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10 Things To Do in Memphis While Social Distancing

Posted by Holly Whitfield | September 9th 2020 1915 0

Ed. Note: Dr. Daniel Bastardo (who recently completed his PhD program—congrats!) brings us this handy list of things to do as we linger in Phase II of “reopening”. 

Photo by Raphael Tenschert

The overload of information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak can be stressful and overwhelming. In addition to washing your hand regularly and avoiding touching your face, social distancing is the best strategy we can all take to slow down the spread of the disease. However, social distancing can have an impact on our mental health. Here are a few suggestions on things to do in Memphis while still avoiding large crowds of people and staying safe.

1) Watch a movie at the Malco Summer Quartet Drive In.

Going to a movie theater right now is a bad idea — sorry IMAX lovers. But going back on time and watching a movie from the comfort of your car is still fine. The Malco Summer Quartet Drive In is now open seven days a week. Check out their movie listing here. Most films are double features, tickets are $10 per person, and kids under 10 enter for free! 

2) Go biking on one of the mountain bike trails near Shelby Farms Park.

Grab your mountain bike, your helmet, and a bottle of water, and explore one of several mountain bike trails near Shelby Farms Park. Biking is a great way to breath fresh air and put your body in motion — wave at other bikers, but do not stop to talk to them at this time. Check out the MTB Project website for directions on the various trails.  

3) Visit the Memphis Botanic Garden or the Dixon Gallery & Gardens.

The tulips are blooming! Take the family out and enjoy the beauty of thousands of trees, plants, and tulips flourishing together as a natural masterpiece. Stay out in the gardens and, if you most say hi to anyone, put your hand on your heart — no hand shaking or hugging, please. The Memphis Botanic Garden is open until 6 PM everyday and the Dixon Gallery & Gardens is open until 5 PM Tuesday through Sunday.

Memphis bookstore

South Main Book Juggler

4) Support your local bookstore and feed your mind through reading.

Purchase a book or a magazine from your favorite local bookstore and read it in the comfort of home or at a quiet open space — if there is sunlight, go out and enjoy it as much as possible! You may also want to check out an e-book from Memphis Public Libraries. Need suggestions for the kids? Here are a few reading lists for children.

5) Go running over the Mississippi River.

Did you know Memphis has the longest public pedestrian bridge over the Mississippi River? At nearly a mile in length, we must certainly do! Run over to Arkansas and take in the majesty of the Mississippi River on the Big River Crossing — smile at other runners, but don’t hi-five anyone. 

6) Rewatch Bluff City Law.

“Why measure yourself by money when you have the chance to change the world?” Relive the thrill of seeing Memphis on the small screen by rewatching the whole season of Bluff City Law on Hulu (subscription required). The 10-episode NBC series was filmed and produced in Memphis. 

7) Go hiking in the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. 

Less than 15 miles north of Memphis, the Meeman-Shelby Forest State park features over 12,500 acres of pure hardwood bottomland. Put on your hiking shoes and check out the over 20 miles of trails in the park. Pick up a map at the visitor centers and learn more about the trails here.

8) Explore Memphis murals on an Explore Bike Share bike. 

Memphis has a booming street art escene. Grab a Explore Bike Share bike (they say they are disinfecting them frequently throughout the day, but it might not be a bad idea to bring your own Clorox wipe just in case) and explore Downtown Memphis — this is your time to shine and collect material for your rising social media influencer career! #SocialDistancingCanBeFun

9) Order to-go and play board games at home.

We all know how good Memphis food is. Our local restaurants depend on our support to make it through these difficult times. Pick up the phone, order some food to-go, and bring it home for the ultimate Monopoly party. Join the I Love Memphis Food facebook group for some tasty inspiration.

10) “Alexa, play Elvis Presley on Spotify” 

Ask your smart speaker to play some good old Elvis and clean and disinfect your house like never before! (Latin American folks, you might want to play Olga Tañón instead). 


Stay alert and follow the recommendations made by CDC at all times. Check out UTHSC’s website to learn more about the novel coronavirus. We all have a role to play in public health: wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and stay away from crowded places. We are all in this together. 

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