Step outside because that where so much of the action is happening.
Memphis is known for its soulful blues and rock ‘n’ roll heritage. And you can’t forget the dry rub ribs – barbecue at its best. But between the music and cuisine, you might be missing out on another part of Memphis – the great outdoors. Kayak and canoe on the Mississippi River or stroll and cycle green spaces around the city; you’ll be glad you got off the beaten path here.
The Mississippi River Connection
Discover the beauty of this immense river that gave birth to Memphis. Beale Street Landing is the spot to catch a riverboat ride to cruise down the Mississippi River. After the ride, make your way to The Front Porch for laid-back waterfront dining. The kids will be thrilled with Island Play, a misting park with dancing water fountains, a stone slide and more.
Take the Monorail to Mud Island River Park. Once there, wander along the RiverWalk, or time your visit with a concert or event at the Mud Island Amphitheater. Bike or stroll the Big River Crossing, a 1.6-kilometer bridge over the Mississippi. You can’t help but grin as you traverse one of the most famous rivers in the world. Now that definitely merits a selfie.
Bikers and walkers mingle along the Big River Crossing
Follow the Greenline to Shelby Farms Park
Explore nature in the center of the city at Shelby Farms Park, a sprawling landscape of trails, lakes and pine forests. To and from the park, you can bike ride or walk the Greenline, a paved trail that winds throughout Memphis. Discover wildlife (including a herd of buffalo), hike trails or watch furry friends at play in The Outback off-leash dog park. Kayak, paddleboard or go canoeing on the lakes, and hang out in the trees at the zip line and adventure course. Stop by The Kitchen Bistro for the real deal in farm-to-table cuisine (even better if you can secure a seat on the patio).
Soaring above a lily pad-covered pond on the Go Ape Zip Line & Treetop Adventure at Shelby Farms Park
Invite the Outdoors In
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid – a wilderness-themed store and outfitter housed within a nearly 50,000-square-meter pyramid – has become a destination in itself. Ride the tallest freestanding elevator in the USA to The Lookout on 28th floor for sweeping views of Memphis and the Mississippi River. Check out the indoor swamp, complete with 30.5-meter-tall cypress trees, a variety of fish species and alligators. Stay overnight at the Big Cypress Lodge, vintage log cabin accommodations with rustic details and a touch of chic elegance.
Alligators and fish swim in the indoor swamp at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid
More Outdoor Attractions
Visit Midtown’s Historic Overton Park to explore attractions, museums, a nine-hole golf course and trails. Kids can unwind at the innovative Rainbow Lake Playground and the Memphis Zoo. Golf nine holes at The Links at Overton Park, or walk through the Old Forest State Natural Area. Catch live music and performances at Levitt Shell, or head inside to The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art featuring an extensive collection of art and sculpture.
At the Memphis Botanic Garden in East Memphis, wander through an impressive collection of 31 specialty gardens from the serene Asian Garden to the perpetual spring of Daffodil Hill to the southern Dogwood Trail. Kids will love the My Big Backyard garden and sanctuary, where they’re encouraged to play in the dirt.
Get off the beaten path about 30 minutes outside the city at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, located atop the Chickasaw Bluffs. This sprawling park features hiking, biking, camping, disc golf, fishing and horseback riding accented by hardwood forests, bald cypress trees and swamplands.
Fly into Memphis International Airport (MEM), where you rent a car, or take a shuttle or taxi into the city.