We’re more than halfway through summer, but there’s still time to tick some items off your summer bucket list. Don’t have any ideas for fun stuff to do? Take a look at our list and get crackin’!
14 Super-Fun Activities for Your Summer Bucket List
Catch a Peabody Hotel Rooftop Party! Enjoy cold cocktails and a colorful sunset overlooking the Mighty Mississippi while you listen to live music atop the iconic Memphis Peabody Hotel. Tickets range from $10 to $15, and the party is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Ladies and hotel guests enter for free before 7 p.m. The last concert will be on August 17, so go while you can!
Traipse through 4,500 acres of green space at America’s largest urban park at Shelby Farms, then swing through the trees at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure. There are endless summer activities at Shelby Farms Park, including horseback riding, bike rentals, fishing (rent a boat or bring your own), canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and over 40 total miles of scenic trails for hiking, running, walking, bird-watching and good ol’ exploring! Check out our Ultimate Guide to Shelby Farms Park for more about this urban retreat. Worn out after a long day of adventures? Recharge at Shelby Farms’ own restaurant, The Kitchen, with a blackberry bourbon sour, a refreshing Gulf shrimp salad and an enchanting view of the lake.
The Levitt Shell has been a summer space for Memphis music since the 1930s and currently puts on a free concert series each year. This summer features over 50 free concerts brought to you by the Orion Free Music Concert Series. Pack a picnic or hit up one of the various food trucks parked at the shell on Friday or Saturday nights, usually including Memphis favorites like Central BBQ or MemPops. The Levitt Shell never fails to provide an enjoyable evening for all ages and audiences! Check Facebook to see who will be performing each weekend.
Pick your own blackberries, nectarines or peaches for fresh summer fruit or to make a delicious cobbler. Jones Orchard in Millington is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take the whole family and make a day of it, or if you want to skip the work, you can also purchase the fruit or one of Jones Orchard’s delectable homemade jams or jellies.
Don’t miss out on Dixon Gallery and Gardens’ Food Truck Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Friday afternoon through September. And if Memphis’ favorite food trucks aren’t incentive enough to come, admission to 17 acres of the Dixon’s gorgeous gardens is free during these times. Food trucks involved with this event include favorites such as Sushi Jimmi, MemPops, Stickem, Stanley’s Sweet Treats and many more. Check out which trucks’ delightful dishes you can enjoy this Friday on the Dixon’s Facebook page.
Dixon Gallery and Gardens also provides sunrise yoga classes Wednesdays at 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 am. Beat the midday heat and start off your day the right way with a one-hour yoga class al fresco with certified personal trainer and fitness instructor (and SB contributing writer!) Peggy Reisser. The class is free for garden members and $5 for non-members — a soul-nourishing deal you can’t beat!
Restaurants and bars with a view
Take advantage of Memphis’ many rooftop bars and restaurants! These summery venues will rock your taste buds and satisfy that summer need to be outside with the sunset in sight. The Terrace at River Inn in Harbor Town offers the perfect view of both the bridge and the Pyramid, making for a prime sunset locale. Enjoy drinks, small plates and the glow off the river. Or just head straight for the Pyramid’s Lookout for an open-air sunset experience over the river, followed by seafood. Just want a drink? Head to the cozy rooftop of the gorgeous Madison Hotel to the Twilight Sky Terrace to wind down with cocktails and a full view of the sunset. If you’re in the Overton Square area, dine outdoors at Lafayette’s Music Room with live entertainment every night or indulge in guacamole and margaritas at Babalu Tapas & Tacos happy hour. If you’re looking for something new, head to The Front Porch at Beale Street Landing, where you can enjoy a fabulous view of the Mighty Mississippi.
Kayaking, canoeing or paddle-boarding adventures
Take advantage of the outdoor adventures the city has to offer! Enjoy a leisurely kayak or paddle-board excursion in the harbor of the Mighty Mississippi at Mud Island while taking in a stunning view of downtown Memphis, the Pyramid and the iconic bridge. Or opt for a greener scene and paddle on the lake at Shelby Farms Park, where you can rent or bring your own boat! Need a boating experience to remember? With Ghost River Outfitters, you can canoe or kayak the 8.5-mile, well-marked canoe trail and witness the mystic Ghost Section, Spirit Lake and abundant wildlife of Wolf River near historic LaGrange, Tennessee.
Enjoy another fabulous summer concert series, Live at the Garden, which continues into the fall at the Memphis Botanic Garden. The concerts this year include Little Big Town, BOSTON, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Seal and the Steve Miller Band. Follow @liveatthegarden on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates! If you’re looking for a more mellow experience at the gardens, explore the 96 acres and 29 specialty gardens, refine your skills with art classes or educational events such as Astronomy Night or indulge in one of the gardens’ wine tastings.
The zoo is a Memphis must! Take the whole family to visit the Memphis Zoo’s latest addition, Winnie the baby hippo at the Zambezi River Hippo Camp! The zoo is the perfect summer afternoon activity, and with 18 animal exhibits and fun daily events, you’ll never run out of things to do or see. Check out the animals’ daily schedule to plan your zoo agenda!
Head to AutoZone Park and cheer on our Redbirds! The season continues into the beginning of September, so be sure to catch a game before we turn to the Grizzlies for basketball season! Whether you’re a big sports fan or not, Redbirds games are fun for all! Check out their season schedule, and pencil in a game on your social calendar!
Memphis offers a multitude of farmers’ markets all over town, so start off the weekend right with fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, baked goods and more! Downtown, local farmers bring their produce while local musicians provide the soundtrack for the optimal healthy shopping experience at the Memphis Farmers’ Market! For more variety, there are also food trucks available on site for yummy eats. Don’t miss out – head to Central Station Pavilion this weekend! The Pavilion of Overton Park hosts a community farmers’ market every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and it’s the place to go for homegrown food, drinks, arts & crafts and camaraderie! Cooper-Young Community Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday. Come out to purchase produce, meat and more, while enjoying local music and art. For more Memphis markets, check out our Complete Guide to Local Farmers’ Markets.
As we all know, Memphis gets hot and sticky come summertime, so remember to cool off and treat yourself to one of the Bluff City’s many ice cream and cool treat options — a fruity paleta from La Michoacana, a snow cone supreme from Jerry’s, homemade ice cream from Sweet Noshings, rolled ice cream from the new Rollin’ Sweets or a classic popsicle from MemPops! With so many scrumptious and refreshing options, you simply can’t go wrong!
Escape the heat and watch classic movies such as The Maltese Falcon, The Princess Bride, Gone With the Wind, Grease and The Rocky Horror Picture Show inside the quintessential Orpheum Theatre as a part of its summer movie series. Running through August 25, there is sure to be a fan favorite for everyone’s movie tastes. (Or take the family to see The Little Mermaid live on stage July 25-30!)
Enjoy the waning days of summer!
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