitt Shell hosts more than 50 free concerts – blues, gospel, country and rock represented. 

Memphis Pink Palace Museum
3050 Central Ave.
The Pink Palace Museum is one of the largest museums in the Mid-South region. Learn about the history of Memphis, walk through a replica of the first Piggly Wiggly grocery store and meet Tyra the T. rex. Museum exhibits are free on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Memphis Zoo
2000 Galloway
​Rated as one of the best zoos in America, the Memphis Zoo houses 4,500 animals including giant pandas. In fact, it’s one of only four zoos nationwide to house this endangered species. Residents of Tennessee can take advantage of free admission on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to close.

National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry St.
Housed in the historic Lorraine Motel, the National Civil Rights Museum is an intense, immersive tour through our country’s civil rights struggle, from the early days of slavery to the museum’s moving conclusion. (The tour ends at the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.) Tennessee residents may visit the museum for free on Mondays from 3 p.m. until closing.

A. Schwab's Dry Goods Store
163 Beale St.
A. Schwab, established in 1876, is the only remaining original business on Beale Street. Its three floors are filled with store relics, voodoo powders, Memphis music, retro toys and the largest collection of hats in town—perfect for browsing around. A. Schwab is open Monday through Wednesday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Biking through Memphis

Free Tours and Transportation

By bike, bus or boots, there are many free ways to tour and explore the city of Memphis.

Beale Street
Corner of 2nd Street & Beale Street
​One of America's most famous streets, Beale Street is where W.C. Handy penned the first blues song and where you’ll find three blocks of restaurants, nightclubs, live music, museums and neon. Peruse the A. Schwab Dry Goods Store, follow the music Walk of Fame, see hundreds of motorcycles for Bike Night (every Wednesday night in the summer) or catch the Beale Street Flippers hand-springing down the street. 

Bike Routes
Encompassing more than 60 miles of bike lanes, off-road trails and protected pathways, bike routes in Memphis are a fun way to get around. Designed for recreational and commuter riders of all skills and ability levels, our trails allow you to bike along the Mississippi River, down the Shelby Farms Greenline, through city parks and more. Plan your ride with our​ free Memphis bike map

Sun Studio Shuttle
706 Union Ave.
Rest those Blue Suede Shoes, and jump aboard this free shuttle to Graceland, Sun Studio and the Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum. The shuttle picks up and drops off hourly and runs 7 days a week. See the full schedule here. Note: The shuttle service is complimentary, but each attraction has admission costs. 

South Main Trolley Nights
South Main Historic District 
The last Friday of each month, Memphis' South Main Arts District hosts an evening of art and music. Shops, restaurants and art galleries in the area open their doors to Memphians and visitors (tip: get there early for adult beverages and a few snacks). Hop aboard the vintage trolley for only $1 a ride. 

Overton Park Old Forest Trail Hikes
Lick Creek Bridge on Old Forest Lane in Overton Park
​Take a guided hike of the Old Forest State Natural Area on the second Saturday and last Sunday of each month at 10 a.m. Inside, you’ll find old-growth trees, plants and wildlife, and five miles of paved and unpaved trails. Overton Park is also home to playgrounds and a dog park – all free to enjoy every day of the year.

Downtown Memphis Commission Sidewalk Stories
Downtown Memphis
​Follow a series of bronze plaques laid in the concrete of Downtown Memphis. More than 50 plaques tell of the city’s colorful history, including Cotton Row, once the hub of the global cotton industry. 

Orpheum Theatre Sidewalk of Stars
203 S. Main St.
The Orpheum Theatre’s “Sidewalk of Stars” commemorates the appearances of legendary entertainers dating back to Harry Houdini, Mae West, John Philip Sousa, George Burns and Gracie Allen. 

Beautiful sunsets over the river
Watch a neon-pink sun set over the Mississippi River from the grounds of the Metal Museum. Access to the grounds of the museum, including its a sculpture garden and gift shop, is always free. However, there is a fee to visit the full-functioning blacksmith and foundry shop, and the museum. . 

Beale Street Landing 
251 Riverside Dr.
Take in the amazing views the Mighty Mississippi river. There's nothing as relaxing as relaxing in an rocking chair as the riverboats go by.

Free concerts in Memphis

Free Live Music and Entertainment

Kick back and hear free live music at venues throughout Memphis.  

Beale Street Entertainment District
Corner of 2nd Street and Beale Street 
One of America's most famous streets, Beale Street is where W.C. Handy penned the first blues song and where you’ll find three blocks of restaurants, nightclubs, live music, museums and neon. Peruse the A. Schwab Dry Goods Store, follow the music Walk of Fame, see hundreds of motorcycles for Bike Night (every Wednesday night in the summer) or catch the Beale Street Flippers hand-springing down the street. 

Levitt Shell Concerts
Located in Overton Park
​Built in the 1930s and recognized as the site of Elvis' first professional rock 'n' roll show, the Levitt Shell is an outdoor performing arts pavilion located in beautiful Overton Park. Every summer and fall, the Levitt Shell hosts more than 50 free concerts – blues, gospel, country and rock represented. 

Playhouse on the Square
66 S. Cooper
Playhouse on the Square is a regional theater company located in the Overton Square dining, shopping and entertainment district. It offers pay-what-you-can nights; just look for the show schedule on the company’s website.

Handy Park
Beale Street
​Concerts that take place in Handy Park are always free and open to the public. On afternoons, performers take to the small stage for free blues shows and other events. 

Southland Park Gaming & Racing
1550 N. Ingram, West Memphis, Ark.
Free general admission to live and simulcast greyhound and thoroughbred racing, seven days a week year-round.  

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Free Parks and Entertainment Districts

Memphis is packed with free entertainment districts, parks and green space to play and relax. 

South Main Arts District 
South Main Street
​Located along the trolley line on South Main Street in Downtown Memphis, this culturally-rich neighborhood is known for the historic Arcade restaurant and Orpheum Theatre, the National Civil Rights Museum, art galleries, murals, hip restaurants, a farmers market and trendy shops.

Cooper-Young Entertainment District
Cooper Street and Young Avenue
​Cooper-Young is an eclectic neighborhood and historic district in the Midtown area of Memphis, named for the intersection of Cooper Street and Young Avenue. Visit this walkable neighborhood for unique boutiques, an annual street festival in September, galleries, cool murals and specialty restaurants.

Court Square
Main Street between Corut Ave and Madison Ave

A wonderful park in the middle of Downtown Memphis. Come by every Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a food truck round-up. You can explore the shops and vendors nearby or just relax on a bench by the square’s grand fountain. 

Beale Street Entertainment District
Corner of 2nd Street and Beale Street 
One of America's most famous streets, Beale Street is where W.C. Handy penned the first blues song and where you’ll find three blocks of restaurants, nightclubs, live music, museums and neon. Peruse the A. Schwab Dry Goods Store, follow the music Walk of Fame, see hundreds of motorcycles for Bike Night (every Wednesday night in the summer) or catch the Beale Street Flippers hand-springing down the street. 

Broad Avenue Arts District
Broad Avenue/Sam Cooper Boulevard between Hollywood and the railroad tracks
​Originally a suburban community on the rail line between Memphis and Raleigh, this district is today home to clothing, art and home decor shops, free art walks, murals, bike lanes and buzz-y restaurants.

Historic Collierville Town Square
Main Street Collierville
​Established in 1867 after the Civil War left the original town in ashes, the historic Collierville Town Square is the only town square in Shelby County. Browse the boutique shops, enjoy a picnic in the park, catch free concerts or shop for hard-to-find hardware at the oldest store in Collierville, McGinnis Hardware (est. 1887). 

Martyrs Park
Located just north of I-55 Bridge
​With a majestic view of the Mississippi River, the park is home to a stunning statue commemorating the citizens who tended the sick and dying during the yellow fever epidemic that devastated the city in the 1870s.

Robert R. Church Park
Church Park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Beale Street Historic District. The park was built by the city's first African-American millionaire, Robert Church, as a haven for African-Americans during the early 1900s. 

Big River Crossing
Access from Channel 3 Dr./Virginia Ave. W. Street parking is available on Channel 3 Drive; lot parking is available at Martyrs Park.
The longest pedestrian and bike bridge across the Lower Mississippi River invites you to walk from downtown Memphis all the way to West Memphis, Arkansas. The views of the river and downtown Memphis skyline are one-of-a-kind. Big River Crossing is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Mud Island Riverwalk
125 N. Front St.
To get an understanding of the Mississippi River's role and influence over Memphis, visitors shouldn’t miss the free Mud Island Riverwalk experience. An epic scale model, the Riverwalk spans five city blocks and is marked with cities, bridges and historic markers to give visitors perspective on the Mississippi and its people. The riverwalk is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m Tuesday through Sunday, April through October.