Guide To Memphis Fall Events and Things To Do 2019
Even though it feels like the opposite of autumnal outside, it’s time for the big annual list of things to do in Memphis in the fall. If you want to party, we have festivals and shindigs aplenty. If you’re looking for family-friendly or free fun, Memphis in the fall has loads of that, too.
There’s lots to eat and drink and ways to get moving or cheer on the home team, so dig in and never let me hear you say “there’s nothing to do in Memphis!”
Here’s your list of things to do in Memphis this fall, brought to us by contributor Wesley Paraham.
Got something to add? Submit it to the calendar here.
Puck Food Hall Tasting, 409 S. Main, August 23, 5:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., $50 adults/$25 kids, all ages
I Love Memphis Blog partners with the newish food hall for your chance to try all ten of the food vendors for one flat fee. Sample everything from homemade pasta to BBQ pork tacos to gelato and cocktails at this one-night-only event. Read all the details and see the menu here.
Exposure for 901 Day, FedExForum, August 29, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
New Memphis and iBank once again host this huge Memphis-centric celebration with entertainment, food, and more than 150 local organizations that you can learn about and get plugged into. This year’s event is turned up a notch for the Bicentennial and will featured local celebs competing in fun games. Read more here.
Memphis Tigers Football, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, August 31-November 29, ticket prices vary, all ages
The Memphis Tigers football team embarks on its 2019 season at the Liberty Bowl later this month. The University of Memphis has listed times for just the first four games of the season, so check the link above later for updates.
901 Day Celebration, Railgarten, September 1, 11 a.m. – ’til, $10 at the door, all ages/kid-friendly
Railgarten throws down for September 1 with a big lineup of local bands including CCDE, Lucky 7 Brass Band, Star & Micey, 8Ball and MJG and DJ Siphne Aaye…plus Memphis vendors and a dance party.
Levitt Shell Fall Concert Series, Levitt Shell, Thursdays – Sundays, September – October, free, all ages
This season of free outdoor concerts at the Levitt Shell really delivers. Featuring Yola Carter, Jack Oblivian, Reverend Horton Heat, and much, much more, there’ll be no shortage of amazing music. They’ll also be putting on not-so-free Shell Yeah! fundraising shows featuring Jason Isbell and Ben Folds, where all proceeds go towards keeping the rest of the shows free. The Fall Concert Series starts August 31 and continues through October 13 in Overton Park.
30 Days of Opera, Various Locations, September 1-30, free, all ages
You can’t get much more self-explanatory than this—Opera Memphis is giving us 30 days of free performances held at different locations throughout the city. Places and dates are TBA, but check the link for updates.
30th Annual International Goat Days Festival, USA Stadium, September 6-7, $5 parking/free admission, all ages
Millington’s annual celebration of the noble goat includes vendors, demonstrations, a petting zoo, kids’ area, BBQ contest, tractor shows, and much more. The event starts with a goat parade on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and continues on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Art on the Rocks, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, September 6, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., $50, 21 and up
The Dixon is back with another year of Art on the Rocks, featuring botanical cocktails, craft beer, and wine, plus bites from local restaurants. This year’s color to wear (optional) is purple.
Memphis Rox Yoga Festival, Mud Island River Park, September 7, gates open 7:30 a.m., $35 advance, all ages
Year two of Memphis’ first yoga festival changes the scenery a bit, moving from Midtown to the Mud Island River Park Downtown.The day includes more than 20 yoga classes, vendors, food trucks, a tea garden, and meditation areas. A portion of the proceeds go to Memphis Rox, an indoor rock climbing facility in South Memphis that’s one of the coolest and best things to happen in this city in a long time. ⠀⠀⠀
Ballet Memphis Launch, corner of Madison Ave. and Cooper Ave., Sept. 7, 12:30 p.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
Ballet Memphis celebrates the start of their fall performance season with free classes for people of all ages, open rehearsals, and a pop-up from Edge Alley restaurant.
Annual Germantown Festival, Germantown Civic Club Complex, September 7-8, free, all ages/kid-friendly
You could go to the Germantown Festival for the crafts, demonstrations, live music, vendors, delicious eats, classic cars and overall sense of community. You wouldn’t be wrong to do so. You would, however, be wrong to miss the annual Running of the Weenies, an adorably chaotic dachshund race.
Zoo Rendezvous, Memphis Zoo, September 7, $200+, 21
The Memphis Zoo puts a disco spin on their yearly Zoo Rendezvous fundraiser this year. Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy food and beverages from more than 70 Mid-South restaurants and bars, and live entertainment at Zoodio 54.
Central Gardens Annual Home & Garden Tour, Central Gardens, Sunday, 1 p.m. – 8 p.m., $15 adv./$20 day-of, all ages
This year’s Central Gardens home tour features six homes: three historic homes and three new homes. The walking tour goes along Central Avenue between McLean and Willett. Get your tickets early to save a few bucks and get an in-depth, personal look at Memphis history.
The 30th Annual Southern Heritage Classic Cultural Celebration, September 11-14, various locations and prices, all ages
A grand Memphis tradition continues on September 11 with the 30th annual Southern Heritage Classic, bringing the legendary Gladys Knight to the Orpheum with it. There’s definitely a lot happening that week outside of Tennessee State vs. Jackson State, so make sure you check the link above for the full schedule of events and prices.
Fall Movie Nights at Chimes Square, Overton Square, September 5-November 7, free, all ages
Make your dinner-and-a-movie dates less lame by grabbing a pie to-go from the Memphis Pizza Cafe and heading to Chimes Square on Thursday nights. Free films will be shown on an outdoor screen with state-of-the-art surround sound. The full schedule of films is TBA, so, once again, check back for updates.
Cooper-Young Fest, Cooper and Young, September 14, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., free, all ages
What else is there to say about Cooper-Young Fest? Buy some art + crafts, see live shows on three(!!) stages this year, eat two funnel cakes and a Pronto Pup, and people watch at this 32-year-old celebration of Memphis heritage. Don’t start drinking too early, and if you have to ask when’s too early to start drinking, it’s probably too early.
Mid-South Fair, Landers Center, September 19-29, $10 adults, $5 seniors and kids 5-12, all ages
The Mid-South Fair is the spot for good ol’-fashioned country fun. Enjoy food, rides, games, live entertainment, talent contests and more, but you better not miss Lance Bass from NSYNC (just Lance though) and your boy Aaron Carter!
Southern Junkers Vintage Market, Memphis Fairgrounds Pipkin Building, September 20-21, $5 for adults at door, $8 online, free for kids 13 and under
Fairground nostalgia is the theme for this year’s Southern Junkers Vintage Market. Many vendors will be on hand with antiques and art. Buy enough junk for your trunk then treat yourself to some carnival food.
Burgerfest, Tiger Lane, September 21,11 a.m.-6 p.m., $10+, all ages
Burgerfest returns to Tiger Lane at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium for another afternoon of beers, burgers, and fun. There will be a burger bar, local beers, live music, games, and a kids’ area. (They moved this to the spring of 2020)
Latin Fest 2019, Overton Square, September 21, 3-9 p.m., free, all ages
If you want to experience some of what really makes America great, check out the Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group’s celebration of Latin American food, drinks, music, art, and culture in Overton Square during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Spillit, Various Locations, September 21, November 15 and November 17, $20, 18 +
Memphians tell their hilarious, heartbreaking, and inspiring stories at monthly events and compete for the title of best storyteller. Admission price includes drinks (always remember to tip your bartender). Seats are first come, first served, so get there early.
GONERFEST 16, various venues, September 26-29, free-$75 weekend pass, all ages
If you like your bands like you like your company—loud, a little dangerous, and probably a health risk—then GONERFEST is where you want to be. This year’s lineup includes Sweet Knives, NOTS, Giorgio Murderer, and Memphis garage rock veterans The Oblivians. Hit the link above for the full lineup and tickets.
Bartlett BBQ Fest 2019,W.J. Freeman Park, September 27-28, 5-11 p.m., free admission, all ages
Bartlett’s very own barbeque cooking contest will feature live music, food vendors, a 5K, arts and crafts, kids’ areas, and a car show in addition to the tons of delicious BBQ. Bring your family and enjoy the fun.
Elegant Southern Style Weekend, Graceland, September 27-29. $299+
Head to Graceland to join their inaugural Elegant Southern Style Weekend, hosted by Priscilla Presley herself. This event is a celebration of the food, style, and culture of the American South featuring seminars from experts in their fields.
Audacity Fest, Downtown Memphis, September 27-29, $40+, $20 with student ID, all ages
AUDACITY Fest is the first travel festival tailored towards black and brown individuals, and it’s making its way to Memphis this year for the first time. It’s an opportunity to meet and hear travel influencers, enjoy food vendors and live music and performances, build community, and maybe share how we do things in the 901 with some tourists.
Memphis Pride Fest, Robert R. Church Park, September 28, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., free, all ages
Celebrate pride with Memphis’ diverse LGBTQ+ community at the 16th Annual Memphis Pride Fest at Robert R. Church Park in Downtown Memphis for the first time this year. The Memphis Pride Parade will start rolling down Beale Street at 1 p.m. that afternoon. Also, the Memphis Public Libraries are holding a Pride Kick-Off event at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on September 7, which you can learn more about here.
Lightsaber Dueling at Rec Room, September 28, 7-9 p.m., free, 21+
Are you a Jedi, a Sith Lord, a member of the First Order, or a Resistance fighter? Choose your side and duel your opponents—the Force is strong with you. It’s bring-your-own-saber, but they’ll have a few extras on site if necessary. Try not to hurt anyone.
Memphis Japan Fest, September 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
This family-friendly celebration of Japanese history and culture is amplified by the beauty and hospitality of the Memphis Botanic Garden. Along with a cosplay and Japanese street fashion contest, there’ll be a bevy of vendors, activities, and food. On a related note—shout-out to Netflix for making Neon Genesis Evangelion readily accessible to western audiences for the first time in seventeen years (even though they kinda butchered it).
Tai Chi in the Formal Gardens, Overton Park, August 15-October 17, 7-8 a.m., free, all ages
Find your center every Tuesday and Thursday morning in Overton Park with certified Dragon & Tiger Qigong instructor Marjean Liggett. Classes will teach basic tai chi moves and focus on breathing exercises. Students of all ability levels are welcome.
Monster Market, 618 S. Main Street, October 1-31, hours TBA, free to enter, all ages
This annual pop-up retail shop, curated by local artist Holtermonster, will get you in the perfect Halloween mood all month long with oddities, creepily fun art, and all-around weirdness from local makers. This year’s new location is ADA accessible and has plenty of parking. Stay tuned for hours and more info.
Pink Palace Crafts Fair, Audubon Park, October 11-13, $10 adults/less for kids, all ages
The popular Pink Palace Crafts Fair offers three days of outdoor artisan demonstrations in everything from candle making to metalsmithing, as well as kids’ activities, eating and shopping at booths run by artists and craftspeople from around the country, and more. Proceeds benefit the Pink Palace Museum.
Memphis Food & Wine Festival, Memphis Botanic Garden, October 12, 6 p.m., $200+, 21+
This outdoor event brings chefs from across the world right here to Memphis to collaborate and share with our local culinary talent. Wine merchants and stewarts will also be in attendance to help you find the perfect wine to pair with your meal. Check the link above for a full list of chefs and vendors.
Repair Days 2019, National Ornamental Metal Museum, October 17-20, free to attend, all ages
Bring your busted, rusted, and otherwise damaged metal items to the Metal Museum for a little TLC. During Repair Days, the museum’s crew of blacksmiths and metalworkers will fix your items for a fee, which benefits the museum. The day also includes family friendly activities, workshops, and a dinner and auction.
Mempho Music Fest, Shelby Farms Park, October 19 & 20, $109 and up
Mempho follows up last year’s explosive lineup with The Raconteurs, Brandie Carlisle, and the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. You’ll also be able to see hometown heroes such as DJ Paul, Valerie June, Amy LaVere, and John Paul Keith.
Beale Street Art Crawl, October 19, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., free, all ages
It’s not just folk art! Artists of all disciples from around the Mid-South come together on Beale to build community and showcase their works for this free event. Bring the family and discover Memphis heritage.
Harvest Festival, Agricenter International, October 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., free event, all ages
The fall-themed fun of the Harvest Festival returns for its sixteenth year. Paint pumpkins, go on a hayride, learn about agriculture, and dance to some bluegrass at this family-friendly event.
Soulsville USA Festival, College & McLemore, October 19, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free, all ages
Enjoy the soulful music line-up, food and crafts from over 40 vendors, free admission to Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and much more during this festival celebrating South Memphis’ innovative and robust global contributions to music and culture.
Cooper-Young Beer Fest, 795 S. Cooper. October 19, 1-5 p.m., $45-$50, 21+
If you didn’t already know, Cooper-Young is incredibly active in the Fall thanks to both Cooper-Young Fest and the Cooper-Young Beer Fest—featuring food vendors and beers from over 30 regional craft breweries. Goner Records will supply tunes and food trucks will be on site. Tickets go on sale September 1 for $45 then will increase to $50 on October 1.
Edible Memphis Dinner In The Gardens, Central Gardens, October 19, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., $200, 21+
Local foodie outlet Edible Memphis will co-host an impressive endeavor on Saturday, October 19 in Central Gardens between Peabody Ave. and Glenwood Place: a seven-course farm-to-table dinner for 1,000 people. Five local chefs will prepare unique dishes, and there will be beer and wine, plus a welcome cocktail from Old Dominick. If you donate $25 to the Central Gardens Association, you get a $50 discount on your dinner ticket. Read all the FAQs here and reserve your seat here.
Art on Fire 2019, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, October 19, 7-11 p.m., $75+, 21+
If you’ve got $75 and are old enough to legally enjoy alcoholic beverages, then head to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens for this casually classy fundraiser. There’ll be live music and other entertainment, art sales, a silent auction, and great local food the Dixon’s south lawn. Proceeds benefit the Dixon’s art education and outreach programs.
Memphis Comic Expo, October 19-20, Agricenter International, 10 a.m.-6 pm. $25+, free for kids 12 and under
This two-day family event focuses on comic creators but also features vendors, cosplay contests, gaming tournaments, and guest panels. It’s featured guests list is stacked with big names who’ve worked on big projects like Uncanny X-Men, Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Bitch Planet, and so much more.
Memphis Grizzlies Basketball, FedEx Forum, season home games start October 25, prices vary, all ages
Show your team some love! Head to the FedExForum and see the Grizzlies start their season against the Chicago Bulls on October 25.
Memphis Tequila Fest, Overton Square, October 25, 6-9 p.m. $34 and up, 21
Tequila! Taste over 30 different types of tequila while the DJ keeps the music going all night long. If tequila isn’t your thing, don’t worry—a cash bar with beer, wine, and mixed drinks will be on site as well as food vendors. In the meantime, let’s all enjoy this classic scene from the 1985 Tim Burton masterpiece Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.
River Arts Fest, Riverside Drive, October 26-27, Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 10 am.-5 p.m., $5, all ages
Last year was the first time RiverArtsFest was held on Riverside Drive, and they’re continuing at the new location in October. This street festival rivals Cooper-Young Fest with its own selection of fine arts, local music, live artist demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages. RiverArtsFest last year also included the debut of the Mighty Lights on the Hernando de Soto Bridge, so I’m sure they’ve got something special planned for that anniversary.
Indie Memphis Film Fest, October 30-November 4, locations and prices vary
The Indie Memphis Film Festival showcases hundreds of films at venues around the city, and this year will be no different. While the full schedule of events has yet to be announced for 2019, expect to mingle with your Memphis neighbors and folks from around the world at a free block party with live music, filmmaker talks, locally brewed adult beverages and much more.
Dia de los Muertos Parade & Festival, Brooks Museum, November 2, 11:30 a.m.-3:30p.m., free event, all ages
Families are invited to celebrate Dia de los Muertos at the Brooks Museum of Art. The parade will begin in Overton Square with floats and performers at 11:30 a.m. and will arrive at the Brooks Museum a bit after noon. After the parade, there will be a community celebration inside the museum with face painting, music, dance performances, food trucks, and more.
India Fest, Agricenter, November 3, 10 a.m.-8:00 p.m.,$5 for adults, $1 for children, free for children under 5, all ages
Organized by the India Association of Memphis, this festival showcases the art, culture, music, cuisine, and heritage of India’s diverse cultures.
Memphis Flyer’s Crafts & Drafts, Crosstown Concourse, November 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free admission, all ages
The Memphis Flyer’s Crafts & Drafts is an outdoor crafts exhibition and sale featuring local food, beer, and of course craft vendors. It’ll also feature live music, games for kids, and is quite dog-friendly.
Greenway Soiree, Opera Memphis, November 9, 6-10 p.m., $100 per person, $1000 per table
This fundraiser event for the Wolf River Conservancy features food and cocktails, live and silent auctions, and live music. It’s great if you want to support one of Memphis’ finest outdoor amenities and probably wear a fancy dress all in one night.
Grilled Cheese Festival, Hi-Tone Cafe, November 10, 12-6 p.m., $5, all ages
The Grilled Cheese Festival is an absolute treasure, but be prepared for your taste buds to suddenly become too cosmopolitan for Wonder Bread and Kraft Singles. This family and pet-friendly festival revolves around grilled cheese with competing teams providing a limited number of samples unless you buy a VIP ticket, which nets you unlimited samples. Proceeds benefit Alive Rescue, for homeless animals in the Memphis area.
Downtown Dining Week, Restaurants In Downtown Memphis, Nov. 11 -19, $10.19 (lunch) + $20.19 (dinner), all ages
Each fall, dozens of downtown restaurants offer amazing deals and discounts for one week. It’s an awesome chance for you to sample the delicious Memphis cuisine without breaking the bank! Usually there are multi-course prix fixe offerings during lunch and dinner, and reservations are required at most locations. I really, really recommend reservations. Gratuity and tax are not included.
Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, Memphis Marriott East, November 15-17, $15-$50, all ages
The Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention offers three glorious days of panels, gaming, costumes (and a costume contest), and visiting artists and writers. The schedule is TBA, but they have announced that Jenel Stevens, a prolific Hollywood stunt performer and a Dora Mijale warrior in 2018’s Black Panther, which is pretty cool.
St. Jude Marathon Weekend, Downtown Memphis, December 7, $35+, all ages
The event that brings runners from across the world also has its fair share of supporters here in Memphis. Whether you’re participating in races yourself or supporting friends and family, the energy felt in Downtown Memphis during the St. Jude Marathon Weekend is electrifying. Find a nice patio spot and cheer.