9 Ways To Stay Cool in Memphis This Summer

Posted by Holly Whitfield | July 24th 2014 2969 0

After a weird few days of fall-like weather and plenty of #MemStorms, it feels like it might finally be summer. By that I mean: it feels like a particularly sticky sauna outside.

The good news is that there are some easy ways to get through the summer without staying indoors until October.

1. Run through a fountain.


The fountain at Government Plaza (right in front of City Hall downtown) is the perfect fountain to take a quick jog through. It’s on all the time. Pro-tips: don’t drink the water (it’s recycled) and wear shoes.

2. Bike at midnight

Go out after dark to avoid the worst heat of the day (and the sunburn). 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.

3. Canoe the Ghost River 

If you’re the outdoorsy type, rent a canoe or kayak and plop it into the Ghost section of the Wolf River early in the morning. Pack some snacks and drinks and spend the day being lazy on the river. 

4. Spend some time at the public library

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.10.44 AM

It sounds really dorky to spend the summer indoors at the library. But when you want to keep cool, just know that the air conditioners at Memphis’ public libraries work incredibly well. The library has some summer programs for kids that are a great way to keep them involved with books while school’s out.

5. Enjoy one of Memphis' new patios

There are a couple of new patios around town worth checking out: Three Angels Diner on Broad Avenue, Felicia Suzanne's downtown, and The Second Line near Overton Square have all recently opened new or improved patios, and the new-ish Tart in Cooper Young has a big shady patio. Yes, it's warm out, but if you order a cold one and catch a summer evening breeze at one of these new spots, you just might forget about how much you're sweating/glistening (whatever your style of perspiration). 

6. Get cultured

All of the city’s museums are air conditioned, and many have discounted or free admission at some point during the week. Check out new exhibits “Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper" and "The Eclectic Sixties" at the Brooks Museum of Art. See an IMAX movie in the renovated theater and learn about Memphis’ unique history at the Pink Palace Museum. The Dixon Gallery and Gardens also has several new exhibits for summer, and don't forget about the Cotton Museum and Fire Museum, plus all of our music and civil rights museums.

7. Drink.

Long Tall Cooler, Sweet Grass Next Door

Fluids are important, even when the air seems like it’s loaded with water. Fill up a glass with some of Memphis’ incredible tap water or lemonade of the day from Lunchbox Eats. If you’re looking for something a bit harder, try the Cherry Limeade from South of Beale, the Long Tall Cooler from Sweet Grass Next Door (pictured above) or the Comfortably Detached from Hog & Hominy. 

8. Get moving indoors
 There are plenty of places to play inside that the kids (or kids-at-heart) especially will love. Try laser tag and arcade games at Golf 'n' Games on Summer, trampoline dodgeball at SkyZone, and tons of activities like arcade games, go-carts, and laser tag at Incredible Pizza in Cordova.

9. Get in the water

Get your swim suit and some sunscreen on – there are 15 public parks in Memphis with either public pools or splash parks. There are splash parks that are super kid-friendly at Peabody Park in Midtown and a spray park in Collierville. Kick your shoes off and walk the Riverwalk on Mud Island. Look into day passes at local clubs and community centers.

How do you plan on keeping cool in Memphis this summer?

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. Talitha says:

    Bless you — I am bringing a mission trip of high school youth to Memphis next week and needed some inspiration for our recreation day. So many good ideas here! You're awesome! 

  2. […] 9 Ways To Stay Cool in Memphis This Summer […]

  3. Molly Brough says:

    If anyone is looking for free, cool events check out this Web site provided by the Memphis Public Library & Information Center:


    Free, interesting library programs for children, teens, and adults are included, as well as, local museum & community organizations' free days!  Summer is almost over, but there are still many amazing opportunities for locals through MPLIC's Explore Memphis program!  Holly, I love your blog, and Memphians enjoy!   

  4. Natalie says:

    The outdoor city pools are closed for the rest of the summer.

  5. Charlotte R. says:

    What we really need is a water park, instead of being relegated indoors. If smalltown Gulfport, Mississippi can have a great amusement water park, we can, too. Why hasn't this happened yet?

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