By: Ezra Wheeler
As the weather gets warmer, Memphians of all stripes are flocking outdoors to parks, patios, and playgrounds to soak up a bit of sun. Whether you’re looking for exercise, entertainment, or simple relaxation, Memphis’ riverfront offers a variety of options for everyone. While we always recommend exploring and making your own adventure, here are five of our favorite activities to enjoy on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.
Walk or Bike Across Big River Crossing
If you haven’t already, we highly suggest making the trek into West Memphis via Big River Crossing, the longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River. In addition to offering breathtaking views of Downtown Memphis, Big River Crossing allows visitors access to a series of trails and parks on the Arkansas side of the river, including the 70-mile Big River Trail. If you want to bike but don’t have access to a bicycle, there are two Explore Bike Share stations along the Crossing – one on the Arkansas side and one on the Tennessee Side.
Visit the Metal Museum and the Chickasaw Heritage Park
For those looking for something a bit off of the beaten path, we suggest visiting the Chickasaw Heritage Park located just south of Downtown. Once you turn the corner, you’ll immediately notice two giant earthen mounds that were once used for ceremonial purposes by the Chickasaw. The mounds offer some amazing views of the river, and are an important reminder that this riverfront has been an important asset to people for hundreds of years. Directly across the street is the Memphis Metal Museum, a haven for the metalsmith community that features a museum, sculpture garden, and more.
Catch a Concert at the Harbor Town Amphitheater
You can’t really make a list about things to do in Memphis and not include music, can you? We certainly don’t think so, and one of our favorite places to catch a show is at the Harbor Town Amphitheater, particularly the annual River Series. Located behind the Maria Montessori School, the amphitheater is an intimate venue with stunning views of the river and Downtown. To keep track of all of the upcoming shows, be sure to check out https://www.riverseries.org/ , but be warned, tickets can go fast!
Pack a Picnic (or Join a Pick-Up Game) in Tom Lee Park
Tom Lee Park is the heart and soul of Memphis’ riverfront and the annual home to major events such as the Beale Street Music Fest and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. However, even when not hosting an event, Tom Lee Park offers a plethora of options for visitors. Lined with walking trails, exercise equipment, and basketball courts, Tom Lee is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities, but is just as accommodating to picknickers, book readers, and nappers. Whatever you’re looking for, Tom Lee Park has got you covered.
Grab a Beer (and Toss a Football) at Grind City Brewing Company
Located along the banks of the Mississippi River in Uptown, Grind City Brewing Company is the perfect place to end your day of river-side activities. Hailing a great selection of craft beers and a TON of outdoor space, Grind City is one of Memphis’ newest craft breweries and the perfect place to spend an afternoon with your friends, family, or dog (or all three!). We’re especially fond of their Viva Peach, a gluten-free bourbon barrel-aged lager that packs a punch.