Memphis in Tennessee is an exciting place to visit. There are better and worse times to visit this city. That’s why we put together a Memphis season guide which was written by a local. It contains many insider tips and helpful suggestions for your next trip to Memphis, including detailed tips for each month in the middle of this article.
The best time to visit Memphis is in the spring (April, May) and fall months (October, November) when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. Additionally, there are plenty of local festivals and outdoor concerts during both periods.
Tip: Save the best hotel deals in Memphis (via booking.com) with a price match guarantee!
The Cheapest Time to Visit Memphis
Hotel rates tend to be at their lowest between late fall and early spring. Rates are at their highest in the summer during the vacation season, especially during Elvis week in August. Accommodation rates also climb during the Christmas holidays and the whole month of May for the Memphis is May events. Rates also go up for holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, and Easter weekend.
Best Time to Visit the Stax Museum | How Long Does It Take
Touring the Stax Museum takes between 2-4 hours, depending on how much time you spend at the various items. Some artists may be more interesting to you than others.
The best time to visit the Stax Museum is either early in the morning or in the late afternoon. We highly recommend making an online reservation (via the banner above) for the Stax Museum Ticket (mobile or printed voucher, very comfortable) either at 10 AM or at 4:30 PM. At both times you will experience a much quieter museum compared to noon and early afternoon.
Best Time to Visit Pink Palace Museum | How Long Does It Take
A Pink Palace (Museum of Science and History) visit takes between 2 and 4 hours. You can see many interesting things in two hours and then leave. However, we recommend 3-4 hours. Some even stay half a day or longer. It depends on your interests. Just don’t miss this museum, it’s really worth it as it has some fascinating exhibits ranging from archeology to chemistry.
The best time to visit the Pink Palace Museum of Science and History is either in the early morning or later in the afternoon. At other times it’s always a little busier. Try to avoid weekends.
Best Times for Concerts and Festivals
Concerts and festivals include Levitt Shell concerts (most of these are free), a group of musicians who perform in the town square in the suburb of Collierville every Friday evening (just a bunch of locals who meet up to play mostly string instruments, we call them pickers, and sing), people bring their folding chairs, listen and visit.
Germantown Festival is in September, Cooper Young Festival in September, Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival in April, Memphis in May, Greek Festival in May, Italian Festival in June, Goner Fest in September, Bartlett Festival In September, River Arts Fest in October and Food and Wine Fest in November, Africa in April Festival, Overton Square Crawfish Festival in April
A few of the more obscure regular events that many locals don’t take advantage of would be the musicians who perform in Collierville as mentioned above, Trolley Nights downtown (last Friday of each month), Summer Drive In (very few drive in movie theaters left in the US since their heyday, we’re quite lucky to still have this, it operates year-round, once a month they run old movies as well), Oaklawn Park in Germantown for spring beauty, old movies shown at the historic Orpheum Theater in downtown Memphis, concerts and movies at the Levitt Shell (most are free, Elvis once performed there)
Best Time for Sport Events
A few of the big sporting events include Southern Heritage Classic in September, Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational Golf Tournament in August, sometimes NCAA basketball playoffs in March, Liberty Bowl football game in December, St. Jude Marathon in December.
Memphis in Winter
In the winter, you need both a light jacket in Memphis and a heavy coat. The weather during wintertime is very unpredictable. It might be 60 F° one day and 20 F° the next. Always check the weather forecast.
One year in February, we had the longest, coldest cold snap here since the 1940’s. However, less than a week later, it was literally sunny and 70 F.
Memphis in Summer | Openings
Another bit of general information is that the US unofficial start of summer is Memorial Day (last Monday of May) and the unofficial end is Labor Day (first Monday of September). Why is that important for Memphis visitors? Most outdoor pools at hotels, in parks, etc. are open between these dates, although specific locations may vary.
Three Tours You Should Try
Monthly Tips for Memphis | From a Local
Weather: Memphis in January is usually cold. Although we might have a few mild days, definitely bring a coat and umbrella, you can’t rule out the chance of snow and/or ice, generally dreary.
Things to Do: Elvis’ birthday celebration at Graceland, January 8, International Blues Challenge (dates change, usually the end of January or early February), Memphis Grizzlies or University of Memphis basketball games at the Fed Ex forum, Martin Luther King Day events at the National Civil Rights Museum and other venues (mid-January, but the exact dates change each year, it’s always the third Monday of January)
Crowds and Rates: Typically, crowds are minimal after New Years, and hotel rates would be reasonable.
Weather: In February, it is usually cold in Memphis, although we might have a few mild days, definitely bring a coat and umbrella. You can’t rule out the chance of snow and/or ice, generally dreary.
Things to Do: Slow time in Memphis, Black History Month events take place at various venues throughout the month, Memphis Grizzlies or University of Memphis basketball games at the Fed Ex forum, various Valentine’s Day events around the city
Crowds and Rates: Typically, the crowds are minimal in February, and hotel rates should be some of the lowest of the year. That makes this month a great time to visit Memphis on a budget.
Weather: In Memphis, it is usually cool early in March. Full-on spring by late March, you’ll need a light jacket for early March. Most residents change to the unofficial uniform of summer by the end of March (shorts, t-shirt, and sandals). Bring an umbrella for spring rains.
Things to Do: Beale Street St. Patrick’s Day Parade, usually held the Saturday closest to the holiday. A great time to visit either the Memphis Botanical Gardens or Dixon Gallery and Gardens to see the beautiful spring flowers and the azaleas in bloom.
Special Tip: Oaklawn Park in the suburb of Germantown is free and has some of the most beautiful spring colors in the area.
Memphis Grizzlies or University of Memphis basketball games at the Fed Ex forum, depending on the date, there may be some local Easter events such as egg hunts available in March.
Crowds and Rates: Typically, crowds start to grow during March as spring breaks for most schools bring on more travelers and hotel rates go up.
Weather: In April, it’s usually warm in Memphis, and no jacket is needed. However, bring an umbrella or light rain gear for the typical spring rains.
Things to do: The Redbirds Baseball games begin in April and run until August, Africa in April Festival (dates vary), Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival, Overton Square Crawfish Festival, Peabody Hotel Rooftop Parties normally run April to August, once a weelk
On April 4, Martin Luther King’s events mark his assassination; Shelby Forest Festival. Depending on the date, some local Easter events, such as egg hunts, are available in April.
Crowds and Rates: Typically, crowds are smaller after Easter, and hotel rates would be reflected in that.
Weather: Early May in Memphis is warm and pleasant. But it is getting hot usually by the end of May. Dress appropriately, stay hydrated and plan your day accordingly. Bring an umbrella; if you’re planning to attend any of the Memphis in May Events, bring a rain poncho and shoes that can withstand the rain/mud
Things to do: Memphis in May is a month-long festival (Beale Street Music Fest, International BBQ Contest, River Run, other events). Greek Festival, May Day Celebration on May 1.
Crowds and Rates: Typically, the city is crowded every weekend in May (our Memorial Day is the last Monday in May and the unofficial start to our summer season), expect high hotel rates, especially on weekends.
Weather: Memphis is hot and humid in June. There is a chance of rain, especially each afternoon as the heat builds. Plan your day accordingly with some indoor activities and stay hydrated. Bringing a raincoat or an umbrella and insect repellant is a good idea.
Things to Do: Events that occur are the Juneteenth Festival and the Bluff City Balloon Jamboree. Juneteenth has to do with the freeing of the slaves. The Balloon Jamboree is new in 2021.
Crowds and Rates: Like most US cities, it starts to get busy in June Memphis as people take their annual vacations. Expect hotel rates to be high and attractions to be crowded
Weather: It is hot and humid in July in Memphis. Bring water and stay hydrated. There is always a good chance of rain, especially in the afternoon. Bring a raincoat or umbrella and insect repellant.
Things to Do: July 4th is our Independence Day with plenty of outdoor concerts, festivals, and fireworks displays. Around the 4th, the city of Memphis holds large events as well as many of the suburban towns like Germantown, Collierville, Arlington.
The rest of July is a little slow, and there are Redbirds baseball games, Peabody Rooftop Parties, etc. However, as it is very hot and humid, many Memphians take a vacation in July.
Crowds and Rates: July is a busy peak summer period. Expect hotel rates to be high and attractions to be crowded, especially around July 4.
Weather: Memphis is still hot and humid in August. Dress accordingly and bring enough water. Rain usually occurs in the afternoon. Bring rain gear and insect repellant.
Things to Do: Elvis Week is huge in August, with events all over the city, including concerts, impersonator contests, and candlelight vigil. If you plan to attend any of the Elvis Week events or tour Graceland, it is highly recommended that you get tickets in advance to assure their availability, Hot Wing Contest and Festival is also in August.
Crowds and Rates: August is still very busy, with high hotel rates and a busy city of Memphis.
Weather: Early September in Memphis is usually still hot and humid, with a break in the heat by the end of the month. Shorts and no coat are still appropriate. However, you should also bring a light raincoat or umbrella. Don’t forget the insect repellant.
Things to Do: September is a month of local festivals. Germantown Festival, Cooper Young Festival, Goner Fest and Bartlett Festival all take place in September. It’s a great time to get away from the typical tourist attractions and see some of the local areas. Also, a good opportunity to buy some items from local craftsmen.
September is also the start of the US football season. Local high schools, colleges, and universities will have games most weekends. This runs through November/December, depending on how well the teams do.
Crowds and Rates: Our Labor Day holiday is the first Monday in September, and things will be very crowded during the weekend. After Mondy, things should ease as our summer vacation season ends and children are all headed back to school. Hotels will be more expensive until after Labor Day, but then prices should ease some after that.
Weather: Early October in Memphis is still generally warm, but you might want a light jacket in the evenings or during the day later in the month. It’s also time to switch to long pants by late October.
Things to Do: River Arts Festival, Halloween is October 31, and there are typically costume parties held in various bars, many places have Halloween parties for children.
Fall is one of the best times to visit the city because of all of the local festivals and the turning leaves. The temps are also getting cooler but still sort of pleasant.
Crowds and Rates: Crowds can rise in October in Memphis as many schools have fall breaks that month. Expect hotel rates to be slightly higher.
Weather: November can be lovely or frigid in Memphis. Bring both light and heavy coats. We rarely have snowfall in November, so bring a rain coat or umbrella.
Things to Do: Thanksgiving holiday is the fourth Thursday in November. Many restaurants serve special meals on that day. If the weather is cooperative, it’s a great day to get outside to local parks, Big River Crossing, etc. Most attractions are closed that day.
Craft Food and Wine Festival is downtown, Graceland puts up their holiday decorations in late November, and they stay up until Elvis’ birthday events in early January.
Crowds and Rates: Not that busy, but EXPECT VERY HEAVY TRAVEL CROWDS the whole week of Thanksgiving. Many schools are out that whole week or most of it. Typically the heaviest US air travel day of the year is the day before Thanksgiving. The second heaviest is the Sunday after. Hotel rates will be okay except for Thanksgiving week.
Weather: Memphis in December means that you’ll need both light and heavy coats. Like in November, we rarely have snowfall in December. Don’t forget a raincoat or an umbrella.
Things to Do: There are plenty of local holiday attractions in December. Zoo Lights, Starry Nights at Shelby Farms, Festival of Trees at the Pink Palace, winter events at the botanical garden, etc. Many of the suburban towns hold holiday parades that are free for all to attend.
Theatre Memphis typically puts on a great production of A Christmas Carol each December, NYE celebration normally on Beale Street, St. Jude Marathon usually is run in December
Crowds and Rates: Expect heavy travel around Christmas/New Year’s. Early in the month is more enjoyable because of smaller crowds. Hotel prices will go up closer to the holiday weeks.