2016 I Love Memphis Summer Events Guide
From free weekly concerts to story slams to food festivals, here are more than 30 things to do in Memphis this summer. At the time I’m publishing this, we still have a few weeks left worth of events in the Spring Events Guide – you can check that out here.
Did I leave something out? Submit to the calendar.
– Memphis Redbirds Games, AutoZone Park, all summer long, $9-$62.50, all ages
Baseball games are going on several days a week all summer long, with fireworks, BBQ nachos, Rockey the Redbird mascot, and of course, great baseball from our Triple-A team, the Redbirds. Read more and see a list of special game promos here.
– Rooftop Parties, Peabody Hotel, Thursday nights through August 18, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., $10 (some shows are $15)
Every Thursday night in the summer, hundreds of Memphians (and visitors!) flock to the Peabody Hotel’s massive rooftop for live music, snack buffets, and drinks. The first 200 ladies get in free. Here’s the current schedule.
– Acoustic Courtyard, Overton Square Tower Courtyard, last Thursday of each month through October, 6:30 p.m., all ages, free
Head to Overton Square’s Tower Courtyard on the final Thursday of each month this summer and fall for some chill acoustic tunes for free.Click here for more info.
– Bluesday Tuesday Concerts, Tower Courtyard in Overton Square, Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m., free, all ages
Every Tuesday from May 24 to September 20, you can listen to local and traveling blues artists for free (tips and donations greatly appreciated). There are usually two acts and the music gets going about 6:30 p.m. Bring your chairs, but leave the coolers and booze at home.
– South Lawn Cinema, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, May 26 and June 2, 9, and 23, 8 p.m., $2 – $5, all ages
Bring your blankets, chairs, and picnics to the South Lawn of the Dixon Gardens for four film screenings – Toy Story, Three Amigos, Coming to America (Rated R), and Moulin Rouge (Rated PG13). They’ll have popcorn for free until it’s gone. Members are free, adults are $5, kids ages 4-10 are $2, and kids under 4 are free.
– Levitt Shell Concert Series, Levitt Shell, most Thursdays – Sundays, June 2 – July 31, most (not all) are at 7:30 p.m., all ages, free
Bring your chairs, blankets, drinks, and food, and enjoy to a slew of free shows at the Levitt Shell. Go here for the full schedule. Note that July 9 is not a free show.
– Orpheum Summer Movie Series, Orpheum Theatre, June 2 – August 26, $8 adults/$6 kids
Watch classic, cult, and family-friendly films on some Thursdays and Fridays. This year, some of the movies will be in the Orpheum and some will be in the Halloran Centre. Go here for the full lineup.
– Collierville Sunset on the Square, Collierville Town Square, Thursdays June 2 – July 21, all ages/kid-friendly, free
Collierville will host eight free shows this summer in the historic Town Square. Pets are allowed on leashes at the park perimeter. Click here for the lineup.
– Memphis Italian Festival, Marquette Park, June 2-4, all day, $8 – $15, all ages
Memphis’ Italian community celebrates with food, games, a cooking contest and more at the Memphis Italian Festival. Similar to BBQ Fest, you have to have an inside connection or be a part of a cooking team in order to eat most of the food, so prepare accordingly. You can also play bocce ball and cornhole, and hear live music.
– Memphis Punk Rock Fest, various locations, June 3-5, $5 – $45, most shows 21 and up
Thirty punk, ska, metal, and hardcore acts will take to seven different Memphis venues for three days of shows. All shows are 21+ except for the Hi Tone on June 4th and June 5th (day show only) and Folkmania’s show at Canvas is 18+. Individual shows range from pay-what-you-can up to $20, or you can get two-day passes for $30 or a full weekend pass for $45.
– A Day of Merrymaking, Overton Park, June 4, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., suggested donation $5, all ages
Bring the kids out to play at the park: games and entertainment, water slides, tons of food trucks, vendors, music, and more.The event is free, but $5 donations are greatly appreciated. Dogs are welcome!
– Spillit Story Slams, Amurica Photo, June 4, July 8 and 29, August 27, 7 p.m., $10, 18+
Spillit’s live storytelling gatherings continue throughout the summer. If you haven’t been, you need to. Just trust me. Story Slams are open competitions where you can sign up at the door to tell your story for the audience and judges. Center Stage events are where the speakers are pre-chosen from applicants. Go here for dates, themes, and how to sign up to share your story.
– Germantown Charity Horse Show, 7745 Poplar Pike, June 7-11, $5 adults/$3 kids, all ages/kid-friendly
This essential Germantown tradition is part sporting event, part festival, and definitely worth checking out if you have any interest in horses, socializing, or seeing something new and different.
– Live At The Garden, Memphis Botanic Garden, June 10 – September 23, gates open at 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., $170 for all five shows
The Botanic Garden’s popular annual concert series features five crowd-pleasing/old-school favorites. Coolers, blankets, chairs are welcome for lawn seating and the crowd is decidedly adult. Click here for more info and the Live at the Garden lineup.
– Literatini, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, June 10, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., $50 individual/$75 couple, 21 and up
Sip, sample, and vote on your favorite martinis from local bars during the Martini Death Match, then enjoy live music and snacks. Proceeds benefit Literacy Mid-South.
– Sisterhood Showcase, Cook Convention Center, June 11 – 12, $10-$25, all ages
The Sisterhood Showcase celebrates 20 years of empowering, educating, and entertaining women. It’s two days of exhibitions, talks, performances, and more.
– Brewville at DeNeuville, DeNeuville Learning Center (190 S. Cooper St.), June 11, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.,$30 single, $55 couple, $15 designated driver, 21 and up
Mingle with fellow beer lovers while you taste and judge Memphis homebrews, all benefitting the DeNeuville Learning Center, which provides education and support for women and families.
– Juneteenth Urban Music Festival, Robert Church Park, June 17-19, free to enter, all ages
Celebrate Juneteenth with lots of music, vendors, and more. I’ll update this with more information as I get it.
– Big Wig Ball, Annesdale Mansion, June 17, 7 p.m., $100 per person, 21 and up
Support LeBonheur at this annual soiree where party-goers wear chic cocktail attire and a wig – the bigger and more colorful, the better. Guests will enjoy a night of food, libations, entertainment acts, and a unique silent auction.
– Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race, Greenbelt Park, June 18, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., free to watch, $50-$100 to participate
More than 500 people will dip their paddles into the Mississippi River for the June 18th race, which is one of the largest canoe and kayak races in the Southeast.
– Soulsville Record Swap, Stax Museum, June 18, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., $5 – $10, all ages
Record dealers from Memphis and around the U.S. will be at the Stax Museum for a record show featuring music of all kinds of genres. $5 gets you admission to the swap, $10 gets you early admissiong (10 a.m.).
– Margarita Fest, Overton Park, June 18, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., $25, 21 and up
The Memphis Flyer will sponsor the Memphis margarita fest again this year. Your ticket gets you sample-sized margaritas from 15 local restaurants and bars; you can also buy food and full sized-drinks. This event only has a limited number of spots, and it will sell out – so get your tickets ASAP.
– Memphis Zombie Walk, Step-Off at Handy Park, June 24, 7:30 p.m., bring $ and can food donations for Mid-South, all agee/kid-friendly
It’s your yearly chance to dress up like the undead and lurch your way around downtown with hundreds of other zombies. The group will step off from Handy Park at 7:30 p.m., and makeup starts at 4:30 p.m. if you need a little help. If you don’t want to get made up but you still want to participate, place a duct tape X on your shoulder, and one of the undead will “bite” you, turning you into a zombie. Volunteers for make-up, donation collection, cleaning, traffic, and more are needed.
– Anime Blues Con, Memphis Cook Convention Center, July 11-3, prices TBD, all ages
Thousands of anime, fantasy, and comic fans gather for panels, shopping, and of course, lots and lots of cosplay. Check out some of the best costumes from last year here.
– July 4th In Memphis: Click here to see the whole guide.
– Prince Life Celebration and Tribute, Cadre Building, July 8, 8:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.. 21 and up, $50 – $250
This July 8th event is a multimedia celebration and tribute dedicated to the life and work of Prince. There’s a special guest TBA.
– Time-Warp Drive-In, Summer Drive In, July 16 and August 20, $10/kids under 10 free, all ages allowed but parental discretion advised
Stay up all night at the drive-in with classic and cult films each month. Click here for the full lineup of films
– 27th Annual WEVL 89.9 Blues on the Bluff, National Ornamental Metal Museum, July 23, price info TBA, all ages
Bring a chair and some friends to WEVL’s annual Blues on the Bluff concert at the Metal Museum. Proceeds benefit Memphis’ only volunteer radio station.
– Elvis Week 2016, Various locations, August 8 – 16, prices vary, all ages
Celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll this year by attending one of the many, many Elvis events taking place in Memphis in August. Everything from official Elvis Tribute Artist contests to concerts to parties to tours – there’s a ton going on. Check out the full schedule here.
– FOMO Fest 2016, Levitt Shell, August 6, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m., all ages, ticket info TBA
You’re going to be sweating anyways, so why not sweat to the tune of a bunch of excellent up-and-coming Memphis bands? Lineup will be announced later in the summer.
– Meritan Midnight Classic Bicycle Tour, Kickoff at the Liberty Bowl, August 6, 10 p.m., all ages
Forget the bike lanes: Midtown’s streets become super accessible to cyclists during the Midnight Classic Bike Tour. The leisurely 17-mile escorted ride starts and ends at Tiger Lane (by the Liberty Bowl). Before and after the ride, there will be live music, food trucks, bike vendors and more. Don’t forget your helmet or your bike light.
Don’t forget to check out the calendar for even more events. I’m adding to it all the time.
Did I leave something out? All you have to do is add it in the comments so folks can see it!