25 Things to Do in Memphis This Summer

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 4th 2014 9546 0

From ongoing concert series to fancy dinners to family-friendly festivals, here are 25 things to do in Memphis this summer. Did I leave something out? Just add it in the comments.

Adirondack chairs in front of Graham's Lighting on Cooper. 

1. Rooftop Parties, Peabody Hotel, Thursday nights through August, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., $10 (some shows are $15)
Every Thursday night in the summer, hundreds of downtowners flock to the Peabody Hotel's massive rooftop for live music, food from two snack buffets, and drinks. Ladies get in free before 7 p.m. Here's the full schedule.

2. Thursdays Squared, Overton Square Tower Courtyard, Thursdays through August 28, 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., $5 – $15, 21 and up
Thursdays Squared is part block party, part concert. Go here for the full schedule, which I'll keep updated as new bands are added.

3. Levitt Shell Concert Series, Levitt Shell, most Thursdays – Sundays through July 20, 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. I'm making the opening remarks at the June 8th (Amy Lavere) and June 20th (School of Rock) shows, and I'll be around after so please say hi if you see me! Go here for the full schedule. Note that June 7 is not a free show (see Moon River Music Festival).

4. Orpheum Summer Movie Series, Orpheum Theatre, now through Sept. 5, $7 adults/$5 kids
Watch classic, cult, and family-friendly films most weekends (and some weekdays) in the gilded theatre usually reserved for Broadway shows. Go here for the full lineup. 

5. Sunset on the Square Summer Concert Series, Collierville Historic Town Square, Thursday nights in June and July, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., free, all ages
Head to the bandstand in Collierville's Town Square for two months of free music from crowd-pleasing bands of all genres (no show on July 3).

6. Jams on Beale, Handy Park, Fridays starting June 6 through August, 6:30 p.m. – until, free, all ages
Memphis musicians will fill Handy Park on Beale Street with music every Friday night this summer. Go here for the full schedule

7. Memphis Punk Rock Fest, various locations, June 6 – 8, $7-$20, all ages/after parties 21 and up
Almost 20 punk, ska, and metal acts will take to various stages in midtown for a weekend of shows and after parties. Day shows are $7, after parties are $5, or you can get a $20 pass for all four shows. Go here for the full schedule. 

Overton Park

8. A Day of Merrymaking, Overton Park, June 7, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., suggested donation $5, all ages
Bring the kids out to play at the park; there will be family-friendly games and entertainment, water slides, pretty much every food truck in Memphis, music, and more.

9. Splash + Splatter, Shelby Farms Park, weekends in June, $10 adults/$5 under age 12
Stay cool at weekend water festivals with splash pads, sprinklers, slides, and sand castle sculpting. Start June 7, Saturday hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday hours are noon – 5 p.m.

10. Moon River Music Festival, Levitt Shell, June 7, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. $25, all ages
This Saturday marks the first year for the Moon River Music Festival, a project from Memphis native Drew Holcomb. In addition to being the headliner with his band The Neighbors, Drew will bring 13 acts to play all day long at the Levitt Shell. Read the full post here. 

11. Queer Dinner, Delta Sol Farm, June 8, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., $75 per person, 21 and up
Head to the farm for a delicious meal, adult beverages and something you don't see every day on a farm…drag show performances. There's a shuttle going from Memphis to Delta Sol Farm for an additional $20. All proceeds benefit the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center and Slow Food Memphis.

12. Groovin' and Grillin' Concert Series, Kiwanis Pavilion at Municipal Park (Exeter Rd.), June 10 and 17, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., free, all ages
Bring the family for a hot dog and burger cookout and tunes for two Tuesday concerts, the Ghost Town Blues Band on June 10 and Jamie Baker & The VIP's on June 17. 

13. Literatini, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, June 13, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., $50 individual/$75 couple, 21 and up

Sip, sample, and vote on your favorite martinis from ten local restaurants. Ticket and silent auction proceeds and 20 percent of book sales benefit Literacy Mid-South.

14. Spillit Story Slam: Heroes, Amurica Photo (410 Cleveland St.), June 13, 8 p.m., $10, all ages
Attention storytellers: show up and put your name in the bucket for a chance to compete for the title of Grand Master Storyteller of Memphis by telling a five-minute story in front of judges and a crowd. It's much less scary than it sounds, I promise. The theme is "Heroes". 

Photo via Outdoors, Inc. Facebook Page. Used by permission. 

15. Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race, Greenbelt Park, June 14, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., free to watch, $40/$80 to participate
More than 500 people will dip their paddles into the Mississippi River for the June 14th race, which is one of the largest canoe and kayak races in the Southeast. Olympians, world champions and amateurs will compete for more than $15,000 in cash and prizes. Read about my trip kayaking on the Mississippi River here. Register for the race here. 

16. LaVinnia London's Cabaret, 1884 Lounge at Minglewood Hall, June 14, 7 p.m., $12, 21 and up
LaVinnia London's Cabaret is an evening of traditional Vaudeville entertainment featuring live music, circus-style acts, burlesque and more. This weekend's performers include the Side Street Steppers, Memphis Raqs Belly Dance, the Hooper Troopers, burlesque dancers, aerialists and magic.

17. Womanchild, Evergreen Theatre, June 20,  7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., $9, 21 and up
Support Memphis comedy and laugh your face off at comic's Katrina Coleman's album recording. She'll do two performances, one at 7 p.m. and again at 9:30 p.m. 

18. Spillit Center Stage: Identity Crisis, Amurica Photo (410 Cleveland St.), June 20, doors at 7:30 p.m., $10, 18 and up
Unlike the Story Slams, Spillit Center Stage events are curated storytelling events – five Memphians will share their stores expounding on the "identity crisis" theme.

Aftermath of the last homebrew competition I attended.

19. Brewville at DeNeuville, DeNeuville Learning Center (190 S. Cooper St.), June 21, 4 p.m. – until, $35 advance/$45 at the door, 21 and up
Mingle with fellow beer lovers while you taste and judge Memphis-homebrewed beer, all benefitting the DeNeuville Learning Center, which provides education and support for women and families.

20. Live at the Garden, Memphis Botanic Gardens, various Fridays and Saturdays June 21 through September 20, $45
The Botanic Garden's annual outdoor Live at the Garden concert series has a brand-new permanent stage this year. More than the music, the series is also about hanging out on blankets with elaborate picnics and seeing and being seen. Go here for the full lineup.

Memphis Heat B-Boy Jam & All-Stylez Battle

21. Memphis Heat 2, Madison Dance Studio (1555 Madison Ave.), June 28, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., $10, all ages
Don't miss the second annual breakdancing jam where Memphis' best b-boys and b-girls compete for respect and tons of prize money. See photos from last year here.

22. 26th Annual WEVL 89.9 Blues on the Bluff, National Ornamental Metal Museum, July 19, ticket cost TBA, all ages
Bring a chair and some friends to WEVL's annual Blues on the Bluff concert at the Metal Museum. The Garry Burnside Band, the Blind Mississippi Morris Band, and the Bo-Keys will play, and there will be a silent auction and plenty of food and drink. Proceeds benefit Memphis' only volunteer radio station.

23."…And Thar You Got Wax, A Drama Boy Encore", Broad Ave Water Tower Pavilion (2542 Broad Ave.), July 19, 7 p.m., free, all ages
The Creative Director of Spillit Memphis and talented storyteller is putting on an encore performance of his one-man show where he'll tell a yarn or two (or four) about his adventures traveling around the South.

24. Elvis Week 2014, Various locations, August 8 – 17, prices vary, all ages
Celebrate the 60th anniversary 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. 

25. Meritan Midnight Classic Bicycle Tour, Kickoff at the Liberty Bowl, August 23, 8 p.m., all ages
Forget the bike lanes: Midtown's streets become super accessible to cyclists during the Midnight Classic Bike Tour on August 23. 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.

Also: Listen to the I Love Memphis June podcast, with 12 year old guest Mo Bridges (CEO of Mo's Bows). 

Don't forget to check out the calendar for even more events.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Jeff says:

    Literatini is June 13th. 

  2. Mitch says:

    How could you possibly leave off the best Summer activity in Memphis? That is a Redbirds game at AutoZone Park?

  3. Debbie Lucas says:

    We must be the only city where there is like barely nothing left free for its citizens to do. You took away Botantic Gardens free days.  You took away our Midway. Lets see what else did u take away?

  4. Holly Whitfield says:

    Debbie, check out numbers 3, 5, 6, and 12 on this list – free concerts at the Levitt Shell, Sunset on the Square in Collierville, Groovin' and Grillin' in Germantown, and Jams on Beale. While the Botanic Gardens discontinued their free days in 2010, many of the museums and attractions have "free days" for TN or Shelby Co. residents, and some are free to all – The Dixon is PWYC on Tuesdays and free on Saturday mornings. The Brooks Museum has PWYC days on Wednesdays, the Pink Palace opens exhibits for free on Wed. afternoons, the Zoo has free days on Tuesdays. All of Shakespeare company Threepenny Theatre performances are PWYC. Those are just a few. Take a look here for more free ideas – http://www.memphistravel.com/free-things-to-do-in-memphis

  5. Bluesfan says:

    Debbie, the Memphis Blues Society is hosting a FREE family-friendly Summer series of concerts at Overton Square on Tuesday nights! Check http://www.memphisbluessociety.com for the details.

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