What’s Open In Memphis? Updates For Attractions, Museums, and Parks

Posted by Holly Whitfield | January 21st 2021 15962 0

What museums, attractions, parks, and things to do are open in Memphis during covid and travel restrictions?

Shelby Co. Health Dept’s Directive 16 (in place December 26 – January 22) means that some attractions have closed temporarily, but others remain open with capacity, safety, and mask guidelines.

UPDATE: On January 19, the SCHD announced that Directive 17 will go into affect on January 23. See below for details.

Here’s all the info, and what’s open in Memphis today:

Shelby Farms Park.

Memphis Covid Restrictions

SCHD announced Directive 17 today (Jan. 20) which will go into effect on January 23rd. Short version: Restaurant capacity increased to 50%, tables 6 ft apart, parties of 6 or less, live entertainment is allowed with restrictions. Still no dancing inside or staying open for onsite dining past 10 p.m. Masks still required in public and indoors spaces and mandated at gyms.

Here’s a simplified explanation of Memphis covid restrictions and Memphis travel restrictions for the next two days (through the end of January 22, 2021):

  • Travel restrictions: most Memphis hotels and restaurants are open. Read more about hotels. Read more about restaurants.
  • Some attractions are open; others are temporarily closed. See the list below for details.
  • Shelby County is under Directive 16 until Saturday, January 22, 2021.
  • Directive 16 limits restaurant indoor dining capacity to 25%, requires masks/face shields, requires social distancing and limits table size, requires contact tracing by businesses, and ends onsite dining at 10 p.m.
  • Other stores and businesses are limited to 50% capacity with mask requirements.
  • Again, masks or face shields are required indoors in public spaces when not eating or drinking.

What’s Open In Memphis Today

A Tour of Possibilities Caravan Tour: Open and You CAn Stay Safe in Your Own Car!
Learn the incredible history of African American contributions to our city, see dozens of historic sites, and go deeper into the story of Memphis than you ever have before with A Tour of Possibilities’ new Caravan Tours. Let the ATOP van guide you around town, and listen to the personalized tours from the passionate guides via smartphone—in the safety and comfort of your own vehicle. Book 2.5 hour tours Tuesdays through Sundays via the website.

Backbeat Tours is open.
Backbeat Tours is offering limited seating for bus tours, all guests must wear masks and tours will be limited to twelve people for bus tours and eight people for walking/bike tours. Backbeat is also offering Ghost Tours and Memphis Historic Walking Tours. The downtown Memphis Bike Tours in partnership with Explore Bike Share will return in March 2021. You can get gift certificates for Backbeat now—they never expire! All tours depart from the Alfred’s Patio Bar on Beale.

Beale Street is partially open. 
Most—but not all—restaurants and clubs on Beale Street are open under the Shelby County Health Department’s Directive 16. Dine-in is limited to 25 percent capacity, and takeout and curbside dining are available. Live music and entertainment are allowed under guidelines. There are dancing rules, too: “Dancing should not be allowed unless it occurs outdoors and dancers maintain six feet separation from those who are not of their same household.”

The Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame is closed. 
The hall of fame’s location is closed until further notice.

The Brooks Museum is closed, but offering virtual tours.
The Brooks Museum facilities are closed until Jan. 22 (and no reopening information is available as of Jan. 21) but they’re offering virtual tours of all 2020 exhibitions, including Native Voices, Rotunda Projects: E.V. Day – Diva’s Ascending,  Journey Towards Self-Definition: African American Artists in the Permanent Collection, and the current Power and Absence: Women in Europe, 1500-1680.

The Memphis Botanic Garden is open.
From December 26, 2020 until January 22, 2021, the Memphis Botanic Garden’s outdoors spaces are open, but the Gift Shop will be closed. Read more guidelines and get your tickets on the Memphis Botanic Garden’s website. The Garden is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Children’s Museum of Memphis will reopen January 23.
CMOM will reopen with regular hours, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, starting Jan. 23.

The Dixon Gallery & Gardens is open for normal hours.
The Dixon Gallery & Gardens are open for regular hours, but require reservations via the Dixon website—dixon.org/visit.

Edge Motor Museum is open.
The Edge Motor Museum is reopened with regular daily hours, Mon. – Fri. from 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Farmers Markets.
Farmers markets in Memphis and the Mid-South are open with social distancing guidelines and new rules. There are several that operate year-round, even in winter, so check out the 2020 Farmers Market Guide for a list and links to info.

The Fire Museum of Memphis is open.
The Fire Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last tour begins at 3 p.m.) and masks or face shields are required. Check their website for details.

Graceland is open.
Graceland is open. Tours are at very limited capacity. Employees will wear masks, guests are encouraged to wear masks, and everyone’s getting their temperature checked. They highly recommend buying tickets in advance. More details here.

Historic Haunts Memphis closed until March 2021.
The local tour company Historic Haunts is closed until spring 2021, but you can pre-book your Memphis Ghost Walks, 2 In 1 Tours, and Memphis Haunted Bus Tours. Check out the schedule and reserve your space on their website.

The Levitt Shell is temporarily closed.
The Levitt Shell amphitheater’s 2020 in-person concert season was cancelled, and the Shell is normally dark until the late spring.

Lichterman Nature Center is temporarily closed.
The Lichterman Nature Center is closed to the public through January 22, 2021. No information about reopening is available at this time.

The Mallory Neely House and the Magevney House are temporarily closed. 
These two Victorian Village homes are closed through January 22, 2021 with no reopening information available.

Select Malco Theaters in Shelby County will reopen Jan. 23
Several area movie theaters will reopen on Jan. 23. The drive-in has been open. Check malco.com for information.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame is open.
The museum is open Wed. – Sun. from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and guest numbers will be limited, guests are required to wear facial coverings, adhere to social distancing, and have temperatures checked.

Memphis Zoo will reopen January 23.
The Memphis Zoo will reopen on Saturday, Jan. 23. They’ll limit capacity to 50 percent, aka 5,000 guests at a time. Masks or face coverings are required for employees and guests ages three and up. Capacity in gift shops and indoors spaces is limited.

The Metal Museum will reopen on Jan. 26.
The Metal Museum will be closed from December 20 – January 25 and will reopen to the public on Tuesday, January 26.

National Civil Rights Museum is closed until further notice.
The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is closed until further notice.

The Peabody Hotel is open. 
The hotel is open, but the twice-daily Peabody Duck March is open for hotel guests only. Dining and drinks at Capriccio Grill, the Lobby Bar, or Peabody Deli & Desserts are available. The Feathers Spa is open for facials and massages, too.

Pink Palace Museum will reopen on Jan. 23.
The Museum of Science and History aka the Pink Palace Museum will reopen on Jan. 23. No further details or info about the CTI Giant Theater or Planetarium is available.

Rock ’n’ Soul Museum is open.
The Rock ’n’ Soul Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. They’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. They’re checking temps and require facial masks.

Shelby Farms Park is open.
Shelby Farms Parks grounds, lakes, trails, Shelby Farms Greenline, off-leash dog park, horse stables, gift shop, Go Ape Treetop Adventures course, and Battlefront laser tag + paintball are all open.

Bike rentals and boat rentals are open, but are available by advanced reservation only. The Visitor Center restroom is open but all other restrooms are closed. Cheffie’s is open. You can view the park’s amenities opening guidelines on their website.

Shelby Forest State Park is open. 
Shelby Forest, along with most other Tennessee State Parks, are open for day use, as well as access to most trails, boat ramps, and other activities.

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum is closed. 
The Slave Haven museum is closed until further notice.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music is closed through Jan. 22.
The Stax Museum will reopen on Jan. 23 with regular hours of Tue. – Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Shelby Co. residents can enter for free on Tuesdays after 1 p.m. Tickets should be purchased in advance if at all possible, and all transactions will be cashless. Read more about reopening guidelines on StaxMuseum.com.

Sun Studio will reopen on Jan. 23rd.
Sun Studio will reopen on Jan. 23rd with strict covid protocols. Read those here.

Urevbu Contemporary gallery is open by appointment only.
Urevbu Contemporary (formerly Art Village Gallery) in South Main is open for in-person visits by appointment only, or you can peruse the online viewing room.

The Withers Collection is open by appointment only.
The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery on Beale Street is open by pre-paid appointment only for groups of 10 or less, with 24 hours notice. Get details and reserve your space here.

Show Comments


  1. Carolyn Michael-Banks says:

    Greetings Holly!
    Could you please include our new tour offering The Memphis Caravan Tour in the “What’s Open in Memphis” piece. Thanks!!!

  2. RIcky Windhorst says:

    I’m coming with a group in Oct. is the Blues Hall of Fame still closed???

    • Holly Whitfield says:

      Hi Ricky, As of today, Sept. 28, the Blues Fall of Fame is still closed. It’s hard to say if they will reopen before you arrive. If you’re looking for alternatives or more ideas for your group, let me know—highly recommend the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Memphis Music Hall of Fame is your group is interested in Memphis music and the blues.

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