Summertime in Memphis means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, it means freedom from school for a couple of months. For others, it means braving the hot and humid months of June, July, and August that the South is infamous for. For us at Saddle Creek Orthodontics, it means we stay pretty busy as most parents prefer to have their kids get braces while they’re out of school.
Living in Memphis means there are also dozens and dozens of cool things to keep you busy in your downtime. Whether your idea of a good time is enjoying a gentle breeze, good conversation, and a cold drink or maybe catching a classic film in an air-conditioned theater is more your style, Memphis has plenty to offer. Our city has a beefy lineup of opportunities for residents and visitors alike to partake in some merrymaking, and we’ve made a list of the best events you’re likely to find.
1. Summer Movie Series at the Orpheum
Between Broadway seasons, the Orpheum presents a great, relatively inexpensive experience to base your summer night around. For just about the same price as a ticket to an ordinary movie theater, you can enjoy classics like “The Princess Bride” in a beautiful, unique setting free from butter-sticky floors. You’ll find movies like “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Psycho,” and “Grease” playing on most Thursdays and Fridays starting June 8th. Make sure to catch at least one before the series ends with the legendary “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on August 28th. Make sure to arrive about thirty minutes before the show starts to enjoy themed drinks, costumed patrons, and movie trivia! For the full lineup, check out the Orpheum’s website.
2. Memphis Flyer Margarita Fest
This one is for adults only (of course), and while I’ve never attended myself, I hear that one of the best events of the summer is the Memphis Flyer’s Margarita Fest in Overton Park. On Saturday, June 17th, this one-day, always-packed event floods the Greensward with thirsty Memphians excited to sample all kinds of Margaritas in Memphis’s premier greenspace. Fifteen restaurants, including Babalu, Silly Goose, and My Favorite Place will be there serving stellar cocktails alongside delicious food trucks and great friends. At the time of writing there are still tickets remaining, but don’t delay as this event has sold out in recent years. For $35, you get samples from all the great restaurants and access to a full-sized cash bar. For more information, click here.
3. Memphis Redbirds Games
Autozone Park is a bit of a hidden gem in Memphis. Oft-overlooked for their basketball-playing neighbors, the Redbirds are already putting together a stellar season. It’s a joy to watch some of the best baseball outside of the MLB in such a breathtaking setting. For $9, you can relax on the bluff, and maybe catch yourself a foul ball or two to take home. With regular promotions and giveaways, it’s worth checking out details on their website. The last-minute planners among you can find a game going on most afternoons; a visit to the box office will get you in the stadium quicksnap. On most Thursday nights, college students can get bluff tickets for just $5 with a student ID, while Tuesdays feature $1 King Cotton hot dogs.
4. Levitt Shell Free Concert Series
Have you been to the Shell when funky music’s playing? It’s an incredible experience with a small town feel like little else in cities Memphis’s size. Between June 1st and July 16th, you can take part in this classically-Memphis tradition by just showing up ready to enjoy. Genres of all kinds are represented in the lineup: folk, blues, soul, bluegrass, indie, and everything in between. A ton of great food vendors will be there to back up the tunes with groovy smells and crisp drinks. Make sure to bring a picnic blanket or lawn chairs and a kicked-back attitude. These shows are truly for all ages–you’ll find tons of happy kids trotting out their very first dance moves to the tune of a sensational guitar and thumping bass drum. Check out the lineup here to pick your favorite performer or check out something new. We recommend the Stax Academy show, which is always a dance-all-night blast. See you on the lawn!
5. Elvis Week 2017
Elvis isn’t just for tourists. Between August 11th and 19th, a litany of events will sweep Graceland and the rest of Music City and fill the streets with the soul of the King. Graceland’s newest improvements will be on show for interesting conversations, rockin’ tribute concerts, and swanky meet-and-greets. The highlight of the week’s likely to be the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert at the FedExForum on Wednesday, August 16th, which features a full symphony orchestra performing some of Elvis’s greatest hits. Priscilla Presley and other special guests will make appearances; superfans rejoice. Outside of the official scheduled events, you’re likely to find a ton of Elvis-themed parties throughout the city. You can find information on each event here.
6. Soulsville Record Swap
Like music? Of course you do. On June 17th, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music will host their 2nd annual record swap. This event showcases all kinds of rare records from all corners of the musical spectrum. Stax has teamed up with Goner records to bring in dealers from all over the country, making this a perfect opportunity to expand your vinyl collection or start a new one. Best of all, the event’s completely free. A food truck from Arepa 901 and Mempops will be there, so you can make a day out of it. This is a perfect all-ages event for any music lover. Find more information here.
Hopefully, this list’s given you a few ideas for getting out into the city this summer. Whether it’s watching a Redbirds game, celebrating the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, or just relaxing with a cold drink in hand, Memphis has a ton to offer in the way of making memories. Get out there and don’t be afraid to boogie down!