Parking for Memphis in May Events

••• Photo credit: Getty Images/Lya_Cattel.

Whether you're going to the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, 901 Fest, or the Great American River Run, if you're heading to Memphis in May by car, you're going to have to park your car.

Parking can be tough or a little more expensive than normal (but still cheaper than most cities!) during Memphis in May, so here is what you need to know.

Parking Options for Memphis In May

  1. Parking Garages.
    There are several parking lots and garages within walking distance of Tom Lee Park. Be aware, however, that it may cost you more to park in these facilities during the festival than it would on a typical day, between $10 and $25 or more.
  1. Makeshift Parking Areas. These will spring up all over the surrounding area and are generally legitimate. Many businesses will rope off their lots or land and charge a fee ($10 - $25+, generally) to park there. Some of the closest parking can be found in these spots but they may also be the most expensive. There will be clear signs posted or even people waving flags with parking information. 
  2. Take MATA Trolly Buses. Memphis Area Transit Authority's trolley buses (the antique trolley system is still undergoing renovation) will run during Memphis in May events. There is a Main Street Line, a Riverside Line (which will run on Front Street during May), and a Madison Avenue Line. All of the trolley buses run approximately every 15 minutes, so you can park farther away and then ride closer to the festival entrances. To see trolley route maps and fare information, ​go here.
  3. Metered Parking on the Street. Don't count on Forget about finding a metered parking spot on the street. If, by some strange chance you do score such a spot, keep in mind that you don't have to feed the meter on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Click here for a map of parking lots and garages downtown. Makeshift lots do not appear on the map because they are not official parking lots and may or may not be open for parking from one year to the next.

    Other Traffic Considerations

    Riverside Drive in downtown Memphis is closed to through traffic from Georgia Avenue to Union Avenue during Memphis in May events, from late April until the end of May.

    On festival days, Memphis in May will close Beale Street from Wagner Place to Front Street and Wagner Place from Beale Street to Linden. 

    Alternatives to Parking

    Don't feel like dealing with parking during the excitement of Memphis in May, or plan to enjoy a few alcoholic beverages during Beale Street Music Fest or the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest? Avoid driving and parking altogether and stay safe by using a rideshare app such as Uber or Lyft, both of which are available in Memphis, or calling a cab. The cab number is easy to remember: 901-577-7777.

    This article was updated April 2017 by Holly Whitfield