Free Things to Do in East Memphis

••• A beautiful day at the Kite Flying Field at Shelby Farms. Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

East Memphis is known more for being the business center of the city and a prime residential community than a place for visitors to the city. But with parks and trails, the Memphis Botanic Garden, Lichterman Nature Center and plenty of restaurants, there are lots of reasons to hang out in East Memphis.

And these free things to do in East Memphis give more reason to consider this part of the city.

Shelby Farms Park

Shelby Farms Park is a 4,500-acre park of lakes, woods, hills, meadows and trails that stretch across East Memphis. Activities such as horseback riding and paddleboats cost a fee, but running and biking trails, playgrounds and all the open space one could need are always free. The Wolf River Trails get runners and mountain bikers close to the Wolf River under thick shade cover, and there are numerous paved and unpaved trails throughout the park.

Wolf River Greenway Trail

Speaking of trails, the Wolf River Greenway Trail goes along the southern edge of the Wolf River between Walnut Grove Road and the Germantown city limits. The trail runs parallel to Humphreys Boulevard, connecting the western end of the Shelby Farms Park area to the Germantown trails. Walnut Grove Road to Shady Grove Road is 1.67 miles in length. Shady Grove Road to Germantown city limits is 1.05 miles in length. A central trailhead parking lot adjacent to the West Pond is just east of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis and Humphreys Center Drive.

Shelby Farms Greenline

The Shelby Farms Greenline is one of the great free activities in Midtown Memphis as well. The former railroad line has been converted into a paved trail that stretches more than six miles from near the Broad Avenue Arts District in Midtown to Shelby Farms Park. The trail is shaded and runs between residential neighborhoods on the south and Sam Cooper Boulevard on the north.

Plans call for the path to be extended east of Shelby Farms Park, crossing Germantown Parkway and into Cordova.

University of Memphis Art Museum

The University of Memphis Art Museum features permanent collections of Egyptian antiquities, tradition-based African art, contemporary art and drawings, and changing exhibits of contemporary art. The collections of Egyptian antiquities and African art are exhibited in dedicated galleries and periodically updated with new themes. The museum is free Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Audubon Park

Audubon Park sits in East Memphis between Southern and Park avenues to the north and south, and Goodlett and Perkins roads on the west and east. Audubon Park consists of 373 acres with indoor and outdoor tennis courts, picnic area and play equipment, two picnic pavilions, a 1-mile fitness trail and a lake. For extra charges, The Links at Audubon is an 18-hole golf course and the Memphis Botanic Garden sits on the east side of the park.