40+ Things To Do In Memphis In Summer 2017
Ed. Note: Contributor Aisling Maki has put together this fantastic list of things to do in Memphis this summer. Got something to add? Submit it to the blog’s calendar here.
From free weekly concerts to story slams to food festivals, here are 40 things to do in Memphis this summer.
– 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 17, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., $10 (some shows are $15), 21 and over
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. Ladies and hotel guests free until 7 p.m.. Here’s the current schedule.
– Whet Thursday, National Ornamental Metal Museum, Select Thursdays through August 3, free, 21 and over
Tour the museum and grounds, enjoy live local music, sample local food truck fare, watch a metalsmithing demonstration, attend a gallery talk, or take in a sunset from the best view along the Mississippi River. Held on the first Thursday of each month. Wine and beer served.
– Food Truck Fridays, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Fridays through September, 11:30-1:30 p.m., free admission to the gardens during Food Truck Fridays
Enjoy lunch on Fridays in the beautiful Dixon Gardens, with three to four vendors on hand each week offering everything from sushi to barbecue to frozen desserts. Here’s the schedule.
– Fourth Bluff Fridays, Memphis Park/Fourth Bluff, Fridays May 19 – June 30, free, all ages
Fourth Bluff Fridays pop-up beer gardens are back every week from May 19 through June 3o. At Memphis Park (51. N Front Street) from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., they’ll have beer, live music, food trucks, games, vendors, etc. Go here (bottom of the post) for the music lineup.
– Levitt Shell Free Concert Series, Levitt Shell, most Thursdays – Sundays, June 1 – July 16, most are 7:30-10 p.m., all ages
Bring your chairs, blankets, snacks and drinks and enjoy a host of free outdoor concerts at the Levitt Shell. Go here for the full schedule.
– Memphis Punk Rock Fest, various locations, June 1-4, no cover-$60 for VIP passes, most shows 21 and up
Thirty punk, ska, metal, reggae, and hardcore acts, as well as comics, will take to eight different Memphis venues for four days of shows, benefiting Choices and the Mid-South Food Bank. Some shows are 21 and over; others are all ages.
– Orpheum Summer Movie Series, Orpheum Theatre, select Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays June 2 through August 25, $8 adults/$6 kids under 12
Watch classic, cult, family friendly films and musicals throughout the summer. Arrive early to grab a themed drink special, test your movie trivia knowledge, and step into the photo booth. Costumes are welcome! Go here for the full schedule.
– Pup Party and Parade, Broad Avenue Arts District, June 2, 5-8 p.m., free, all ages
Various Puptivities including a canine costume contest, photo boother pet portraits, paw painting, prizes and more. Parade starts at 7:30 in the bike lane on Broad. Bring money for activities and shopping.
– Memphis Italian Festival, Marquette Park, June 2-3, all day, $8 – $15 and free for active military and kids 10 and under, all ages
Memphis’ Italian community celebrates its heritage with food, games, arts and crafts, a cooking contest and more. 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. More info here.
– Grind City Getdown Dodgeball Tournament, June 3, 4-10 p.m., Downtown Memphis, free for spectators, all ages
The makers of LUVMUD are hosting a caged dodgeball tourney, with friends and corporate teams competing in a double elimination-style friendly competition. Food trucks, live music and a beer garden. Corporate teams $1,000; $35 per individual. Benefiting Memphis Family Connection Center.
– A Day of Merrymaking, Overton Park, June 3, 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, beer garden, vendors, live music and more.The event is free, but $5 donations are greatly appreciated. Dogs are welcome! Go here for more info.
– 2017 Trashion Show, 670 Fourth Street, June 4, 5:30 p.m. $5-$65,
Memphis City Beautiful host a trashion show with designs by everyone from students to professional designers. WMC’s Ron Childers and Memphis fashion icon Babbie Lovett will emcee. The event includes special performances, food, wine and a silent auction. Benefits Memphis City Beautiful.
– Germantown Charity Horse Show, 7745 Poplar Pike, June 6-10, $5 adults/$3 kids/free for kids under 5, 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. Several of food vendors will be on site, as well as vendors selling art and high-end goods.
– Loving Local 2017, Old Dominic Distillery, June 8, 6-9 p.m., $50, 21 and over
Project Green Fork’s 8th Annual Loving Local Fundraiser to be held at the all new OLD DOMINICK DISTILLERY overlooking the Mighty Mississippi Downtown. Live entertainment, a silent auction, bottle pull, food from PGF certified restaurants, a signature cocktail and wine and beer.
– Memphis Roller Derby, 940 Early Maxwell Blvd., June 10, July 8, August 19, $10 adults, $5 kids, free for kids 4 and under
Watch the derby girls take on their opponents in the Pipkin Building. Snacks, beer and merchandise are available. Bring cash.
– Time-Warp Drive-In, Summer Drive-In, June 10 + July 8 + August 8, dusk to dawn, $10 per person, all ages
Black Lodge Video and Malco Theatres present the 4th annual Time Warp Drive In series. The spring film nights including “Burn Forever”, “Killer Beauty: Women In Arms”, and “Giant Monsters Attack!” Go here to see the lineup for all 2017 Time Warp Drive Ins.
– Blythe & Young Block Party, June 10, 5-8 p.m., free, all ages
Join Cooper-Young residents in celebration the neighborhood’s popular retail block. Stop by participating merchants, such as 901 Comics, Goner Records and Two Rivers Bookstore, for free events and special discounts.
– Night at the Lorraine, Lorraine Motel June 10, 7-11 p.m., $75-$150, 21 and up
Although known as the site of Dr. King’s shooting, the Lorraine Motel also has a lighter side to its history. The motel’s famous guests include B.B. King, Nat King Cole, Isaac Hayes and Booker T. & the MG’s. This benefit for the National Civil Rights Museum invites you to step back in time with an evening of food, 60s music and uniquely Memphis fun.
– The Music of Miles Davis: From Bebop to Hip Hop, Crosstown Arts, June 10, 6-10 p.m., $10, all ages
The Crosstown Jazz Series is designed to salute classic jazz music, with contemporary musicians performing the work of the legends. Doors at 6 p.m.,performance at 7 p.m. Cash Bar. Get tickets.
– Indie Wednesday Film Series, Various locations, June 14, 7-10 p.m., pay what you can, all ages
Weekly film screenings hosted by Indie Memphis will screen at Crosstown Arts, Malco’s Studio on the Square and Ridgeway Theatre on a rotating basis. The June showing is “A Stray,” a film about a a young Muslim refugee whose life changes when he crosses paths with a stray dog. Winner of the 2016 Indie Memphis Festival Special Jury Prize. Directed by Musa Syeed. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m.
– ICEBERG New Music Collective Residency, Crosstown Arts, June 15 – 24, free (donations accepted), all ages
Crosstown Arts’ new music collective, Iceberg, features ten NYC-based composers who will offer a series of concerts, lectures, workshops, and events this June.
– Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival, Tiger Lane, July 15 noon to 10 p.m., $10 adv./$20 gate, all ages/kid-friendly
The 2nd annual Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival and Family Fun Day moves to Tiger Lane this year. They’ll have a bunch of jerk and Caribbean foods, live entertainment, a jerk cook-off, dominoes tournament, a kids’ area, and more. It benefits the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee. Kids ages 12 and under are free.
– Spillit Story Slams, Amurica Photo, Summer Slam June 16 – August 19, 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.
– Juneteenth Urban Music Festival, Robert Church Park, June 16-18, free to enter, all ages
Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. Celebrate Juneteenth with lots of live music, vendors, a car show, kids play area and much more.
– Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race, Greenbelt Park, June 17, 10 a.m., free to watch, $50-$100 to participate
More than 500 people will dip their paddles into the Mississippi River in one of the largest canoe and kayak races in the Southeast. Now in its 35th year, the race will benefit Church Health, Wolf River Conservancy, Overton Park Conservancy and Shelby Farms Park. Go here to register for the race.
– A Secret History of Memphis Hoodoo, 546 S. Main,, June 17, 1-3 p.m., free, older children and adults
Author and lecturer Tony Kail offers a fun and education afternoon for folks interested in the history and truth behind rootwork and conjuring in Memphis. You’ll also get to check out a portion of his Traveling HooDoo Museum for guests to peruse.
– Murphy’s 40th Anniversary, 1589 Madison, June 17, 10 p.m.-Midnight, 21 and over
Murphy’s celebrates 40 years of great times with great music, food and beverages. Drink specials and music by River City Tanlines and The Fast Mothers. Doors open at 9 p.m.
– Margarita Fest, Overton Park, June 17, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., $25-$35, 21 and up
At The Memphis Flyer’s third annual margarita, you can indulge in sample-sized margaritas from 15 local restaurants and bars, as well as purchase food and full sized-drinks. Vote for your favorite! This event only has a limited number of spots, and it will sell out – so get your tickets ASAP. Early bird tickets $25, $35 general admission.
– Soulsville Record Swap, Stax Museum, June 17, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., free, all ages
Goner Records and the STAX Museum are teaming up for the second annual Soulsville Record Swap. Record dealers from Memphis and around the U.S. will be at the Stax Museum for a record show featuring music from all genres. DJs will play sets all day and food trucks will be on site. $5 gets you admission to the swap, $10 gets you early admission at 10 a.m.
– 29th Annual WEVL Blues on the Bluff 2017, June 22, 6-11 p.m.. National Ornamental Metal Museum, price info TBA, all ages
Celebrate another year of amazing Memphis music, featuring Ghost Town Blues Band, Marcella and her Lovers and The MD’s. Enjoy great food and drinks from one of the city’s most beautiful viewing spots over the Mississippi river.
– Live At The Garden, Memphis Botanic Garden, June 23 – September 15, 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 about artists and ticket purchase.
– Carpenter Art Garden’s 5-Year Art Show, 295 Carpenter Street, June 23, 5-8 p.m., $20 donation, all ages
Carpenter Art Garden’s five-year anniversay will feature garden tours and an art show tih artwork for sale by the kids from Binghampton and the local artists who’ve taught them. Appetizers, beer and wine served. Proceeds benefit the Carpenter Art Garden.
– Big Wig Ball, Annesdale Mansion, June 23, 7-11 p.m., $75-$100 per person, 21 and up
Support LeBonheur Children’s Hospital at this annual soiree, where party-goers wear chic cocktail attire with wild wigs – the bigger and more colorful, the better. Guests will enjoy a night of food, libations, entertainment acts, and a unique silent auction. Complimentary valet parking provided.
– Anime Blues Con, Memphis Cook Convention Center, July 7-9, $25-$75, all ages
Thousands of anime, fantasy, and comic fans will gather for panels, shopping, gaming, and of course, plenty of cosplay.
– Fest of Thrones, Rec Room, July 13, 7-11:30 p.m., free, 18 and over
Rec Room will transform into Westeros for one night to celebrate Tyrion Lannister style. There will be themed stations, merchandise, specialty cocktails and more.
– Memphis Zine Fest, 438 N. Cleveland, July 21, 2-5 p.m., free, all ages
Avid zinesters and newbies alike will gather at Storybooth, and a youth zine workshop will be offered. Supplies provided to get you started, but feel free to bring your own imagery, drawings and art supplies.
– Memphis Afro-Carnival Weekend Festival, Memphis Downtown Riverwalk, July 27-30, $45-$325
Beautiful costumes from around the world, a parade, and live performances from top Caribbean, Indian, Afro and Latino artists.
– Memphis Pet Expo, Agricenter International, August 5 and 6, free, all ages
Bring your pet or meet adoptable animals. Discounted vaccinations, pet activities, demonstrations, prize giveaways and more. Saturday from 10:00-5 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Elvis Week 2017, Various locations, August 11 – 19, prices vary, all ages
Celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll this year by attending one of the many Elvis events taking place across Memphis in August. Everything from official Elvis Tribute Artist contests to dance parties to the famous candlelight vigil that attracts fans from around the globe to the gates of Graceland.
– Rock for Love, Crosstown, August 18-20, $10 donation, all ages
Now in its 11th year, this popular annual fundraiser for Church Health will feature more than a dozen bands at two venues — Crosstown Concourse and the Hi-Tone Cafe.
Got something to add? Submit it to the blog’s calendar here.
About the Author
Aisling Maki is a freelance writer, editor, and public and media relations specialist with awards from The Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and Public Relations Society of America, as well as several awards for fiction writing. Her work has appeared in publications in more than 20 countries. You can usually find her cheering on the Grizzlies, doing outdoorsy things, or traveling with her daughter, Brídín. They live in Cooper-Young with a dog, a guinea pig and a pair of pet mice.